winter training and me
So I received a nice little reminder in my email inbox today.
Oh the irony that the B.A.A. specifically says they hope that “everyone’s Winter training is going well” because honestly, all I’ve been thinking over the last couple of weeks is that if I didn’t have this to train for, I wouldn’t bother making any goal races for earlier in the year, and save them for the summer (yes, you heard that right) and the fall.
As for the mileage, with the exception of the one week that was derailed by illness, I’ve been on track, getting it all in, getting the intervals, tempos, hills, long runs done. The problem? I don’t seem to have the speed I had last summer. My intervals and tempos are definitely slower than usual. What was supposed to be a fun last 5 miles on my long run last weekend as a group run to City Bakery turned out not-so-fun when I got dropped because I couldn’t speed up to anything faster than a 9 minute pace (which last year was my go-to-long run pace, mind you.) And mentally it gets to me. These speeds aren’t worthy of a Boston Qualifier. What right do I have to be running Boston? How the hell did they ever let me into the race in the first place?
That aside, I do feel that in many ways, winter training just does not agree with me. I know a lot of you love running in the winter, but hear me out. And even with this winter being milder than normal, it’s still not ideal weather for me. Outside of running, in the spring and summer, I like to be out and about. Cold weather makes me want to hibernate. Which leads to less sunlight which leads to vitamin D deficiency which leads to tired and cranky me. And I’ve noticed it’s much easier to eat better in summer (love watermelon and berries that are plentiful and in-season in the summer!) whereas now we gravitate towards more comfort foods and hot chocolate (or in the case of City Bakery, a melted chocolate bar. I did run 15.5 miles to earn that though!)
Motivation? With the exception of my speed/tempo workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s been a struggle to force myself out the door, even for long runs. I miss all the organized long runs of last summer, and I’m not looking forward to doing all my 20′s on my own. (Or even I have 18 on tap this weekend, which won’t be a picnic either.) One disadvantage to our “hometown” marathon being in the fall I guess…
And just to add to my complaint list :-p The fast stuff has been tough, my lungs do not deal well with having to breathe in cold, icy air, which is an issue with interval workouts and short races. Guess the Cherry Tree relay in a week and a half will be interesting, huh? Ideally I’d pass on all short races for a couple of months, but I got my arm twisted into this one, as I was originally planning on yes, the 10-miler as a training run. Maybe this is why I got all my short distance PRs (the 4 and 5-milers) in the summer last year? Hell, even my 5K PR was a summer race…
And maybe it was just too soon after NYCM to jump back into training. Coach T has even said it himself, that the fall-then-spring marathon thing takes a lot out of you and he wishes most people would take the spring off after a fall marathon cycle (well not take it off, but not have a marathon as a goal race.) And honestly, had I not already been registered for Boston, I would have had no desire to run another marathon in the near future. But this may be my one and only chance, so I had to take advantage.
I know what you all are thinking, getting into Boston and running it is my dream, why aren’t I more excited? Believe me, I am excited, I really wish I had a DeLorean to skip forward to April 16th :-P It’s just all the putting in the work to get there. There’s a difference between just going through the motions and stepping it up a notch, and I feel my training so far has been the former. I am adjusting my goals, I don’t think I have a realistic shot at a PR or re-qualifying, but I do respect the distance, and would like to at least have a respectable performance that doesn’t end like it did in NYC.
For all of you who thrive on winter training…how *do* you do it? How do you beat the winter blahs?