I really cannot be bothered with training for Run Hackney any more.
Last week was tough; I couldn’t get the motivation to run, I felt tired all the time and when I tried to run just five miles (when on the Sunday previous I’d run 10.5) I couldn’t, and I gave up mid-run, in the rain, drenched and miserable after only running 2.8 miles but what felt like 20. Ugh.
The failed 5 miles was on Tuesday, which made me really nervous and anxious for the planned 5 mile tempo run I had on Thursday. Running for me is as much an exercise in mental training as it is in physical. If I have a “bad” run, then it makes me really anxious for the next one – a whole bunch of pessimistic and negative thoughts form in my head: why can’t I run?/I’m not going to be able to finish the half-marathon/I’m so unfit. These thoughts are just my insecurities surfacing and are in noway helpful, so I try my utmost to ignore them, but they form a type of mental block that I need to break through as well!
On Thursday I was determined to get in the five miles. I chose a route along Regents Canal – it’s flat, straight and exactly 2.5 miles there & back. I always find the first half of any distance hard, and then once I’m halfway there and on the way back, it’s like I finally start believing in myself and know I can do it!! I finished the 5 miles in 49 minutes.
Sunday’s long run was a mammoth 12 miles. It was my birthday, but I wasn’t going to not do it. I already knew where I was going to run – up along the Regents canal, to Angel, down into Highbury and through to Stoke Newington; the route was exactly six miles there and back. I also knew it was going to be really hot so I had chugged a bunch of water before I stated running. Bad idea.
I started running slowly – my body has just felt really really tired and sluggish all week and I knew I wasn’t going to be getting any PBs in this run. I got into a grove around 3 miles in, but I was seriously dehydrated. The sun was out in full force on Sunday morning and was turning me into a sweaty mess. As I reached halfway, I knew that if I didn’t stop and pee/refuel/drink some water, I was going to be in a bad bad way. Luckily I know someone who lives round the corner from Clissold Park, so I paid him a visit (a desperate plea to use your toilet at 10am is not the most ideal way to wake up on a Sunday). After a toilet break, water, some chocolate buttons and strawberry jam I was back out on the streets. Just 6 more miles and I’d be back home, where my coconut cacao truffles (and a birthday breakfast) were waiting for me.
Miles 6-8 were fine, but it was really hot and I was still really dehydrated. My legs started to cramp, so I slowed down to a slow trot, and then eventually walked. I probably walked for 7 minutes, before starting to run again. Between miles 9 and 10, I really struggled. I was running on empty; in hindsight, my dinner of miso peas and baked salmon wasn’t enough pre-run fuel for 12 miles, and I just felt so s l o w and heavy. I knew I was dehydrated, but I didn’t want to stop and walk again for two reasons: 1 it would be harder to start running again, and 2, it would take me longer to get home! Instead, I started doing interval sprints. When I had about 1.5 miles left, I stopped the intervals, picked up the pace and pushed through to complete my run. 2 hours and 16 minutes in total and I was finished! Finally.
Sunday’s run is the longest run on my training plan. Now, it’s all about keeping my leg strength up before the half. I do mean what I said at the beginning of this post though, I am really quite ready to run the half. I’m still really nervous (thinking about it puts my stomach in knots) but, I miss lifting at the gym, and the long runs are mentally and physically draining me in a way I’m not used to. To be honest, I’m not enjoying it, I’m fed up and I don’t want to do it any more!
Tuesday – 5 miles – 2.8 miles in the rain. Hard & frustrating
Thursday – 5 miles – 5 miles done and dusted. Legs felt like lead
Sunday – 12 miles – 11.7 miles. Done.
How do you train your mind for long runs? Does anyone have any tips for getting your run mojo back? I was really enjoying training for the half up until 2 weeks ago!