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The Runs That Suck and How to Turn it Around.

Speed work was not happening last week. With each training cycle, I experience a crap week. It’s just a waiting game to see when it will happen. This time it was Week Seven… I had not one, but two (all speed training for the week) sessions that just did NOT go my way. Between coming off of the weekend course for USA Weightlifting and hitting Crossfit as hard as ever and lifting on my own, my legs were just beat up.

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Her legs must have been tired too…

During marathon training I was able to double up early morning Crossfit days with speed work later in the afternoon. I think it worked for marathoning because the pace is much slower than the half marathon training plan, but right now it’s too much. I’m going to start doing speed on Monday/Wednesday with CF on Tuesday/Thursday and hopefully this will give me one hard thing to focus on daily with more rest and recovery time between workouts.

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Friday afternoon I tried my best to get a tempo run in. A tempo I had put off from Thursday after CF with the hopes my legs would be recovered. Spoiler alert, they weren’t. I talk a lot about how smooth training is going and how my mental game is on point–> but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hard days where it’s tested.  There are many moments of self doubt, the urge to quit or having to battle with myself every step of the way, literally and metaphorically.

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Friday was one of those mental and physical test days. I had to pull out the big guns and warm up for 2 miles on a treadmill just to have a flat surface to shake out the legs. Once I got outside and started the speed portion, it took everything in me to keep from giving up completely and not walk back to the car. Every step was hard. With each footfall my quads were SCREAMING. Trying to hold a 6:50 mile, my “race pace” did not happen. I was struggling to maintain anything that felt fast-ish…hell, I was just struggling to run, period. Uphill hurt, downhill was worse. I never wanted a run to be over with so badly…

(the mile pacing below is deceptive, i stopped a lot during this run so if you include breaks i was much closer to a consistent 8-8:15/pace, but you can still see how I slowed and was no where near race pace.)

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So what do I do during these runs, because they happen and they happen more often than i like sharing on my Instagram feed. I do what I always do. I don’t give up and I turn on the self pep talk as much as I have to.

The hard runs make you stronger on race day. It’s the work you put in when no one’s around that’s important. Practicing how to coach yourself through these painful dark moments will be so clutch if you need to draw from it on race day.

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during a much better long run a few weeks back

Here’s the checklist I go through when the going gets tough–the tough get going! Keep that in mind and keep going!

  1. Are you hurt, injured, on the verge or being injured or just sore? Take a moment to actually listen to your body. Friday my quads were super sore from doing 57 back squats in CF the day before. No injuries, just super tight and fatigued. *If you feel like you’re riding the edge of injury STOP, take the day off and evaluate your training plan and take care of your body asap.
  2. Adjust your workout or move the workout to another day and take it easy. My mile repeats and tempo run became more of a fartlek and I went solely on effort! Effort when you’re tired or sore is still effective as long as you’re honest with the effort level for that day. Pace doesn’t always dictate effort!
  3. Be your own coach and talk yourself into a more positive mindset. Tell yourself you’re awesome, say your goals out loud, practice your mantras to see if they pull you out of the slump. I always end up with, “The hard is what makes it great!” “I am the strongest girl I know.” “I am a big brave dog.”
  4. Turn on the music. Play your power songs, your pump up jams, pull from the music you think might give you a little pep.
  5. Bribe yourself. Okay, i’m not proud of this one, but from time to time I pull out the ol’ if you don’t give up today you can get a Starbucks this afternoon trick…
  6. Be grateful for whatever your body gave you during that workout. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t be hard on yourself. No matter how bad or awful you may have felt, be grateful your body gave you something on the given day.

Once the workout is done you will feel better and make gains, even if the gain was mental training prep. <—which is, in my opinion the most important part. If you still feel like you had a terrible run, like I said, don’t let it ruin your day. Just know that a string of bad runs means a good one is around the corner!

Week of 1/23-1/29

Monday: 5m easy 9:30/p

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: 10m interval (1.5m repeats- sort of became 1000s because I took a break halfway in between each one. oh well)

Thursday: Crossfit

Friday: 8m tempo 8:07/pace (tempo-ing didn’t really happen, so i just tried to maintain a hard effort in the wind and hills and sore legs!), 30 min upper body

Saturday: 11.1m long 9:15/pace

Sunday: 6m easy 9:15/pace, barbell skill work: Power Cleans + volume deadlifts

Total Miles: 40.1

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Last Week 1/15-1/22

Monday: 5m easy 9:06/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.5m interval ( 6 x 1m @ 6:35/pace)

Wednesday: 5m easy 8:41/pace

Thursday: Crossfit, 9m tempo (6m @ 6:53/pace)

Friday:  15 min row

Saturday: 6m easy 9:10/pace

Sunday: 10m long 8:33/pace

Total Miles: 45.5

How do you get yourself through a bad run?

Favorite running mantra?