Wednesday, July 26, 2017

To Train or Not Train

I really love winging it and I am afraid of training. Maybe I haven’t been able to wing it long enough to make me miss a plan, but it has been so long I should miss it by now!

Truthfully, even when I have done well with a plan, I make adjustments. I almost always get the required the workouts done, but hardly ever on the right day or right order. I’m like…meh, my legs are so sore; I’ll do my speed work later and run easy today…

2017-I set some loose goals for myself and in a lot of ways I am crushing it, so part of me feels like why mess with it.

Stay healthy – this one scares me the most! I have huge fears at every passing ache that I am going down again. Running "easy" is what I do 90% of the time.

Run all year (this goes with staying healthy) – I started the year off a little rocky nursing a very tender throbbing stress fracture spot, but so far (KNOCKING) since I recovered through December and January, I have felt mostly okay in that area. Just a passing pain every now and again…please, Lord let it stay that way! 🙏 I just want to be able to be consistent all year, 15 - 25 a miles a week.

Run four days a week – I’ve been able to do this more often than not. I have been forced to rest a few times and only get a day or two in, but I can live with that. I am also trying to run two or three days in a row now, which I didn't attempt for a very long time, and I am constantly worried it is too much but I enjoy being out more, so week to week I vary my running days.

Oust the intervals – I have not used intervals for months now unless it is a double digit run. I have come to realize it is realistic my feet will always need run/walk for long runs. I've played around a few times to see if I can push my feet farther than I did a year ago, but the pain is always present. I had hoped to try run a race this past Spring w/o intervals and just try, but it was so hot for the halfs I ran I needed the intervals to deal with the heat.
Who knows?! Maybe I will get a day where my feet will feel golden and I may try for a long run or race, but honestly, each time I have tested my feet the pain I typically feel in the toes and ball of my foot pops up right about 8 or 9 miles, and it comes on sudden. Once it throbs, it really throbs. I tested things again on 7-25; I had time in the morning, so I decided to run 8 miles. I have not done any long runs in over a month so I felt like my “rested” feet might feel different. But low and behold right at the end the pain started ramping up. Could I have gone another mile? Probably, but do I want to push that tender tissue that much, probably not.
So I guess when I get back to long runs, I guess will be using intervals for anything double digit.

Run 6 half marathons in 2017 - on my next race I am registered for is the Richmond Half in November.

In a lot of ways I am so much more into the experience of running now then when I first started running. I have been out with stress fractures and the condition of my feet are touch and go, so I can appreciate that I can just be out there. When I first started running I was driven to see what I could push out! How fast can I go, how far can I go, but things flipped.
I will be okay in life if I never nail another sub 2:10 half, and I really think those days are gone for me, BUT I still have numbers I am more comfortable with. Even right now, with my slower summer pace I still have a target of 2:16 when I think about a half marathon. Is that realistic?? IDK...I wonder every summer if my pace will ever come back.
Truly my first three half’s of 2017 were not what I hoped.
Glacier (the 4th one), I expected!! I have never climbed 5 miles of uphill ever in my life and I don’t run at that kind of elevation, so I went with very loose expectations and finished right where I thought and hoped!
My first three half’s all very similar time wise...
2-26-17 Sentara Colonial Half Marathon 2:20:12
4-22-17 Petersburg Half Marathon
4-29-17 Run the Valley Park to Park Half 2:20:34

Each one held a different challenge, Sentara lack of training, it was hillier than expected, and my feet hurt! I felt okay with my time that day. 

April, I had high hopes I would come in under 2:15! And it was stupid hot in Petersburg, so humid that day I went into survival mode and the next week same issue. I was really proud when I finished both races because it was soooo hot, but I was super sad summer started so early here and I didn't even have a shot at running what I hoped.

Truthfully, I have been plagued with so many health issues, I really wish I could be all the way into just the experience of it, but the truth is, it is much harder to do that than say it! Even a race like Glacier, I attached a number that would make me feel good!
There is a part of me that still wants to challenge myself and push a little, although I can adjust those expectations MUCH easier than I used to, because overall health is always on my mind now, but I still want to throw a few faster half marathon times up this year!

Which brings me back to my love of winging it. Since I signed up for a November race, I only have two weeks to decide about training.  I will have to buckle down and be on a plan with intervals and speed work if I really want to have any hopes of running a strong Fall race. The possibility of injury increases for me when I do those type of workouts, so I have been wrestling with what to do the past few weeks now. I also get more hard headed on a plan. I don't want to miss anything or I feel defeated, happens every time, so I know I have pushed in the past when I should not. Seriously, if I can't check off the workouts it makes me nuts.

I can keep winging it and just increase my long runs, and I am sure I will be able to finish my fall races, but is that all I really want?! That is the question I am wrestling with now.

Thanks for stopping by and if you made through my ramblings, thank you! 
I loved any insight, tips, or ideas! It is all inspiring to me :) 
Are you a wing it kind of person, or do you stay on a schedule for your workouts? 


  1. I'm currently winging it. But am I really? I'm recording and reading all the data just like I was in training mode. Have you thought about working with a running coach? That way you get to check off the workouts, but not stress over what to do. Just a thought...

    1. A coach is something I have thought about, but budget is extremely tight for me. I am not sure it is fair to my hubby to add another expense...
      I actually met with a coach once but didn't go forward because of the $$.
      It's a good point though!

  2. Karen, you have do so much this year ! You are so determined to crush those goals! I really admire your early morning runs, You are amazing!

    I know you will continue to rock this year!

    1. Thank you, I really don't feel amazing lol but I do love my mornings!

  3. When I'm training for something, I'll stick to the plan as much as possible, but I move runs around all the times, and sometimes I know I need an extra rest day (like I did this Monday).

    I do NOT have time goals for most races. I have a general idea, Rachel gives me a plan but it's by pace, not time, and that works for me.

    I think the question is do you want to push hard and maybe injure yourself, or do you want to wing it & still enjoy it & hopefully stay injury free? You know your own strengths & weaknesses (and how busy you'll be with work in the fall, too).

    1. I don't really know that answer! I do ask myself why it matters if I run a 2:15 or a 2:30 - i mean really should it matter? and a little part of me just wants to the best I can, but I do want to stay healthy more. Maybe my best is always going to changing anyway...

  4. I understand. Not everyone has the money for a coach. I would rather use it to register for a race. I wish I could afford to do both.

    I don't follow a plan. I get my runs in whenever I can. I don't have a time goal. But I only wonder whether I could have done better. I do t want to push myself at the expense of an injury. My feet are not in the best shape.

    So I have no advice. Just do what makes you happy. To me it's to run as long as possible. To enjoy life.

    1. I understand about the feet, mine are iffy at best.
      Winging it works pretty well for you! That is my hope too, just to keep running. I could try to step it up and if doesn't go well just go back to winging it :)

  5. I so very desperately need to follow a plan! If not I tend to run high mileage and get hurt.

    1. Having some structure is nice!
      Higher mileage gets me too, I am little nervous lol

  6. You know what, if winging it works for you then I say why not?! Happy training

  7. I'm a winging it kind of runner too! I only follow a training plan for a full marathon, otherwise, I just kind of do my own thing. And I've been known to jump into a half at the last minute too. I'd love to ditch the intervals. Getting closer....

    1. The time I really stuck to a half plan I did PR but I don't have expectations for that, so that is why I himmmmmand hawed.
      I hope you get to ditch the intervals...I think if I want to do any kind of distance I am stuck with them lol

  8. I can see your dilemma! If you do decide you want a formal training plan, have you ever considered any of the 80/20 training plans? You could still do the majority of your runs easy but add that bit of speedwork.

  9. I just winged a 30k (scheduled 3 long runs, that's it) and it worked out fine. It worked PERFECT for me at this particular point in my life. Just follow your heart!

  10. I loved reading about how you're enjoying running now :) I like having a plan to follow but I do change up the days within a plan as needed. And I definitely do most of my runs easy now, and it makes it so much more fun. It was starting to feel like a chore before.

    1. Thanks!! I know that chore feeling lol that is good mixing things made it fun again for you.
      It should all feel fun!! Run buddy and I laughed today though as we were dying about how it isn't fun until we are done lol

  11. I completely understand what you're going through. Every single time I follow a training plan that includes speed intervals and tempo runs ...basically anything other than 'easy runs'...I get injured. Many times it's not until right after my race, which is good, but then I spend the next several months rehabbing. It's a vicious cycle. It has not been easy, but I really have come to that place of contentment to just 'keep moving' at whatever pace that is. I'm tired of being injured. I just want to be fit. I want to still run halfs but not at the expense of being injured all the time I'll continue to run a few per year and just be happy with crossing the finish lines. The aging process does take it's toll on the body ...that's not an excuse, it just means we have to adjust our expectations from our older, beautiful, "perennial" bodies! :) ((Hugs))

    1. Well that has been my experience to a T - caught in a cycle. The desire is still there and i know it is for you too, but at some point you do have the weigh the cost of being out all those months.
      It is quite a dilemma! Maybe I will try once more and see how it goes. I hope I can stay healthy and not be taking any more huge breaks.

  12. Does the virtual race in Sept count as one of your half marathons for the year?

    I haven't run a race with a time goal in what seems like forever! As you know, my blog is Enjoying the Course, so it's probably kinda evident that I prefer to just "easy" runs and enjoying what I can. I push myself at times, but mostly, I just go out and do what I want to do.

    When I have followed a training plan in the past, it as often relatively loose. I used to say a full marathon training plan had to be so long to allow for the few long runs I would inevitably skip. :) All that said, I do like the structure of having a training plan. If you want to improve your time and performance, then I definitely think you should opt for following a plan. ;)

    1. I usually do not count virtual runs - I count the officially timed runs.
      I will see how I feel as the time approaches, if I feel up to pushing on a long run I may to step it up otherwise it will be doing a training run that I get some fun swag for :)
      When I think about marathon training I get tired LOL 18 weeks felt long to me...


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