Feeling Gravity’s Pull

I ran my first Half-marathon last year (The ODDyssey in Philadelphia) in 2:15. I ran my second Half-marathon last November (The Rock-n-Roll Half in Las Vegas) in 2:12. I had an unrealistic goal for that second race, of finishing Sub-2 hours. My last training run where I did the whole 13.1, I ran in 2:09, so I really thought I could shave those last 9 minutes off and slide in to the finish. Long story short, I was disappointed.

So what did I do? I came home, figured out my next Half-marathon, and got into training. My next race is in April, so my 16-week training plan actually started the week of Christmas. I’m using the free, Sub-2 hour Half-Marathon training program in RunKeeper.  At the time I signed up, I was really focused on the goal. I reviewed the training plan and said to myself, “Sure I can fit in runs 5 days a week.” I had been training 4 days a week, so the extra day didn’t seem like too much more.

I think I was wrong. Here I am 6 weeks in, and I find myself beginning to struggle. The runs are getting long, which in and of themselves is not unreasonable, but trying to fit a 9 or 10 mile run in on a weekday is getting harder and harder. The schedule has me running Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, then Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday is usually some sort of strides (sprints), Wednesday is a steady, medium paced longish run, Thursday is Intervals, Saturday is short and slow, Sunday is race-paced long runs. The weekend stuff is fine, it is the weekend. It’s the weekday stuff that is starting to crush my soul. Mornings are hard, because it takes so long. It is very cold and dark outside, and really risky to try and get in a run right now. Lunch time is better, but again, it takes over an hour to get the plan run in, then shower and get back to work. Evenings are tough, but not impossible.

So now that I’ve over-shared my frustrations, I guess my questions out to the world of runners are:

  • How do you fit your training into a busy workday?
  • How do you stay committed to a goal when the training starts getting tough?
  • How do you become an accomplished runner and still hold down a demanding career?

I’m sure all of this can be done, and part of me knows I can do this. It gets hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes.

I’m really interested to hear what others have to say. What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Feeling Gravity’s Pull

  1. amy

    Life will always get in the way. When that happens to me… sometimes an extra meeting, or an engagement with friends that i feel that i have been neglecting too long, or *gasp* an illness or an ache that will not go away… I just do my best, forgo a day and move forward. there is no sense in crying over spilled milk. i get right on track and move forward.

    1. Greg Myers Post author

      Thanks Amy!
      I try to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can, but the perfectionist part of me keeps screaming that I’m not doing good enough. Race day cometh, and we’ll see if I did good enough or not. I have an overwhelming feeling that it will all work out in the end.

  2. MCM Mama

    When my plan gets overwhelming, I drop a run or two or rearrange things a bit. Maybe sometimes do the medium long run on Saturday with your long run on Sunday. Hopefully as it starts getting warmer and lighter, you won’t find it as difficult to run in the morning. I’ve never hit every single run perfect in a training period. Life happens.

    Hang in there.

    1. Greg Myers Post author

      That is one of those questions I keep asking myself. Is the goal worth the cost? So far, I’m not willing to back down from it. I still have 2 months to go. 🙂

      1. MCM Mama

        I guess my point was that I don’t think you necessarily need to hit every run in the plan to hit your goal. Wearing yourself down mentally can be just as bad as not training hard enough. It’s more important to hit the key workouts (long runs and speed work) well than it is to necessarily hit every single medium length run. When I went sub-2 (which I’m nowhere near now), I did it with four runs a week. Good luck figuring it out.

  3. Theresa Varga Kavouras

    I don’t necessarily have a “career” anymore although I am trying to build a new one. But, I do rearrange when necessary. Especially here in the upper midwest where the weather can control you more than your schedule and unexpected emergencies. But I remain calm and carry on. My commitment level is high, even if it is just having to plan a 15 minute chat session with one of my kids. I take it seriously. I think that setting priorities ahead of time is the key to making it all come together. Running (training for Boston) right now is a big one on the list. So, the rest of my day builds on that premise.

    1. Greg Myers Post author

      Thanks Theresa.
      I used to find the schedule very easy to accommodate, when my runs were shorter and I could fit them in early in the morning. Morning is still my favorite time to run. But now that I need more than an hour for a training run, this is where my weekday schedule feels a little pinched. I live and die by my schedule and to-do list, and I always make a point of booking time to run, too. I was totally committed to this goal when I set it last fall. I even bought a treadmill for the house, so I had no weather excuses over the Winter. I’m still committed to the goal. I guess this is just the part where I have to show some fortitude, stick to the training the best I can, and hit that April race goal with all I’ve got. 🙂


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