Training with mixed results

This photo really has nothing to do with this post other than I’m trying to remind myself of what I am capable of when I believe in myself because this was one of the best races I’ve ever had.

I’m in a weird spot right now.

Some days I feel really good about the progress I’ve made, my ability to run a little bit faster and a little bit longer.

Some days, I’m feel completely overwhelmed, that I’m not capable of the things on my training schedule, and that I’m not making quite as much progress as I think I am.

In reality, I’m somewhere in the middle.

Starting Week 5 of the Mid Winter Classic training class at Fleet Feet, I have had mixed results following the plan. The Wednesday group workouts, despite my intimidation and doubt in my ability to finish all the reps, have gone well. 7×1 minute uphill. 9×1 minute uphill. Beat your last intervals. I’ve have conquered my doubts and accomplished the workouts, gaining a good deal of confidence in the process. My Friday or Saturday morning workouts, which I do on my own, haven’t gone quit so well. The fartlek runs were fine, 1 to 1:30 minute hard reps sprinkled into a longer run, no problem. Progression runs and steady state workouts on the other hand, I had a hard time with those.

Take Saturday, for example. The schedule called for 45-60 minutes of steady state running, with a 15-minute warmup and a 10-minute cool down. I felt like shit when I left the apartment, feeling the start of a cold that has knocked me off my feet today (I’m sitting in bed, skipping my run on New Year’s Day because I feel pretty shitty). For some reason, I thought the workout called for 30-45 minutes of steady state running, so after that 15 minute warmup, I picked up the pace.

Immediately, I thought the whole thing was a mistake. My breathing was labored and my legs were heavy. I was struggling and told myself to get through five minutes. After that five minutes, I told myself to do five more. I got through a mile and, without realizing I was doing it, I picked up the pace. I was supposed to be running between 8:00 and 8:20 minute per mile pace. The second mile of the workout portion of this run was 7:53. Whoops.

I slowed down both out of necessity and because I was trying to actually run the workout correctly during the third mile of the workout, and when I hit 20 minutes, I told myself to try for 10 more. Then I could call the workout a success. I did six more minutes and called it a day.

I was gassed. I was done.

After my cool down and a little stretching, I picked up my training log to jot done some notes, and saw the schedule. The workout was actually “45-60 minutes at Steady State Pace.”

Well … fuck.

I was feeling like I had a decent workout, getting 26 minutes at steady state, when in reality, I wasn’t even close to finishing it. I barely did half. Now, I cut myself a little bit of slack because I was sick. I ran 1.3 miles Sunday and stopped because I had no energy and breathing was hard. This illness definitely had an impact on that workout Saturday. But, it was a blow to the ego, a shot to my confidence to struggle so hard to not even get halfway through that workout.

I guess what I’m figuring out through this process is it is a long road to get to where I want to go. I not only have to work on my fitness, I also have to work on the mental stuff. It’s about developing the belief in my ability to do the work. It’s about learning how to pace certain workouts (like that progression run where I clearly ramped up the speed too quickly and had to stop 21 minutes into a 35-40 minute progression run). It’s about putting in the work and sticking my nose in there to make myself better.

I’m not where I want to be right now, and this cold isn’t helping, but I’m starting to do the work. It’s a weird place to be. Sometimes I feel like I’m over my head, sometimes I feel like I should be further along then I am, somedays I feel like I’m making really good progress.

In reality, it is all of those things.

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