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Reflecting on Training

I have been thinking a lot about my training lately. I’ve been thinking about the evolution of my personal running as well as my life.

Consistency is key. 

We all have good and bad days. Similarly we have good months and bad months.  We even have good years and bad years.  

Rome wasn’t built a day. 

There are so many terms and phrases that you hear regarding training and progression.  Most importantly progress takes time.

Two years ago I was easily running 19 minute 5ks.  Similar to now I would race almost every weekend.  The difference was I was running between 19-19:15 for the majority of races.

One of my many 5ks that I finished between 19:00-19:10...the "glory" days

One of my many 5ks that I finished between 19:00-19:10…the “glory” days

 

Another 5k with a local fastie and friend of mine...More "glory days".  Her Glory days still live on ;)

Another 5k with a local fastie and friend of mine…More “glory days”. Her Glory days still live on 😉

Over the last two years, I’ve gone through a lot of life changes.  I’ve moved, I’ve gotten married, I’ve been injured and I’ve run two marathons.

Marathons are fun...or whatever...

Marathons are fun…or whatever…

So what? 

So throughout the last two years I’ve neglected speed.  I stopped running fast and hoped my base carried me through races.  I chose to increase mileage for marathon training and decrease speed.  

That worked to keep me healthy for NYCM and it worked when I came back from my injury to PR in the Phoenix marathon. The high easy mileage carried me through two marathons but it won’t carry me through shorter distances.  It took me two years of neglecting speed to regress to my current turnover rate.  .

Like anyone I want to see instant results.  I’ve been going to the track for an entire month now.

Shouldn’t I be PRing and seeing massive results?  

Patience is not a virtue I was blessed with.  Running also  isn’t a linear sport and it takes time and consistency to see results.  It took time and consistency to lose speed and it takes time and consistency to gain it back.

That’s partially why I’ve decided to keep my current plan of track, weekly 5ks and a long run this fall.  I do want to continue my training and regain speed. I think running 5ks has benefited me a lot and while I’m not seeing the results now, I know I will soon.

Consistency is a funny thing. It’s easier to be consistent when you are seeing results and benefits. It’s harder to stay consistent when you are not seeing the results.

Thinking out loud and reflecting, it took two years of inconsistency with training to lose my speed. I don’t foresee it taking two years to regain speed but I do foresee it taking longer than a month or a summer.

success progress photo

It’s nice to be able to reflect and realize while I’m not making as fast of progress as I would like, I am progressing towards my ultimate goal of a 5k PR.  Mentally I’m in a great place with my running and I’m enjoying my training.  Sometimes I think enjoying running is the first step of

Questions for you:

What goals are you consistently working towards?

Do you like the track, tempo runs or races? (Or something else)

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18 responses

  1. LOVE this post! I’m also working towards building up my 5K speed. I don’t run a very high mileage yet so it is challenging to keep increasing distance whilst maintaining speed sessions too. The balance is key, as you say, but not easy to maintain! My ultimate goal is to break 90 minutes for the HM this October. My favourite workouts are tempo runs, bizarrely enough, because as they are what I find the most difficult, I feel super satisfied when I’ve done one well!

  2. It’s great that you mix it up and focus on different distances at different times. It’s not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind, too! I find that i sometimes get burnt out at the thought of always training for the same distance, and many other runners do too. I’m glad you’re enjoying this phase of your training!

  3. I love that graphic..so true in everything we do in life. The road to success will never be easy or linear- we go through ups and downs along the way. Like you said, Rome wasn’t built in a day and consistency is key! The two most important lessons I try to remember. I’m still working on my goal of breaking 2 hours in the half marathon (which always seems ridiculously slow compared to you and most other bloggers, but that’s my big goals!) I keep putting in the work and hope to get there sometime soon 🙂

  4. This spring I was really focused on the 5k and I was able to bring my time down from 22:15 to 21:02. Since that race I have been focused on preparing for a fall marathon (my first). Most of my training has been easy running and increasing my volume from 30 mpw to 50+ mpw. Yesterday I went out to run 5×800 at 5k pace and for the first two repeats I just could not get my pace lower than 7:00. Which was crazy since just a few months ago I was able to hold 6:46 for a full 5k.

    Eventually in the third interval I was able to find that other gear that lets me run fast…but wow. I was really surprised to see how quickly the speed gains I made this year have disappeared. I’ll probably focus on the 5k this coming winter/spring, so hopefully it won’t take too long to regain what I’ve lost. Progress is definitely not linear.

    The long term goals that I am working towards are a sub 20 5k and breaking 1:40 in the half. I’m not expecting to hit either of these goals in the next year, but maybe the next 2-4 years.

    • That’s really awesome Heather and I hope you are able to achieve your goals. I think you will get to them sooner rather than later! 🙂

  5. Hey, keep up the track work! It will pay off, but it takes some time. I trained for a marathon all summer, and did some track work, but mostly 800s and 1600s, not much shorter. I PR’ed in my marathon (3:22) and qualified for Boston! Woo Hoo! I plan to run my first 5k of the year next month and am hoping for my fastest time since early 2000’s, but probably won’t break 20 min (maybe, though 🙂

  6. It can be so frustrating when we’re not meeting our goals as quickly as we’d like but staying positive and consistently running those 5ks is a good way to increase turnover! Or at least that’s what my coach used to tell me when he’d enter me in the 800 in school to improve my speed for the longer races…

  7. You’re definitely right about consistency being hard as heck when you’re not seeing the results you want. And the most frustrating thing is that the progress is usually so slow and gradual that you don’t even notice you’re making it until you stop and look back a few months to see how much things have changed.

  8. You will be absolutely rocking those 19min 5Ks before you know it. With your dedication to the 5K race and weekly track workouts you will see improvement over time (as I’m sure you know). I am beyond terrible at speed work (rarely include it other than weekly tempo runs) but I love running marathons and have little desire to work on my 5K time. So for me high milage is the best form of training. I know to get my marathon time to the next level I will have to incorporate some sort of speed work, but I’m just not ready for that yet 🙂

  9. Great post. I’m working towards a sub 3 hour marathon and a sub 1:30 half. Last year, I got close to the 3 hour mark, but over the last year I was plagued with injury and set backs so I got further from it. I hope I at least put myself back on that path this summer, but I don’t expect to see a sub 3 hour finish anytime soon. I still have work to do. Love the picture you included about success, it really does take a roundabout way.

  10. Ugh, totally get it. I am not a fast person. BUT I have seen my speed increase lately! However, I’m more focused on mileage right now, because speed does not matter (for me) in a 50 miler. And I know that even if I focus on speed work, I will always be a middle of the pack runner, I will not BQ, and that’s okay! But its hard not to get wrapped up in dreams when I need to focus on reality. bleh.

    • I feel completely in your boat! My marathon PR is about 50 min shy of a BQ… so it doesn’t seem realistically possible at all. I will always be a middle of the pack as well. Thinking of doing my first ultra in April… a 24 hour endurance run, but thinking I should follow a 50 mile training plan. Thoughts? I’ve run 4 marathons.

      • Yes! I followed a women’s 50 miler training plan, and it worked REALLY well. my favorite distance so far is a 50k, just because the 50 miler takes up sooo much time to train for. If you can find some races to throw in there during your training, that often helps too!

  11. I have had a goal to PR the 5K again, but I also want to train for an ultra in April. So those don’t really go together! Gotta figure out what is best for me at the moment.

  12. Amen to this entire post! I always say patience is not my virtue. 😉 We have to remember running and training is a process–nothing is going to happen overnight. Your posts shows an amazing sense of maturity and patience as an athlete. Although not seeing progress as quickly as we want can be frustrating, it sounds like your head is in the right place.

  13. I am consistently working towards…being consistent!!! Life gets in the way so much. I have spent a lot of this summer trying to reconcile that s**t happens and it’s not like I’m going to win the marathon or anything.

    My favorite runs are actually none of those you mentioned. I like the runs in cool, crisp morning air right when the sun is coming up. Maybe that’s when I should try doing my tempo runs because I really don’t like those at all. 🙂

  14. I’ve been running marathons since 2006. 36 so far. I think what I’ve learned, especially recently, is that you have periods where you see alot of improvement and times when you don’t. I’m currently in a phase where I’m seeing less improvement and it is frustrating. But I know that things will change and get better again too. Great post! 🙂

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