Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What are ya'll doing?

I am in a slump. Who knew when we started that I would take off and challenge myself (not one who runs) to run? I have officially been training since Christmas. I have logged over 200 miles. My longest run has been 8 miles in 1:20-ish. My fastest mile has been 10:24-ish. I have been chased by dogs on multiple occasions and even bit once. (I even shopped for mace) I have graduated to wearing proper running clothes instead of just "workout wear" due to rubbing raw skin. I love my nike+ system that keeps me organized. (I love numbers and graphs)

Since the hot weather has become a constant, I have not enjoyed my morning runs. To avoid the heat, I should wake up and run earlier than 8 am, but that is proving to be close to impossible. (Apparently I am not the early morning person I used to be... I blame a night-owl husband and two kids) I began a training program with nike+ for a half-marathon in mid-April so that I could work up to training for the marathon, but I have failed the computer program. I have dropped the ball. I have fallen off the horse. My spirits are low, my excitement is gone. I do not have the perseverance related to marathon training. I need help. I need direction. I need accountability. I need training. I need team support.

Is anyone else thinking this? Maybe I am the only one totally overwhelmed. How did I get into this? I am no runner. Perseverance is not my thing. Where's my team?


Pattillo said...

That is a mega sad story. Chances are you arent alone though. I for one hate everything there is to hate about running in the heat. If running has you bummed out take a little time off or do something else for a while (ride a bike go for a swim). After a couple of weeks try running again and chances are you will feel a ton better.

As a beginning runner you are or at least sound like you are doing a crazy good job. It just sounds like you need a break or a change of pace. Try not to be a slave to a particular schedule or running regime.

jlowe said...


As a fellow non-runner trying to accomplish the admittedly asinine (and apparently assonance-assuring) task of running a marathon, I cannot offer you any sort of experienced advice on how to approach your running.

I can, however, empathize greatly with many of your statements. First of all, I believe I am the only other NikePlus user of the group. (SoonerMagic is my username if you want to track me on there for some reason.) Despite my occasional annoyance with its distance calculation, I too love the overall product. It is really cool to see everything about a run or series of runs displayed before you. It's also neat to be able to see your progression as you go along.

As far as the heat goes, I have found that I, too, wilt away from running at all. I, too, find this to be....counterproductive, at best.

In the interest of full disclosure, the heat is simply one of my excuses for not running. I ran while I was on my honeymoon and then for a few days after my return. I am not sure I have run a single day in the month of June though. As I do not have a night-owl husband, 2 kids, or trouble being up before 8AM (work STARTS at 7:30), I can only say that I am inspired by the fact that you have come this far already.

I am certain that if you can keep running over the months that you have, then you will be able to use whatever "take a break" advice is offered by our running friends and apply it to your future training.

I, for one, find your current feelings to be entirely normal. I am confident that you will be able to find a work-around for the heat and the demands of your family life. You've got this in the bag.

Micah said...

I agree with Chris and Jason that you are doing a much better job than you realize. Training for the marathon is really much like running the marathon--it's hard to get a good sense of how you're doing at any one step along the way. In the end you look back and realize the journey, but it's very difficult at mile 14 to think about pace, strategy, etc. Sometimes you just have to look around at the people beside you (or sometimes the people watching on the sides because the people beside you look tired) or maybe just hum a tune or maybe just watch the road go by underneath you.

Running in the summer is very much like that. The way it feels and the way it is aren't always the same. You're making progress, but since it is small progress it's often hard to see or easy to be confused with lack of progress. And on top of that the fact that heat and humidity slow you down (it becomes more physically difficult to run the same distances and paces as it heats up) you may actually be getting in better shape and be slowing down.

What I suggest is a different kind of goal for the summer. A perseverance goal, but since perseverance is something you can only see in the end--a persistence goal. You've got 92 days in June, July, and August. You need to set a goal for how many workouts you want to complete.

Plug in the Nike+ and track your miles but don't pay attention to time (unless you have to pick up the kids)--just do it, er, I mean just run. If you're currently running 2 out of 3 days then plan to run 60 of the 92 days this summer. Keep some sort of schedule, and keep running the longer runs, but make sure some of your runs are light and feel too easy, like a short jog around Steere park, for 3 laps and then back home. Check off that you ran and go home.

The key to successful marathon training (at least for me) has been to not be overwhelmed by the process. When I was training the hardest and running 75 miles in a week (or so, I've lost my training logs) I would run a 12-15 mile long run and a workout or two that were 5-7 miles each, but most of my running were my 6-8 easy runs every week. That's about 70% of my running was easy--at a very relaxed pace--and either early in the morning on Clyde Fant parkway or in the early evening in the shade of the Broadmoor streets. In fact, my most difficult runs were with a training partner who liked to run his easy runs fast--these were too slow to be a workout and too fast to be relaxing.

So that's a lot of theory and little practical, specific suggestions, but I can give them too. But I think you're making progress and will continue to make progress. You shouldn't let your training schedule burden you and burn you out (and indeed, cross training is a good option). But maybe--as long as your body isn't warning you about injury or physical burnout--you should make "just doing it" your goal for the summer.

Running a marathon is really a lot like running the beer mile. You can't figure out why you agreed to do it, and you can't reason why you're doing it at the time, but afterwards you realize that you enjoyed the whole experience and want to do it again--though maybe not too soon again.

You'll make it, with help, Shelby. Just take it one step at a time.

Shelby said...

Thanks guys. Your comments/advice/guidance/praise really is encouraging. I have a bicycle and Curves to keep me in shape when I am not running. I feel relief knowing "ya'll got my back" and empathize with me. I will keep you updated on my progress.