Marathon Training Week 4: The Hardest Thing To Do

Weekly Summary 1/5/15-1/12/15

Discipline:
“(5) b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
c : self-control”

A comment I frequently get goes something like “Mary, you are so disciplined!” or “I admire your discipline!” There is something about me that thrives on routine and structure, and truly nothing gets me hard like creating a new, extremely detailed schedule. If it involves a multi-colored table, all the better. So I guess you could say I am bent toward rigidity and charging forward, regardless of how I feel. In many ways discipline is a great quality to have, but like a few of my best assets, it can be a real drawback, and nowhere is this more evident than in my running.

It didn’t take discipline to get up at 4:30 this Monday morning to run 13 miles before work. See pretty sunrise.

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Nah, I knew I had to get my long run for the week done, so I just did it. What took every amount of self-control, and what is quite simply the hardest thing for me to do, is not run when I’m on the verge of (or already) injured.

This past Friday, I was late for a call and had to run my last mile plus at an accelerated pace. I hadn’t done any speed work in over seven months, and I ended up running the last bit of what was supposed to be a super easy eight-mile run at a 10K pace. I felt great! Really strong…until about noon when my hamstring started tightening up. Ugh. I tried to remain calm, started icing, and just hoped it would loosen up in time for me to run my scheduled thirteen miles the next morning.

That day and the following morning were spent going back and forth “It doesn’t really hurt-hurt. It’s just tight. I’m sure it’ll be OK.” “You HAVE to do your long run on Saturday, that’s long run day!” Added to the mix was that I knew I couldn’t do the long run on Sunday because of a prior commitment. This caused a real panic in me.

But I am an older runner who has been dinged up the past couple years, and while I want to push the training my friend/mentor-coach always tends to be conservative with me. Her positive example and gentle suggestions may have finally gotten through my thick skull, as I realized that especially because my hammy wasn’t painful, it was best to rest it immediately, so I didn’t aggravate it and really injure it. I’ve learned that I just can’t mess around with certain problems, and definitely not on a long run.

So I took the day off.

The next day I hardly noticed the issue and ran three miles later that afternoon. Felt fine. This morning, I didn’t feel anything in my hamstring and completed thirteen miles easily. Turns out that for someone like me, the discipline of NOT running is just as important, if not more so as an older runner, as the discipline of running. And it is quite possibly the hardest thing to do.

Here are the numbers for the week.

Total weekly mileage: 36
Long run: 13 miles
Cross-training: Abs (2x); Upper Body (1/2x (only did Bi-Tri-Sh); Leg Strengthening (1x)
Push-Ups: 72

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