After Grandma’s, I gave myself some sulking time over the outcome, posted about it (which actually really helped) and now I’m ready to move on. I’m happy with the time I ran, and ecstatic that I made it to the starting line injury free. You know, it wasn’t until I posted my review that many of you commented and congratulated me on getting to the start injury free. That gave me a lot of perspective. When I ran Boston, I was still pretty fresh off my Achilles injury and while I was still treating it during Grandma’s training, it became less and less of a concern. I did have some pain after the race, but I think my calves were just tight from the marathon, and that’s totally acceptable. It’s several days later and it feels fine, and I’ve already run on it. Maybe I didn’t achieve my time goal, but yeah – the injury free thing, huge. Thank you so much for pointing that out to me. Many of the habits I was incorporating (drills, foam rolling, stretching, etc) into my training helped get me to the start of Grandma’s injury free. As I move forward, I plan to continue them. I’m happy with the time I ran and it’s given me a reason to change up my routine in the upcoming weeks.
As for what’s next…I think I have a solid plan to take me through November:
- Race Street Run 15K, July 4th
- Steelman Open Water Swim, July 12th
- Quadzilla 15K Trail Race, July 19th
- Steelman Olympic Triathlon, August 9th
- VIA Half Marathon (Lehigh Valley Marathon), September 13th
- Celtic Classic 10K, September 26th
- Hartford Marathon, October 10th
- Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, November 7th
I may throw in some holiday races after Indy – like 5ks and 5 milers – but only if I feel recovered, and it will just be strictly for fun. The plan is to do some active recovery now, leading into my next training block, and then bust out a nice fall race schedule. I will recover after Indy in November. Like a full month of zero training, just running when I feel like it. Low volume. I want to start base building again in December – zero intensity during that month, too. When January hits, I’m going to start Boston training. I always have these great plans and they always go awry – but here we go anyway!
Here’s the thing. There was no mention of my coach in any of those plans. That’s because I broke up with him. Maybe the decision was hasty because I was two days post Grandma’s when I fired off the e-mail, but I did. Yep. That happened.
See, I never had a coach before last August. I trained myself to get my 3:06. I hired him with the hopes of going sub-3, and that hasn’t happened. I’ve been with him for almost a year, and I’ve actually gotten further from my goal. HOWEVER. With that being said, I need to also say this: he is an incredible coach. I have zero regrets that I tried working with him. I don’t fault him AT ALL for my shortfalls, either. It might sound like I do, especially by the way I began addressing this. I can say with my whole heart that don’t regret working with him. It just didn’t work for me, but I’ve seen him do really incredible things with other people.
I’m fully aware that I’m not an easy athlete to work with. I come with baggage – I have habits and routines that I’ve become accustomed to over my years as a runner, I’m stubborn, and injury prone. Having certain ideas about how to train for marathons and being stubborn meant I never fully trusted anyone training me, especially when it wasn’t what I was used to. While being coached, I never thought I was running enough miles. Sometimes I thought the miles were too fast, other times I thought they were not fast enough – the list of criticism I had goes on. In reflecting on our time together, I realize that it doesn’t matter what he would have done with me. I wasn’t calling the shots so when I got my workouts every two weeks, I always had something to say about the quantity or quality of the miles (or both). That is completely unfair to him. He really did support my goals and did his best to train me to achieve them.
The biggest problem was that I went to him injured last summer and haven’t been able to kick the injuries since. So in all fairness, he did amazing things with the mileage I was able to run during our time working together. His workouts were fun and different from what I was used to. Even though I don’t know that I learned a lot about actually training for marathons (there is my own arrogance getting in the way again), I learned a lot about the other disciplines, particularly swimming. I also got to the gym to strength train regularly, and I can see the value of it and plan to continue it.
But one point that I always made with him holds true. The one aspect my training has been missing is high mileage. I’m a firm believer that if you want to run faster, you need to put in more miles and build a solid aerobic foundation. I used to bust out 60-70+ miles per week, and that’s when I ran my fastest. Yes, speed work is equally as important, but you need to have a solid base to support it. I will be hitting the track and getting my fast miles in when I can, but I need to build my base of long, slow miles. When I was training with my coach, I was mostly averaging 40-50 miles per week, and if I got closer to that 60 mile mark, it was because I added some distance in on my own. However, for much of our time together, I had some injuries that prevented my base from getting back to where it used to be, so I can’t fault him for that. Another factor missing from my training over the past year is the mid-week long run. One of the plans I often consult when building my own program talks about the importance of a decent long run mid week in addition to weekend long runs. I’m talking a run that’s in the 15 mile range. I can’t tell you the last time I ran 15 miles in the middle of the week, but I can promise if I looked back at my training logs, it was around the time I was at my peak fitness.
The bottom line to it all? Working with him is a lot of money to be spending when I’m not seeing results. So whether I go back to working with him again or hire a different coach in the future, I need to do what I know how to do best: build my base back up and get my mental game back. Regardless of whether I had a better time in me or not at Grandma’s, one thing is for sure: I straight up gave up early on, and that isn’t me. I don’t give up. So when did that start? Maybe I started putting too much pressure on myself. But I also know I haven’t raced much at all this year – and racing builds my confidence. The races that I’ve done this year knocked me down and made me fearful of even trying to PR. They’ve made me second guess myself and my training, and it’s affecting more than just my times. It’s affecting my mental game, and my enjoyment for the sport. I’m signed up for most of the races above already (still working out the deets for Hartford). Perhaps I was a little trigger happy with that, but regardless of the outcome, I need to get out there to remember how to fight.
“‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me…”
Do you work with a coach? How do you come back from a race that didn’t go your way?