I started officially training for my marathon 17 days ago. I haven’t felt like I’ve been training for a marathon. To be honest, I haven’t even felt like I’m training for anything. My runs have been sub-par, I have little to no motivation to go out and train for this marathon, and my left foot has had nagging pain for 14 of the 17 days I’ve started my training. To anybody who understands running injuries or the psychology behind running, you might think I’m struggling with burnout. I don’t feel physically or mentally burnt out because I haven’t pushed my body since my ultra in May and I’ve eased back into “serious runner training”. I’m hoping that by writing this blog post and talking with close friends about my current circumstance that I will put things into perspective so that I can refocus on my ultimate goal.
The 1st three days of training: I felt strong. I was excited. I was highly focused on my goal of PR’ing at the marathon in November. I shared with social media that I was ready to get back in the swing of training to complete the 26.2 mile course for the second consecutive year.
The pain in my left heel: The pain became evident of the 4th day of training. I tried to ignore it. I wanted to ignore it. The pain wasn’t because I was amping up my mileage too fast (the first 3 days of training even included an active rest day). The pain appeared out of nowhere. I ran through the pain and I hid the pain because I didn’t want to over-exaggerate and make people worry. Maybe it would disappear in a day or two. Wrong. Two or three more days went by and the pain was still lingering. First, I fessed up to my boyfriend that my heel was hurting. He told me how to handle it and to take a rest day. I took a rest day and then finished the week off with an easy 3 mile run to test the heel out. I skipped my long run for the week. I already felt behind in my training. Yesterday I tested my luck by doing a speed workout and today I did an easy 6 mile recovery. Although I’m still able to run and usually ignore the pain, it’s a constant lingering thought in my head as I try to determine what caused it and how to fix it. I stretch the muscles in my foot daily and I try to ice it every day to help heal it. I want to be able to train strong. I want the pain gone.
Lack of motivation: Today I had no motivation to run. I knew I needed to run, I just felt like I didn’t have the energy to get out on the nice smooth trail. Monday I had no motivation to run. Every time I remind myself how great it will feel if I PR, I feel a twinge of motivation lurking somewhere in my heart. Luckily, my boyfriend willingly holds me accountable for my runs and even came to run some mid-week miles with me today (usually we just have way too much going on to run together on weekdays) just so I would get out and train (plus it’s always easier to run with someone than alone). I hope that I can find some motivation soon because I want nothing more than to feel excited about my training and to have something to look forward to on a daily basis.
Cross-training: With my foot in pain, I’ve bumped up my road cycling miles significantly. Last week alone I rode 65.5 miles over the course of 3 separate days. I’ve come to enjoy cross-training a lot these past few months. Now, I’ve been enjoying cross-training because (since I have no motivation to run) I don’t have to run. I enjoy heading out on my bike for some active rest day miles. I’m hoping that these active rests days will reap benefits for my cardiorespiratory system so that my running ability can improve!
Nutrition: Last year at this time, I felt healthier. I felt like I was eating healthier. I felt like everything I put in my body was fueling my body the way it needed to be fueled. Although I still eat extremely healthy, I still feel like I could do way better. I’m doing my best now to cut out unnecessary sweets and processed foods. I’m not interested in indulgences like cookies or cakes. My body just craves fruits and veggies. I just want to be healthier, look healthier, and feel healthier.
Everyday life stress: In the past month I’ve transitioned to a new job. I feel like I’ve had little to no downtime. I’ve been spending most of my free time either studying for my health coach certification, running, eating, or sleeping. I am stressed about paying off my student loans. I’m stressed about continuing to make a smooth transition to my new job. I’m stressed about getting enough sleep. I’m stressed about things that shouldn’t even be worth stressing about. But that’s my personality and always has been. I stress over silly, petty things and when I think back in retrospect none of it was worth stressing over. Worry less, smile more – I wish I could just drill that into my head.
I have my half-marathon race in one month and 8 days. I would like to go in to this race and run a 1/2-marathon PR. I want to continue to get in speed workouts and long runs in preparation for both my 1/2-marathon and marathon. I want to feel strong. I want to be confident.
I want to train like I want a PR. I want to train and feel the changes in my physical and mental strength. I want to enjoy the process as much as the destination on race day!!