Training Tuesday: Nothing Good Comes Easily, Sometimes You've Got to Fight

Welcome to Training Tuesday! Today I'm kicking off a new series that I plan to run every Tuesday until the Richmond Marathon on November 15. In case the title isn't self-explanatory enough, each week I'll be talking about how my training is going. If you're currently training for a big race, planning to run a race soon, working your way through Couch to 5k, or otherwise training in any way, shape, or form, I'd love to hear about your training too!

This training cycle is not going as well as I'd like. I'm getting in all my runs, hitting all the distances I should be and all the paces that I probably shouldn't be. On paper, it looks like it's going just swell. In reality, it just doesn't feel good. I don't feel energized and excited and motivated like I did when I was training for Charleston. I didn't feel that way about Shamrock either, but I'm pretty sure that had more to do with the short turnaround time than with any aspect of the training itself. Part of me knows that I will never feel that same excitement that I did training for Charleston, because it was my first marathon and nothing will ever top that. I will never have those same highs that come from hitting a new distance for the first time. That ship has sailed, and while I realize that, it doesn't make me any less sad that it's true. Or any more motivated this time around.

I don't know why I didn't realize it before now, but I think another thing keeping me down is the lack of races built into my training this time. My summer race calendar isn't usually very busy, but I didn't think about how that would affect this training cycle. I've run exactly zero races since I started - by this point in my Charleston training, I had already run 5 races!

After I realized this, I went into panic mode. On Friday morning I was ready to drive 5 hours to Virginia Beach, sell my soul, and hand over $150 to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon there on Sunday. Friday afternoon, I had abandoned that plan and thought instead I'd get up at 3:30am Saturday morning to drive 3 hours to North Carolina to run a half marathon there that runs up a mountain and includes 1500 ft of elevation gain. By all accounts it appeared as if I had purchased a one-way ticket to Crazy Town, but thankfully I managed to get it together by Friday night, when I decided I'd do my long run as planned on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, I knew I needed to change some things up. I started with my playlist - I've been running to a lot of songs on it for almost a year. I add and delete songs every now and then, but I decided it was time for a major overhaul. I cleared every song and started going through all the songs on my phone. I mostly stayed away from the poppy, upbeat songs and instead picked some songs that I really truly love, some that are fun, and mostly ones I hadn't heard in a long time. I've always viewed running as my time to listen to music (except, you know, in motion), so this was a perfect way to revamp my routine.

Before I left, I also adjusted my attitude. I decided that it didn't matter if my pace for the day was 9:00 or 11:00, the only number that mattered was getting my 14 miles in. I ran 7.8 miles alone and then met Ben for 6.2. I started out slow and enjoyed listening to my music. When I hit a hill, I reminded myself that there was no prize for getting to the top of it faster - I'd get there when I got there. That was okay. Somewhere along the way, I remembered that this is what a long run is supposed to be like. It's supposed to be hard sometimes. I'm supposed to fight for it sometimes. Who did I think I was, thinking I could go out and run half marathons like they're nothing, and then being disappointed when they didn't go perfectly? That's not me. It never has been and it probably never will be. I don't know when or why I stopped fighting, but I'm glad I started again.

That was the first long run I've had in a while where I really felt like myself, and really felt motivated and confident. There were no rainbows or butterflies or unicorns, but I figured that was as good as I could realistically expect it to get, so I finally bit the bullet and signed up for my fall races!

I now have 5 races lined up from September 13 to November 15 - culminating in the Richmond Marathon, eek! Let's hope the 3rd time's a charm!


  1. I start training for my half in December in like 2 weeks! Since I've taken the summer pretty easy I'm actually excited to have a set running schedule (most of the time). I'm glad you're back into your running groove again and good luck in all your races!! I've heard Richmond is a great race and it's only like 2 hours from me, may have to come cheer you on to check it out!! :)

  2. yay, you go girl! i love the idea of incorporating races into training for a marathon. if i ever do a marathon, i would love to do that. the half i do every april is right after a 'triple crown' of 5k, 10k, and 10 miler so they are perfect training races, but I don't have any coming up for the half in October. But anyway. I am feeling a little blah about my running lately, even if i am doing the distances and times and all that jazz, i'm just not as pumped as I used to be. I think my running playlist needs an overhaul as well, although I used to love running to no music, just the sound of my feet (loudly) hitting the pavement. might try that again.

  3. Good for you! I totally know what you mean about needing a busier schedule to stay motivated. I have one race left in the season and need some motivation. Just yesterday I started downloading my favourite childhood songs (like the Spice girls) and it made my run so much more fun

    1. Hahaha Spice Girls, yes! Nostalgia makes for some of the best running tunes ;)

  4. First, I love your new layout! Second, I love this post and I'm so glad you've got back into the mindset you're used to when it comes to running. I think in most things in life it's easy to get into a rut or a routine and kind of lose sight of what you're doing or why you're still doing it. I might have missed this, but if you haven't done it, you should definitely do a post on your favorite songs to run!

  5. You go, Glen Coco! This is awesome. :) I've never been much of a runner, but I'd love to actually be able to run a race.

  6. Love the facelift! Also, loving this Training Tuesday idea. You should make a button and have a linkup! I'm in ;) I do the same with my playlists; I have a couple going (Easy Run, Hard Run, Rock Run, Pop Run, EDM Run, you get the idea haha) but I have some songs that are on more than one playlist, a bunch of repeats, and some songs I always skip so every couple of weeks I have to go through and clear out and add something fresh. Sometimes the right song (usually an Afrojack song, ha) is all it takes to kick up my pace in the middle of a run.

    I want to do the City of Oaks. You + me + Lisa + 2015, we're doing it. :) Oh and also, I love your point about no prize for getting to the top of the hill faster. Sometimes it's a challenge enough just to make it, and that's okay. Each day's challenge will be different from the last, and that's part of what makes running so rewarding. You never know when you'll surprise yourself by pushing through a challenge. Like, oh I dunno, humidity for example. UGHHHHH.

  7. Oh good luck girl, I can't wait to follow along! I also can't wait to start training for my triathlon, unfortunately that is a ways off even though I am raring to go ha ha.

  8. I loved reading that paragraph where you said; "this is how running is supposed to be. It's supposed to be hard", etc. It's so true. You're killing this training and I'm SOO so proud of you!!! I don't know if I'll ever be able to run a full marathon, but pray that I can make it happen one day. Looking forward to your training Tuesday posts!

  9. I know what you mean about not getting the same high as you did from running your first marathon, but I have now ran 4 and although the high is different, it is still just as awesome!! Great job on your long run! I love changing up my music too, I get so bored listening to the same stuff all the time. So glad you signed up for some more races and I can't wait to follow along!

  10. After I did my Spartan Race, I felt a little less excited about training. I always need something new to get me motivated. I'm still doing my best and looking for new races to try.