Here it is — already December and almost Christmas!
Winter is a time for many runners to take a much needed break from running. Am I one of these runners? Sadly, no. Do I need a break? absolutely! But I am one of those runners who just doesn’t like to quit. I just completed my tenth marathon of the year and I still have one more planned. Have any of these been stellar performances? No.
Do I know why? Yes.
My past two years of marathon running have been interesting. 2013 proved to be my best year so far. I ran 9 marathons with 6 wins, including a PR of 2:50. My average time was between 3:00 and 3:05. 2014 has not been nearly as successful. I have completed 10 marathons with 2 wins, and an average time of 3:10. This might not seem that much slower, but the main difference is the way I feel during and after races. Ever since my first marathon in February, I have just felt tired towards the end of the marathon. It seemed to get worse as the year went on. I almost had to go to the medical tent after the Williams Route 66 Marathon, but I snapped out of it quickly. I almost stopped at the halfway point of the Half and Half race I did, but forced myself to finish (including some walk breaks through a few water stops in the second half).
What’s the point of the two-year comparison? I was much more rested in 2013. I was just coming off of an injury and a forced 5-month break from running. I had fresh muscles and had a 6-month break between races, and I had spent hours in the pool and on the bike. My physical fitness was the same, but I had saved a lot of wear and tear on my legs. I was ready to really hit the speed work hard and get faster, and that is exactly what I did. My race times reflected the hard training.
When 2014 rolled around, I was not rested at all. I had thousands of miles on my legs from all the hard training in 2013, and I took on some more responsibilities at my job. I just became more and more tired the harder I tried to train. I was so tired and sore, that I basically gave up any form of speed training. I was putting in long, slow and very painful runs. And how were my races? Long, slow and very painful!
I did make some positive changes during the summer; I moved to Tulsa, got married, and changed jobs. I thought I was taking away some stress from life and I’d have more time for rest and training. But, you can never completely take away all the stress — and no matter how good something is, there are always some challenges.
I am burned out on racing! There, I said it! I admit it! So now what?
I’m not even going to try and be fast for awhile. My favorite type of running is long slow distance, so that is what I am going to do. I’m planning some ultra distance runs this year so I can technically “race”, but I get to run a lot longer and a lot slower. It will still be challenging, but it will be a different challenge.
I am also going to take better care of my body. When you run as many miles as I do, this is extremely important. I am fortunate to have a wonderful job with the best sports doctor in the state, Dr. Chris Barnes. He has been taking great care of me. I have also found the Cryo therapy and compression boots at Tensegrity Chiropractic to be extremely helpful with achy and tired legs. If you want to feel good when running, you have to take care of yourself.
Rest means success. Happy Running, All!
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