Hey guys, today’s post is going to be a hard one to write. Today, as you’re reading this, I’m supposed to be doing a half marathon. Instead, as you’re reading this, I’m likely going to be sitting in my pyjamas drinking my morning coffee. I failed. And failure is hard to swallow when you know you could and should be better.
What went wrong?
I put a pause on my get healthy with me series because I wasn’t feeling too healthy. Then I posted this post about recovering from injury and didn’t do any further updates. The lack of updates was largely due to the fact I foresaw this post coming. It was very early in my recovery that I came to the realisation that it was unlikely I would be recovered enough to race today. I kept going and training, hoping I would miraculously improve and be fit for the challenge. But, deep down, I knew that was incredibly unlikely.
I fell down the stairs in May, getting a stress fracture in my hip in the process. I had enough strength in my hip to start running again in July. That left me with around 12 weeks to train for race day. Now, I was in good shape before the fall, so 12 weeks should have been enough. It would have been enough, had I felt healthy week one.
In my injury post, I had two goals. The first was to stop beating myself up that I wouldn’t be able to do it in the way I had hoped, with the ideal time I’d initially planned. My second goal was simply to be able to complete the race. Goal one was achieved, goal two, obviously was not.
The problem with having 12 weeks, was that 12 weeks was really more like 8. when you’re recovering, you have little faith in your body. At least I do. I was afraid to run at a pace I was used to, I was afraid to push myself to achieve a better pace or greater distance. Ultimately, I wanted to be kind to my body and allow it to heal gently. In reality, that cost me. I was too easy on myself in the beginning, trying to be gentle, that I didn’t give myself enough time to up my game when I really needed it.
How did I know I wasn’t ready?
I’m putting this down to two things, the reduced training time and less time running outdoors than I’d like. I’ve already explained the reduced time, and the lack of outdoor running is for a similar reason. A treadmill is gentler on your joints. While I was trying to go easy on my body, I decided to avoid the hard pavements in the beginning and stick to the less hard hitting treadmill.
I don’t know how many of you run, indoors or outdoors, but it’s a very different experience. Regulating your pacing, breathing, and general endurance is very different. Whenever I’ve been running on a treadmill for an extended period of time, when I run my first mile outside, I feel like I’ve never ran a mile before. Everything feels harder and it’s like going back to week one, again and again, and again. Obviously, this is my experience and you might find it easier to switch between the two, but it’s a skill I lack. I can happily switch between the two if I’m running on both frequently, but I can’t go from all one to all the other. Like I attempted to this summer.
Training Plan Nerves
Again, I don’t know if you run, or if you run with a training plan. But they tend to follow the same rough pattern. If you’re planning a smaller distance race, 5 or 10K, for example, you tend to over train. A 5K training plan with often have you run 5 miles in your training, the idea being that if you can run over the desired amount, race day will be more comfortable and you’re more likely to achieve a better pace than you first expected.
Marathons and half marathons do the opposite, you under train. You run regularly, and a range of intensities, but you never run the full distance before race day. For a half marathon, you usually run about 10 miles before race day. The idea being if your body can run 10 miles without too much difficulty, it probably has the strength to get you to the end. Combined with the cheers from the crowd and your own adrenaline on the day to get you through. 10 miles would have felt comfortable, but due to the reduced number of weeks before race day, my plan had my longest run at 8 miles. The jump from 8 to 13, when I was coming back from injury, felt like too much of a gamble.
When it came down to it, I didn’t have enough faith in my body to carry me through.
I’m annoyed that I failed. I’m even more annoyed that I found an email in my spam this morning offering a 10K race to those who have had issues training. The deadline for switching to the 10K was yesterday (yesterday from the day I’m writing this, 26th). Had I seen that email sooner, I would have happily switched to the 10K, known I could have completed it and probably felt like less of a failure for not being at that start line this morning (30th).
I should be laying out my outfits, planning which leggings I want to wear on race day. Looking a little something like this.
Instead, I’m sorting through a huge pile of activewear, putting it all away for another week. A bit like this…
I know showing you a pile of clean laundry is a little odd. But, each one of these outfits represents a run with a goal. Ultimately, I didn’t make it. However, I’m sure trying to run that half marathon pushed me further than if I’d recovered at my own pace without any races or goals in mind. So, I guess it isn’t all bad (I don’t feel like that now but I’m sure I will soon).
So, where do I go from here?
Well, this half marathon was race one on the road to a marathon next spring. A marathon in March or April is more than achievable at this stage, so this is merely a blip in the longer path. This weekend, I will no doubt be deflated. But I’ll pick myself up and my trainers and lycra will be ready for me next week when I set myself new goals and targets.
My body doesn’t do well in the colder temperatures and I struggle with my joints when I run in the cold. As this summer is apparently 30 years long, that isn’t too much of a concern right now. I’ll be running my usual 4-5 times a week over the coming months but I probably won’t go further than 10km. That way I’ll have a reasonably good start when I crank up the training for the marathon, still be fit and increasing my mileage from there will feel more comfortable.
A get healthy with me post wouldn’t be complete without some goals. So, here we go.
Don’t wallow and get out there next week.
Keep running, improve, get over it.
Try not to fall down any stairs in the future
I’m hoping this one should be fairly easy to complete.
Be fit for the big race day
If goals one and two go well, this should be fairly easy. I still have 6 or 7 months to get myself ready slowly and healthily.
Onwards and upwards. How do you guys cope when you can’t achieve a goal, health related or otherwise? Send me all the cheery thoughts today, please!
Until next time,