There are tough runs that build your confidence – like I had on Tuesday – and then there are tough runs that absolutely decimate it – like I had today. We have all had them. Those days when your run just doesn’t go your way.When your body feels like it was taken apart and put back together by Dr. Frankenstein. When running feels like the most unnatural thing in the world. I suppose I am actually pretty lucky that I made it 11 weeks into an 18 week program without a day like this, but damn this morning sucked! I am sure the huge work deadline that has had me burning the midnight oil all week didn’t help matters. Case in point the entire 6 ounce bag of white cheddar popcorn I stress ate yesterday (but hey.. at least it was the all natural kind).
I was supposed to run 8 miles at tempo pace (around 6:40) with a 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down. Last night as I was setting my alarm at 11 pm (wayyy past my bedtime) I decided that Tuesday’s workout was was harder on me than anticipated so I could get away with 6 miles of tempo.. run instantly cut to 10 miles. My alarm went off at 5:15… actually that’s a lie.. I was mostly awake lying there and my cat meowed at 5:14 am. I looked at the time and wanted to cry because I was so tired but had barely slept all night. I set my alarm for 6:40 and lay back down. 3 minutes of lying there awake thinking about how awful I would feel later if I didn’t run and I was up and getting dressed in the dark. Typically, even when I feel kind of blah in the am (because who really feels ready to go at 5:15 am.. ever) after a couple miles of warm up my legs wake up and are ready to go. That didn’t happen today. I forced the tempo pace on myself but after 3 miles had to ease up. Even that didn’t really help so I decided to cut the tempo portion to 5 miles and do 1 mile cool down. Run instantly cut down to 8 miles. I got home feeling like absolute shit. Doubt is a motherfucker. I did some PT made a coffee and a smoothie and went to shower for the final day of deadline hell at work.
So how do you go back to the training plan that resulted in feeling like your legs weigh 300 pounds each?
1) Well first of all.. book a massage. I have been getting some PT and acupuncture for specific issues but have yet to get all my shit worked out and clearly my body is telling me that its time.
2) Get back on the horse. Instead of fearing or dreading the next run on the schedule find a way to make it fun.. like joining a friend for the last miles of her long run or hopping on the trails with some friends for a change of scenery and some conversation.
3) Re-assess how you are feeling after a couple of days. If the dead leg syndrome persists for more than a couple of days, you may need to reel in the training to give your legs time to recover. Before I even felt like this I planned to replace next week’s track workout with my fav indoor cycling class and now I am even more confident that this is the right move.
4) Remember.. its not supposed to be easy!!! This is going to be my first week above 50 miles in 2 years and its totally normal for the body to be a little slow to adjust.
Since my schedule got messed up this week I am pushing the 18 miler to Sunday and plan to hit the trails tomorrow for some chill miles with a few friends, followed by PT. I am already looking forward to my next run and am confident it will feel a whole lot better than this morning.