I don't quit. Not ever. Not in life and certainly not in running.
That was, until last night.
I had 5x800 on the plan, and I spent the entire day oddly excited to go home and get working. I was going to run alone - alone alone. The sun was shining. And, I had a genius plan: I mapped a 0.85-mile loop in my neighborhood so that I could leave my water in the driveway and make a pit stop after each repeat.
I managed to get off work early and I bounded into the house, throwing on a pair of shorts and a tank, my sassy new Brooks hat and my MOTOACTV. Finally, I was going to get to do it.
I started off with a slow half-mile warmup before getting into the workout. The warmup was a bit heavy but that was to be expected. I was sure that my legs would loosen up by the time I got going. Even though I could set up a workout, I opted to just keep an eye on my watch. When it said 0.50 mile, I was off.
It was hard. Harder than I expected. After a quarter-mile, I just wanted to be done. When I reached my house a bit earlier than anticipated, I took a break for water/caught my breath. I finished the repeat and followed it with a quarter-mile recovery jog. I tried to pump myself up, thinking that I just needed one repeat to get going. And before I knew it, I was off on repeat two.
For the sake of brevity, I am going to interrupt this post to tell you that repeats two and three didn't go any better and repeats four and five never happened. I quit. Quit, quit, quit. Instead, I opted to just do five miles (I was at 2.5). The remainder of the run was a battle of mind and body, and no one won.
When I got home, I couldn't stop myself from being upset, frustrated and a bit melodramatic. I have become so jealous of other mother-runners who blog about PRs and marathons, and I can't even do a track workout. I am not making significant gains in speed and my base doesn't feel strong. "What am I doing wrong?" I asked myself over and over as I cleaned up. "All I want to do is become a better runner."
Ding, ding, ding!
"The only way to get better at running is to run," a wise man told me just after my first half marathon. I was working on an article for work, and I had inquired whether second-time half marathoners should incorporate speed work. He was a bit hesitant and instead suggested adding mileage. I was a bit deflated - I wanted to go to the track - but I listened to what he said. I switched up my schedule, making my "bonus" run a mid-week long run. It went from 3 miles to a 10K and my weekly mileage went from 20 to 25+ miles. In three months (not even), I ran a 5K PR and cut 15+ minutes off my half time. With no speedwork.
So that's what I'm going to do. I am going to quit the defeating repeats and tempo runs, and I am going to add more miles. Instead of doing strength work on "Mommy needs alone time" night, I'll be doing longer runs with the dog. (Don't worry - I'm still going to do strength but more than likely it will be a Jillian DVD after Miles goes to bed.) I am going to focus on 25-mile weeks (as life permits), getting strong and see where it takes me.
While the plan isn't magic, I feel refreshed that I will be making strides (hah! strides!) in what I think will be the right direction.
Do you re-evaluate training plans? When do you incorporate speed work?