ad·ap·ta·tion / ˌadapˈtāSH(ə)n/
the action or process of adapting or being adapted.
a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been a little bit of a mental mess when it has come to my marathon training. My intentions have been good but I sort of feel like I’ve been doing the whole thing wrong. For various reasons, each week has found me making adaptations to my training plan… which honestly, I’m starting to think it was never very solid to begin with.
I’ve skipped long runs (due to an injury of sorts). I’ve run two long runs in a 7 day period. I’ve increased my totally weekly mileage by more than 20 miles in a single week. I’ve bumped my long run mileage from 15 to 18 miles in a single run. And then again from 18 to 20 miles. I’ve beat myself up over the *slow* pace of my long runs when in fact, they are supposed to be run slower. I’ve been comparing myself to other runners and their training plans, mileage, paces, etc. (A BIG no-no!) I’ve allowed myself to think that I’m not fit or fast enough, nor have I worked hard enough, to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself.
Before I continue, I should note that I realize that I’ve done a few things right too. I’ve been trying really hard to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and naps on the weekend. My nutrition plan has been on target. I’m consuming close to four liters of water each day. My post-run recovery routine has been going well and I’ve been taking one day off completely each week. Also, because early on this week I noticed that I was feeling extra rundown, I backed off my mileage and effort. I skipped my tempo run and opted for a shorter, easy run instead of pushing myself.
I was planning to keep my mileage high… maybe even increase it… for another week before tapering. However, due to how I’ve been feeling during the latter part of my long runs… essentially my body screaming “uncle”… I’ve decided to make another adaptation and am going to call training good. As in, DONE! (I will also note that I believe one of the reasons I’m struggling during my long runs is because I’m running through the city and have to stop numerous times for traffic lights. I lose momentum and I begin stiffening up the moment I stop which makes it hard to get moving again.)
I’ve never tapered for three weeks before. During past training cycles, I’ve run my longest, or close to longest, training run two weeks before the race. I think it’s time to try something new. I’m planning to follow this guide that I found online from Runner’s World. And more important, I’m trying to reframe the messy mental chatter that I’ve been doing it all wrong. Instead, I need to see those adaptations over the preceding weeks as opportunities to become better suited to my environment. I got the mileage in despite the challenges thrown at me. Now, I need to find trust in the final portion of the training process. (And let my body rest!) (And also, you’d think I’ve never trained for a marathon before!)
So, with the Portland Marathon officially three weeks from today, I say, “BRING ON THE TAPER!”