When “Wooooooo!” turns “Whomp, whomp…”

Training week: 8 of 18
Money raised: $3,448 of $8,000
Today’s run: 14.5 miles, 28 degrees and sunny
Cumulative training miles: 192

Okay, this is getting hard.

I was really excited for my 14-mile run today. I felt great doing 12 last week, I ran a fast 7-miler on Wednesday, and I’ve been keeping up with my hill runs and strength training like my coach tells me to. Plus, I figured out a perfect nutrition plan for the 24 hours leading to the run. I stick to this diet religiously:

Friday: yogurt and coffee for breakfast; PB&J, plain chicken breasts, string cheese, and apple juice for lunch; pasta with butter and parmesan cheese for dinner; and pretzels for snacking throughout the day. Notably, no Twizzlers, Skittles, Doritos, booze, or other normal dietary staples are allowed. (For a WHOLE DAY. Yeah, marathon training is hard.)

Saturday: plain toast and a banana an hour before running; pretzels, Gatorade, and Clif Shot Bloks along the route; lots more pretzels and Gatorade immediately after the run; protein bar or shake on the drive home. Two hours post-run, all hell breaks loose as I make up for the lack of french fries and Thin Mints in my life. (Hey, Runkeeper tells me I burned 1,800 calories today. And this girl can eat.)

I did everything right this week. I ran hard, I rested, I ate right, and I made a dope new playlist. (I hear that kids these stays still use the word “dope,” so I’m trying it out.)  So yesterday, I was all, “Wooooo, let’s run 14 miles!!”

But today’s run was hard. I had errands to run this morning, so I didn’t get to go out with my normal group. And it turns out that Heartbreak Hill is pretty lonely on Saturday afternoons. Somehow I seemed to be running into the wind both ways. So for every step after mile 10, all I could think about was stopping and taking a nap. It just wasn’t my day. Whomp, whomp.

I think that what I lacked today was what my coach calls “mental toughness.”  When you’re training right, properly fueled, uninjured, and running in great conditions, and you still feel crappy, it’s likely that the problem is all in your head. I didn’t bring the right confidence on my run today. I couldn’t start until 12:30, so my eating plan was all screwed up, and I was really nervous about running by myself. Plus, I had never run longer than 13.1 miles. I let all these trivial changes get to me. I finished the run, but I wasn’t proud of it. And then my husband reminded me that I only had 12 extra miles to tack on by race day. Ugh.

But today’s run taught me a good lesson. I need to go into my long runs with the right mindset, or I’ll set myself up for failure. I should practice positive thinking and visualize myself succeeding on Marathon Monday. I still need to find the right mantra, though I’m experimenting with a few. (I’ve tried, “Hills are my friend.” Or, from Sia, “Don’t give up, I won’t give up, don’t give up, no no no.” And, “11 miles? I eat 11 miles for breakfast.”) I can’t let my nerves get in the way.

Here’s how I’m getting better: I’m looking forward to Week 9! I’m going to run 5 days this week, learn to love strength training, and have a great long run next Saturday! I’m going to focus on all the good luck I’ve had so far, like the amazingly mild January weather we experienced, and the fact that I’m still totally 100% injury-free. Woooooooo!

And best of all… I get to dig into a brand-new box of Thin Mints tonight. Girl Scouts, thank you for aligning your sales season with my training. Those cookies might be just the thing that gets me to the finish line.

Here’s to the next long run!

 

 

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