I don’t want to run.
My alarm sounds, and my motivation to climb out of bed is 0%. Actually, if we’re being completely honest, it’s -1,000%.
The mileage doesn’t matter. Whether it’s 10, 6 or 3 — it all makes me go “ugh.” Not helping — my pace on all runs is stuck at 11 minute+ miles — slower than ever.
I’ve tried the “just go out for 2 miles” and the “just go out for 1 mile” … and all the other tricks in the book — ” ‘I regret that workout,’ — said no one ever,” tuning into music, focusing on one mile at a time.
I’ve been running for 3 1/2 years, and I’ve never felt quite like this. Sure, I’ve gone through individual runs or weeks where I wasn’t really feeling it, but I always powered through — and relatively quickly.
It’s been seven weeks since I dived back into running after a self-imposed three-week break around Christmas to give my legs — and mind — a rest. AKA, things I should have done after running my first marathon Oct. 9.
I have an inkling of what happened — I jumped back into running, and all other areas of fitness, too quickly. Four of those weeks I worked out 7 1/2 to 8 hours (yes, I double-checked my Fitbit stats just now) — higher than many of my marathon training weeks. I completed more strength, cycle and swim workouts in addition to my normal routine, which included one strength session and one yoga class per week on top of 4-5 runs.
I’d also stepped on the scale and realized my holiday indulgences hadn’t added 5 pounds — but 12. I wanted all that extra weight gone as quickly as possible — because now is never too soon.
At the same time, I also focused on dislodging bad habits I’d developed, specifically walking up somewhat-difficult hills instead of running (actually the best thing I could do, and I will stick with running vs. walking) and not skipping runs on some days my legs felt tired (I should have been kinder to myself).
It’s not surprising looking back that in the same seven-week span, I developed a virus that left me sleeping 15 hours a day and lower back pain that steered me to an entire workday spent on my couch — something that’s never happened before.
I ranted about my runs feeling so hard to my friend when we ran 5 miles on my birthday. I told her how my back injury seemed to develop: I ran 10 miles and the next day felt a dull ache (not entirely uncommon after long runs), but ran 4 miles, swam 20 minutes and went to a yoga class anyway.
She immediately honed in: “That sounds like overtraining” and “Kat, you did a lot of workouts in one day.”
I can’t be overtraining, I thought. I’m not running high mileage weeks. And I’ve always run the day after a long run and done yoga after. And yoga isn’t really a “workout” workout (Yes, I know it actually is). And I only swam 20 minutes, which isn’t a lot. And I’ve done similar strings of workouts before without “overtraining.”
The comparison game — to my own self — and the drive to ramp up my fitness quickly somehow developed into a beast in my brain.
It took a few days for my friend’s wisdom to sink in. As a result, I retooled my training plan — I’ll just focus on a 10K PR in May.
Then I talked to my trainer, and when he said I should stick with 10 miles for my long runs, even in 10K training, my heart sank.
It wasn’t until then that I fully realized I’d been looking for an easy way out instead of dealing head-on with the issue at hand — burn out, both physical and mental, and so early in the year.
Normally, this is part of the blog post where wisdom and wit combine into a solution, or at least some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Except, I have no solution. I am living day-to-day and considering my runs in the same way.
I don’t know when I’ll get my running mojo back, but I do know it will return again — someday.