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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

what do you do when you just can't do it?

Today was one of those "why the HELL am I doing this? days. in all honesty....I don't have those days very often..and I don't have workouts that go bad very often..at all. I usually feel decent about them. I may not love them, but i get through them and am happy with my accomplishment.

Today on the other hand was just a total mess. Mentally.
the workout was 8 x 2min hill sprints.
I have ALWAYS felt very weak with hills. they are the ONE thing in training I dread. I feel like I am not strong. I think my legs are built for speed...but not for strength. maybe this is all mental, I don't know...but I do think there is SOME truth to it. Some of my friends have big strong quads and hills aren't the utter devil to them like they seem to be to me.

I have done this workout twice...first week was 5 x 2min...and it was pure hell. 2wks ago was 6 x 2min...and it was really hard too. so today...the thought of 8 was a bit much. I TRIED to psych myself up for it. lots of positive self talk "it's only 2 more than you did last time. It won't be that bad. You can do this. You are strong" etc etc.

I felt good on my warm up, but when time  came to run..things turned bad quickly.
I ran the first sprint and felt decent. few I thought.......but quickly, # 2 and 3 really didn't feeel good. my lungs were SEERING......my legs weren't THAT bad, but my LUNGS....oh my gosh, I could HARDLY get in enough oxygen the last 30 seconds.
# 6, I am pretty sure I pee'd my pants the whole way up. My bladder is extra bad lately. (10lb babies, and 4th degree tears= peeing your pants for the rest of your life).
Every single sprint, I made less distance and had slower paces. THIS is what was so discouraging....I JUST COULDN"T PULL IT TOGETHER. I wanted to quit so bad. by the time i would hit about 1min 20 seconds, mentally I had given up.
I wanted to quit, but I told myself, even if these next 2 suck, you are going to finish, you are NOT a quitter.

That was about the only good thing that came from this workout today....I did't quit. I felt like total YOU KNOW WHAT after this workout.
My mind was FLOODED with self doubt and alll the way home, all I could think of was that Boston course......the Hills and how I might go all the way there and totally flop. I kept thinking about the comment (can't remember who it was from) that posted on here a while ago and said that Boston kicked her butt every time she had run it, so I might have to get my goal time on another course.
I felt SO discouraged!!!!!

Amanda, Jenn and Tasha had good comments on my I dream of running FB PAGE that were helpful, so thank you ladies.

I AM about to get my period in 3-4 days so I hope that this whole mess has something to do with that. ....Yeah....I am gonna try and chalk it up to THAT! lol

So...what do you do when you have workouts like this? I need to learn some tricks on how to get over these mental barriers!


  1. When I have a crappy workout, it usually bugs me for a while, until I either have a good race or a better workout. The thing is, it takes about 6 weeks for results to really show up. What you are doing now will make it so much easier at the next phase of training...so try to just look forward. Also, there is a great chart in Noakes book regarding hills, wind speed, and paces/effort. Not sure how steep your hill is, but it could easily drop your pace by a minute a mile for the same effort.

    BTW...sorry about the bladder thing. That's no fun!

  2. I hate strongly dislike hills too; every time I come up to one on a run I am ready to throw in the towel. If I never had to run them again in my life I would be the happiest runner ever! My partner loves them, however (crazy man!) and always says to me 'if it sucks now it'll suck a lot less later' and it has become a little mantra I repeat to myself as I tackle hill training.
    I am sorry your run didn't go well, Nicole. Whenever I have a crappy workout I try to take next day off running and then come back with a nice long progressive run, or something that I feel is guaranteed to go well. I swear that improves my headspace dramatically.

  3. I don't know. I always feel discouraged after track workouts because I'm so much slower than all the guys out there. I try to just plug away, finish the workout (trying to hit my pace!) and move on. But I never feel totally thrilled with my performance!

  4. I have been beating myself up on my hills repeats too- because I truly KNOW I am not digging and getting to the point of exaustion that you were. Which I have to say- if you got to that point phsyically .....you my friend have won the battle to be won today- you burned out, you doubted but you did what we all do- we push through- and honey you are supposed to suck toward the last repeats- it's that digging that you capture and hold onto when you are in Boston- running and you think "Wow- this sucks.....but NOT AS BAD AS ALL DAM' HILL REPEATS....Without even knowing it- you made yourself that much stronger today ♥

  5. thank you ladies...I responded to Connie and Nelle but Gracie and Raina, it didn't bring up emails for you........ but thanks for the encouragement! Gracie...you are SO fast, I find it hard to believe you could feel like that! You're amazing girl!
    Raina....lets hope 6wks from now I DO see some results on these dang hills!!!

  6. OH NICOLE!! I feel like hills are my biggest weakness too and I can't tell you how many times I have quit a hill workout. DEFINITELY blame it on the period....it gets me every time and I feel like a totally different person!

  7. Hill repeats are HARD! But you pulled through and did it, just doing that makes you a stronger better runner both physically and mentally. I have just felt wiped this week on my runs, I don't know if it is running in the snow, ice and now the wind or what but today's run made me want to throw in the towel too. Bleh.
    I think workouts like hills are a lot mental, they are tough and they suck but they make you tough!

  8. You are amazing!!!! And even though your workout sucked, you didn't give up! That's more than most people can say. You ARE strong, you ARE fast and you ARE going to rock Boston!!!! Can't wait to see you on the course :) xoxo

  9. Periods get everything out of whack!! You are a super star. All I have to do it look at your header picture and see the JOY of running. You got through today and you will hammer through tomorrow. You got this!!

  10. I tell myself there is a certain quantity of pain in running a big race. Any pain now takes away from pain on race day. And I'd much rather have pain now, on a run that doesn't matter, than on race day. That's the mental game I play. Plus I only make myself do "1 more " repeat, knowing full well I'll make myself do "1 more" after that. Somehow just finishing one at a time helps my brain. You're doing so well & working so hard & totally an inspiration to me!!

  11. Hi Nicole,

    I just ran across this today (too many folks I know have blogs for me to read them all ASAP, sorry!). However, if your coach hasn't told you, what this means is lots of things.

    First, you ran the first one too fast. That's all that this means. Had you started at the slowest pace, and finished at the fastest, you'd feel triumphant. So this was a pacing error, no more.

    Secondly, even if hills aren't your thing, they build leg strength. So you run them at what YOU can do. Don't compare to anything else. An example from my own life: I am terrible at any kind of sprints. When the Good Lord was handing out fast twitch, I was, apparently, off on a long slow jog. "Sprint" does not happen for me the way it does for others. And yet, oddly, I tend to win kick finishes in races (or did until my knee surgery made sprint a really bad thing). Why? Because most people mess up their pacing and fade in the last mile, even when they should be able to outkick me.

    So, don't fret about this stuff. Run the effort, try to find a pace at which you can not only complete the workout but at which you could, if you had to, do one more, and just have fun.

    Also, fwiw, one of the goals of early training is to attack weakness. That is, find the things your body's not currently great at (sprints, mile repeats, tempo, whatever), and make those better. Not great, just better. FYI, that's one of Amanda's secrets. We're always looking for her weak link, and trying to make it better. If something comes easy, we do just enough to make sure it's still easy come race day.

    Hope that helps!


  12. Thanks Rick! the problem with this workout...was I had done it before...same place 2wks earlier and done it better and faster:( I did run the first one conservatively based on my past workout there and it still fell apart...I think I was just having an off day:( thanks for all your info though, it's always helpful and appreciated! Love the food for thought!!!

  13. Just read this blog and I could have written it myself on Friday. I share your pair about runs that just didn't go like they were supposed to. I wanted to run a race pace run on Friday and I couldn't even hit the pace let alone run it for any distance. I felt horrible and just wanted to give up and go home. I ended up only doing 8k instead of 12 but I felt like such a failure.

    Don't let it get your down. We all have horrible days and awful runs but I feel that it's how we handle the bad runs that show how strong we are as runners!

    Good luck and you'll rock the next one.


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