I had quite the journey these past 6 months, I raced (a lot, possibly too much), hooked up with a running crew and made a ton of friends, I experiences a long period of doubt in myself and fought my way back to a positive mindset.
I haven’t been running long, so every training cycle is something new. My January – June training was completely differently. I was no longer building to a new distance. I’d run a half marathon and was working towards another one. This meant I already had the distance down, and needed to work on maintaining that and work on my speed.
Speed work is not my forte. I struggled with it the entire cycle and only now am I finding the confidence in myself to push through it, but it’s still very much a work in progress.
I started January off with a boom. The 2 months previous I’d been taking easy and recovering from a knee injury. Then January came, I was finally better and it suddenly hit me I only had 2 months to go until race day so head first into training I went.
I had been debating about running Around the Bay for months, my knee was my biggest concern as I didn’t want to stress it, but a week into training I took the plunge and registered. This mean I now needed to convert my already intense Half Marathon training schedule (I was following a sub 2 hour plan) into an even more intense plan to work in a milage build up to 30k.
January Total: 165km
2 weeks before the Chilly Half I decided to run a 10k – the Grimsby Half as my tempo run for the week. Race #1 of the season. It went okay, I did slow down quite a bit in the middle because my legs were tired but I still got a PB and placed 2nd in my age group. Win there.
Also in February I made the best decision ever and showed up one Saturday morning for meet-up trail run. Through this eclectic group of people I have made some great friends who have helped me a lot with my running just by being there and through their support. They believed in my abilities long before I did.
February Total: 150 km
A week before Chilly I got a cold. I have a fabulous immune system and thanks to my active lifestyle it’s even better now so this cold was a big annoyance, if was the first time I’d gotten a cold in over a year. I was hoping it would be cleared by the race but no such luck. During the race I could feel the crap still in my lungs added on top of going out too fast in the first 5k I suffered hard for the rest of the race. A painful experience that despite the PB led to a spiralling decent into doubt.
After finishing Chilly I immediately sing up for Mississauga Half. I was fairly sure I’d be running this anyways but I made it official that night so I could receive some redemption.
It was only later that I realised I should have thought things through better.
On paper it felt like my races were far enough apart, but when you’re in the thick of training you realise how wrong you are.
I changed my goal for Around the Bay, I couldn’t afford any recovery time with Mississauga so close so I wasn’t even going to attempt to run for any particular time, I didn’t sign up to race it anyways, and I never really planned on doing it fast, but 2 week prior to race day I decided this was going to be a slowly run race. Which was necessary because I’d been fighting an IT Band issue since Chilly that was really starting to flair up. Around the Bay was actually pretty painful and my time was horrible even for an easy run but I enjoyed the experience of it anyways.
March Total: 200km
April was when things got really insane, I was running a ton, battling IT Band issues on my left and ended up developing a super tight right hip from all the runs. I ended up doing a much more significant taper because of this just to try to get everything healed in time. Luckily I finally learned to ice my entire IT Band and got that cleared up but the hip was an issue. I also had another race in the middle of April but it was a trail race and I took it easy, all was fine minus the fact that my legs were so tired. I knew they were tired then, I couldn’t even finish my long run the next day, it wasn’t till weeks later i learned just how tired I really was.
My longer taper had my feeling pretty good for Mississauga, the hip had loosened enough it didn’t effect my start. But I had massive doubts in myself and my training. I was regretting my decision to run it and wished I’d had more time to train, to get my speed work where it needed to be because my head game was so off after Chilly I never had a good tempo session. I was at an all time confidence low for my running.
April Total: 160km
Mississauga was my turning point though, I ran a negative split and proved so much to myself, I finally got through to myself and proved how much stronger I am than I think.
Mississauga meant the end of my training, I could finally relax… riiight after a 10k two weeks later. I’d taken those 2 weeks super easy and was feeling normal, but a hilly run 2 days before had my calves feeling really tight. So I was worried. Then ended up not bothering me on the flat course but I was really done on that race and slowed a lot not able to keep my legs moving.
A week or so later I learned why.
I was still so damn tired.
It took me 3 solid weeks for my legs to recover from the intense training I’d put them through for a solid 4 months without any significance rest. Then suddenly my legs were feeling light and I discovered certain yoga poses didn’t actual hurt. Things were feeling fabulous, I felt like I could run forever.
So thiiis is what rested feels like.
May Total: 116km
You think I would have learned my lesson. 1 month after the 10k I was signed up for a 15k race. All fine. But then I signed up for a 10k 10 days after that one. Oops. I didn’t really realise at the time how close they were together so this meant readjusting my strategy. The 15k I would run at a steady pace, it was less important to me and i’d never run a 15 before so guaranteed PB anyways. And I really really wanted to do well on that 10k.
June was a fabulous month I saw a massive boost in my speed and I was so much more confident in myself still on a high from what I’d accomplished mentally during Mississauga. I was ready for these races and ready to be smart about them. I suffered from sun stroke during my 15k so it turned into an easy run after 5k so that ended up being a non issue. Now 10 day until my 10k and I was determined to do things right. I kept my runs short, even changed my plan 14/16k long run a few days before to 8.5k instead and took the 2 days before off completely (slightly unintentional there I did plan to swim the night before but didn’t end up making it). Unfortunately my legs were feeling the opposite of speedy that day but I pushed through and managed my most successful race of the season. I didn’t have any low moments of the race and sent out solid effort the entire time. I can’t think of a better way to end the season.
June Total: 151km
I will never, ever, repeat this season again, too many races crammed in to such a short time. From now on if I’m participating in a race it will be because I’m prepared to give it my all. Also I will not be scheduling big races 4 weeks a part, and then going that again. It only results in doubling an intense 2 months plan. Do not recommend.
I’m now ready to go tackle my marathon training and to not race anything more than a 5k in that time, right now I’m seeing this as a relief so I’ll only have my training to focus on. This will be less of a relief once fall race season starts and I experience FOMO. But I need this, I need this time to focus and do the work I need to do with the quality it deserves. I do not need a repeat of April where my legs were so screwed up I couldn’t even walk properly.
Lesson learned, I love racing which is why I did so many, but they such not become a burden on your training and should be a thing you look forward to each time and not worry about running this race too hard and having it affect your next one.