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Reflection Run: Make a Decision Already!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I am having such a hard time trying to make a decision about my running.

I’ve decided several times what I was going to do, say that’s it, I’m doing it, only to begin questioning my decision an hour later and having doubts again.

And so the cycle begins over.....

All summer long I’ve been struggling with my running. I’m almost 90% sure that it was because of the heat and humidity this summer.

And this summer, for some reason (again I’m hoping it’s just the heat and humidity) I’m running slower.

However, there is this nagging doubt that there is more to it.

I run. That’s it. Plain and simple. That’s all I do is run.

No tempo runs….No speed work…No drills, hills or frills…..NOTHING.

This is me…..


When I was looking for my full marathon training plan, which I’ve been looking at all different ones for weeks now, I couldn’t find one I was absolutely in love with. Sure, I found ones that worked and built up the mileage needed, but they didn’t thrill me.

So, I started thinking….Did I just want to run or did I want to run a plan??

Part of me wants to ramp up my running and become a faster, stronger runner.
But that would mean, speed work, tempo runs, hill work, all the drills.

It also means I could risk injury. I’ve seen so many of my friends get injured and not be able to run for weeks, even months, and that scares me.

The other part of me wants to stay passive and just run….the plain and simple, *hey I crossed the finish line* run.

After thinking about it for quite some time, my first decision was just to run.

Decision made.

Then I came across a moderately conservative training plan that had me doing speed work and tempo runs on alternating weeks and my decision was unmade.

I printed this plan out.....I read it, reread it, reread it again, slept on it, reread it again in the morning, afternoon and evening….thought about it, thought about it some…slept on it.....reread it and thought about it again.....and then finally!

Ok! I’m going to do it.


I was going to ramp up my running….And I was happy with that decision. I told a whole bunch of people my decision.

I was really excited….I was going to train to run faster!


Not more than 2 hours later, I was having doubts again.
Not about the tempo runs or the hill work….I think I could handle those.

But, uh oh, speed work was scaring me!


I’ve never wanted to do speed work and I still don't!


I went through this cycle of making a decision and unmaking a decision for about 2 weeks.

I drove myself nuts.

I drove my husband nuts.

So today, during my *easy* 6 mile run, I started thinking about what I really wanted.

I don’t have a need to go really fast.

But I’d like to at least be able to run faster than what I do now.

I want to run and not injure myself.

I want to enjoy running, not dread the workouts.

This is my first full marathon. My goal is to cross the finish line.

I also decided that I do need some type of challenge.

Here is my plan….

I’m going to train with the moderately conservative marathon training plan that I originally chose.

I will do the tempo runs….I will do the long slow distant runs….I will do the easy runs.


I will NOT do the speed work …..(unless I feel like doing fartleks.)

I will substitute the speed work for hill runs

On the alternate weeks that speed work is listed, I will run the bridge.


(I hope)

Life IS Good!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • AMCG2002
    Yeah for you!! Yeah that you made a decision, but also yeah that you decided to make a plan your own. Plans are wonderful things as long as the goal of the plan is also your goal. If the two don't fit, you're going to end up unhappy, and possibly injured, which would make you even more unhappy, I'm guessing! All of that is a a convoluted way of saying that I'm happy for you and will see you in Disney!! :)
    2706 days ago
    I've never ran further than a Half Marathon: but have you considered Jeff Galloway plans?
    2706 days ago
    I've made up my mind to not do speed work again...I know...never say never, but right now my attitude is NEVER again! You are being smart, doing what will keep you healthy and happy!
    2714 days ago
    You Go Girl!
    2717 days ago
    I too just run, just barely lately. When I run, if I decide to do a tempo run, I just incorporate it. I don't have a set "tempo" I go faster to that telephone pole (or any landmark) then slow down, so I hope you find a comfortable training program. Yes first marathon WOO HOO, cross that finish line. You can do it. Thanks for the inspiration.
    2718 days ago
    Ok I don't know if this will help, I've been training for my 1/2 and been doing the same just running, I have added hills only because you can't go a block in my neighboorhood with out going up or down. My I run on Saturdays with a group of ladies called Moms In Motion and they do drills and all kind of stuff to get you going. High School Track Coachs sometime offer free drills one night a week. Just having people around may help :)
    2718 days ago
    I am with you, I hate speed drills. I went to two of them with my half marathon team and hated it. I am also just a runner, strong and steady. I like running and hiking hills too. I think you are wise not to push yourself that hard. Listen to your body, it will tell you pretty quick if it's not comfortable with a program. Good luck and happy running!
    2718 days ago
    lol loved it! Ive had the same thought processses and always end up "just running"! :D

    2719 days ago
    Jee you sound like me. So what plan are you following? I've got a few printed out as well-but haven't been focused enough to jump in yet-maybe we can push each other along to WDW!
    2719 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    Definitely follow your heart and LISTEN to your body. There are reasons you are having doubts so just take it one step at a time. SO many people will never run again because of an injury so praying that you make the right decision and I'm here for you as always! emoticon
    2720 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    Follow your heart and listen to your body!
    2720 days ago
    Glad you made a decision that you are content with. And I know you didn't ask for my vote, but for a first marathon, I think just getting your mileage up to 20 - 22 miles comfortably before the marathon, and learning how and when you need to fuel, is the key to having a successful marathon. You want to finish and say "that was awesome!" and KNOW that you can do it again, and better than your first.

    Best wishes, and keep us posted!
    2721 days ago
  • AUNTIE65
    Good for you! I think those plans are ment to be massaged into what works for us!!

    I am proof positive that running hills will help with speed... I HAVE to run hills to run any sort of distance in my area and my race on Sunday was primarily flat and I could really tell a difference.

    Can't wait to hear how it goes!
    2721 days ago
    Sounds like you have a plan, Suezette! Wow! That was a lot of thinking there. I would sprain my brain if I thought that much!


    Can't wait to hear about your marathon training!

    2721 days ago
    glad that you made the decision. LOL! hey, follow your heart and have fun. none of us wants to hate running.
    2721 days ago
    Most importantly, you need to enjoy what you are doing and have fun!

    2721 days ago
    Glad you finally made a decision....and it sounds like the right one for you.

    Good luck and enjoy your marathon training!

    2722 days ago
    A full decision doesn't need to be made. Follow your heart, listen to your body. Shorter stride + faster turnover = faster speed. Racing is supposed to carry with it enjoyment and fun, so enjoy and have fun.
    2722 days ago
    I vote for the LSD, Tempo, easy runs , and occasional Hills but No Speed drills

    I did speed work 2 weeks ago and was starting to have knee issue
    Ive heard a few runners at my local running store say they had injury during speed

    Im not saying to never try just saying to do that one with most caution.

    Curious about the book Nancy mentioned


    PS- Did you read Jeff Galloway's Marathon taining, I know hes big on intervals and makes it sound like anyone can run a full marathon. I think Im going to try his program for my first starting in November
    2722 days ago
    Do whatever works for you! I've done almost 12 weeks of marathon training this summer and have done no speed work. I've done the long, slow days and on occassion I get inspired and do some fartlek work. I did some races to push myself a bit, but never once have I done any formal speed work for this race and frankly, it has been wonderful. The marathon is going to be slow for me, and there's going to be some walking breaks, but I actually enjoy running again.

    I'll probably get back back into speed work this winter when I'm bound to an indoor track rather than the surrounding hills and trails. Speedwork this summer just sucked with the heat some days and made me hate running. More than anything, any distance or any speed, I want to WANT to run and this was the path I found the last couple months.

    Funny...ever since I started running about 4 years ago the "iRun" logo has been stuck in my head too!
    2722 days ago

    Do the training that is right for YOU and you will do just fine! There is a great book that I just started for the over 40 runner titled, Mastering the Marathon Time-Efficient Training Secrets for the 40-plus Athlete by Don Fink...I just started it, so I will let you know how it goes....

    2722 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    you can do this, it is a good plan and should get you there safely. once you start hills and tempos etc you may add a little speed work after a while. maybe try it once per month to shake things up a little if you still want to try it once you get going with the program. we are here to support your decision! emoticon
    2722 days ago
    See how easy that was? Just kidding! But I'm glad you've made a decision you can live with. If you hate speed work, forcing yourself to do it won't make you like it. Hills will get you speed. As will the cooler temps that are hopefully right around the corner for all of us.

    Happy Running! emoticon
    2722 days ago
    To quote Frank Shorter, who knows a heck of a lot more about running than me: “Hills are speedwork in disguise”

    So sounds like you will get what you want out of it while fooling yourself into doing the equivalent of speedwork.

    Sounds like a plan.

    2722 days ago
    So glad to read that someone else is struggling with this same issue...

    Hope it works, keeps you happy, in love with running, and injury free!!!
    2722 days ago
    Subbing hills for speed is an excellent decision! Hills will really make you strong!
    2722 days ago
    with all choices come the choice to chose again if you need. :-) don't worry about it.

    I will tell you what came to mind when I read your blog - yikes I hope it doesn't make you change your mind again. Many runners don't need to do speed work to get faster at running, all you have to do is run a bit faster. So, if your long run/or marathon pace is for example 10:30/mile and you would like to eventually run a bit faster then that...once in a while do a long run or a marathon pace run 10 or 15 seconds faster they you typically run.

    it's not drastic. you will find it very doable and soon your easy long run pace will be faster then it once was.
    2722 days ago
    Great! Go for it and let us know how it works for you.
    If I'm ever advanced enough to need to make this decision, I'd love to know how it turned out for you.
    2722 days ago
    Suezette - I think your plan is a good one. For my first marathon, I picked a plan based on the length of the long runs. I was more worried about being able to cover the distance than anything else. I ignored what the plan said for speedwork, hills, etc, etc. If I felt like running faster one day, I did. If I didn't feel like it, I didn't.

    Not only did this approach get me through the training injury free, it was really enjoyable.

    So.... GO FOR IT!!!
    2722 days ago
    iRun - lol. I love it! I have that same attitude about tempo runs - I don't really do them. I mean, sometimes I try to do them, but I usually just wind up settling into my "normal" pace after about 5 min. Oh well - I never claimed to be the most disciplined trainee in the world emoticon
    2722 days ago
    Suzette - its sounds like you made a good compromise with yourself. The hills will make you stronger, and stronger = faster. For what it's worth, if you do speed work the right way you shouldn't get injured, but you need to do what's right for you and your goals. Unless you find a coach to walk you through speed drills, it's hard to start it up on your own.
    2722 days ago
    So easy to see how it was a battle to come to your decision! I know you know your body and you know your limits (did you have any??? lol) so trust your instincts and just go from there! Yes, proceed with caution - there's only one you - and an injury would completely and utterly SUCK something awful!

    Good for you in choosing to go without the speed training. Training up is always a toughie, but incorporating something new that would cause you to dread running would ruin it for ya. Keep the love for it alive! I know you're gonna pass that finish, Suezette!


    2722 days ago
    I like your compromise decision. You are right that most injuries during the ramping up phase are from speedwork. You need a really, really good base before you move to speedwork.

    Enjoy getting the miles in and doing your first marathon!
    2722 days ago
    I think the act of running more will eventually make you faster, just as it becomes easier and your muscles become stronger. The big deal is you're going to be running a marathon! Your finish time won't make a big impression on most people or not for long, but hearing that you are a marathoner will. Do things your way and do whatever you have to do to stay healthy. Being faster and injured and unable to run is a million times worse than being slower and healthy and happily running and staying fit and fabulous. I'm rooting you on!
    2722 days ago
    Are you in my brain?! Seriously- this sounds like the exact conversations I have in my brain with myself...ALL THE TIME! I struggled with this same issue when HM training. I had a "plan" all printed out but ended up not sticking with it too much. It was "work" and running is fun, not work. That is why I run, it's fun and not work. I made sure I got the miles in but didn't work about the technicals of any of it. In the end I was happy with my HM results and I still have FUN when I run!
    2722 days ago
    Great plan! :D Also you know -- you don't have to stick to the same plan if you don't like it. IT's not like- BAM! Now for 16 weeks no matter what I have to do what it says on this sheet of paper. You can always try a speed workout or a hill workout and see if you like it. :D I've found that my speed workouts (that I am doing for the first time ever) have been really rewarding. Also it IS the heat and humidity!!! Even though I've been through it before, it still makes me feel like crap to think, hey I was faster than this before, what gives??? am I getting WORSE somehow???? No. You run slower the hotter it is. So do really talented people I know. Granted, for the cRAZY talented people I've befriended through my time on the RW online forums, that means for some that they're running 7:30 min miles vs 7 and below. :P Those speedy jerks. HAAHHAHA :D For someone like me that means my easy run pace of 12 min miles is now like 13:30+ Which is like OH HOLY COW SLOW! But I'm still able to do those speed workouts and see - hey, I'm not slow through and through! :D hahaha.
    2722 days ago
  • TIGGER622
    Great decision Suezette!!! What a great idea to substitute speed work with hills and tempo - you will still be bumping the training up a notch but not to where you are uncomfortable. You will be GREAT!!! So proud of you!!
    2722 days ago
    Suezette, like many of the others who have posted, it sounds like a good plan. Many of us appear to be in the same boat. I like your plan and it's good advice to all of us. Why did we start running? The key is to keep moving and get healthy. All of us need to only be better than the person we were yesterday. Run for the enjoyment and simply push yourself to be your best.
    2722 days ago
    Great decision Suezette!! Speedwork scares me too...but sounds like hill work will be a good alternative on those days. Keep us posted on your excited for you training for your 1st marathon!! emoticon
    2722 days ago
    Sounds like a great plan! I am very much in the iRun camp - I just like to get myself out there and run and not overthink it or stress over it, you know? It's supposed to be my retreat, my little mini-vacation in the middle of a busy week, so I definitely don't want to dread it! For my last half, I actually started a training plan that had speed work in it, only to end up ditching it for a more conservative plan that didn't have any, and it was just the right decision for me. My training went from being something I dreaded (at least sometimes) to something I generally looked forward to! My training for my next race is following a similar conservative plan. I try to build hills and variety into all of my running routes so I don't get bored, and I just feel like I'm naturally getting stronger (maybe a little faster?) through just RUNNING. I love it!

    Good luck! Enjoy your training!
    2722 days ago
    That sounds like a perfect solution, and very close to what I was going to suggest to you. I'm not sure if I was one of the ones you thought of on your "months" to recovery list, but mostly that was from not listening. If I had stopped my half marathon training when I first felt the niggles, I would likely be running this past summer. Even though through the training, I took two separate weeks off, it wasn't enough for what I was dealing with. I just didn't want to pull out of the race (wanted to meet Penny).

    So don't be afraid - just be aware. I know the goal is the full. Listen to the body, and pay attention to what it tells you through your training. Adding speed and distance at the same time is a recipe for injury - but it doesn't have to be. Use your rest days and cross-training days to recover from the runs, not to build fitness.

    You are going to do great! Bring it on!
    2722 days ago
    Suezette - I think you are a very smart woman - you may at sometime in the future decide to do speed work - when the weather cools down. As my hubby explained it to me speed work, tempo runs, and long slow distance runs are simply there mostly so you don't get bored with one type of run. So take it for what it is worth. You will do awesome.
    2722 days ago
    Sounds like you came up with a plan that will work for you. I dread speedwork too, but I mix it in to vary my workouts and to improve my times. But, for your first full, you don't need speed work. Just focus on building your base and getting the long runs in =)
    2722 days ago
    I understand completely about the indecision and apprehension! Take comfort in the fact that you're still DOING something- you're actually RUNNING. That puts you way ahead of a lot of us!
    2722 days ago
  • MARIE625
    Sounds like an excellent plan. Congrats on making a decision and for modifying the original plan to meet your own needs. Good for you!!
    2722 days ago
  • UROPA40
    If you are training for your first full marathon there is no reason to do any speed work. Slowly ramp up the mileage and do not worry about speed drills, I am also running slower due to the fact of increasing endurance while training for 1/2 marathons. I am training for a marathon but not planning to run a formal marathon. A running partner is training for her first so I am continuing to run the long runs with her. We did 16 on Saturday. I plan to run at least 20 on our local endurance run in October. I have started to put some hills in my weekly runs and will do a few farleks during those runs. I do not know if it will make me any faster but will see how I do on Saturday with my 5 mile race. Suzy
    2722 days ago
    One of my neighbors who runs a marathon or two a year, doesn't do 'speed drills'. All he does is run hills. In our area, that means running up and down dirt piles that the construction crews build. Not a lot of variety, or fun there, but it has made him a faster runner. He now runs at about an 8min/mile. So, hills to increase your speed, and make you stronger. I like your decision!!!
    2722 days ago
    My goal is to just run. I am happy when I am out there just being me.
    The summer heat and humidity takes a lot out of you. I bet anything once it cools off you will be faster! Don't stress sweetie, you are doing fantastic!

    2722 days ago
    Sounds like a plan! Running should be enjoyable for yourself, no matter what! Glad you were able to make a decision that you are comfortable with. I'm sure you'll do great, no matter what!
    2722 days ago
    I find it is easier to just run, no expectations, no worries of injury, just me and the open road..I am never going to be competitive with my condition, so I might as well enjoy it!
    2722 days ago
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