A Few Minor Setbacks…

This past week has been the worst since I began seriously training for this half. Granted, I’m not very far into this process and I imagine I will have to face many more difficult challenges in the future, both metal and physical. But compared to past runs, everything this week seemed off.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Monday: Wisconsin got hit with quite the snow storm. The night before, roads were coated in freezing rain. By morning, these dangerously slippery conditions were layered with 4 inches of fresh, white powder. Did this keep me from running? Nope. But I was supposed to do 3 miles, and instead it was a lousy 2.54. I was too afraid to run on the street, for fear that a car might slide into me, but sidewalks weren’t even remotely clear. I could hardly tell where they were, and half the time I was probably running through people’s yards. Sorry neighbors!

Tuesday: This was supposed to be a rest day, but I couldn’t resist doing a little something at the gym. In between classes, I got in a half-mile warm up, and 8 miles on the stationary bike. I felt nice and energized by the end of this workout! I got to my next class probably smelling like sweat and B.O. because I didn’t have a chance to shower. To the guy sitting next to me in English 385, my apologies.

Wednesday: I decided to bust out my P90x DVDs for some real cross training. I did the full Plyometrics video, which definitely got my heart rate up and my muscles engaged. I used the heart rate monitor on my Garmin, and it showed my average HR being 144 bpm, and max HR at 170 bpm.

Thursday: This is when things went down hill. I was all psyched up to do a solid 3 miles, and I thought I could fit this in on the treadmill at school. I used it quite a bit in the past, so I wasn’t expecting this run to feel like so much work. Almost immediately, shear boredom set in. Watching TV with captions just doesn’t do it for me anymore, and my music wasn’t enough to occupy my mind. After a mile and a half, I said forget it and went home to run the other 1.5 in the great outdoors. While I still got in 3 miles, I hate splitting them up because I feel like, for me, I need to challenge myself to suck it up and keep going.

But I'm sorry, this made for much better scenery!

And, Friday

I’m pretty sure I hit what all you experienced runners call a “wall.” The weather was nice for a Wisconsin January. I planned to make up for my lack luster performance from the day before by running a 3 mile do-over. My mind couldn’t get into the game. I couldn’t find that driving force to push me through to the end. My left hip flexor was beginning to get increasingly painful, and I gave up after barely a mile. Yuck.

I went home to re-evaluate. I read up on all the potential causes of my hip flexor pain, and decided to take the weekend to: ice, stretch, elevate, yoga, pilates and repeat. By Sunday, my hip still ached and I could tell it wasn’t at 100%, but it had improved drastically.

This week my focus is on keeping my head in check, and practicing what I preach! Wasn’t it just last week that I wrote a post about not giving in when you hit a wall? Yup, that was me. I make no excuses, I was totally weak. I absolutely need to find the strength to stop quitting mid-run, and tough it out. Boredom, or no boredom. Snow, or no snow.

Luckily, I’m off to a good start! I’m repeating last week’s training since I clearly bombed out in the running department. On the bright side, at least I identified my weak points and can now work to improve them!

Do you have any tips to help me push through these walls?

How do you keep yourself from throwing in the towel during a run?

Also, how do you know when it’s safe to push through the pain and when to give yourself healing time? 

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10 responses to “A Few Minor Setbacks…

  1. First off, great post. It helps sometimes to get it out there, and see it all on paper. Because when I saw ‘setbacks’ and then read your post, I thought, hmm she still had a pretty solid week. First step is mental- don’t think about it. That week is done, now you build on the successes and get stronger. It doesn’t happen all at once. As for getting though runs, if I set a distance for myself I won’t stop until I hit, as long as there is no dangerous pain. Just a matter of telling yourself you can do it, its not that much longer, and you’ll feel great about it afterwards. I also like to break runs into halves in my head. So if you can keep breaking it down and splitting it into easy to manage sections, it’ll be over before you can do the math in your head. Keep at it and find what works for you. Phew, way too long a comment. Great post and good luck!!

    • I am really going to use your suggestions about mentally breaking the runs into segments. I think that will help me rationalize the runs better. I feel like I focus so much on the number, and I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. By breaking it down, I think I can manage to tackle the runs a piece at a time. Thanks for sharing what works for you, and hopefully it works for me too! 🙂

  2. Running in Mommyland

    I feel your pain! I had my husband sell our treadmill because I couldn’t stand the boredom and it killed my will to run. I’ve been running outside, but it’s not Wisconsin, so the weather isn’t as much of an issue. As far as the hip flexor pain, I have it too, but I noticed that when I speed up it bothers me more. Since I have 7 more weeks of training until my marathon I am trying to slow down a bit. Also, I spread out my runs with a day in between except for my short run Friday before my big run on Saturday. It seems to help my body renew itself and there is less pain. Mostly, I’m just trying to not be hard on myself when runs don’t go as I expected. Thankfully, I’ve met lots of bloggers who are super supportive and remind me that I can do this!

    • Wow, only 7 weeks till race day! You must be getting so excited! And it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my new found hatred for the treadmill. When you wrote that it, “killed your will to run,” I was thinking “BINGO!” That’s exactly how it felt the other day. As far as your hip flexor goes, I think it’s smart that you spread out your runs and slow it down a bit. That way you’ll be feeling great come race day and be able to go full force without having to deal with the hip pain. I’ve been doing some yoga that focuses on the hips before and after I run, and that seems to be helping quite a bit. Yesterday I ran pain free, granted it as a short run but still. Good luck on the rest of your training! You’re going to blow this marathon out of the water!

  3. I really have to hand it to you. I was in Michigan last week, and even though I had every intention of running, I couldn’t make myself do it. It was so cold! The fact that you are even attempting to keep in shape right now is very admirable to me! Keep up the postive attitude! Even if you have off weeks, you can always improve.

    And I’m super competitive, so when I’m hating my life while running, I just keep telling myself that the harder/faster/further I go now, the better I’ll do when my time is broadcast on the results page.

    • Thanks for the encouragement in the cold running department! I guess it has its pros and cons, but there are so many days when I go running and can’t feel my nose and my knees feel frozen. Someday I’d love to live where winter doesn’t occupy 3/4 of a year! And that’s awesome that you’re able to channel your competitive personality and use it to improve your running! When I’m huffing and puffing along, I’ll definitely try to remember the end result and the more I do now, the better I’ll do then! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I wanted to reply to this yesterday, but didn’t get a chance! I was in a funk too so your post stuck out to me 🙂 I live in warmer weather (Louisiana) and am a cold weather wimp, so kudos to you for heading out in the snow! When I feel a mental roadblock coming on while I’m running due to some non-running issue (life, work, school), I let out a little “Aah!” war call sound to bring me back into the run. It helps me refocus on just going forward step by step. But if I felt some kind of physical pain (that’s not serious), I like to slow down and do a mental check of my body from head to toe and sometimes, I just stop to walk it out a bit and massage whatever hurts. So, here’s to better runs for next week! 🙂

    • I’m so glad you left this comment! The “war call” sound seems like a definite way to get you pushing forward, and I’m going to try that on today’s run! I think it will give me a jolt of drive that I’ll need, especially as I start tackling the longer mileage. And yes! I have no doubt next week is going to rock for both of us! Aah! *does war call* 🙂 Thanks for reading, and the good advice!

  5. How many rest days a week do you give yourself? While it’s great to cross-train, it’s even more important to rest as this allows your body to heal itself and recuperate. It also gives you something to look forward to without feeling guilty. Also, if you’re still hurting days later, and everything you’re doing hasn’t alleviated the pain, you may want to consider seeing a physio therapist. It’s better to deal with the injury in order to run your race, rather than not running the race at all. As my mom says, do yourself a favour and rest 🙂

    • Thanks for the tips! I usually give myself 2-3 days rest a week. I still do light yoga on some of those days, not so much for a workout but for the stretching. I definitely will see a doctor if the pain gets worse or doesn’t go away, but it hasn’t come back yet. I’ve been really focusing on warming up and stretching my hips before I head out for a run, and that has helped tremendously. No pain since! But I agree with you completely, rest is super important and I’ll make sure not to skip out on it! Thanks for stopping by!

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