Sunday, September 2, 2012

WAYYYYYY off the plan.....

or how I came to realize that a training schedule is just a piece of paper......

The past 2 weeks have been extremely challenging for me, running-wise.......after truncating my long run last week (running 13+ instead of 16-18), I started the week feeling very depleted and unmotivated.  On top of that, I started back to school again, spending Monday and Tuesday getting my classroom ready for my new students, and then actually meeting all 95 of them and getting the new school year started on Wednesday and Thursday.  The beginning of every school year is stressful under the best of circumstances, but this year has presented me with a few new wrinkles to worry about.  To begin with, I'm on a new team after 7 years of working with the same group of teachers, so there are new relationships to form.  On top of that, I'm also teaching both 7th grade and 8th grade Social Studies, again after teaching only 8th grade for the past 7 years.  That's a lot of change to try to process in a short period of time and it's going to take a while for things to start feeling comfortable.   Needless to say, the added stress took a toll on my running, as I went nearly the entire week without running at all. 

We didn't have school on Friday, so I took advantage of that opportunity to get out and run my normal 5.6 mile route....and I felt the after-effects of the stress of the week, coupled with the lousy sleep (or lack thereof) I'd gotten all week.  Nothing about the run felt good.....well, I take that back.  Ending felt good.  That's not how it should be......and with my next marathon coming up in 7 weeks, I'm not sure I'm going to be prepared as well as I'd like.  I was scheduled for 8 on Saturday, and I woke up stiff and achy and it quickly became evident that I  wasn't going to be running.  To make things more interesting, I was outside working the grill, roasting up some Hatch chilies and grilling some burgers and sausages (it was a mixed grill kind of night!) when I inadvertantly stepped on some embers that had escaped through the bottom of the grill.  Normally, that wouldn't be a problem.....but this dummy was barefoot.  So I got a dime-sized burn in the middle of the ball of my right foot.  I iced it almost immediately so hopefully it's not going to be too big of a problem. 

When I went for my run this morning, I didn't know how the foot would feel, but thankfully it wasn't bothering me at all.  I felt good, but knew I wasn't going long....stuck to my normal route and ran it nearly a minute per mile faster than on Friday.  Was it distance from the stress of the week?   Feeling good after a good night's sleep?  Maybe it was a bit of both, or maybe it was the realization I came to Saturday night, enjoying the burger/sausage combo I'd been grilling along with a nice glass of red wine.

A training schedule is just a piece of paper.

Rather than beat myself up for falling behind and not hitting the mileage targets for the past 2 weeks, I've been running when I can and when I feel like it.  In the past, I might have stuck to that schedule no matter what, and in the past, I ended up injured and dispirited.  So while I may be disappointed and concerned, I'm going to be getting over it VERY quickly.  I'm WAY ahead in terms of annual mileage in any previous year....and after my run tomorrow, I'll only be chasing my 2011 total of 1025 miles.  At my present pace, I should pass that sometime in November, so the base is solid.  Having run Boston this year, I know I have what it takes to finish a marathon, but I want to do more than just finish in Hartford.  A few more quality long runs will restore my confidence in myself, and I'll start dreaming of a marathon PR.....

I'm hoping to run 10-12 tomorrow and then I'll have to look at my ridiculously busy schedule for next week and try to figure out just when I'll run.  As much as I wish I could get out in the morning before school, I'd just have to get up WAY too early for me, and quite frankly, I'm not geared up for running in the dark.  To complicate matters, my chorus is preparing for our upcoming competition by having a weekend retreat, so Friday evening I'll be rehearsing until 10pm, then all day Saturday starting at 8am.  My training schedule has the first of two 20-milers on tap for Sunday, but after being on my feet all day Saturday, I'm not sure I'm going to be up for the full 20 the following day, but we'll just have to wait and see. 

I ran 126.33 miles in August.......not too shabby......most since I ran 127.00 in August 2009, when I got hurt a few weeks later.  I'm hoping that doesn't happen again!  I know I'm going to figure all of this stuff out soon......and you'll all read about it in here first!

Finally, a shout out to all the ladies who ran the Pocatello Marathon this weekend.....that's you, Priscilla, Erin, and Jen.  You're all ROCK STARS and inspirations to everyone!


  1. You are a busy man. I have never stuck to a training plan 100% because it seems like something always comes up and I end up moving things around. Since you are running more miles now I think you are going to be okay. I have been forced to get longer runs of 7-8 miles in during the week due to schedule conflicts. I think you are doing great so keep it up!

  2. You are right. Training schedule is just a piece of paper. As long as you get your miles in, you should do well come marathon day. Plus this is not your first. You know what to expect from the marathon.

    In my opinion, your job is harder than the marathon. LOL .... If you can deal with a classroom full of kids, you can do anything!!!

  3. The start of school does seem overwhelming doesn't it? You've got a lot on your plate, but running will make you feel better. I know it!
    Have a great year...we start back with kids on Wed.

  4. Hi! I'm a first time reader (and somewhat new runner) and I really enjoyed the last few posts. My husband teaches school so I know those first few weeks can be overwhelming. Good luck getting in those 20 milers!!! I appreciate what you said about training schedules. I am running my first half marathon on Oct 27 and I haven't even came up with a schedule yet... Gotta do that soon but I'll keep in mind along the way that it's just a piece of paper!

  5. You've really got a lot going on! And you are so right about the training schedule - there's no point in beating yourself up about missing a run. Running should relieve stress not add to it, right? Good luck with those 20-milers!

  6. I know how you feel, i have fallen short every week! I think that as long as we have confidence on race day, we will do well, regardless of milage. I mean, we're old pro's, right??

  7. Oh my, you got lucky with the foot burn. Hope your weeks start slowing down a bit so you can get back into the training. ;-)

  8. I can imagine how stressful a new school year can be, I only have to worry about my own three kids, not 95.

    I'll agree with you a little on being barefoot outside being a bad idea. I'm only sans shoes when I'm inside.

    Glad to hear your mileage totals are high, it's a good marker for your fitness.

  9. You're doing great. You've got the right attitude regarding flexibility with training. Relax and go with how you feel. Sometimes you can have the best training season ever but come race day, it just might not be your day... and also the reverse can happen. Relax. Be confident with the miles you are putting in.
    Those 20 milers coming up are important but also remember that 18 is good as well. Good luck.