Last weekend, I ran 11 miles. I figured 12 miles this weekend would be no problem.
Most of the run went pretty OK, but then …
Mile 10, feeling flubbery.
Mile 11, feeling panicky and having a bit of trouble breathing.
Final half-mile, resorting to the “get-through-this” technique of counting every step, losing the ability to keep track of large numbers, and winding up counting to ten repeatedly until my tracking device uttered “Twelve. Point. Zero. Zero. Miles.” and I praised all that is good in the world and I stopped. (Oh, the joy of stopping! It’s my favorite part of running!)
I averaged a 12:45 pace over the course of the run, finishing at a 14:30-shuffle at the end.
That was *so* not fun. (Why am I doing this to myself again??)
There are lots of factors that can coalesce to wreck a run. Let’s examine a few possibilities, shall we?
1. Lack of sleep.
This article, towards the end, mentions a few studies linking sleep deprivation to poor performance in susceptible people. I definitely did not get my preferred 8-hours-per during the last week. I blame nightmares and a brain that simply will not shut off during periods of anxiety.
I’ll try to work on this, but it’s hard. At least the exhaustion of running tends to help me sleep better.
2. Poor nutrition.
When I get busy and stressed, the last thing I want to deal with when I get home from work is making dinner. So, last week, one meal consisted of microwave popcorn and SweeTarts. Another meal was Pirate Booty and pickled okra. (I wish I was kidding.)
Not even my habitual pre-long-run meal of steel-cut oats and Reeses Pieces could undo that bit of nutritional nastiness.
I know I seriously need to address my eating habits, for a variety of reasons, so I’m committing to planning out my meals for the week and going shopping each weekend. I downloaded a meal-planning app that allows me to download or enter recipes for each day of the week. Bonus: it collects the ingredients needed for the recipes in a handy shopping list.
Goose BBQ sandwiches and cole slaw … Bean taco corn bread bake … Catfish curry … Loaded baked potato … Penne pasta with squash and tofu … Bean taco salad … Hamburgers and sweet potato oven fries … I’m set for this week!
I think this is the real culprit. Because of some injuries earlier in the year, I’ve been on a compressed training schedule. Ideally, you’re not supposed to exceed a 10% increase in mileage from one week to the next. Here’s what dum-dum me did:
- this week: 23.36 miles +37.2%
- last week: 17.03 miles -6.7%
- prior week: 18.26 miles
When I run long, I need to back off on the other miles that week. I went into my Saturday run knowing I’d probably be in trouble, as my leg muscles were a bit sore from the week’s miles. I had forgotten what that particular kind of trouble feels like.
Happily, I will begin my taper next week! Only 6 miles to run next Saturday! Then . . . the half-marathon race!
Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw