On the Run

On the Run: Here We Go Again

Here we go again–I’m officially training for my next race!

July 1st was supposed to be Day 1 of my training cycle for my first 10K of the year, The Great Race 10K. However, my past two weeks looked like this: Go on vacation, hike Mt. Marcy, drive 10 hours home, work three days, spend the next weekend in a cabin with 14 other humans, drive home to immediately meet up with my Dungeons and Dragons group for several hours of gameplay. I can count the hours I’ve had to myself over the past two weeks on one hand, which in introvert terms means I am running on E, big time. Plus, when you’re on vacation or in the woods with friends or hanging out with your DnD buddies, the 9pm bedtime tends to go out the window.

Needless to say, when my 5am alarm went off on Monday morning, I had zero left to give.

I chose sleep instead of my first training run. And man, did I beat myself up about it for the next two days. Day one, how could I be failing at this already?!

The guilt is, as so many things are, rooted in fear. I’m nervous about this training cycle for a few reasons, chief among them the fact that my half marathon dreams got crushed, my training cycle interrupted with back, hip, and shoulder pain. Physical therapy has helped tremendously and I was cleared to run again (turns out the problem is more likely related to how I sit at work than to any physical activity). Even so, a part of me is already bracing for another unfinished training round.

So when I woke up Monday and didn’t have it in me, I got scared. But as I hit the pavement Wednesday morning, feeling good and strong and refreshed, I realized I’d made the right choice in trusting my instincts. I needed that extra sleep more than I needed a single 25 minute run at the start of a 10K training cycle. And that’s okay.

As I wrote in my last post, sometimes you don’t get all the way where you’re going. Sometimes, you hike 95% of a mountain, or run 30% of a training cycle. The important thing is why you stared in the first place.

Running makes me feel strong and brave and gives me a clear direction for growth. It’s therapy on two feet. I’m excited to log miles towards a goal again, especially since this is the 10K I dropped out of last year due to a cold. The course is beautiful, winding through the city I’ve learned to call home over these past three years, and it feels like time to run along the river for six beautiful miles.

And the thing about a training cycle? I don’t believe we’re truly meant to do it all perfectly. A training plan is just that: a plan. And plans change, because life happens. Instead of beating myself up over missing one run, I should celebrate being able to know what my body needs. Missing one run isn’t going to ruin my training cycle, but overtraining to the point of injury sure as heck will!

A training plan is a perfect case scenario. If you do everything perfectly, the run you’re training for should be easy. But you won’t do everything perfectly, because you’re human, and humans don’t do perfect. Every run, every crosstraining workout, every rest day builds you that much closer to achieving the race you hope to run. That’s what the training is for–progress, not perfection, as the cliche goes.

So yeah, I skipped the first run of my training cycle. I crosstrained on Tuesday and, when Wednesday came, I felt well rested enough to take on my first real run of the training cycle. And reader? I crushed it. (For context, my goal pace is 11:30 min/mile).

This is part training log, part confession, and part permission–be gentle with yourself today, tomorrow, and every day. You know when you’re burnt out to the point where you need sleep more than you need a run. Trust yourself. Nobody knows you better.

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