3.1, 6.2, 12.4, 13.1, 26.2
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can you hit "the wall" during training?

Is it possible to hit “the wall” during training? After a couple months of lackluster, unmotivated training, I think it is. I tell ya, I can’t seem to find the energy or drive to train like I did in the spring. I think because I hit my marathon goal time for the year back in July, I’m having a hard time staying motivated for the DSM marathon in October. It’s not that I don’t want to run it, because I do. It’s just that I don’t want to train as hard as I did in the spring and early summer. I was going balls-out with my workouts; Mondays were 60 minute recovery workouts, Wednesdays I was meeting with my trainer for an hour and Fridays were hour and a half hard workouts. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays were run days ranging from 6 – 22 miles, and I rested on Sundays. At that time I was really getting into the functional and leg workouts because I had never done them before, so it kept my attention and desire. I was seeing direct results in my running pace dropping steadily, so the reward for me was totally worth the effort. That was then. I think it’s safe to say I’ve plateaued with my training since the Okoboji marathon in July. Though I understand that my per minute pace time can’t always drop like it had been, I get that, but I’m to the point that even running doesn’t interest me like it used to. Now I’m running because I have to, not because I want to. I remember going through this when I trained for my first marathon in 2007; towards the end of my training I was running because that’s what the training group was doing. And if I didn’t do it, I thought I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon. But, when I finished that marathon, all the thoughts and feelings of the mentally challenging training vanished and were replaced by tears of joy and the incredible high of doing something I never thought possible (yes, I actually cried when I finished my first marathon; I was overwhelmed with emotion).

So, it is 2007 all over again? Part of me doesn’t think so. I say that because this time I know what to expect when finishing a big race. Granted, no two finishes are ever the same, but I’ve got perspective that I didn’t have in ’07. This time it’s different. Lately I’ve been asking myself if I really want to run the DSM marathon. My answer is always “yes”, but to what extent? Because I’ve plateaued in my training, I don’t feel like I’ll be able to better my PR from July. So it’s hard to stay motivated to run 26.2 miles “just for the shirt” as they say. Again, I get that I’m not always going to be able to run faster than the time before, but having that revelation sink in has been a factor lately when it comes to motivation. OK, so I don’t know I won’t run faster, but based on my training output and lack of motivation lately, it feels like it’s not going to happen. Next year I’ll be on a quest to qualify for the 2011 Boston Marathon, so that training should keep my attention and dedication. I seem to be in a lull since last month. I wonder how long it will last. Since my “official” training for Boston doesn’t start until January, it could be a while before I snap out of it.

So, what say you devoted readers of the GimpyRunning blog? All two of you. :-) What’s your take on my dilemma? Am I burnt out or just a wuss that needs to suck it up and train? I’d like to know your thoughts.