Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Bad Workout Does Not a Marathon Training Program Make

This week marks the first of my 16-week training program for the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon. I’m using Run Less Run Faster, which I tried a few years ago but abandoned after a few weeks when it became obvious that I wasn’t going to be ready for a marathon. (I hadn’t registered, so I didn’t lose any money. Otherwise I would have put a lot more thought into my decision.) 

I like Run Less, Run Faster because it only requires three workouts per week -- one speed workout, one tempo run and one long run -- along with one or two days of cross training. It’s tough, but it’s also realistic for those of us who prefer to have a bit of a life. 

Being relatively familiar with the program, but having not really looked at it in a long time, I didn’t glance at the program until last weekend. First workout? Three repeat miles in 6:01. Yikes. 

Due to some not unforeseen circumstances, I ended up doing this Wednesday morning. As I’ve noted, I’m not a morning runner, nor am I a huge fan of speed workouts. And it showed. After clocking 5:57 and 6:05 in my first two miles, my body just stopped working a bit less than midway through the third mile. Just stopped. I’d reached the top of a hill, but, nope. Wasn’t happening. 

I used the unexpectedly long cool down to mull things over. Initially, I was pissed, but the more I thought about it, the more I, well, cooled down. First, this was my first legitimate speed workout in a few years. Yes, I’ve done plenty of fartleks, but no timed intervals. Second, this was my first hard run in the morning in several years. When I run in the morning, it’s always easy. Third, it was my first freakin’ speed workout. I have 15 more.

Fourth, and most important, this isn’t supposed to be easy. It is was, sidewalks would be clogged with water bottles, empty energy gel packets and other signs of folks training for a marathon. It’s hard -- damn hard -- and not every workout is a walk in the park. Yes, this one hurt a little more because it was literally my first workout, but I’ll have plenty of chances to redeem myself -- least of all on race day. One bad workout won’t keep me down.