I love to run. Even if life is hectic, I’ll always make time for a long run along the lakefront or a fast workout on the treadmill. Sometimes, though, I find it exhausting to train for a big goal—especially at the beginning of a new training plan. There’s a big difference between a daily workout to clear your head and the hard, focused training (both physical and mental) needed to ensure a good performance on race day.
For the first few weeks of this half marathon training plan, I felt drained. My mind was cloudy, and getting through the day and the day’s scheduled workout was a huge effort. I think some of this tiredness can be attributed to a big jump in mileage. I was running approximately 20 miles a week prior to the start of the training plan and mixing in several days of weight training and cross training.
Currently, my scheduled workouts include running 5 days a week, one day of weight training, and one rest day. The total mileage jumped from 25 in week three to 34 in week four. And then 41 miles in week five.
I persevered, and now, with just under four weeks until the race, sometimes after a hard day I have some lingering soreness for the next couple of days, but I’m usually able to complete the next scheduled workout. I had a little bit of knee pain recently, which caused me to cut a long run short. I split the next workout between the treadmill and the elliptical to give my knees a rest and fortunately have been able to complete most scheduled workouts since then.
An easy way to combat the new-training-plan tiredness is to head out to your local running store and buy a pair of new shoes. New kicks are one of the best rewards for higher miles. I like a shoe with a minimal heel-to-toe drop but some cushion. After trying on a few pairs at my local Fleet Feet, I settled on the Saucony Zealot ISO. I love them. I think Saucony read my mind and manufactured the shoe I’ve been searching for. The Zealot ISOs have a 4 millimeter heel-to-toe drop and with plenty of cushion for high mileage days. Because I like to rotate my shoes, I also bought the Adidias Adizero Boost, which I’m using for fast workouts on the treadmill and lower-mileage days.
I’m almost scared to write this because I don’t want to put the kibosh on my improvements, but I’m starting to become a convert to hill sprints. While training for my first marathon in 2010, the toes on my left foot started to hurt, and that pain has lingered, despite time off. Since I started doing hill sprints, it’s been less noticeable. It flares up some days, but usually, I can get through most of my long runs without any pain, which wasn’t the case before.
Right now, training seems to be going well. However, I’m having doubts that this plan will get me to my goal. I’m giving it my all and getting faster, but a breaking the two-hour barrier for 13.1 seems a long way away. Do you have any tips for fighting doubt?