In a couple of weeks (exactly 7), I will be racing my second half marathon of the year. Even though I ran my first half in May very well, I was in the middle of marathon training and so I felt I held back a bit in order to save my legs for my final hard week of training before taper. (My half marathon was 4 weeks from my full)
I've tracked a lot of miles this year so far and its only the beginning of August. I have passed many milestones and run faster and farther than I ever thought I could.
And it is beginning to get to me. I have said many times in the past few weeks, I don't know how people train for 2 marathons in one year. I had a 20 week training schedule for the marathon with 5 weeks of building miles and 15 weeks of training. Now I have a 12 week training plan for the half but I am finding it hard to find the motivation to log all the miles.
I still enjoy running but training all year long is demanding mentally and although my body is holding up pretty well physically, mentally I seem to be less in the game than I was before. I kind of felt this way before the marathon too during taper but I thought it would go away once I took some time off from running post marathon. Well apparently, it didn't.
Even though this is a half training schedule, I am actually logging just as many (if not a few more) high mileage weeks than for the marathon although it is a more compressed schedule.
And its tough, it is tough fitting in the miles and finding the time to run when my summer is already jammed back (and I don't even have kids yet - I can only imagine how that will make things even more complicated). But I really want to run this race in September because this is the race that destroyed me three years ago when I was going for a big half marathon PR.
So I have been trying to trick myself lately into feeling motivated to do the hard workouts and the longer easy morning runs. And there has been only one thing that has really worked -
Running new routes.
This morning I was up at 5am to pound out 6 miles before work. I had planned a route that I had never run before and although I was tired, I was slightly excited to explore.
As I started out, my legs were heavy and sore but I told myself to just get to mile 2 which was the top of this giant hill and if I got there and felt totally dead then I could turn around, run down the hill and go back home.
But I got to the top of the hill and I was excited about the route, I wanted to see the remaining 4 miles. There is just something special about running in the dark. The half moon was slightly lighting my way, the sun was slowly dawning and spreading oranges, reds and yellows across the horizon. Some of the houses I passed has lights on inside while others were completely dark. I often wonder as I pass houses, what the other people are doing awake before 6am...Do they have to be at work early? Are they getting in an early workout?
There is no other time like running between 5 and 6am. Traffic is super light and the quietness is relaxing. I usually never remember my thoughts from a run - I think I have pretty awesome ideas but I always forget them by the time I get home.
It helped that the sunrise was spectacular this morning - of course I hardly run with a camera - but the mental image of that sunrise will be stuck in my head at least for a few days.
I am not sure how the next few weeks of high mileage are going to go but I am hoping that changing up my routes will help to get me back into the game and feeling motivated to run the half in September.