spring training

27 Mar

I really wish this post was about a great trip I took to Florida to watch my favorite MN Twins during spring training.

Yes, that would be Flat Stanley.

It is not. We were not there. Maybe next year?

Nope, I’m talking about training for a spring race.

If you are keeping score at home, you know that I am currently training for the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon on May 1st.

When I planned out my races for the year, I really liked the idea of doing a spring half marathon and a fall half marathon.  Apparently I was thinking of how great our weather was last spring. By this time last year, I had already been running and biking outdoors – in shorts! That is so not the case this year. Yesterday on our long run, it was 20 degrees and I was layered up in all sorts of gear and had frozen snot on my face when I finished. It’s a very attractive look.

It is because of our super loooong winter and many other things that I’ve come to a conclusion about training for a spring marathon.

It stinks.

I don’t mean to be all negative nelly on the blog, but I’ve been kind of down about  this round of training. Here’s why I’m not digging it.

  • The aforementioned weather. Because of the cold and most importantly, the ice, I’ve only been able to do 5 of my 19 official training runs and 33 total runs in 2011 outside. I don’t really mind the treadmill for some of the speedwork and the shorter runs, but it’s really getting old. The treadmill is not the same. In fact, I’m finding it much easier than my outdoor runs and that does not bode well as the actual race…is outside. One of the things I love about running is being outside. I find it very stress relieving and I normally feel refreshed afterward. I don’t look forward to running on the treadmill so my overall mental outlook isn’t as good and many times, I feel far from refreshed when I’m done.
  • Sickness. I’m known to get a couple of colds a year and they usually happen during season changes. I was hit by a nasty bug a few weeks back. In fact, most of the state was hit with the same thing. My congestion and cough hung around for two weeks. I missed a few runs and my comeback runs were slow and not that fun. It put a major downer on my attitude and I can’t help buy worry about the affect it had on my overall training.
  • Injury. Now, this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the time of year, but it’s something that is currently bugging me. I have a new leg pain. I’ll likely devote an entire post to it as it’s gotten to be quite the mystery. In short, I have a weird pain behind my knee that can shoot up my hamstring and down my calf. It doesn’t hurt when I run, but it will hurt later and on numerous occasions it has woken me up during the night to unbearable pain. It’s not awesome. Someday, I would like to know what it’s like to train for an event without having some sort of painful issue. That would be really nice.
  • Lack of improvement. I’m not a speed demon and I never will be. I’m okay with that. However, I’ve been progressively getting faster and becoming a stronger runner over the past 2 years. I don’t feel like that is happening during this training cycle.  In fact, I’m worried that I’m going to be super slow at this half. I’m sure this is due to the factors listed above. Maybe I took to much of a break between my last race and training for this one. Maybe it’s because of the full moon. I know I’m not going to be winning any races and I’m not competitive with other people when it comes to running. However, I am competitive with myself. I want to be getting stronger and improving my speed. So not seeing it happening has me down a bit.

So, would you like to hear the good news?

The good news is that I’m training for this race with Willa which makes it so much more bearable. Our longs runs are the highlight of my week. She got me through 6 miles on the treadmill when I was sicker than a dog (and probably shouldn’t have run) and she got me through 8 miles the next week when I was trying to make my comeback from getting sick. I know I couldn’t have done it without her and her ability to start singing the Rocky theme song at just the right time.

I realize this is not the most positive post, but it’s where I’m at with training. I haven’t set my official goals for this event, but one of the things I want to focus on is actually enjoying the event. I will set a time goal, but I’m going to set some non time goals as well.

I’m curious, do you find training for an event at a particular time of year easier than others? Why?

If you live in the fine state of MN like I do, what are you doing to beat this weather?

I cannot wait for the farmer’s market to open and for my favorite Saturday morning routine to start again!

6 Responses to “spring training”

  1. Monica March 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    I agree, Jen. It’s hard even in Cincinnati to train for spring races. We just don’t live in Cali.

    I also get constantly interrupted by travel when training, which is annoying. I am traveling this week – the last big training week before the sprint tri – and it sucks. Nothing to do but work around it as best we can.

    sometimes, adding in a different workout can help (like I do these classes that are circuit training that help with my overall fitness level and keep me going in the winter).

    By the way, with all the running, are you doing balance exercises (standing on one foot, etc) to prevent injury?

    • jen March 28, 2011 at 7:50 am #

      Monica – I hear we are going to just miss each other in Chicago!

      Yes, I’m doing strength training, spinning and yoga. The spinning obviously doesn’t help with balance but the others do.

  2. Carin March 28, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Hey girl – I know where you are coming from with the spring training, I trained for 6 Grandmas through the winter and I can remember almost all of my runs being outside during the winter, I didn’t have a gym to go to. But it does far outweigh the challenge of training through the brutal heat and humidity of summer. Just remember, race day with most likely be beautiful, warmer and sunny. I realize there are other scenarios, but why think about those!
    Pain – sciatica – I think I spelled that kinda close. A pain that runs from your buttocks down your leg to an area close to your foot, in your case the calf. When reading your symptoms, that is what I thought of.
    This week is going to be awesome weather wise towards the weekend, so be really excited to get out next weekend for your long run..spring is so close. The Kelly household is excited…4 runs a week on the mill is getting old.

  3. Willa March 28, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I am so glad that you decided to write this post!

    I am super excited for our race and I love training with you but, as you know all too well, I think this round of spring training has sucked for the same reasons that you outlined above.

    Also, I have to give you serious credit for encouraging me through our run this Saturday when I was ready to bail at mile 3 of 9 (which ended out being 10!). You rock.

    I can’t wait to read what others have to say.

  4. Steff March 28, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Jen! I am sorry you’re having a tough training cycle. I actually appreciate you “being all negative nelly,” though, because I’m having a crappy training cycle for a half marathon right now, too. Sometimes I feel like everyone is having a blissful time training and setting PRs except me, who is fighting a stabby pain in my IT band and feeling like I’m losing my running mojo! Anyway–I appreciate your honesty. Though I’m sorry you’re not having an easy time right now!

    I bet you’ll do great at your race, though. Sometimes extra rest gives your legs extra kick on race day. You could always just run it for fun, too–though I know that it can be hard to let go of your ambitions for time etc.

    OH, and winter training in MN is a BEAST. I admire you for tackling it!

  5. Liz March 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Training for winter is REALLY hard, especially with the weather you have to deal with. You should be proud of yourself that you are keeping up with it!

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