Training: The Lows

I was inspired by this article in Women’s Running to share the low points of my training. Now don’t get me wrong- I loved my last training season. I can safely say it’s one of the best things I’ve done in a while. But reading the original post a week or so into my taper, I was heartened by the honesty- someone else was struggling too! So this is a reminder for anyone else who sometimes feels like they’re failing their way through training- and life. We all go through it. Here are the low points of my training.

The 10 miler

This was my final long run of my taper, two weeks before race day. I got lost, electrocuted and almost cried when I realised even channelling Kara and Shalane wasn’t actually going to get me up a ridiculously steep hill. Hands down one of the worst runs of my life. But hey, it could have been worse- at least I didn’t poop my pants.

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Lambs gave me the weepies

During the aforementioned 10-miler, I stopped to stretch by a field of lambs. Completely exhausted by a run that should have been an easy one, I ended up just sitting on the grass verge by the field for a good 10 minutes, looking at the beautiful, innocent lambs, and having some existential angst- the main question being, Why did I choose to put myself through this? I tried not to dwell for too long, and eventually hauled my ass up off the grass and made it back to my parent’s house.

I had a meltdown in the work loos after my appraisal went badly

The three-month appraisal at my job came pretty much after the worst week of performance in my professional career. I’d been at the peak of my training, not coping well with fatigue or ‘brain fog’, plus I’d also been dumped and was feeling a bit sorry for myself. And then came the appraisal- let’s just say it went horrifically. At an all-time low, I cried in the loos, and then went for a long lunchtime walk, which also involved some tears. My bad.

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I plotted my long runs so I didn’t have to go back up the big hill

 The start of my long run route involves going up a rather large hill, and then back down again to the river. That’s fine at the start, but not at the end. I deliberately plot my routes so I don’t have to go back up that mahoosive hill-instead, I’m lazy and end at the tube station so I can get the train home. It feels kinda lazy, but at the same time I don’t really care. If I’ve just run 13 miles, I’m not running up one of the steepest hills in London. Plus, I get to stop off at Starbucks for a sugary treat en route to the station. Winning.

I ate the exact same dinner for two weeks

In the final two weeks of my taper, I literally ate the same meal every night. I was too tired to think about what to cook, and I knew that this particular dish ticked all the boxes. (If anyone cares, it’s a kale and veg stir fry with poached eggs and toast or rice). Thankfully, I’ve since managed to branch out into different things and am loving cooking for family and friends as well as myself.

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I count while I run

This is my least favourite running habit, as it brings out the OCD in me. I count every right step-it’s something to distract me when things get hard! Not the worst thing in the world, but annoying nonetheless.

 

I damaged my muscles with a medieval torture device
During one of my most successful tempo runs, my calf started to feel a little bit funny. And then, as soon as I stopped, it seized horrifically. I panicked in the following days as it was looking like this could put me out of the game altogether. And so, I bought one of those massage roller sticks and went to town on my injured calf- I mean really hard. Turns out I had a second-degree muscle strain, and this was not the smartest idea in the world. I had horrific purple bruising on my leg, and was told not to run for a week. Oops.

 

So there you have it- my marathon training fails. I can now look back on these and laugh, but believe me it wasn’t like that at the time. I guess these moments stop you getting too full of yourself!

So tell me, what’s your most recent running fail? How have you struggled in your training?

 Lots of love,

Pippa
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6 thoughts on “Training: The Lows

  1. As someone who has had her fair share of meltdowns in the workplace loos, I totally feel this post. I just finished training for my third marathon and a lot of these feelings held true for me – I felt that same sense of exhaustion and “brain fog” that crept into other areas of my life. It’s one of the less glamorous parts of this process that people usually aren’t as open about.

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  2. I had a brain fog fail just the other day. I MISSED A MEETING AT WORK. Like, I 100% spaced it and took my lunch early like I usually do and went to the gym and strength trained instead of DOING MY JOB and going to the meeting I was supposed to.

    Ugh, I felt terrible!

    My biggest fail is probably in the domestic sphere, though. I am not tidy under the best of circumstances. When I’m tired from training… it’s just bad. So, so bad.

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  3. I have definitely bruised myself foam/stick rolling (though not that badly)! One of the things I really enjoyed about following your training was that you were real about it. The joy, the pain, the bad days – all of it! I think my biggest training fail is just trying to stick to healthy food when I am so so hungry. Give me a cookie, please!

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  4. I count while I run, too! If I’m not running with someone and chatting, I count my breaths. Very annoying, but it keeps my mind off everything else.

    I actually just blogged about my most recent running fail. It all came down to pushing myself too hard in the heat, and trying so hard to have a good run with my partner that as soon as I realised I was struggling my brain just turned completely negative. That was last Thursday, and I really need to sort myself out with a mile or so to recover, now that I’m over my funk about it!

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