Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Losing motivation

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. 


Laura said...

Lately, it feels like I need to get my head back in the game too. My long runs seem really tedious and even the shorter runs aren't as fun as they used to be. But I too have a half at the end of September, so need to log the miles. Going to try the new route thing.

Erica Gorman said...

I am with you on this one. I think part of it is that our training is reaching peak levels during summer and our minds want to be on summer vacation. Especially with kids out of school and family visiting and hearing about vacations, etc.

Hang in there. You are tough!

RunningJunkie said...

I do the same thing. When I get unmotivated I go out and try a new route, whether running or biking. Something about not knowing exactly where I'm going, how long it is, etc. allows me to really fall into the run and really get a stride down.

ajh said...

I need this post. I am about to do my 6th half this year, although the rest were all before May 30. I did try a newish route this morning. Not completely new but not my standard one. Truthfully if I hadn't already signed up for it I would not be doing another one.

KellytheCulinarian said...

I hear ya. I'm 40 days out from my first marathon and I just can't fathom how I'm going to do this.

Anonymous said...

I totally feel you--I have been lacking in motivation lately, too. Maybe we'll all feel better once the fall comes with cooler weather. I'm glad you enjoyed your new running route, though! I also love running early in the morning. Not having to worry about traffic is teriffic and I love getting to watch the sunrise every morning.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I can only train seriously for one race a year - otherwise I experience major burnout. I am feeling good about running right now, but I know I will feel differently once I hit the taper part of the cycle. I am glad you enjoyed your new running route, though! It's good to find new things to make us excited about running!!

Amber said...

I am having serious running burnout these days too, in fact I'm barely running at all! I think my body just really needed a break and I'm hoping to get back into it in the fall.

Lisa said...

Trying new routes sounds like a fantastic idea. Have you ever considered giving yourself a little break? I know this might be controversial, but it seems like you're in fantastic shape and you have no trouble with the mileage of a half, so why not deviate from the plan for a few days or once in a while to give yourself a little break? I don't know, just an idea. Glad you enjoyed your run this morning!

Marlene said...

Glad you are finding ways to keep the mojo alive. Back to back training cycles definitely starts to wear on you!

Glenn Jones said...

Don't fall into the trap of *having* to follow your training plan. I absolutely burned out while marathon training a while back. It's taken almost two years to get my motivation back.

Anonymous said...

You have a very tough training schedule and it is normal to feel tired and to lose some steam. Hang in there it is only 7 weeks, after that you can do whatever you feel like and maybe even take a week or 2 off and just run when you feel like running. During times like that I try to trick myself with rewards, such as massages or pedicures or a nice shirt I always wanted :)

Kim said...

I am excited to hear about your new running routes. I found myself doing that a lot this spring/summer. We only have one car and my husband uses it every night to drive to the post office and drop off packages so I can no longer drive new places to run. So I have been figuring out all of the places I can run to from my home. For my 22 miler last Thursday I started at 4:30 am and took a little bit different part of a route I normally do and it made it so much better! Thanks for this reminder to keep doing this :)