Well, I had it. The first bad run of marathon training. It happens to everyone and I know this, but for some reason it caught me a little off-guard. I am in the 4th full week of marathon training and while all of the speed workouts and tempo workouts have been challenging so far, I have pushed through and completed them all successfully.
The workout: 10-20 minutes warm-up, 3×1600 m @ 7:03 min/mile, w/1 min rest, 10 minute cool down.
Translation: Mile repeats. With ONE minute rest in between. Brutal.
This isn’t the first time I have completed this workout. Actually it is the 3rd. So I knew it was tough. But today it was killer.
Side note: This should be the 4th time I have done this workout since my marathon training plan STARTS with this workout in the first week. Luckily I was tapering for Augusta 70.3 during that week and I got to “skip it”. I guess the Run Less, Run Faster people want us to really know what we are getting ourselves into by smacking us in the face with this little gem as the very first speed workout.
The scenario: I was lazy yesterday and took the day off from working out and I went to bed early last night so I should have been plenty rested for today’s run. It was cold this morning so in my attempt to get warm, I did the warm-up miles at a much faster pace than I normally would. I was at about 8:30-8:40 min/mile, when normally I would easily be 9:00+. But NBD, a lot of it was downhill anyway since I went to the park (the lowest point in Greenville) to do the repeats on the flattest surface possible.
After a 20 minute warm-up, I started the first mile and knew after the first 400 m that it was going to be tough. I briefly saw the pace at 7:05 min/mile but had plenty of energy to push it and get the pace back down under the goal. The mile seemed to take forever but I successfully completed the first repeat in 7:00. Cool! But I was HURTING. So I ignored the 1 minute rest interval in the plan and walked for 3 minutes to recover.
The second repeat wasn’t nearly as bad. I started off fast and “banked” some time for the slight inclines and turns at the end. I finished this one in 6:58. Yay! The second one was tough, but went by much faster and felt much better than the first. I still took 3 minutes to recover, including a quick stop by the bathroom. Thank goodness the park has a relatively clean restroom stocked with t.p. that is open at 6 a.m.!
Then I started the 3rd (and final) repeat. Dun, dun, dun…I knew within 400 m that I was in trouble. I felt weak, tired and just didn’t have anything left. Just under half a mile in I saw that my pace had dropped to 7:10 min/mile. I tried to pick it up and push it but could only get it down to about 7:08. Then 0.58 miles into it, I stopped. I just didn’t think I could go anymore. Maybe I could have? I don’t know. But I hurt BAD and 0.42 miles seemed like a LONG way to go. Instead of dropping the pace to finish it, I thought it would be better to take a break and finish it out at the goal pace. So I rested for about a minute and started again. I felt better at first, but then hit a wall again at 0.85. At that point, I guess I had kind of given up since I had already stopped once. But I was still mad at myself for not being able to push through a measley 0.15 miles. I just felt like I couldn’t. My body was done. I rested another minute or so and finally finished up the last mile in right at 7:00.
Everyone has a bad day or a bad run every once in a while blah, blah, blah. I know. But this is the first bad run I have had in a LONG time. Even before I started marathon training, I was rocking all of my triathlon training runs and bricks. Of course, I know it isn’t the end of the world, but I feel like I failed at speed work this week. And the confidence level always takes a little hit after any bad run. But I also know that it is a good reality check and I will move on.
Why did it happen? My instinct tells me that I should have eaten something before the run this morning. Even if it was just half of a banana, I think it would have made a big difference. My stomach grumbled from hunger a little while I was getting ready to run, but I rarely eat prior to the shorter mid-week runs because I just roll out of bed and go. But the weak feeling and that sense that I just could. not. go. anymore reminds of the times when I burned all of the glucose in my body and had nothing left for energy. So maybe that’s it? Or maybe not. Maybe it was just as I said earlier – a bad day.
So now I shall put a little sad face over the speedwork in my training plan for today and then move on! Next up: 18 miles on Saturday. Bring it on!