How running 75 miles a week left me out of shape.

                                                         

“Consistency is KING,” she affirmed. “If you do the work, then you’ll see the results,” she reminded me. “Did you give all you got? Did you leave anything on the table??? Then your race results is anything but a failure. Let’s turn the page and move on,” she always assured me after a few lackluster races. Yes, Beth was a great coach. We had our ups and downs as many coach-athlete relationships do and sometimes I felt like she was the stern, nagging mother and I the reckless, defiant teenager. Then again that’s what made us, us. That’s what made our coaching relationship work and that is why I BQ’ed at New York, Chicago AND Boston 2x and broke 20 minutes in the 5k. She was patient- most of the time. And I was obedient- err, some of the time. There may be a reason she always calls me her wild child.  

It wasn’t until this wild child went out on her own that she began to realize the effectiveness of The Run Formula’s marathon training methodology and coaching services.

Let me back up a little bit. I started running January of 2013. By March 2013 I was training for my first half marathon and by June I had set my eyes on training for the 2013 New York City marathon. Word of mouth from running friends at my local YMCA led me to a google search of QT2 Systems, Jesse Kropelnicki and The Run Formula (at that time called Your26.2). An educated, passionate staff paired with a well-defined training methodology for its athletes, The Run Formula left me with only one question. Why wouldn’t I train with them? They took care of all of the details (i.e. the run volume, the intensity of workouts and even strength training routines); all I had to do was wake up and run. I signed up immediately.

I was consistent with my training. I stayed injury free. I got stronger. I ran faster. I worked hard and I was rewarded. I nabbed 4 BQs and new half marathon and 5k PRs. YES!! It was seriously hard work, but it was AWESOME.

Then life got in the way.

Don’t you hate when life gets in the way of your training? Ughhhh, life.
 

A divorce coupled with a job change and a move led me to take a step back from training to run. I bid adieu to Beth for a training cycle and opted to craft my very own, homegrown, organic training plan. In other words: I didn’t train.  

I have spent the last 4-5 months running and running A LOT. While I gradually built my mileage up to about 75 miles a week I took a step back from speed work, hill repeats and tempo runs. Even though I threw in a tempo run here and there to my training it was completely at random. The training plans at The Run Formula systematically increase volume and intensity throughout the training cycle to safely build an athlete’s fitness to peak at a specific race. But I wasn’t following a training plan. I was freely floating through marathon “training” with an over/under workout one week and a 2x10 minute tempo workout a few weeks later.  

I spent months truly grazing the marathon training buffet: increasing my volume up to 75 miles a week and throwing in hill repeats, tempos and mile repeats completely at random. The result? I have a ton of endurance, but NO power. It may sound blasphemous to say this but even though I have been running my mountains of miles each week I feel utterly out of shape. My pick-ups, mile repeats and even over/unders are slower. Instead of 6:40 mile repeats I was having trouble breaking 7’s. Instead of sub 7 min tempo interval paces, I was running 7:15’s. And my conversational pace moved from 7:55s to 8:40’s. It’s honestly just depressing to read.

Running all the time has left me completely out of shape.

In addition to the physical repercussions of running, mental road blocks started to arise during fall lead up races. Since I haven’t been practicing being uncomfortable during my midweek runs, the moment I feel physically uncomfortable during a race I begin to panic. Instead of practicing exposing myself to pain and leaning into the hurt with mental affirmations of my strength I have started to recede into my mental and physical safety zone. I have found myself playing it safe in every single race this fall by running at my conversational pace for the first half of the race and then descending my splits. While this tactic has led me to pass countless runners in the second half of each race, I can honestly say that I had more to give in every race I have ran this Fall.

It’s a fact: running all the time is negatively impacting my race results.

What have I learned from this break from training?
 

  • You can run a marathon without training.
  • If you train, you will run faster, feel stronger and most importantly feel (and be) more prepared on race day.
  • Marathon training is like a large buffet on a kitchen table full of speed workouts, hill repeats, long runs, recovery techniques, stretching, proper fueling, healthy nutrition, etc. You can graze the buffet by picking and choosing what you want to do, but you’re leaving a lot of fitness on the table. The only way to maximize your fitness on race day is to go all in and PIG OUT!! 


Even though my body and mind needed a break from training to get the rest of my life screwed on right, a large part of me desperately misses the hurt. An even larger part of me misses feeling strong, accomplished and feeling as if I am working towards something with each and every run and strength training session. Yes, I am definitely ready to train again.

Dear Beth,

Your wild child has returned. We are running Boston 2017 and we will break our course record of 3:23:08. And I promise to try really, really, really hard to keep my recovery HR at 125. For realz.

Love, 

Me, Kass <3

The plan works if you work the plan, so it’s time to get training with The Run Formula!

~ Kass



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