Worry. Shame. Overtrained. Despair. Maybe?

I started having trouble about 5 weeks into marathon training.

I couldn’t do my speed work out. We had 8 km repeats at a Yasso pace. I managed two ok. On the third Bill ran beside me and encouraged me and I got through that one on pace. On the fourth I lost it and was way too slow. Rusty pulled me out at that point. I hadn’t even done half the workout.

Sigh. Well, OK, I’ve often had problems doing speed-work. As long as I do my long runs I shan’t worry.

Well the following Saturday we were to do a 2 mile warmup, 10 miles at 50~30 seconds slower than marathon pace, then 4 miles at 10 seconds slower than MP and then another 3 miles at MP. (or something like that). Even 50 seconds off MP was hard at first, but after 6 miles I had sped up to 30 seconds slower and I decided that I had finally warmed up, that was all. Then it came time to speed up. I sped up a little on the first mile, but not enough. Well, it’s an uphill mile, the next one will be easier. The next was even slower. I was back in the 30~50 range. That was worrying. I could not go any faster. When it came time to speed up to MP — I had to slow down instead.

So I talked to Rusty, and he told me to rest and gave me an easy week the following week. The speed workout was slower than 10k pace, and I managed. It felt harder than it should, but I managed. Then 8miles at MP in the middle of a 20mile run. I did the first 5 miles reasonably — but then I ran out of mile markers, not sure how I did on my last 3. I hoped ok.

At my speed workout the next week, I managed to do half of it at pace, and the rest a bit slower. Not great, but I’m focusing on the long runs. I hope? The following Saturday we had a 4 mile warmup, 4miles at tempo pace, 4 miles easy, 5 miles at MP and 7 miles easy. I did the warmup. I started with my pace group. Everyone else was chatting easily as they pulled away from me. I was breathing hard, that horrible rasping breath that says I’m completely exhausted. The first mile was slower than MP, nowhere near tempo pace. My pace group was way ahead of me now. I couldn’t even keep this up. Damn. What’s wrong with me? This should be easy. It’s the first mile for heaven’s sake. I struggled. The next mile was 8 minutes.

An 8 minute mile was the closest I could get to a tempo effort? Dianna passed me. Even that couldn’t speed me up. I couldn’t go any faster. I couldn’t keep up with her. I felt so ashamed of myself. Why couldn’t I do this? What was wrong? After another mile I just stopped. There were tears in my eyes. I couldn’t do it. And there was a throng of people about to pass me. I should be faster than all these guys, but not today.

I gave up and went back. Climbed on my bike and rode home.

It is frightening not to be able to run. I feel ashamed to run so slowly. No one else seems incapacitated. What’s wrong with me?

Rusty told me I was overtrained. Oh. There’s a name for this? It’s common? Whew. That’s a huge relief. All I need to do is rest? And I only need a week of rest? Wow. OK. Rest it is.

No more yoga. I reduce my bike riding to the bare minimum requirements of transportation. And Rusty gives me an easier schedule.

After a week I was a little better. But I wasn’t back to normal. After 10 days Rusty gave me an easy workout. A five mile progressive run each mile 10 seconds faster than the last, with the middle mile at marathon pace. Should have been easy. I managed the first four (which meant I was better off than I had been 10 days before, but I’m still in a bad way), and didn’t even attempt the last one.

I’ve three and a half weeks before my marathon — and I can’t run.


I read the section on Over Training in Advanced Marathoning. They recommend 3~5 weeks of rest (as opposed to Rusty’s 1~2), and a greater reduction in mileage. Well… if that works, I might be back to normal in time for the race. Maybe.

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2 Responses to “Worry. Shame. Overtrained. Despair. Maybe?”

  1. Pre Race Jitters « George’s Meanderings Says:

    […] haven’t run well since last September, when I ran myself into […]

  2. Someone to run with! « George’s Meanderings Says:

    […] a slightly longer race — so it’s roughly comparable. I’ve been so afraid, since September, that I’d never again be as good as I was last year. It’s a relief to have proof that I […]

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