Hitting the Wall

Today I’m talking about half marathon training.

Now I’m not a pro who can bust out a solid 10 miles without any effort at all. So if that’s you, there’s a good chance you’re not going to sympathize. In that case, humor me for a bit.

Because I clearly hit a wall about two or three weeks ago.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love long races. I love doing them. They’re fun. They’re motivating. And, dare I sound sappy, they’re somewhat inspirational because I’m running in a crowd of like-minded and strong individuals. At the end of the race, I’m awarded with a medal, a beer, and a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.

What’s not to love?

Well. I’ll tell you.

1. The schedule.

Even if you’re fooling yourself into thinking you’ve got a sweet “Non-Plan Plan” going, you don’t. There’s always something in the back of your mind saying “this needs to be done today- don’t put this off any longer!”

Some days it feels more like a chore than a hobby. Which is sort of the opposite of what you’re going for.

2. The eating.

Am I getting enough calories? Protein? Carbs?
Am I not getting enough?
Should I eat this instead of that? But what if I really would rather eat that?
Can I have more than one glass of wine tonight?
Remember what happened last time you ate too much pizza before your workout?

UGH. Some people lose weight during training. Some people gain. And I understand how both can easily happen. This time around I haven’t mentioned it here, but have been using MyFitnessPal.com to keep everything balanced. I’m happy to report I’ve kept from being in major caloric deficit without the worry of having an extra flap of belly to lug over the finish line.

Will I continue logging food when training stops? Hell to the no. It’s a hassle. And I’d rather not feel bad for logging an extra cookie or drink here and there. Life’s too short.

3. The stuff that goes on outside of working out.

Random happy hour in an hour?
Did you just ask me out for dinner tonight?
A trip out of town this weekend?

Let me move about a million things around. Or I think if I get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, I should be able to fit it all in. Nevermind the fact that I’ll be exhausted and a bit spacey afterwards.

Basically, if you want to hang out with me (especially on a weekend), I need about 2 or 3 days notice to be ok with it.

It’s the obsessive compulsiveness mixed in with the training schedule. I can’t stop it.

Basically those are the main things that make me nutty by the end of the 3 months. It’s time to do this thing and celebrate the hard work. I’m SO ready.

But here’s the funny thing…

Totally going to do it again.

And again.

Because if I don’t? You’ll see me complaining about having zero motivation to do anything. No goal in the near future also makes me nutty. And a bit lazy.

It’s a vicious cycle. Full of ups and downs the entire way. The ups are those days where you totally kick ass at a long run. The good exhaustion after a sweat session. The extra few fries you could care less about eating because of the extra couple of miles you ran. It’s sweet. But for every good thing, there’s the flip side mentioned above.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different outcome each time.

I, my friends, am insane.

29 Responses

  1. I couldn’t have said it better. I love being at long races and that atmosphere…I cry, literally! I can’t watch distance races, or cross that finish line, without getting REALLY choked up. That’s why I do it :)

  2. I love this post- it’s exactly how I’m feeling these days. The training schedule shuffle becomes a dangerous game the closer you get to race day :)

  3. Yup, by the end of every training plan, I am ready for it to be OVER. Then it takes me a few months, or in this case year to recover.

  4. Yes you are.

  5. My husband is starting to adjust to the fact that running has taken over my life. I think at first he was annoyed by my “sorry can’t go out Friday night / getting up at 6am on Saturday for a group run/race” routine, but now he gets it and we’re sort of figuring out a routine. He still thinks I’m crazy though (but he knew that when he married me).

  6. AGREED. Especially with spring bringing my social calendar back to life. I was super stressed trying to figure out how to rearrange my weekend schedule; my friends didn’t understand my reluctance for late night bar hopping last weekend, I woke up feeling like shit and only felt worse realizing I had to skip my run. I’m up at 4 and in bed by 8 and feel like life is passing me by….but I’m already planning my next training schedule.

    I blame the start of my blog and my meeting all of you weirdos who accomplish things and care about your health. Thanks, guys.

  7. I know what you mean when you feel like you can’t do anyting outisde of training without a few days notice. I’d have to agree..I’m insane as well :) That’s probably why we would get along!

  8. I couldn’t agree more. I felt like I was reading my own thoughts!! It’s a love/hate relationship of sorts.

  9. Ha, I guess we’re all a little crazy. :) The end of my half marathon training overlapped with my month without alcohol. I don’t think alcohol itself interferes with running, but staying up one extra hour on Friday night to have that one last beer makes a Saturday morning run much less enjoyable. It was nice to have a few Friday nights in before my long-run days. (OMG, who is this girl?)

  10. I couldnt agree more. It’s SUCH a pain in the you know what to do the training and prepare for races and I am always like ugh I pay money to suffer?? But in the end, it is SO SO worth it and I end up signing up for more and more. We are totally insane my friend.

  11. I wish I had the motivation to run long races, but just the thought of any distance longer than 3 miles gives me the shakes. You will be great though!!

  12. Even when I could bang out a 10 mile run with no issues I still felt this way! I love running and I love races but sometimes I just want to live my life without taking a training plan into account!

  13. Haha these are exactly the reasons why I don’t know if I want to do a race longer than a 10K. There are SO MANY OTHER things I enjoy doing, and I don’t want running to become a chore and take over my life. I refuse to pass up a happy hour because I have a run the next day. Life is too short for that!

  14. Aww Amy, you are crazy but in a good way. Keep on truckin Amy. :)

  15. You are insane…but in an admirable way.

    The whole caloric intake thing when training? So confusing. I remember having this problem years ago when my knees could hold up to my running schedule. Now that my knees can’t I no longer have this problem?

    Silver lining I guess?

  16. Yes! I’m totally insane! And I kinda like it that way….. :)

  17. I totally agree that in training anything can happen with weight. I have lost during some training and gained a few during others. I really also like myfitnesspal. It has really been making me think about what I am eating.

  18. You are definitely hanging in the right crowd then! Welcome to crazy town my friend. I am glad you’re logging your eats during training though. I do think things get out of whack and any athlete keeps track of that kind of stuff or pays someone to do it. I need to email you to get on your schedule! I’m coming to Chicago in a few weeks!

  19. But it’s a cute insane. :)

  20. Logging your eats is smart. Nutrition is often overlooked in a lot of other bloggers training that I’ve seen. You’re a smart cookie!

  21. I can relate to all of this!! I’m running a half in 2.5 weeks and I am absolutely reaching the same point as you. Hang in there lady!

  22. Us runners, we are insane people. It is what it is!
    Who else runs 26 miles for FUN?! Exactly.

  23. I think running makes us all a little insane. I can completely understand why you would get frustrated with the whole training schedule thing (which is why I dont do races), but at the same time, I can understand exactly why you would do it anyway.

  24. That’s exactly what keeps me from doing another race. I never get the training in because I always have social events I can’t pass up and hen I get mad at myself for not doing as well as I could have. But I do love the race part and I really want to do another one. So… I may right there with ya one of these days, crazy and loving it.

  25. Love this post! I can totally relate! I think I cannot get my eating in check becaue of the whole worrying about being fueled thing. Why am I so afraif of being hungry? LOL!

  26. Amen, sister. I am a race junkie but lately I’ve found the training – and the nutrition component – challenging. Life gets in the way sometimes (I think I stole that from a Hallmark card) and we just have to do the best we can. But you’ve been pretty damn committed to this thing so I think you’re going to do great!

  27. I hear you, sister. I am sort of a race junkie but lately I’ve found the training – and the nutrition component – challenging. Life gets in the way sometimes (I think I stole that from a Hallmark card) and we just have to do the best we can. But you’ve been pretty damn committed to this thing so I think you’re going to do great! And I’m looking forward to celebrating with some ice cold beers!

  28. I love to race, and to train to race…. And the motivation/necessity to watch my food intake that came from racing as one of the things about running that changed my life for the better.

    I don’t track calories the way you describe though so its pretty easy to laugh off the cookie or the glass of wine. But weighing myself every day provides a brutal way to say on track regardless.

  29. […] because I often get stressed out by training for long distances, I’ve settled on a few 5k’s. Not that another longer race won’t happen later […]

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