This post is going to be a little sassy and judgmental and I guarantee I’ll offend someone. I’m not ranting about anyone in particular, these are just some observations I’ve had about the running community. Am I an expert on any of this? No, of course not, so don’t take anything I say TOO seriously.
Things I think, but never say:
1) Aches and pains are part of the game. Listen, I’m not saying you should push through a stress fracture or something serious. If that’s what’s happenin’, take a break and see a doctor. But on the other hand don’t freak out if you’ve got some aches and pains. Honestly? Something sort of bothers me nearly every week. Do I troll Web MD and convince myself I’ve got plantar fasciatis, ITBS, and shin splints? Yes, definitely, you should SEE my browser history. But in the end, is it usually serious? No. Listen, all I’m saying is running is tough. Training for a race is tougher. Aches and pains are going to happen, accept the fact, don’t blow it out of proportion, and don’t use a sore muscle as an excuse to skip a run.
2) You’re wearing too much clothing. This is coming from the girl who instigated bragate 2011, so take my fashion “advice” with a grain of salt. But 75% of the people that I see running (or more importantly RACING) are over-dressed. I suppose if your race pace isn’t too quick, you might need some extra duds, but if it’s over 45 degrees, you do not need spandex tights and a jacket. And you can probs leave the arm sleeves and iphone holder at home too. I don’t know about you, but when I’m working hard, I get sweaty. And I certainly don’t want to deal with any extraneous fabric or worse – a jacket tied around my waist. So, if you’re running a race this year, try wearing a little less. Your long pants will be waiting at the finish line!
3) You can probably run faster. Whenever I hear “I’m not built like a runner” or “I’m just slow”, I want to get on my soapbox. I started running when I was 14. I was about 20 lbs overweight, only exercised when forced, and joined the Jr. High track team so that I could be a thrower (shotput, discus, javelin). Can we just pause for a moment and think about that?
Megan, a thrower? She can hardly open revolving doors.
Okay, moving on. I could barely make it around the 400m track one time on my first day of running. And believe me – I’m no elite, but obviously I’ve gotten faster. I don’t believe I’m inherently talented at running, but if you work at something for long enough, you will improve. Not everyone is going to be qualifying for the Olympics, but you also don’t need to be running 10 minute miles in the back of the pack. Increase your mileage, start doing tempo runs, maybe hit the track, and stop setting limits for yourself. I know that running is supposed to be an enjoyable activity and if you’re a casual jogger, that’s cool. Go do your thang, but if you’re putting time and energy (and $$!) into training and races, don’t half-ass it. Are you completely spent at the end of races? Do you run until you think you might vomit? Nice job. You’ve given 100%. /End rant.
4) Post-Marathon Antsy-ness (totally made this word up): I’m a pretty high volume runner and I don’t always take a rest day once a week (sometimes it’s every 10 days or two weeks), so I understand the itch to get on the roads. BUT LISTEN UP MARATHONERS – In my high and mighty (and very unofficial) opinion, if you don’t take at least a week off after 26.2, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t care if you didn’t BQ like you planned or if the weather is 65 and sunny or if your friends are all out running. You cannot continuously train and race – that’s a one-way ticket to burn out town. Take some days off completely from exercise and when you do start running again, take it easy. You don’t need to be doing tempo workouts the week after a marathon. I don’t know about you, but at the end of every marathon training cycle, I start to feel a little fatigued and burnt out. If you’re still fresh, maybe just maybe you aren’t training hard enough. The key here is cycle – plan out your key races, train for them full-tilt, and when you’re done, back off. Then you can start over again. I really think you need that downtime to get some perspective on your running, to figure out what worked and what didn’t, and most importantly – focus on the other things in your life for awhile.
Phew! Glad I got that off my chest. In other news, I ran my last key workout before Boston this week. I had to peace out of the office probably before I should have…and then dodge cabs and tourists to make my way uptown by 7pm. I felt like just getting to workout, was the workout, you know? Anyway. The deets:
8 mile tempo run (continuous) with 2 miles @ marathon pace, 4 miles @ half-marathon pace, and 2 miles @ marathon pace.
Splits: 7:29, 7:29, 7:06, 7:03, 7:11, 7:03, 7:30, 7:27
I haven’t been feeling super confident about my training lately, but this workout was a nice confidence booster. It didn’t feel easy (workouts aren’t supposed to!), but I did feel stronger and more relaxed than I have in a long time. The marathon pace miles are a little faster than they should be – in Boston I won’t be shooting for anything faster than 7:35, but I’m still pretty pleased with the splits. I ran a similar workout a month ago and while Thursday night’s effort was only 10 seconds faster – my splits were a lot more controlled and I didn’t feel like I was working quite as hard. I talked my running buddy’s ear off in the last marathon-paced mile, good sign, right?
I’m going to do one last longish run on Sunday (~10 miles) and then back it off a whole lot next week – just a few 4-5 mile runs before race day. And maybe some strides to keep the legs from getting sluggish. And sleep. SO MUCH SLEEP. Or at least more than 6 hours/night. T-Minus 9 Days.
If you’re coming here for nutritional advice, you may want to think twice – I have been know to consume beer & banana bread for dinner – but I do try to make healthy things when I can.
For example, here are some highlights from the last week:
Brunch: Cornmeal Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce and a Veggie & Mozzarella Frittata
Lunch (I packed my lunch TWO DAYS this week everyone, it’s a miracle): Curried Chickpea Wrap
Makes about 3 servings
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 container of baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean
1/2 bunch kale, de-stemmed
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
Salt, Pepper, Sriracha sauce to taste
Toss the chickpeas and mushrooms in oil and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes (you may need to keep an eye on them – they’re done when they’re lightly browned!)
Lightly steam the kale (I popped it in a bowl and microwaved it for about 45 seconds).
Let the chickpeas and mushrooms cool and then transfer them to a large bowl. Add the kale. In a small bowl combine the mayo and spices and then add the curry mayo to the chickpeas. Mix everything together and refrigerate. I spooned my chickpea mixture into whole wheat tortillas. Cheap, healthy, fast.
But honestly, I’d still rather buy my lunch.
I hope I offended less than half of you. Stick around – hopefully one or two more (rambling) posts before the marathon.
Some days I’m pretty sure I’m going to run a 4-hour marathon, but other days? Well, then I start to think that maybeeeee a PR might be a possibility (<3:18:17). Let’s play a game, leave a comment predicting my finish time and whoever is closest to my actual time will win a (to be determined) prize. Also, if you say DNF I will cry, so don’t say that. Even if you’re thinking it.