10K Training Update: Week 9

Well, this week of training was a lot better than last week, but that’s really not saying much. It was pretty good. I did all my workouts, and my two hard speed workouts – a fartlek on Tuesday and a tempo run on Friday – were really strong and went well.

My high #1 for the week was my Tuesday night fartlek. I was ecstatic to be able to wear LONG SLEEVES for the first time this season! Β The weather was perfect – a little misty, cloudy and chilly in the high 50s. In my light long sleeves and long tights, I didn’t even get that sweaty and was so much more comfortable. While I didn’t see a drastic improvement in my paces, it’s amazing how much easier running feels in this weather. My fartlek was “countdown” intervals at a hard pace – 5:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00 and 1:00, with halftime recovery after each interval. Due in part to the unevenness of the trail, changing direction a few times and running my first two recoveries way too fast, my paces were kinda all over the place: 7:19, 7:26, 7:39, 7:11 and 7:06, respectively. I actually felt strongest on the 5:00 and the 1:00 intervals.

My high #2 was my tempo run. I needed to kill this workout, and I delivered. It was rock solid. 2×2 miles with a half mile recovery in between. My tempo splits were super consistent at 7:49, 7:52, 7:48, 7:52. I paced myself really well and it was nice, for once, to not end a workout with a positive split and inconsistent paces.

My low for the week was my 10 mile long run. I felt like crap for the first half. My body wouldn’t warm up, I couldn’t get my breathing under control, and I didn’t wear my Fitbit but I’m pretty sure my heart rate was way high. Maybe I was tired, maybe it was the humidity – I was, after all, drenched in sweat even though it was only 63 degrees – I don’t know but I was getting so frustrated and upset which only made it all worse. I started feeling better once I turned around at the halfway point, but it still mostly felt like trying to run in a sauna. I wasn’t paying attention to my splits throughout the run, and I later found out that I started pretty fast and didn’t really ease into the pace, which is probably why it felt so damn hard; most of my splits were the same in my 10 miler two weeks ago, but my first two miles of that one were about 30 seconds slower, which is probably why it ultimately felt more effortless at the same pace.

Despite a better week, things are still not all sunshine and rainbows over here. Last week many of you commented on how you appreciate my transparency and honesty in how I talk about my training, so continuing in that spirit, here’s the whole story about how I felt this week (and how I often feel).

I did feel really good and proud of myself when I nailed my two speed workouts this week. They gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe my race goals are only slightly out of reach instead of totally out of reach, and that maybe my body is picking up on some of this work after all.

But I still struggle with motivation. I always feel good after I run but there are so many days when I just really, really don’t want to, and I can’t tell you how many of my good workouts only happened after I summoned every bit of mental strength I had to get my butt out the door. It’s not that I even feel tired or burnt out, I just sometimes miss being a normal person who doesn’t have to worry about training all the time.

And, while I had some great workouts this week that have boosted my confidence, I still don’t feel like I’m good at this running fast thing, and I am still trying to brace myself for the fact that I’m probably not going to get the huge PR I was originally hoping for at the beginning of this training cycle. I seriously believe the whole “OMG I totally surprised myself at this race!” is something that only happens to other people – I’m just not that lucky. I already used up all my luck going 3 for 3 in the kissed-by-the-gods marathons I’ve run, so now I will have to settle for not being able to run that much faster than my training paces in the shorter distances, methinks.

In all honesty though, based on my past experiences with races, I think the training will be there for me, and what it’s really going to come down to is how I feel physically on race day. I’ll need to have a rock-solid taper and feel well-rested going into the race, and I’ll need to be eating well and getting enough carbs (and greens!) and all the nutrients I need, as well as staying well hydrated. And, obviously, I need cool weather. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to why a race went so awesomely, but looking back at past races, one thing that most of the good ones have in common is that I felt really fresh and springy going in and not weighed down by fatigue and lack of recovery.

As for the rest of the week, it was mostly just work stress crap but I did ring in October by being suuuuuper fall-y this weekend. I made crockpot apple sauce with Door County apples, cinnamon, a little nutmeg and a pinch of ginger. You guys….it is rull delicious.

I then finally had my first pumpkin beer Β of the season: a brandy barrel aged pumpkin imperial ale from our own Lakefront Brewery. It was really good but at 13% ABV, tread lightly.

This weekend I have a 5 mile time trial race, and speaking of kissed by the gods, I’m overcome with glee because the weather forecast looks literally perfect – it will be in the 40s and sunny. I’m just beside myself. I keep re-checking it, terrified that it’s going to change, because I can hardly believe this kind of luck. As many of you know, my last two time trials have been duds, so I really really want to nail this one. Unless the course is super hilly, my goal for the race is a 7:50 average, which is the exact pace from my tempo run on Friday. It should be doable for me since it will be so much cooler and the race is pretty late in the morning which works to my advantage, but I’m a little nervous just because my last two time trials have been flops. I think I’m going to run without GPS, and in order to be successful I just need to go into it with I’m-in-control-of-this attitude that I had for Friday’s tempo run.

The race is part of the Central Waters’ Great Amherst Beer Fest, so it will be fun. We are going up there as part of a nice long weekend getaway for our 5th anniversary, which is on Sunday. Really looking forward to a relaxing weekend away and, with the perfect weather we’re supposed to get, hopefully outdoing ourselves in fall-y-ness.



23 thoughts on “10K Training Update: Week 9

  1. “I seriously believe the whole β€œOMG I totally surprised myself at this race!” is something that only happens to other people – I’m just not that lucky.”
    I feel this same way haha. I will sometimes see people say something like, “My goal for the half marathon was 2:20, but I finished in 1:55! Wow!” ha, what!? I don’t see how that ever happens. Or I saw someone on Instagram shooting for sub-30 in the 5k, and she ran 27:05 or something. How can people overshoot their goals by so much?! As for the weather for next weekend, I also keep checking the forecast, and hope that it stays as perfect as it looks. I could not ask for better weather for my first marathon! πŸ™‚ Good luck on your time trial!

    1. Preach it!! Haha I’m glad someone else gets it. Although to be fair it seems like most of the people who overshoot their goals are new runners (or people who haven’t raced in a long time) who don’t really have a good sense of what they’re capable of yet and are still picking off the low hanging fruit. At least that’s what I tell myself so that I don’t feel like such a failure for never having “magical” races.

      I hope your Chicago weather is perfect too!! Fingers crossed!

  2. The transparency is huge, sharing the low motivation is so helpful to all of us. It sometimes feels like we are the only ones that battle training lows.

    As for the lack of motivation, I think you need to change up your environment. I’m sure it’s been a lot of the same training for a long time. How about group runs? Trail runs? Some through hiking? Anything to get your mind off the speed work, tempo runs, etc that are involved in road races. It can be mundane when you do it so often.

    Or i could just be crazy in which case disregard lol

    1. No, you’re not crazy, you’re exactly right. I’m going to be making some big changes in my running routine after this is over. I won’t be “training” for anything again until June 2017, and until then I’m going to go back to doing only GPS-free easy running a few times a week to stay active and rediscover my love of running. And YES I am looking at some trail races! (although the one I really want to do sells out in like 30 minutes so who knows) I’m also going to take a long break from running after this cycle ends in November – several weeks, possibly even the rest of the year. I am pretty burnt out from constantly chasing goals and I think I need a big running reset, because my passion for the sport is just toast right now.

  3. I hope you enjoy your get away and you get the forecasted weather delight!
    I love your interval workout, it is good you hit the speed this week and nailed it.
    I struggle when temps are in the 60’s because it is still so humid here, I would say it is totally normal to have a tough one even in those temps, but your legs could have just been tired too, from the speed??? I cried after my Tuesday run (which I left out of my blog) just for a minute..I ran so slow I was shocked by it- it was a hot sticky rainy run. Then I dusted myself off and got back out there Thursday.I get the motivation trouble I have been struggling for awhile now. I keep telling myself good things are coming πŸ™‚
    I have my fingers crossed this all turns out well for you!
    The pumpkin beer sounds great and yep, that is strong lol

    1. I’m the same as you – I don’t really feel completely comfortable running until temps are well below 60. Especially if its humid and/or sunny out. But on the flip side, while everyone is complaining about the 30s and 40s in the winter, I do my best running in those temps so just have to wait my turn I guess!

      I’m sure the heat and humidity play a big role in our motivation woes even if we don’t realize it. This really has been a ROUGH summer for training and running, and that takes a toll on you physically if not mentally after a while!

  4. Way to nail those speed workouts this week! I’m sure that residual fatigue from two tough workouts earlier in the week played a role in how you felt during your long run.

    I hope you are able to find your motivation soon. I know how dreary it feels to have to constantly force yourself out the door to go for a run. Even for an easy run, it makes the whole thing feel like so much work and so much effort. Good luck at your time trial, I hope the weather cooperates.

    And if all else fails, enjoy beer fest and your 5 year anniversary!

  5. Pumpkin IPA = yum!!!
    Think of it this way: this is your first swing at shorter distance racing. Does anyone get the marathon and knock it out of the park with their times then? No. I remember even thinking with my first marathon how excited I was to get it done and move on to my second, third, etc marathon – because like all skills, it takes practice to do it well.
    The same thing with shorter races! Learning how to race them, teaching your body to run those speeds, and handling the different type of training takes time and practice.
    Also: I really think many people who “surprise themselves” in a race are sandbagging their goals. Maybe I’m cynical, but it’s not at all easy to overshoot your goals unless it is your first race! Likely, many of those people are training for their faster goals but saying their goals were slower in case they miss them. So don’t get caught in the comparison trap there.

    1. Thanks Laura! I like to think I’m going to look back on this and realize the same things. Marathon training was so well suited to my strengths, and I see now that I really took for granted how easily success came to me in that type of training. I am now more mindful of where my frustration is coming from.

      Haha I agree with you about people sandbagging their goals. Although I’ve never understood why people are deceptive about their goals, because even if I say my goal was slower than it was I still know in my heart that I missed it/only surpassed it by X amount, so it’s not going to feel any better. I also feel like people know about my training so I won’t be fooling anyone with soft goals. And I suppose it is a little easier to surprise yourself in shorter races since it’s short enough that you can still salvage it if you start at a suicide pace. Can’t get away with that in a marathon!!

  6. As someone who struggles with motivation, here is my 2 cents worth. I do much better when I don’t allow myself to procrastinate. I typically run in the am, after getting everyone off to work/school, before I start giving piano lessons for the day. If I let myself stop, look at the computer, check my phone, put in a load of laundry etc. I give the lack of motivation way more energy than it needs, because the whole time I am having the mental battle. If I literally put my sneaks on and go as soon as they leave, I didn’t give myself time to dwell on it. So if you run when you get home from work, try not allowing yourself to lose the momentum of the day, by changing and going and then chilling and relaxing…
    Seriously, it works for me!
    Don’t forget, with 2 fast workouts in the week, your long run is going to be more difficult–the whole tired legs thing–just like marathon training.

  7. So I know you don’t really listen to podcasts, but I wanted to recommend one that I just listened to that I think you’d really like…they talk a lot about social media and running, and the myths of motivation. The podcast is Real Talk Radio, and it’s the episode with Ryan Knapp: https://www.nicoleantoinette.com/podcast/

    Also–5 years already?! I guess this means it’s almost the 5 year anniversary of when I first met you! Happy Friendaversary!

  8. I’m glad this week was at least more encouraging than last week. Sounds like the cooler weather has made a big difference!

    I think I’m totally one of those people who is guilty of sandbagging goals… for me, I think the main reason boils down to a lack of confidence and not trusting my “race day armor” enough. I do tend to hit faster paces in races than in training, but when I set goals, I never want to *rely* on that because it’s intangible and therefore a little iffy. So I tend to set goals based on my training paces instead. Although, I do try not to pull the “OMG, I surprised myself SO much, tee hee!” move afterwards (unless I really did surprise myself which sometimes I do because of aforementioned lack of confidence). That move annoys me too.

    1. I think that’s what bothers me, too – the false modesty aspect of it. Surprises do happen, particularly in shorter distance races, and I totally get the feeling of lack of confidence (my last two time trial races were actually SLOWER than my training paces, so lack of confidence in my racing ability is near and dear to my heart right now). I guess I just feel like – if you got a huge PR or had an awesome race, just own it. Race times aren’t accidents, you can’t run that time if you’re not capable of it. I see those “OMG where did that come from I had NO IDEA I was so fast!” posts and I beginning to wonder if I’m doing something wrong because I’m never surprised and I’ve never beat a goal by some jaw-dropping amount before, when really, maybe I’m just better at judging appropriate goals for myself, even if that translates to a less sexy social media story in the end.

      1. Yeah, I think you are able to judge appropriate goals for yourself, probably because you’ve been running for a while.

        Usually, when I smash goals, it’s because it’s still a gray area for me, like swimming or my running in my shorter tris this year (I had no idea how much a lack of endurance was holding me back at the end of even shorter tris!).

        And I do also suspect that people play it up sometimes because, like you said, the surprise breakout race is such a good social media story. Breakout races happen, but when the same person is having a shocking races month after month… well… that’s a little unlikely.

      2. The closest I’ve ever come was during the off season in between my first and second marathons, when I ran an indoor half marathon on a track. I hadn’t been able to log the mileage I wanted so I really was just hoping for 1:55-2:00, but I ran a 1:51 which was a 3.5 minute PR for me at the time. It was a total surprise because of the lack of training but that was almost 2 years ago now and I haven’t had that kind of surprise success since then, sooooo maybe I’m just bitter and jealous πŸ˜‰

  9. You sound really burned out. I’m glad you’re taking time off from formal training (read the comments) because I do think that will be good for you. Running should add add joy to our lives, not be a chore. So if it is, it’s time to mix it up! I’m curious to know, though, why you think you’re not good at faster racing? Because of your time trial races? It seems like you’ve been hitting your paces in training, and while you may not have the “surprise” awesome race like others have ( I’m also not one of them), things have a way of coming together on race day. Maybe I’m just naive and an optimist, but I do think you absolutely have a chance at that PR–if you still want to go for it, and if not that’s fine too! I have wondered for myself whether I’m better at shorter or longer distances. Because I haven’t done many races, I just don’t know! My coach does think I should devote training to short distances, so that motivates me to give them a shot.

    1. Thanks Jen! It’s actually not the time trials that make me think that, it’s the training. Laura assures me I’m wrong about this. but I just don’t feel like I’m seeing the speed gains I should be seeing at this point. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought, based on my marathon training and spring race times, that these paces would be easier to hit (although to be fair I know heat/humidity has been a factor). I hope you and others are right about things coming together by race day. And yes, mentally, I am a little burned out. The past 2.5 years I have been constantly pushing myself to get faster and hit new goals and I think I’m just finally done.

      The one thing I can say with short vs. long distances is that you never know if you don’t try. You may try a short distance training cycle and hate it but you will come away with more experience and a better understanding of yourself as a runner. Even if I bomb my races and never want to do 10ks again, this cycle has given me a new appreciation for my strengths as a marathoner

  10. I do wonder if those kind of surprises are genuine. I’ve only experienced that with short races…I’ve never run a 10k or longer race and was surprised by a MAJOR PR, but I’ve done it in 5ks. I think with longer races, if your training is there, the “surprise” is more that there’s doubt pre-race and then once the race is run, there’s the realization that the training really worked. I just can’t believe people REALLY surprise themselves with major PRs!

  11. Nice job on the workouts! I think I have learned to have a good estimate of my race times but I know that I never run my race times in training – I usually get a race day boost that I hope doesn’t qualify me for the “tee-hee” brigade. Jealous of your beer fest plans and happy anniversary!

  12. I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with motivation. You did have 2 great speed workouts this week, but I can understand feeling frustrated after your long run. My week was pretty similar and it’s always discouraging to feel like you SHOULD be feeling better/stronger/faster on certain runs. I think that sometimes the first time you do a workout you are a little excited to see how it goes and feel good. Then the next time you do it the excitement isn’t there and you already know that it’s hard so you’re bracing for it and it does feel harder. At least for me that seems to happen. Or I take for granted that I can do it and don’t sleep or fuel properly for it which makes it harder than the previous time. There is SO much that can make one workout harder than the one before, not even taking into account cumulative fatigue.

    In terms of being surprised by race times, I think you actually are going to have a great 10k race this season. You always seem to race well and sometimes it’s hard to tell, in my opinion, how well you’ll do while you’re still training because you’re not tapered. Good luck this weekend and may the weather Gods be with you! And happy anniversary!

  13. I am envious of your long sleeve weather. We got a little break in the temps but Sunday is predicted to hit the 90’s…I have a half- yay. I love fartlek runs but I’ve never run a ladder one like that. It sounds interesting, do you program the times into your watch? How long are the recoveries? Good luck this weekend!

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