Monday, August 30, 2010

Heart's Not In It

It's been a long year... lots of miles. By the end of this week 2010 will officially be my highest mileage year ever--and there are still 4 months left. It's been great and I have enjoyed it, but I'm feeling a little tired these days.

Registering for the Victoria marathon had a double purpose. First, a bunch of my friends are doing it and it has been on my list of "to-do" marathons for quite some time. Second, I thought it would be a good way to keep myself from slacking too much after White River. I have a tendency to lose momentum after a big goal race and just fall off the wagon, so I wanted to avoid that.

As a result, I've moved right into marathon training. It took a few weeks to get my mileage back up to a reasonable level, but this week I should hit 50+ miles. And I feel fine, but my heart isn't in it. Part of me wishes I hadn't committed to Victoria. Part of me is considering just doing the half-marathon, but I'll decide that later if I don't feel up to the full in a few weeks.

With that said, I am planning to take some "down" time after this race. It will probably be for the rest of October and November, where I reduce my running and rest up a bit, and catch up on other things (November is also nanowrimo month!).

For those who have done a planned down-time like that, how much did you reduce your running? What did the weeks look like? How do you prevent yourself from losing all of your fitness and endurance? Did you follow a schedule or just run when you felt like it? I'm interested in finding out what others do... if I go into it with NO plan, then I will fall off the wagon. I want to at least maintain a decent base so that I can move into ultra training again in the new year! :)


  1. I remember a saying from my old road-running days -"For every mile of a race, you need a day of rest". That would mean that you and I shouldn't run (let alone race) until Sept 19. Now, I hardly abide by this but I think there is some wisdom in there. Rest (true rest) and recovery are major factors in running well. Don't be afraid to put your feet up for a little while. Walk your puppy. Go for a bike ride. Wait until you crave it again.

  2. The version of that that I've heard says no *hard* workouts for that many days... of course, I'm breaking that too by doing speed work. So maybe that's my problem... maybe I'm still doing too much.

  3. I could see it being a challenge to get fired up for a road marathon after such a great experience at WR50. Tough when you’re feeling like you should do it because of others, when possibly the trails are calling??

    As for downtime, I usually don’t like to take much or any unless the injury bug crops up. Though having said that, a reduction in overall volume, long runs and speedwork is certainly an annual (or seasonal necessity).

    As far as what your reduction should be is really hard to say as it very much depends on what you’ve been running and what your schedule has been like up to now. Some people will feel more recharged by just a slight reduction in volume and intensity.

    In general, and for many people….a really good way to do it is to take a set period of time completely off. I usually recommend 2 weeks, then 2 weeks of 3 runs per week. That should be enough to recharge the batteries. Then you can slowly start increasing again from there. You really don’t loose much by going that route and would find it easy to start ramping back up a after.

    Another good thing to consider is adding something different once or twice per week in addition to your running. This could include something like snowshoe running, cross country skiing, spin class, yoga….anything.

    While a little R&R is important, our bodies are meant to move daily, so it’s great to do a little bit each day to keep them ready to increase when you’re ready.

    OK, long ramble. I’ll stop now.

    The other thing you could do is buy a new headlamp and start training for a 100miler :)

  4. ha! I like how you slipped in that last bit there, lol.

    I do think I'll take a couple of weeks completely off after Victoria. And it's definitely hard to get excited about a road marathon when there are so many cool trail races to be run!

    I don't feel like I *have* to run Victoria, but there is also some curiosity to see what I can do now, since my last marathon was 3 years ago. If I have a crappy race though I will feel like it was wasted.

    decisions, decisions! :)

  5. If your heart's not in it, then is it worth it?

    I take lots of downtime, as you know. :P I run when I want to. I haven't read the other comments so sorry if I repeat. You could get back into mountain biking for a bit. That will keep up your fitness and make easing (ya right) back into running not as bad.

  6. lol...headlamp!!!

    You might have signed up for Victoria during your post race high.

    I think I need a racing break, but I never stop working out because that is the part I love.

  7. K: I think I should have spent August on the mountain bike instead of running... hindsight is 20/20!

    L: I have been planning Victoria for months. It seemed like a good idea... now I'm not sure. But I'll wait and see how I feel in a few weeks. If I'm really not feeling ready to run it well, then I'll downgrade to the half!

  8. yeah, but what about the head lamp?

  9. lol. As soon as I find someone to do night runs with me! Getting eaten by a cougar won't help my recovery! :P

  10. If you're heart's not in it, it's just not worth it, in my opinion. You're certainly ready to try for a great half-marathon PB if you want, too. It might not be trails, but the Victoria course (half or full) is really beautiful (unless we get torrential rains, of course). Just keep an eye on half-marathon registrations, though-- it's already fuller than the limit for last year, and they expect it will sell out. The USUALLY allow for full-to-half switches after the half fills up, but you never know.

    I still say you can continue to do the long runs on the trails you love, either way. Those gravel/dirt/paved trails are perfect long run training.

    As for planned downtime-- I plan to take it really easy after this marathon for about a month. Nothing scheduled, just have fun. I don't usually have trouble finding that running bug again, though. I'm doing a relay race in early November so I know I'll have to get read for that. After that I'll probably get back to weekly long runs of 10-12 miles plus some other runs till the end of the year, while thinking about mixing it up a bit (I have a plan for the spring that isn't all running. ;) ). But that wouldn't get me in shape for training for an ultra, so I'll pass to the experienced ultrarunners for advice on where you should be for that.

  11. Hi Holly - just picked up on your blog, it was nice meeting you at WR this year after your great run there!

    Going over your posts, I was interested to see the contrast between the post-WR euphoria and seeing your potential future at CCC, and the more recent lack of motivation for Victoria.

    I'd concur with my teammate Derrick's suggestion to take a couple of weeks off and get back into things slowly. The malaise you seem to have at the moment screams "overdone!" and backing away for a little bit should give your mind and body a break to let the hunger come back again. Don't be afraid of rest - you worked very hard physically and mentally to succeed at WR. Do something else for a week or two, get your mind off running and the next race, then ease back in. Your fitness won't disappear, and there will be enough time to perk it up prior to Victoria; in fact, you could well bounce back stronger/faster than before.

    and really, you're an ultrarunner now - I say pish posh to a mere 26 measly miles! ;-)

    We can discuss CCC and 100-milers later :-)


  12. hey Bruce! thanks for the input. Derrick was a huge support during WR training, and I just realized earlier today that you guys must know each other, when I saw Sara's comment on *your* blog. Small world!

    After reading everyone's comments and pondering it in my mind all week, I've decided to do as you advise and take a couple of weeks completely off... reacquaint myself with my bike, and enjoy the last few days of summer with my puppy before the rain starts. :)

    I'll still plan to run Victoria but without expectations or self-pressure.

    And then... figure out which ultras I want to run in 2011!

  13. The pattern for me has been that I won't stop even when my heart, mind and body all clearly need a break. I ignore that for several, several months and then get good and injured and eventually come back nicely revived after a loooong layoff. Seems about a 5-year cycle for me.

    Coming out of it this time I intend to be more proactive with rest and physio. This last year+ has been rough but I've learn a few good lessons.

    I love your blog, Holly. I've somehow been missing out on it and intend to catch up.