Saturday, September 15, 2007

Running lull

They said it would happen. I knew intellectually it would happen to me, but I didn't expect it so soon. Not in the first year. Not when I'm was so fully of energy and zip and excited about every single run. Not when training was the highlight of my day.

If I look back in my training log, I can see it building up... my love of training slowly dissolving as I got more and more tired.

I showed my trainer some running stats from my log last week. They demonstrate a consistent decrease in performance over the past month. I feel like I have no resilience and I'm tired all the time. And I am... sleeping 10 hours a night if I can get away with it.

He said something to the effect that there's no physiological reason for the decrease in performance... that it must be mental... that mental toughness was very important.

I was crushed. Choked back tears. Went away and wept... internal resources too low to fight... feeling angry at the irony of it all, thinking that a tough person wouldn't cry.

I want to run. I want to run just about as much as I want to finish my PhD successfully. And that's a lot.

I'm not particularly smart, reasonably intelligent, yes, but not brilliant by any means. And I'm not particularly athletic, in reasonably good shape now, yes, but definitely not in Olympic form. What I have are discipline and determination. And that's all. But no matter how I feel, I rarely miss training. If I do miss training, there's got to be a good reason.

I understand that plateaus are normal. But this... this decline in performance, coupled with exhaustion and a growing disdain for something I know I love, this is not normal. It leaves me asking what the heck is wrong with me?


Backofpack said...

Get your iron checked! Maybe you are anemic. Also, check your eating - are you trying to diet while increasing training? Make sure you are eating enough to fuel all your training - be conscious of it and eat intentionally. Finally, cut yourself some slack, take a week off or a week of low mileage, slow runs and see if it helps. Good luck!

CM said...

I agree with backofpack. Get bloodwork done, just to rule things out. Dare I say that you might also have a bit much on your schedule right now? You've got a lot of high-stress things, it seems. It might be that you need a change of scenery. I love gardening, but if I did it every day, for several hours, I would get a bit tired of it. Maybe you need to do some cross-training - mix up the running with another sport or 2? Doesn't mean you love running any less, but it might give you some variety. On top of this, I strongly recommend a therapeutic trip to Iowa. (grin) Do take care of yourself!

robtherunner said...

I know the feeling, Sarah. Hang in there!

ipm said...

definitely make sure everything physically is fine. then take a small break perhaps? or just cut back some, see if the love for running overwhelms the inactivity and you pick it up again..

thinking of you!

Downhillnut said...

Up and down cycles in physical and mental energy, performance and motivation are absoLUTEly normal. Nobody should ever expect to constantly maintain an upward-only trend.

New normals take periods of adjustment, such as your new schedule and new expectations of yourself. Your energy and love for running will return. The bad runs make the good ones feel better. Bla bla bla nag nag nag...

Hang in there! :)

Sarah said...

Your trainer isn't very tactful or helpful, imo! I agree that there might be something going on physically. Get it checked out and don't worry about taking it easy for a bit.

As for your other post about your neighbors: That's a tough situation. Just document, document, document and don't be afraid to call the cops if you feel unsafe.