Last weekend after my half marathon my fire was lit. I was excited, I was ready and I wanted to get more quality training in. The fact is after running a 1:25.32 half marathon (something I didn’t see myself capable of for a few more months again) I was still the same runner as the morning before. It wasn’t as if I had been given magical powers for 90 minutes, the race was a reflection of training smartly the last couple of months”
I was told something a couple of years ago (very early into my running career):
“When you have a significantly good or bad race, you are still the same person before the race. The race itself is a reflection of good, bad and mediocre training. You have not changed because of the race”.
After racing I was ready to dive back into regular training. My plan was to take 3 days easy, another tempo run on Thursday and off on Friday, easy shakeout on Saturday and then a 10k in Philadelphia on Sunday. That had been my rough weekly schedule the last month and it payed off well. On Tuesday I realized how stupid that plan was.
After two easy days (Monday and Tuesday) I rested on Wednesday and came back for more easy runs the rest of week. It was the smartest thing I could have done for myself. By Saturday and Sunday I was feeling relatively normal again.
I think mentally it was the toughest for me. With a three week window between Lake Effect and Shamrock, I wonder if in reality I can drop 40 seconds on a tougher course? I have to constantly remind myself that running is a process and that I am still the same runner whether I have an extremely good race or an extremely bad race.
If for instance, I run a 1:35 half marathon due to blowing up or having a personal bad race at Shamrock, I would still be the same runner that ran a 1:25 at Lake Effect half marathon three weeks prior. The same applies to PRing. Last year I raced half marathons ranging from 1:24.49-1:31. I ran half marathon training runs that went upwards to two hours. Running is a blessing and a curse that has you always striving to be better.
Mentally taking it easy and recovering was exactly what I needed last week. We often get caught up in looking towards the next race or PRing at the next distance but we have to remember that we do need down time. If we don’t recover, we won’t be able to PR.
As runners we have to constantly remind ourselves that to reach the top of the mountain we have to start at the bottom. Once you reach the top, you must climb (or slide I guess) back down so you can climb back up. No one stays at the top of the mountain forever. It’s always a hard and humbling lesson but one I truly believe everyone needs to learn. Through injury, rest and recovery we slide down the mountain just as we climbed up.
There are many mountains in your lifetime and training to climb.
Question for you: What is the last humbling experience you have had?