Hey guys! So yeah, I made up a word (workoutless) that pretty much sums up the current state of my training. I haven’t talked a whole lot about my NOLA training recently, and it’s time to fix that. I wrote a long email to my coach this week and I’m going to share some excerpts from our email exchange that will pretty much get you up to speed.
Here is what I told him …
You may have noticed, but I have been extrememly slacking on my workouts. In fact, I haven’t even *attempted* any of them this week or last week. I did do my long run last week, but I did it slower than the schedule called for. Motivation is one thing that I am usually not lacking in, so I am trying to figure out exactly what is going on in this little brain of mine. I hate to start the new year off on a bad note. Hopefully I will regain my motivation this week. I wanted to see if we could possibly change the way we are approaching the training a little bit. I know that you are the coach and the expert, so feel free to give me your honest opinion.
For whatever reason, I think that throughout my NYC & NOLA training, I feel like I am missing out on is the “social” aspect of my running, which is an aspect of it that I truly enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I still run with friends a decent amount, but I think that the main reason I am thinking this is because of the long runs. For years I have been doing my long runs with the same group and most of them do not do their long runs at 7:20 to 7:40 pace, which is what mine are usually supposed to be done at.
Also, when we first started working together last January, Daniel had a different, varying schedule and so I asked if I could have the flexibility to do my workouts on the days that I could. That worked really well at the time, but things have changed a little bit now though and he has a pretty set schedule. I have come to learn that I am not the best at “pre-planning” the days of my workouts and if left to my own devices, I typically find myself at Thursday trying to figure out how I am going to fit my workouts in and not have two back to back stress days.
Also, I hate to even say this, but I am not really 100% set on doing New Orleans. I think I probably should’ve taken more time off after NYC, which I definitely was not wanting to do at the time. Ha. What a mess. I’m not set on not doing it either though. I’m just indifferent towards it, if that makes any sense. Probably not the best mindset to have in approaching training and/or race day. I can’t really explain it though. Physically I feel pretty good. The workouts that I have done recently (err, well two (ish) weeks ago now) have gone pretty well. It’s more of a mental thing I guess.
And here is what he said to me …
Thank you for sending me this and letting me know of the mental motivation struggle you have been feeling. Training is never just about the physical side as it takes the desire and motivation to do that training as well in order to succeed, so it is important to find the balance between each so that training is sustainable. I also know that during the holidays (Christmas and New Year in particular) motivation tends to wane for most everyone as we have less normal schedule, lots of other activities and travel planned and diligent training can require more sacrifices than the rest of the year, making it seem like a bit of a drag or burden. Most everyone experiences this so don’t think you are alone.
I have found what helps is to find a sustainable schedule where we have a good balance between the work we need to do in order to reach our goals and the more fun aspects such as social running and the work/life/social balance we all need to stay healthy and happy mentally and physically. I also have found that working on our mental framing of running helps. Training is the opportunity to improve and get better and move closer to our goals, it is an opportunity rather than a burden. But it is easy to get caught up in the sacrifices sometimes and view it as a burden, so we need to be careful on how we frame it in our own mind. Again something everyone struggles with but something good to realize so that we can work on it a day at a time.
Where does this leave us?
I’m not really sure. I’m going to continue training for NOLA. We have made adjustments to my training plan that will allow me to continue doing my long runs with friends and then pick it up to marathon pace at the end of the runs. Obviously, the end of the marathon is where it is the toughest anyway, so I think these fast finish long runs will be very beneficial. Coach is also adjusting my schedule to put my workouts on specific dates for me, to eliminate the extra brain power and stress that I was putting on myself trying to figure out when to do my workouts each week.
I think that the main issue here is that I am putting too much pressure and expectation on my running and racing. It’s a tad bit intimidating to get preparing for a race that you won the previous year. How will I ever top that experience? Even if I run a good time, will I still be disappointed if I don’t win? I don’t want the fear of disappointment to keep me from making it to the start line.
The bottom line is that I love running and I want to get back to focusing more on the enjoyment of running than the pressure of meeting set goals. I’m thankful that coach understood what I was saying and didn’t make me feel bad for saying it. I loved the advice that he shared about having a balanced approach to training and viewing it as an opportunity rather than a burden.
I guess I kind of started thinking out loud a little bit early this week, but I wanted to share this with you guys. I’m sure some of you can relate, whether it is related to your own training or any other area of life where you start to view something that is a blessing and an opportunity as a chore. Let’s change our perspective!