There are a number of things in my life I arguably take too seriously — goldendoodle photo shoots, every article that deems chocolate a superfood, my firmly held belief that Rafael is, in fact, the true leader of the Ninja Turtles — but nothing more so than my strict adherence to a training schedule in the weeks leading up to a race.
A classic Type A personality, I thrive on the structure a formal training schedule provides me. It tells me to run five miles? Consider it done. It tells me to run the entire circumference of Manhattan? Count me in. It tells me to replace my normal skincare regimen with a daily slather of au jus and milk bones? Looks like someone’s been editing my schedule again on the sly.
When it comes to training, ticking off each scheduled run makes me feel accomplished and in control, and I love knowing that if I follow my plan to a T for 18 straight weeks, I’ll arrive at the starting line mentally and physically prepared to tackle those 26.2.
But if following a schedule makes me feel strong, missing a single workout can leave me feeling unfulfilled, unprepared and unsure of my abilities come race day. Multiply that feeling by five — as in the five scheduled runs I missed this week due to painful chest congestion — and today I’m feeling downright down.
Deep down, I know I was right sidelining my marathon training this week, especially that day I went to bed at 8 pm wearing two wool sweaters and a fur-lined cap. With the exception of two easy 20-minute jogs for the sake of sanity, I did little this week but go to work and watch the entire Molly Ringwald collection. I canceled all my social plans, remoted in on the worst day and subsided mostly on feel-good foods my wonderful boyfriend risked delivering into the hot zone.
Knowing I did the right thing deep down inside, however, doesn’t change the fact that my running log this week looks more like the Plains States than the peaks I’ve grown used to. It’s hard to look at those measly two bumps in the shadow of last week’s 18-miler and not feel like a bit of a fraud.
But maybe I’m wrong in looking at the glass half empty, even if my current glass is completely full of Alka-Seltzer Cold. Sure, last week’s 41-mile week was replaced by this week’s whopping 5.5. But according to my training calendar, this was supposed to be a pullback week — a somewhat reduced mileage stretch to help prepare me for the 19- and 20-mile long runs that are coming up soon. Sure, I wasn’t supposed to reduce my mileage so drastically — I was only scheduled to cut it down to about 35 miles before ramping back up stronger. But if the goal of this week was to relax my muscles before climbing the next peak, you could technically say I went above and beyond. Maybe instead of thinking of it as a terrible running week, I should try to see it as having had the best darn rest week Manhattan has ever seen.
A little perspective — like a little au jus perfume — can go a long way.
Were you more successful this week at running or resting?