Friday, February 2, 2024

Decision time

Last time I posted a training update, I was feeling a little better about my upcoming half marathon. Since then, things have unraveled. I've made the hard decision to switch to the 10k.

January started on a high note. I met my goal of running 11 miles on my first long run of the month; it was slow and painful, but I got it done. I thought, you know, it wasn't great, but I have 5 weeks to keep building!

My plan had been to take a cutback week, then do another 11. But we got hit by extremely cold temperatures and then I got sick, so I lost about a week of running, including two long runs. By this time my shin splints were finally starting to feel better (who knew incorporating strength actually makes a difference?) and I even had a fantastic four-miler after I got over whatever sinus junk I'd come down with.

By this time, I knew if I couldn't manage a double-digit long run in the last week of January, I wouldn't feel ready for a half. I planned to run another 11 on the 28th, but with only two weeks until race day, I had to face a pretty hard truth when we had a sudden "heat wave" with high humidity. I tried, but my 11-miler became 6. 
I draw the line at running when ice is forming inside the car.
I know temperatures in the 60s and 92% humidity were major factors, especially after that cold front and being sick, but more than that, I wasn't excited. I was dreading slogging through the run.

A training cycle full of shin splints would have been hard enough to overcome on its own, but I have to factor in my abysmal mileage total in 2023, too. I took four months off in the first half of the year. I barely ran five miles a week June-September. I gave up on strength entirely. 

In the past, beginning training in October for a February race would have been fine, but I had essentially destroyed my foundation completely. I think I've been in denial, thinking I could speed-run this training cycle. The truth is, the entire thing has been a struggle.

I'm not making excuses. I'm just finally admitting to myself that a half isn't a good idea right now. My heart isn't in it.

Could I do the half on February 11? Sure. I think I wouldn't enjoy myself and I'd risk burnout, maybe even injury. Am I excited to do a 10k? Not really. It feels anti-climatic and I feel pretty defeated. But I think I'll come around.

I keeping thinking of the 9-miler I did in December. I ran it alone and I felt so good the entire time. It had me feeling confident I could run a half; if I had been able to keep that momentum through January, I'd be feeling completely different right now. But the fact that missing just two long runs was enough to derail my progress really proves to me that I am not in the form I'd like to be in for a half marathon.

At the end of the day, though, I know I'm doing the right thing. I'm going to try to make the 10k everything it can be. I'll run a smart race and hopefully really enjoy it. And then I'll have time to dedicate myself to a real training plan for a spring half and maybe that full in the fall.

I'm disappointed, but I know I'm making the right choice.


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