One of the biggest things I learned through running is that you have to rest between efforts. That you can do enormous and unbelievable things (for me!), but you have to be steady at it and you have to get enough rest while you are doing it. I did not realize this when Paul started coaching me in running many years ago.
To train, I do run almost every day (I don’t run days I’m working at the hospital) which sounds crazy to a lot of people, but what they don’t know is that 5 out of the 7 days, I don’t run very hard. I run really, really slowly. Like I can daydream-about-chocolate-cream-pie the whole time slowly. And then the other 2 days, I work pretty hard and have to concentrate only on the running. Paul did program weeks of training just like that for many years (off, easy, hard/intervals, off, easy, easy, hard/long) before I quite understood what an easy day meant. The first couple of years, I ran my easy days too hard because it feels so good to run hard. It just feels great & amazing and you are running faster than you ever thought you could and it’s a lot of fun to run fast. I’d also over reach on the workouts. I’d run the workouts faster than Paul wrote them out for me. It was a lot a lot of fun while I could keep it up. But I was tired a lot, I was injured a bunch, I could not sustain the effort over a long stretch of time (meaning a good buildup). I remember once just having to stop training a couple of weeks before a race right when I was suppose to be peaking because I was exhausted and couldn’t run any more and had to sleep & rest and this took me weeks of sleeping to feel not tired again. I was overtrained. But this cycle, I was careful to sleep enough and to add in rest days if I felt like I needed them, to compensate for travel or extra stress. I did not overreach on workout days and this resulted in a nice, steady build since May-ish where I’ve run at least 10 miles every weekend for four or five months and probably at least 13 miles every weekend for the past 2.5 months.
Now that I’m older and wiser (lol) – my body and mind are more tired and need to rest more and I want to be able to run for a long, long time – no matter how slowly I go, it’s why I’m so beholden to my sleep and my very easy running days. Also important is the rest between seasons, I’m quite looking forward to after the marathon, where I can not run so much and sleep more. I’m also much, much less stressed about what pace my watch says I’m running – which often says Doris, you are running slow. As far as I’m concerned, my body works well and I feel good running. Not everyone is so lucky. I am still excited/nervous for the marathon. It could go well! Or it could not go well! Both are ok for me.
This is also the first week of my part-time schedule which just happens to coincide with the taper for my marathon. I’m resting a lot -sleeping and napping. The past few years have been difficult for so many reasons, I’ve worked a lot, I’ve grieved a lot. It’s nice to take this time to rest and recover (I used to, but no longer count travel/vacation as a time to rest and recover, it is neither restful nor recovery-ful, it’s just a different kind of stress). It’s nice to ease up on the relentlessness of everything – I was losing it there a little. Srsy, an email would pop up and say – hey can you fill this thing (totally normal & regular thing) out for Edda’s school and I would go into a funk that was very hard to get out of for the rest of the day. Every little thing was making me cry or upset or something! It was not good.