When I was training for my first 10K, I remember having a moment during one of my training runs: I was on the treadmill in my apartment complex gym, after work, putting in the miles for the second or third time that week, and I realized that running had become normal to me. Running was a habit, a hobby, a routine, something I enjoyed doing.
Fast forward seven years later (Seven?! Wow, yes, seven.), and that moment still pops into my head sometimes. Most recently, this week. Why this particular moment popped into my head this week, I’m not completely sure. But as things took a positive shift this week, I think it may have been because running and training have become so routine (in a positive way), that it can be jarring when things suddenly don’t go well.
Week five was rough, it really was. I struggled and I felt down about it. Like anything in life, there are going to be bad weeks and good weeks. Luckily, I had a lot of encouragement from the running community. One of my training team coaches also knew I had been struggling and reached out to me which reaffirmed my decision to train with this group and push myself the way I have been.
Encouraging words from both Hanna and Jennifer also helped me to regain some perspective, and I went into week six with a much more positive outlook. The two things that really spoke to me: Hanna reminded me that it can be really easy to focus on the negative, but there are always some positive outcomes that are missed. Jennifer reminded me that I am taking on a much more difficult training style this time around.
As I said, I went into week six with a much more positive attitude. When I headed to the track on Monday morning, I really did not feel like being there. The temperature was actually below 70, so I told myself I wasn’t going to quit and I was going to work for it. I hit really consistent interval times and left the track feeling really good about my first run of the week.
Wednesday things were really heating up. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we had heat index warnings, and the overnight low did not dip down too much. Wednesday is a tempo day, but I decided to adjust my expectations and run by feel because of how warm it was. I took a few pit stops during the run to stick my head in sprinklers, but I actually ended up hitting my paces every mile. It felt comfortable, too, which made the past weeks feel worth the work.
The rest of my week continued that way. I think there were four things that really contributed to this positive turn. 1) The previous five weeks of training – at this point, I should and am seeing improvements in my fitness, 2) Improved hydration – I switched to Skratch Labs and have overall felt a lot better, 3) Finally adapting to the heat – this was pretty evident during my long run on Saturday, 4) An overall better attitude going into the week.
A third of my training is now behind me. After week six, I feel really happy with where my fitness is right now. I still have a lot of work to do to get where I want, so slacking off won’t be an option. I have 10 weeks until taper, and I plan to make every run count.