Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 5

There’s no getting around it: this week in training was bad. So bad, in fact, that I considered forgoing the race altogether. Not seriously considered, mind you, but it did cross my mind.

Here’s how it went down: I did my Monday run, nice and easy. Tuesday, I had a little cross training time. Wednesday, I woke up feeling so sick to my stomach that I wound up calling in sick. I never call in sick. Ever. Even after I was in the hospital last fall for a week, my boss had to tell me to take more time off to recover.

I slept most of the morning and felt better in the afternoon, so I decided to go ahead and do my speed work, which involved an 8 mile run with 5 miles at (really fast for me) tempo paces of 7:21-7:25 alternating with @6:51-6:55. That didn’t work out well at all. I know I was probably still fighting off the stomach bug, but it was one of the worst runs I’ve had in a long time. Even with the speed workout the week before, I was able to fight through, and I felt stronger for it. Not so this time around. And while there were plenty of reasons (ahem, excuses) that the run didn’t go well, it’s discouraging to have those runs go poorly week after week.

By Thursday, I was ready for a rest day, so I did my 4 recovery miles at a very easy pace, and told myself after a rest day on Friday, I’d be ready for an 18 mile long run on Saturday.

Saturday morning came, and it was cold, windy, and pouring down rain. Still, I wanted to get the long run in, so I headed out, thinking I’d do a 5 mile out and back on a paved trail for the first part of the run, then finish up around the city for the last 8. It was so rainy that my Garmin couldn’t find the satellites at first, so it was a ton of fun to stand out in the pouring rain and try to get it to reset and work properly. Then, the first half mile of the trail was essentially a giant mud puddle. Then, the rain was absolutely pouring and the wind was blowing, and it was completely miserable. At 3 miles in, I wanted to quit. And for the next 7 miles, all I could think about was how much I hated what I was doing, didn’t want to continue, and didn’t care about pace or distance. I just wanted to go home. So I did. I quit even though I was supposed to run 8 miles more. Just like I never call in sick, I never cut a run short. But I did this time. I just didn’t want it. And the thing is, I didn’t even feel bad about it. While the feeling of failure was there, the relief at not having to continue was bigger.

I’ve talked to my coach about it, and he’s cut down my mileage a bit for this week. I hope it helps. I feel like I’m overtraining, and I don’t want that. I love running, and I want to be able to continue to love it and run for a long time, and I know I won’t be able to do that if I push my body further than it can handle. I’ve always done better with shorter training cycles and fewer miles.

I’m still exhausted today, but I think that’s as much because I haven’t been sleeping well as it is because of the overtraining. I’m going to give it a go this week and see how I do. But if it still feels like too much, I’m going to take a week off. Maybe Vancouver isn’t my next PR race, and I’m ok with that. I’d rather enjoy it than feel miserable and frustrated. Time to reset.


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