one of those weeks…

this was one of those weeks for me, and not the good ones…

the weeks where you struggle to get out the door for every run, where you question your goals and why you are training, where you consider just quitting.

the numbers don’t look so bad when you put them on paper, but if you were in my head this week, you would have seen a big mess. i didn’t want to run, i actually skipped a run for no reason except that i just didn’t want to go (i think that’s a first ever for me), and i just really was struggling mentally.

wednesday morning i had 10 miles with 5 at LT (lactate threshold) scheduled. i woke up, drank my coffee, ate a banana, and sat there and battled my mind. it was dark out, i was planning on driving somewhere to have a better route, i just didn’t want to go. i ended up getting back into bed and told myself i would go after work. 5:00 came and went and i was still sitting at my desk. by the time 6pm rolled around and i was walking out the door i had zero motivation to go running, especially for the dreaded LT run. so i went home, i sat on the couch and i didn’t go. i did go to sleep before 8pm though. i mentally rearranged my schedule, hoping to still be able to get in my miles (60) and hoped i would get my LT miles in the next morning. if there was any run i should skip, this was not the one.

thursday morning i got up and made it out the door… kylie jumped out the door too. she wanted to go with me SO BAD. she sat there with those eyes just pleading and i put her back inside and headed off into the darkness by myself. i had 12 miles that day, and thought i could make up my 5 LT miles in there somewhere, which is why i left the girls at home. the miles kept ticking by, but i never started the LT miles… i was having a hard time keeping myself out there for the entire 12, but i did. i missed my dogs the entire way and wished i would have just brought them with me.

12.0 miles/1:50:51/9:14 avg pace

i decided to just add some miles onto my recovery runs to help make up for wednesday’s missed 10 miler. friday morning i took kylie and emma with me, for 4 miles each and very much enjoyed their company. it’s not so hard to get out the door when they are with me. i am learning that having them with me is like having a different kind of running partner, i have company the whole time, but yet i am still alone and get my alone time. we kept the pace easy since it was a recovery run.

8.0 miles/1:17:00/9:39 avg pace

the weather has warmed up again here so i wanted to get up early for my long run saturday. my alarm started going off at 5am and i finally drug myself out of bed at 6am. i was in the car and on my way to where i was starting my route by 7:15, and as i was almost there i realized i had forgotten my garmin. i turned around and headed back home, and was trying to think what i wanted to do. i could run from home to save some time and a little bit of heat, but i knew i was asking for postponing my long run as soon as i did the uturn. sure enough i got home and didn’t want to go. i decided to do sunday’s recovery run + a couple miles instead and save the long run for sunday… can i torture myself anymore? i took the dogs, and kylie was being SO hyper and crazy, that i was just getting frustrated. after 3 miles with her, i grabbed emma and headed out for 4 more.

i don’t even want to admit what was going through my mind, but one of the things i love about having this blog is being able to look back at both the high and low points and reflect on what i was going through. i was pretty much ready to call it quits training for this marathon. i was sick of the pressure i am putting on myself, i was sick of having to get up and run every single day, i sick of running slow all the time, and i just kept thinking back to training for eugene and how all my runs were great and i was so “on” mentally and how i fell apart come race day. it’s a miracle i made it through this run and didn’t end up back home in tears. i just decided to leave it out there and not think about it, i feel like all i have been doing this week is thinking about running.

7.0 miles/1:05:35/9:22 avg pace

chris and i had talked about heading up to lake berryessa on sunday, but since i didn’t do my long run saturday we went that day. once i got back from my run i switched gears into get ready for the lake mode. we have brought the girls up here a number of times, but hadn’t been up yet this summer, so i was looking forward to a relaxing day outside. we picked up sandwiches and snacks, loaded up tennis balls and lawn chairs and hit the road.

we always go to this spot where there aren’t really any other people around and the dogs can just run free and swim and play. they had a BLAST and emma, as usual, was all about fetching the tennis ball in the water – she could not get enough. kylie even got in a full swim a few times. they are both still wiped out :)

our own private lake front beach

emma way out swimming

kylie always waits for her to come back
and takes the ball from her

we had a great day, but were definitely worn out! i was in bed really early with the alarm set again… i just kept telling myself to just get up and get it done when it went off!
i only snoozed for 30 minutes today, and got up at 5:30 after i checked the weather and saw the increasing temperatures as the morning went on. i still was dragging my butt getting out the door, but i did (this time with garmin) and was on the trail at 6:45. i decided for this run i just wanted to find my zone, i didn’t care what pace i was running, i wasn’t going to pay attention or hold back or push harder, i was just going to try and find my happy running zone i have really been missing.

the air was cool to start off and i just tried not to think too hard about anything. my best runs are runs when i can’t remember what i was thinking about, i just can zone out and let the minutes and miles fly by. right around mile 4 things started clicking and i was there. i had my music on, i was in a groove, i was totally zoned out. before i knew it, i was at the turn around point and continued to just let myself run. i wasn’t paying attention to my mile splits, in fact it was one of those runs when i would look down and be at .17 into the next mile and feel like i had just checked and it was .9. i think i missed every single mile beep from my garmin. it was getting warm towards the end but i was still feeling great and strong and just kept in my groove. i was surprised to see my splits when i was done because i definitely didn’t feel like i was running at the pace i was, it just felt effortless.

1st 9: 1:22:04/9:07 avg pace
2nd 9: 1:17:57/8:40 avg pace (last 5 in 8:30s)

total: 18 miles/2:40:01/8:54 avg pace

total miles for the week: 56

i probably wouldn’t have been very happy with these stats training for eugene. i was training so much faster and both my 18 milers had an average pace in the 8:30s. BUT i am training differently now, and it felt SO good to run that run today. it really helped me mentally knowing that i can still run a little faster when i want, and i think i am going to let myself every few long runs. i need to feel good and have that zone, because otherwise i am going to be a big mental mess again.

i thrive on long runs, they have always been my favorite, but lately i have just been so concerned with my pace, and running slower, that i just haven’t found that same zone that i used to get from my long runs. i needed this run today, i needed to find that zone and i needed to remember how it felt to have a solid long run by myself.

as much as weeks like this suck, i am glad it happened. if i learned anything from training for the eugene marathon it’s that no matter how hard you train and how well your training goes, you still might have the bad days on race day and you have to know how to deal with them mentally. i didn’t really have any rough mental spots when i was training for that race, so i just kind of expected it be easier come race day and it was far from that. call me superstitious, but i think i just need to get these bad days, weeks, runs, etc out of the way before race day so it doesn’t happen again :) i am ready to put this week behind me and start fresh again next week.

so during those bad days, weeks, runs… just remember, the only place you are going to find your running spirit and heart is out on a run. you just gotta keep getting out there to find it and it will come back to you, even if it takes a little time. it came back to me today.

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51 Responses to one of those weeks…

  1. Petraruns August 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    Oh Aron what a week you've had! It sounds like a really bad place in your head! I am so glad you finished it off with an Aron-long-run – Aron's pace, Aron's zone and Aron's success. It is hard not to get hung up on the numbers sometimes – especially with the Garmin when you can really check – but remember you're in this for the long haul. Running long makes you happy remember? You will achieve your goals – I can feel that – but enjoy the ride.

    And thank you so for this post. Had a bit of a low week myself these past 2 weeks and I blew off part of a LT run myself yesterday. You've made me feel better about just getting back in the saddle and carrying on. Keep us posted!

  2. Mark August 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    Way to fight back!! Nice 18 miler!

  3. joyRuN August 9, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    I'm soo glad it came back for you, Aron!

    I've been struggling this entire training cycle, & I just started. I'm waiting for my groove to come back, but it helps to know that it just might…

  4. The Laminator August 9, 2009 at 10:54 pm #

    Hey Aron, glad you found your groove near the end of the week, but a couple of thoughts from me.

    1. Learn to allow yourself to slack off once in a long while without feeling all guilty about it. It might be your body's way of telling you that you might be overtraining or that it hasn't yet recovered from a previous hard run to go out again. Just a thought.

    2. Don't try to make up a missed run by switching things and backloading all the quality runs. You'll end up really wiping yourself out and/or risking an injury. Instead, acknowledge that you missed that run and move on. It really won't make that much of a difference in the long run.

    3. You need a cutback week every 3-4 weeks to recharge your batteries. If you're feeling very worn down by the training, perhaps this is the time to take one of those recovery weeks.

    4. Don't take the mantra of running long runs slow to an extreme. There's a place for fast fartleks in between the miles and/or some marathon-paced spurts too. You can also do some progression long runs to break up the monotony. Adding some variety in between the slow miles can be a good way to wake up the faster-twitch muscle fibers and similate the faster/slower pace segments in the middle of a marathon (as well climbing hills or near water stations)

    Just some food for thought. I'm still impressed you hit 56 miles despite such a lousy week. Great job!

  5. lindsay August 10, 2009 at 3:16 am #

    must be something in the air or water. :-/ i was trying to think of all kinds of reasons for why i felt so blah this past week too. if it makes you feel better i ran 2 miles on monday and 3 on wednesday… i guess i'm training for the nyc 5k instead of marathon :)

    i'm glad you were feeling better at the end of the week and had a good 18-miler. the hardest part about crappy runs/weeks for me is doubting why you are doing it.

    missing the 1 workout is no big deal in the big picture. last week is gone, time for a new week! when your next cutback week rolls around, take advantage of the easy/shorter mileage.

  6. Marlene August 10, 2009 at 4:25 am #

    Great post, Aron. I love how you've shared the way you work through the feelings. I think it's safe to say we have ALL had those days and weeks. The important thing is sticking with it and getting through them.

    Hope this week feels better, though!

  7. Lisa Slow-n-Steady August 10, 2009 at 4:59 am #

    Nice post. I struggle wit the little bit of running that I do. It helps me to know that I'm not alone. And if you can work through it, so can I. :-)

  8. marathonmaiden August 10, 2009 at 5:06 am #

    great post! i can totally relate with struggling mentally and i'm so glad you had a good 18 miler at the end of the week!

  9. onelittletrigirl August 10, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    Must be something in the air- I had a bad week last weekend and my worst run every yesterday. :(

    I too love my blog because it documents the goods and bads. Sometimes when I am having a bad day, I look back and re-read the good ones!

    I am glad you got to relax a little and I hope this week is better for you :)

  10. runner26 August 10, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    still a great week! it's probably a good idea to make the training plan work for you instead of trying to follow it perfectly ~ glad you were able to get in some faster miles and boost your mental game. well done!

  11. kristen August 10, 2009 at 6:12 am #

    Your not supersticious – your right on the money.

    It's not necessarily the good runs that make us stronger mentally, those are easy. It's the hard, dig deep and pull through this run that make you metnally tough for race day.

    I think these lows happen to all of us at some point in our trianing. Now you have the confidence to know you can push through some negative situations and self talk. You will come out on top!

    I'm glad your long run was the one that hit the spot for you. Way to push through the rough patch. Have a GREAT week of training!!

  12. caronae August 10, 2009 at 6:28 am #

    Wow — it sounds like you persevered this week. 60 mile weeks are tough, no matter how much you train, and the fact that you didn't give up says just how dedicated you are! I'm glad the 18 miles went well — sometimes a long run just helps me zone out and chill! Good luck with this coming week — I know you'll be fine.

  13. Roisin August 10, 2009 at 6:36 am #

    You said it, lady. I have to remind myself of exactly the same things, especially when I'm ready to start crying! Keep going…I'm sooo out there with you.

    Just, you know, slower of course ;)

  14. Mel -Tall Mom on the Run August 10, 2009 at 6:43 am #

    Amazingly honet Aron. Read my post today I think you will identify with it.

    Best of luck as training continues.

    FYI if I had to run SLOW I would go crazy. My favorite part is plugging in to see my STATS.. LOL..great strategy huh?

  15. Marci August 10, 2009 at 7:12 am #

    I think you are training really well. Its summer, so paces naturally slow, and I think this actually helps us when it gets cool again since its so much easier to run that faster pace. I think the BQ is your this fall! I can relate to your feelings though, I have had a rough few weeks myself, glad things are getting easier!

  16. Anne August 10, 2009 at 7:19 am #

    Sorry about the bad week! I had an awful 8k race on Saturday in the pouring rain. My time was good, but it just beat me up physically and mentally–mostly mentally. I kept checking my garmin and thinking, "please let me stop running. when can I stop running? dear god I want to stop running. WHY am I doing this and WHERE is the turnaround?!?!?"

    The race was not fun at all, but I'm also glad I did it–it'll make me stronger later on. I think this is a great post, and I'm so glad you're looking at it in a positive light :)

  17. Heather August 10, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    Sounds like a tough week, but I'm so glad that you just kept at it and worked through those negative feelings. In case you need reminding, you are AWESOME!

  18. Denise August 10, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Seriously, it sounds like you wrote that post from my head. I've been struggling with the same thing. I'm not sure if it's because I'm still recovering from the Ultra or what, but I just haven't had it in me lately. I finally had a fun run on Saturday and am hoping that was the turn around point. we'll see…

  19. Scheri August 10, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    I'm sorry you had a bad week, but it really does sound like you made up for it with a great long run. You are doing a fantastic with your training. It is good to hear your positive attitude about your bad week. Keep it up!!

  20. Lisa August 10, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Well I am not an expert but I think you listened to your body and did the right thing. You are amazingly fast, even if you don't think so. Maybe you just needed a little break, or maybe it's just a hormonal thing??? Way to get over it though and you had what I think is an awesome long run. BTW, your slow pace is what I aspire to get to as my fast pace :)

  21. the gazelle August 10, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    I'm glad you had a good end to a bad week! The runs where we find the zone are the best, aren't they?

    I know this week will be much better! :)

  22. Chic Runner August 10, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    What a week! :/ I know the feeling. I'm glad you had that run though and I know what you mean by everything clicked and you were zoned out. I love it when that happens. :) Glad you got your groove back!

  23. runningcommentaries August 10, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    These kinds of weeks are absolutely the worst thing ever. So proud of you for persevering through it and for having such an awesome 18-miler. And you're right, better now than October :)

    Things will look up, they have to, right?

  24. RunningLaur August 10, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    It sounds like everyone had the same sort for week this week, and thank goodness that the long run heals all.

    Working your way through the hard week makes you all that much more stronger than you were for Eugene. Racing can be so mental, and you're growing closer to mental marathon success every week.

  25. Melanie August 10, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    Oh goodness, I know exactly what you mean! I think I have at least one of those weeks in every training cycle I do. Glad you were able to end up with a successful week overall even if it was rough getting through it.

  26. Jamie August 10, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    It absolutely sucks when these kind of weeks happen! I know we've all been there. And I totally believe you need some of this in your training to be even stronger race day (and to just get it out of the system!) Way to come back and have an awesome long run!

  27. Alisa August 10, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    I think you're training a lot smarter this time around. I know when I'm on a rigid schedule things tend to fall apart but I've also noticed I'm less motivated when I have no schedule at all. Happy balance between rigidity and rogueness =).

    Glad you got into your zone for the long run. I think bad long runs are the worst! For me, it's easier to get over bad shorter runs.

    I know you'll rally throught the rough patch and get back to your groove.

  28. X-Country2 August 10, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    Way to keep it all balanced. Some weeks are tough, but you'll be better for makign it though. :o)

  29. Brian August 10, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    It's good to see you have such a great attitude about your tough week. It's also important to remember that even elite athletes (like Lance Armstrong) have bad stretches.

    If you're even a somewhat competitive person, they're going to tick you off. You just have to get over it and start fresh with the next workout. So, kudos to you for doing that.

  30. Lizzy August 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    I love your blog and its so motivating because I am training for my first marathon. But the one question I have for you is- do you run with other people? I think that would help you out tons with the motivation and energy and extra push. I run with two girls two days a week, and another couple girls from work 1 day a week and entirely different group one day. The runs I do by myself are pretty tough.

  31. D10 August 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Some days/weeks are just harder than others and sometimes we just need to escape from it. Sounds like you did everything you needed. Lam has some great points in his response.

    Your numbers are really nice for having such a mentally tough week. Keep working hard.

  32. Running and living August 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Oh, what a week you've had. I am glad you pushed through, got that awesome long run in, and are now feeling better. I, too, had a couple of tough training runs this cycle, and was seriously doubting my desire and ability to run a good marathon.
    I do agree with Lam about the slow runs. I think doing progression runs, like you did for the 18 miler and running some of the miles close to marathon pace is going to be very helpful during the marathon. Good luck! Ana-Maria

  33. ShirleyPerly August 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    There is no doubt that training for marathons and iron tris is more mental than physical for me. I used to love running for the sake of running but now I dread going out to run in crazy FL heat. And having to run slow makes it even worse as I'm out there longer.

    But I keep putting myself out there knowing that it's making me stronger. The important thing is that it all counts as training, the good and the bad. In fact, I'd say that the bad weeks are perhaps where the most gains are actually made.

  34. J August 10, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    Sounds like a rollercoaster of a week but I am glad that things are better. I understand the pressure you have felt and sometimes I am thankful for the break right now. I think that running helps to make us mentally strong!

  35. Missy August 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    Hope you get your juju back! Sometimes, a little break, even for a day, is good (just because you don't want to).

    That looks like the perfect spot…I love a dog swimming:)

  36. Nicole August 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    I needed to read this post. I feel like i had a week like this 2 weeks ago when my 16 miler was a big fail.

    I'm gonna be superstitious with you!

    I dont know if this makes sense to you. Your much more experienced than i am with this whole marathon training but how come it seems easier to run like 8:XX pace vs 9:XX/ 10:XX pace? My 17 miler was killer when i averaged 8:36 miles and 12 this past saturday dragged. Sometimes running confuses me! :)

    I'm glad you got your zone running back. That is the BEST & i pray to god thats how it goes on race day! :) I'm right there with ya girl!

    Great job sticking with it & kicking butt!

  37. runandrejoice August 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    I love how honest you are about your running! It is nice to see every run isn't the perfect run, because I know I feel like that sometimes too. You have shown great perserverance, and it looks like it paid off! Good job Aron!!!

  38. Susan August 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    Tough runs and tough WEEKS are the worst! I had a terrible run a couple weeks ago and I couldn't figure out why I actually liked running! It's all those good runs that keep us going, but it's so hard to remember when you just feel awful. I'm so glad that you can remember that running is a long term thing, not just based on a few runs. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and you're going to be a beast physically and mentally for the next marathon!

  39. Adam August 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    I totally hear you. I'm having a week or two in that I have to DRAG my ass out of there as well. I gotta think your husband's leg isn't helping at all.

    Tough it out, you'll be glad that you did!

  40. I Run for Fun August 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Sorry you are having a rough time. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You need to enjoy yourself and your running; the pace will improve. Good luck!

  41. Stuart August 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    Bad weeks to be had all round, well come Monday we all have a clean slate.

  42. Southbay Girl August 10, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    I often find that the only way i can get out the door is by looking at Velcro's face with that look….. and I so understand the feeling of running with your dog yet still being alone! I love the feeling! There is "someone" there but that someone doesn't talk to you and doesn't complain!!

  43. Katie August 11, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    As a beginner, This post has taught me a valuable lesson. No matter how long you have been running, these days will come… and this too shall pass. It is these times of doubt that end up teaching us the most valuable lessons. From reading your post, I have learned that even when thoughts of "quit" or "why am I doing this?" come to my mind, never give up. Keep running. It will make it all worth while. Thanks so much for this. You continue to inspire me :)

  44. Shannon August 11, 2009 at 6:14 am #

    If it makes you feel any better, I think I'm having one of those weeks too. Just keep on truckin' and know that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

  45. Runner Leana August 11, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    Oh no, sounds like you were hitting a bit of burn out this week! You've done quite a few races lately so maybe not too surprising. Glad you were able to cap the week off with a good 18 miler though. It sounds like the Laminator gave you some good advice too. Hope you've got your mojo back this week!

  46. Carolina John August 11, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    dude, I'm taking a recovery week. sounds like you could use one too.

  47. Jess August 11, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Sounds like mentally you need a rest day or three. I hate weeks like that and hopefully you'll be feeling better about running soon.

  48. monicac2 August 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! If a speedy runner like yourself can have "off" weeks, it helps a mid-packer/marathon newbie like myself have hope!

  49. RoadBunner August 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Yep, you've got to learn to roll with the punches when it comes to running.

    I will have to hit you up for this secret spot info on Lake Berryesa. The boyfriend loves to fish and I like to sit on the chair and read books and listen to podcasts. He wanted to go to Berryesa a while back, I remember. We ended up going to Russian River but there were SO many people and it was loud and crowded and he didn't get to fish until 8 pm when all the families went home.

  50. kilax August 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    What a week! My first few training runs were like that mid week one, where I was thinking "What I am doing training for a marathon?" I wanted to call it quits. I found my spirit the next week though. I am happy you found yours Sunday! I bet that fun day at the lake helped :)

  51. N.D. August 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    How you said you didn't want to run, that is me everyday right now. It's a bummer!

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