Weekly Workouts and No More Training Plans

Hope you guys had a fabulous weekend!

First things first: many, many thanks to all of you for your helpful, supportive comments on my last post! I have taken in everything you guys said, and I feel a lot better about scaling back now. And that is why I PROMISE I will be better about keeping up with my weekly workout posts — not only to share my progress, but to help myself stay accountable and be able to see right here in black and white when I may be pushing myself too hard.

As silly as it sounds, I think I really needed to hear that I wasn’t going to somehow lose my ability to run just because I’m taking a little bit of a break. I was convinced that if I miss a training run here and there or don’t follow a training plan to a T, then that means I won’t be “prepared” for race day. And I guess I really am afraid of toeing the starting line — at this upcoming marathon, or ANY future race — and being undertrained. Running is so important to me, and I never want to do anything that could potentially hurt myself.

That being said, beginning this week I am taking your advice to RELAX. Because right now, I really do think I am hurting myself — mentally speaking, anyway.

Last week, I struggled through two 3-mile runs. And I do mean struggled. I know 3 miles should feel like a walk in the park to me now, but I just COULD. NOT. DO. IT. I hated every minute of it. Then I had already made the decision to squeeze in one final long run before the marathon, which I did this Saturday, and let me tell you — if that run wasn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.

Mon., Feb. 3: Rest

Tue., Feb. 4: Taekwondo class

Wed., Feb. 5: 3 miles

Thur., Feb. 6: 3 miles

Fri., Feb. 7: Taekwondo class

Sat., Feb. 8: 19 miles

Sun., Feb. 9: Thai Kickboxing class

Weekly mileage: 25 miles

As previously discussed, after running the Dopey Challenge I had decided to (try) to follow Todd’s marathon plan as closely as possible to prepare for our next big race: Rock N’ Roll USA in Washington, DC. I had already told him that I would do this weekend’s scheduled 19-miler with him, and then after all of your advice last week, I made the executive decision that this would be my last long training run for quite some time.

And I am so, SO glad. Because it was truly horrendous. It was by far one of my worst runs ever, and that is including my 17-miler for Dopey that I ran while sick and felt like I wanted to die. It’s hard to put into words just how bad it was, honestly…but I guess I’ll give it a shot.

We typically break up our long runs into three sections, stopping twice for bathroom/fuel/water in between — and for the first 7 miles, I felt okay. We were chatting and moving along at a decent pace, and I didn’t feel too bad at all.

But after our first break, things took a turn for the worse. Somewhere around mile 10, I started to have some sort of mental breakdown…and I feel as though my body followed suit. I felt like I literally had run out of steam, and I could not seem to put one foot in front of the other. My mind was racing with thoughts of just how much longer I had to go, and how I couldn’t do it, and how much I hated running, and why was I doing this to myself, and what is wrong with me, and I’ll never be able to run this marathon, and I never want to run again, and on and on and on.

And then it felt like my body started to shut down on me. I couldn’t get control of my breathing…I was panicking about just how miserable I was and beating myself up over not being stronger than this. My right foot started to hurt, and then (probably because I was trying to overcompensate), my left hamstring completely tightened up. The chill was also really starting to get to me; I hated sucking in that cold, icy air and feeling the wind whipping on my face, and since I kept having to slow down or stop to walk or stretch my legs out, my heart rate kept dropping and the chill would spread all over me.

I could not calm myself down. And, on top of it all, I felt like a horrible person for ruining the run for Todd and making him worry about me.

I somehow made it to our second break and I know I could have stopped right then and there. I could have jumped into a delightfully HOT shower and put my feet up and watched TV while he finished the run. (I know Todd wanted me to stop, but he knows better than to try to tell me what to do…I’m as stubborn as they come, haha). Truth be told, YES, I wanted to throw in the towel so, so badly. In hindsight, I probably should have.

But I couldn’t let myself quit. I had to finish. So we went out again for the final 6 miles, and that was when both of my legs pretty much decided to stop working. It felt like every muscle was seizing up and I just could not make them move forward. I’m not exaggerating at all when I tell you that my legs were starting to feel the way they felt in the last 10K of my marathon last month.

I ended up run/walking the majority of the final 2 miles. That is something I have never done on a training run. But I didn’t care. I kept telling Todd to go ahead of me when I stopped to walk so as to not hinder his run, and then he’d run in circles to come back for me or I’d slowly catch up. Those last 6 miles dragged on forever.

In the end, I did it. 2014-02-08 17.23.49

Somehow, magically, my legs didn’t feel all that bad when we stopped, and they were only a little sore that day and the day after — nothing out of the ordinary. Which is how I know it’s the mental side of things that’s getting to me now.

In any case, I have never been so happy to be done with something in my life. (This is the fakest smile EVER, in case you were wondering).

2014-02-08 17.24.42

The good news? Todd said that it was one of his best training runs. He felt great. He has been working so hard and is SO ready for this marathon…and I am unbelievably proud of him. :) 2014-02-08 17.23.17

After my disastrous 19-miler this weekend, my reflections on this week’s workouts include a really big, important realization.

I am so, so DONE with training plans. At least for a little while. I can’t take it anymore.

There is no way I will even be attempting the final 20-miler on Todd’s training plan. I hate to feel like I’m “quitting,” but at the same time, I know it’s best for me. I can’t take the anxiety and the pressure and the disappointment that have taken over my runs ever since I got back from running Dopey.

One good thing that came out of this week is that while I scale back on running, I can hopefully be more consistent with making it to my martial arts classes. Since I’ve had such tunnel vision for Dopey, and then this upcoming Rock n’ Roll marathon, I’ve been skipping classes left and right and have basically been on hiatus…so it felt really good to be back. It has been months and months since I earned my green belt in Taekwondo, and I’d like to move on to purple sometime this century.


I was also happy to make it to my Thai kickboxing class this weekend. It’s definitely a TOUGH workout, so I still reap the benefits of those wonderful endorphins afterwards…and I don’t know, there’s something about beating the crap out of things that really helps release some of my pent-up stress.

thaikickMy plans moving forward?

1.) No more training plans. I will run if and when I choose, and for as many miles as I see fit. I will not so much as look at any training plan. I’ve been obsessing about logging miles and crossing workouts off a training plan since I came back from running the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland last September, and quite frankly, enough is enough!

2.) No more gadgets. I think it’s best if my Garmin hibernates for a little while. If I feel inclined to run, then I will try a few runs sans watch, which lately has done nothing but make me feel bad about myself for not being able to hit my “normal” pace or make me feel overwhelmed by how many miles I have left.

3.) No more forcing myself to run. If I go out for a run and I’m not feeling it, then I will come home. Too bad, so sad, I’ll try again the next day. It’s not that serious and there’s no need to force anything…it has only made me feel worse.

4.) No more skipping martial arts classes. I need them right now. Running became my entire life and I let everything else fall by the wayside. It’s no wonder I’m burnt out! I also used to cycle at least once a week, so as the weather gets warmer (read: if it EVER stops freakin’ snowing) my plan is to dust that bad boy off and take it out for a spin one of these days.

5.) No more comparing myself to other runners. I will stop obsessing over what various running websites or Facebook comments or magazine articles have to say about how many miles I’m “supposed” to run in the weeks before a marathon or what my target pace “should” be for a particular workout. If that works for other runners, great. But I need to figure out what works for me right now in the hopes of getting my running mojo back as soon as humanly possible.

6.) No more letting running take over all of my spare time. Since I had been training for Dopey and Todd has been training for the DC marathon, our weekends have basically consisted of dreadfully long runs followed by a whole lot of sitting around because neither of us has the energy to do anything (the craptastic weather has NOT helped, either). I think we’re both feeling a little on edge lately, so this weekend we went out to eat for the first time in I don’t know how long and we also paid a visit to the Liberty Science Center — because I can’t remember the last time we planned some sort of “just for fun” activity — and I felt so much better afterwards. I think we both need to be better about balancing running with the rest of our lives, and hopefully that’s something we can work on together.


7.) No more feeling guilty. This is probably going to be the toughest one for me. I’m sort of a Type A personality (duh), and I like structure, and I like to do things “right.” So feeling guilty about not being perfect pretty much goes with the territory. But, of course, I am the farthest thing from perfect, and while it might be ideal to continue following a consistent training plan or log X number of miles a week or wait a little longer before beginning my official taper, then that’s just too bad and I’m not going to beat myself up or let myself feel guilty if I have to take a break and focus on what’s best for me right now.

Bottom line? I know I can run this marathon. I’m not going to let this weekend’s run get me down because I KNOW I am ready. We both are! So there’s no need to run myself ragged…now it’s time to focus on doing what I need to do to get myself to the starting line in one piece.

So, these are my plans until we take on the marathon on March 15th. In the meantime, I will be back to Walt Disney World this month for a long weekend to run the Glass Slipper Challenge, which might be just what I need right now — there is nothing more fun than running Disney, and I think I need that reminder of how much I used to enjoy this.

The Princess Half Marathon is a really special race for me because it was my very first half marathon, so I’m hoping that being back for the second time one year later and having the opportunity to reflect on everything I’ve done since then will help get me back into the right mindset. After all, I DID used to run for FUN…right?!


After the marathon, I will reassess from there. I may need some time off completely, or possibly just do a few relaxed weekly runs, or sign up for some shorter “just for fun” races, or whatever…but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get myself out of this funk.

Have you ever had to take a break from running?

Have you ever had to adjust a training plan?

How do you balance running with the rest of your life?



  1. Don’t ever feel bad about taking a break! I just have to say that the pictures of the two of you are so stinkin cute!

    • Haha, aww, thanks Meranda! I’m definitely feeling a lot better about the whole thing — hopefully a little bit of a break will help me get out of this funk!

  2. Good for you for taking a break! Enjoy doing what you love!

  3. You sound so much like me!! I’m the type that will stick with the training program no matter what even when I’m not feeling it. When I was training for my first half last year …I was on the wrong program, ran too much, got injured and was upset. After finding a better program for my next half….I loved running again and I did better and didn’t get injured. You’ll love running again (you know you love those medals)….maybe some time off will help :)

    • Ah, glad to know I’m not the only one. I really used to be a little skeptical about the idea of “over-training”…but now I see that it is a very, VERY real thing. I’m so glad you found a better program and that you’re back to business! :)

      Haha, you know it — I can’t resist some good bling. ;) I’d never stop running completely; I just have to get my mojo back!

  4. You and I are sooooo much alike. I am Type ‘A’ and also very very stubborn so I know how hard it must be for you to put away the training plan for your upcoming marathon. That being said, GREAT job on doing just that! I think your plan for your future races and running for fun is perfect. I hope the Glass Slipper Challenge is a blast for you and renews that sense of fun running for you! :0) Also, good luck in pursuing your purple belt this year!!

    • Thanks, Lauren! Yep, that’s definitely me! It hasn’t been easy to put aside the training plan, but I feel SO much better already. I know GSC is going to be a blast, no matter what! :)

  5. Sounds like a great plan… don’t follow a plan :)

  6. You should NEVER feel bad about needing to take a break. While training for Marathon Weekend, I tried to focus on following my training plan to a T. Now as I prepare for Rock ‘n’ Roll DC, I’m still following a general plan but more trying to go with the flow in terms of mileage, etc. So in essence, I’m taking a break so to speak from a concrete training plan and more trying to follow what feels best in the moment.

    • Sounds a lot like me! That’s exactly what I’m doing now…still running, but basing everything on how I feel as opposed to what a training plan says. Maybe I’ll see you in DC (sort of wishing I had gone for the half, haha).

  7. I love your plan of not following a plan. You’re going to feel so much more relaxed now! I’ve been sick of running the last few weeks and decided to sub in other cardio for shorter runs and I’m already feeling so much better. I really hope we’re able to meet up during PHM weekend!

    • Thanks, Jodi! I think so, too. I feel better already. I’m still running, but without a rigid schedule or the stress of having to get in X number of miles or run at X pace. I’ve been going to a lot more martial arts classes, too, which is also helping, so I think your idea of subbing in other cardio is spot on. Definitely hope to see you next weekend! :-D

  8. I think it’s awesome that you are listening to your body and mind about needing a break. You can’t forget why you are doing this all in the first place…because you love running. It’s ok to take a break…you will come back stronger for it!

    • Thanks, Mindy! I know you’re right. I do love running, but it has stopped being fun…I definitely went overboard on training, so now it’s time to scale back a bit and remind myself of what it’s all about. :)

  9. It sounds like this is exactly what you need. A break for your body and hopefully that will lead to better runs for you in the future. I like running Garmin free a lot, less stress.

    • Thanks, Abby! That’s what I’m hoping. I ran Garmin-less yesterday, and I can’t even tell you how much better I felt!

  10. I just have to say I admire you! You are absolutely amazing and so strong!! I started running in 2011, to help lose the rest of the baby weight I gained from having my son. I did my first Full Marathon in 2012, and that was it. Running hasn’t been the same. In 2012 I ran a race a month and ended the year with 15 races, I was mentally and physically burnt out. I ran a couple halves, 10k’s, 5k,s last year and that was it! I lost the love of running. I started training a couple weeks ago for a half in April and decided that sticking to my training schedule wasn’t happening and I decided yesterday that doing a half in April may just not be happening. The weather has been less than stellar this year. I live in Kansas and we have had so much SNOW. I don’t mind the cold, and I don’t mind the snow, but once the snow melts we get hit with another 4-5″. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things for a half with my husband in June. Good Luck to you tomorrow in the Princess Half tomorrow!! You are an inspiration for so many people!! Keep up the good work!

    • Aw, thank you so much for this comment. I really appreciate your kind words, and your support!

      Congratulations on your marathon, and believe me, I know EXACTLY what you mean — 15 races is a lot for one year, and it’s no wonder why we’re both feeling burnt out. I hope everything works out for your half in April, but the weather has been awful and is making it really hard to prepare for these spring races, that’s for sure! Best of luck to you, and here’s hoping we both get our mojo back ASAP!

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