This morning was my least favorite track workout. It’s awful… it’s 400s/800s continuous at 3k race pace with the 800 “recovery” at faster than 1/2 marathon pace and slower than 10k pace but not much. You do that 5 times without stopping ever. So sprint 400, tempo run 800, repeat. It is so hard and my least favorite workout. And when I do it I feel weird all day. All day. And this morning, I screwed it up. I read my schedule wrong and thought I was supposed to do 5 miles of this workout but instead I was supposed to do 4. Good thing because I only made it to 4.5 before I was sprawled out in the middle of the track trying to figure out where I was going to find the energy to make it home.
My report back to my coach was “that was so hard and I felt like hell and I wanted to cry after” and he laughed since you know, I did more than you were supposed to. Oops. I was seriously shaking in the shower! It was not okay. I suppose that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but oy, I’d rather do mile repeats than this workout and that’s really saying something since I STRONGLY dislike mile repeats!
Yesterday I ran a miserable 7 miles. I was choppy, uncomfortable and having stomach problems. Far from ideal. Still though, I’m grateful that I was able to run and still really happy about Sunday’s beautiful long run. I read something from Dathan Ritzenhein that basically said that in order to have breakthrough workouts and races you have to endure weeks of mundane and average workouts ands not get down on yourself when you don’t PR every time. In fact, destroying your body with that type of pressure and hammering is probably counterproductive.
I have had some great workouts lately. I have had some great races. I have also had some average workouts and average races. And I realized, they’ve all been in the same sequence. So although I’m not even on the same planet as Dathan and never will be, it’s good to know I’m not the only one out there with ups and downs and I’m giving myself permission to have a tough day every once in awhile. That said, I’m looking forward to just cruising around on a nice, easy, pressure free run tomorrow. Just me, my little ipod and the darkness. Maybe it’ll be choppy, maybe there will be rainbows and butterflies and spiritual revelations and maybe it’ll hurt. But I do know it’s part of the larger puzzle– getting faster isn’t going to happen overnight and you have to endure the rough weeks and sometimes even months.
One of the reasons that I like running (and also gardening but that’s not what this is about) is that it is a sport that requires patience. And there’s no cheating. To get faster there’s no secret– you just have to run faster. And you have to hurt. And you have to stick with it. The recipe for success is, on paper, quite simple. Execution and the patience to stick with it are what separates the good from the great. Even at the elite level- -you can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t do what you need to do, you’re not going to do your best. And I think that applies to life, too. To be the best employee, friend, daughter, girlfriend, wife, sister, etc. you have to have patience and stick with it. Sometimes it’s easy- sometimes you run 17 miles at marathon pace just because you can. And sometimes it’s hard– sometimes you run 7 miles in the rain, stop to use the facilities 4 times and start crying at your front door because you’re frustrated.
So stick with it. Even when it’s mundane, even when your goal isn’t totally defined and even when you don’t want to. Because the payoff is coming. Maybe it’s not next week, maybe it’s not your next race or even next month but I promise, it’ll happen.