59 days until the NYC Marathon. Wow, where has the time gone and what have I been doing? I haven’t even posted my Med-City Marathon spring recap yet. Very bad on my part, sorry readers. I will try and do that soon. In the mean time, the short Readers Digest version of my training for the 2013 NYC marathon can be summed up easily with these two words: NO MOTIVATION.
And here’s the longer version:
I have never been in such a training slump as I have been for this marathon. And it’s New York for lord’s sake… if that’s not enough to get me pumped, I am kind of hopeless. Yet, I have had NO motivation. Every run, short or long has been dreadful. I’ve had to talk myself into getting out the door for just about every mile that I’ve run this summer. I’ve found very little enjoyment in training and instead found myself dreading each mile and longing for it all to be done.
And during these many dreadful miles, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my sorry excuse for a training program and have tried to figure out why it’s so different this year and why I just can’t find my happy place when it comes to running.
The long and short of it is… I’m just plain ol’ burnt out. Some people can run and run and run and train and train and train and never burn out. Apparently that is not me. I am burnt out and need a break. Very badly.
I’ve basically been in full-marathon training mode for the past 2 1/2 years. Originally my husband and I did marathons every other year. Then two years ago we started to do them every year, instead of every other. At the same time we decided to go from one marathon a year to two a year. And that right there, I believe is the start of my problems.
In addition to the constant training and the multiple yearly marathons, is the fact that my whole life, both work and pleasure is rearranged, rescheduled and reorganized to accommodate my training and my events. Vacations days are saved so I can use them to travel to and from races. Vacations and weekend trips are to places that have a local race that I’m running in. Other trips and getaways are squeezed in during my off weeks of training or they are put off all together with the promise that I’ll go when I’m not in training season. I’ve even been working out my future vacations and trips to accommodate possible marathon and training schedules, leaving no room for actual fun or spontaneity. I’ve blown off so many functions and parties with friends and co-workers because I have had to get up early in the morning to go for a run or because their happy hour conflicted with the only night I could do hill repeats. While I know these are all things that marathoners go through and give up while in training… but I don’t want to give them up any longer.
My husband and I, along with some of our friends used to do a lot of fun runs too. We have pretty much stopped all short, fun or obstacle runs because none of us can afford to get hurt before our big marathon. We also used to train and run a lot together too but separate marathon goals and separate races have put us on different schedules and we hardly ever get to run together. That means all of the laughs and commoraderie we used to have, is pretty much gone. Replaced by boring long runs and grueling solo hills workouts.
Everything I do, every where I go, everything I eat revolves around training and/or races. I have slacked off with cross training and don’t participate in group strength training or cardio classes like I used to because they all interfere with my training. My ability to go to the Y and do whatever I feel like doing that day, is a thing of the past. Instead, I go and cram in my workouts that I have been slacking on because I only have one night to get it all in because I have to get back out on the road.
Even something as simple as the weather has turned into an obsession. I scrutinize hourly forecasts to figure out what time I need to get up and start running in the morning. I change my weekend plans around the weather and when I can fit my run in before the weather gets too unbearable. Hell, I have even spent the last few days worrying about the Farmer’s Almanac prediction that this coming winter will be “bitterly” cold.
I don’t want every aspect of my life to revolve around running and training. I want to continue to run, I just want to enjoy it again. I definitely don’t want it to be the driving force in my life. At least not year, after year. One training season here or there is fine, but not a consistent and constant schedule that doesn’t allow for any down time.
So, now that I’ve figured this out, what do I do about it? The obvious answer would be to take a much needed break. But I can’t, at least not for awhile. I have the opportunity to run a once-in-a-lifetime race in April next year. Which basically means I’ll pretty much be doing back to back training AGAIN. But after that – this cat is going on a hiatus. Not from running, not from doing events and not from training. But I’m definitely going to take a break from marathon training, at least for a season, or more. I want to find the fun again. I want to do obstacle course runs with my friends. I want the ability to do cross training, yoga, TRX, spinning… anything I want – when I want. If I don’t run for a week, two weeks or even three, that’s okay. I want that opportunity. I want to go on vacation and not have to fit it in between two long runs and then try to figure out how to get at least one long run in while on vacation. Most importantly I want to MISS running. The say absence makes the heart grow fonder – well, I want to find out if that’s true with me and running.
So, here’s to May 2014 and taking a much deserved and much needed break. But until then, I’ll put in my miles, I’ll rearrange my schedules and I’ll make my life revolve around running. But that’s okay too. Because running has taken me to many cool places and has given me the chance to meet a lot of cool people and see a lot of inspiring events. I just can’t wait until I can see them from the sidelines.
Until next time,