The Runner’s Tears

I’m walking away from this weekend really thinking about the marathon and whether or not I can actually do it. I haven’t had a good run in what is now weeks and I can’t even get myself through a 10k. I feel dead and tired and just all around can’t move. The 10k was a shit show by mile 2 and I dare say I was getting close to being swept it was going so badly.

At this point, I feel like I’m at that crossroads where I’m either going to decide to stick with running and be okay with the fact that I just can’t run anything akin to what I was running a year ago or just abandon it entirely. I’m dreading the Staten Island half which is only 2 weeks away, and seriously wondering if I’ll even be able to complete it in the allowed time that’s how badly things are going.

Just thinking about running now makes me want to cry because I don’t know where I went wrong. I put in all this time and effort training, and it hasn’t done anything for me. Nothing. In fact, I feel like if anything I’ve just regressed to be worse than I was a year ago and I’m at a loss of what to do about it. I thought it was a temporary bump in the road, but now it’s over a month and nothing is working. I’m confused and frustrated and angry.

People talk about these things like they’re the result of “you didn’t train hard enough,” so what do you do when you train hard and nothing happens? How do I train harder and get worse? I’m angry with running and disappointed with myself at this point and I just don’t know what to do about it anymore.

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31 thoughts on “The Runner’s Tears

  1. Dude. I feel the same way right now. My marathon is Oct 19th. I did my last “long run” (16 miles) today and it was everything I could do to get through it. I’m so burned out it’s not even funny. This is my first marathon and I’m hoping this is normal and that I will love running again AFTER the marathon? I’m like, what the hell did I get myself into?! My running was going SO well until I started training! I was personally starting to wonder if I was pushing TOO hard at times…not just runs, but in my cross training too…idk…if I do another marathon, I need to figure something out or it might break me!

  2. I am 3 weeks from my first marathon Oct 19. I feel some of the same feelings that you are expressing. I ran my 18 mile long run a few weeks back with relatively little issues. The next week, I could barely make it through a 14 mile run. I was crying and frustrated..cursing even taking on this endeavor. Yesterday was my 20 mile run. I felt very strong up until about mile 16 and I struggled to finish. I in taper now and very worried that I can finish it.

    • Isn’t it weird how 14 miles can be so much more miserable than 16 miles with a crappy 4 mile chaser to round it out? It’s like your body can’t make up it’s mind and be consistent about anything! It might not be pretty and it might not be fun, but you’re going to get to the finish line!

  3. Don’t give up! Your blog is such an inspiration- I’m a really slow runner and I love to read what you do to improve and enjoy your running. That said, you have been working your body HARD lately between rowing and running. It is perhaps your body telling you to ease up! Good for you that you enjoy both of these hobbies so much. In order to continue enjoying both of them though it may be time to adjust your expectations. Even elite athletes can wear themselves out. I hope you don’t quit and are able to find some balance since you enjoy both hobbies.

  4. This sounds like my last 3 months. I blew up at mile 2 of my 10k today and walked the entire 5k. The beginning of this year started good and now I can barely run a mile straight. I don’t know if it running or life but it’s driving me bonkers.

  5. Don’t give up. I’ve run 5 halfs this year/ever and have gotten slower every one. The last was a trail half with my brother and I finished almost an hour slower than the previous half – and second to last (because I was NOT going to be beaten by an 82 year old man!!!). My ankle have never hurt so bad as they do now and I have another half in Vegas in Nov. go to your half to have fun, run only easy until then, whatever feels ok. No advice on your marathon, I can’t even comprehend that amount of miles so listen to the others. Just don’t give up.

    • I got beaten by an 82 year old man who was kind of more prancercizing than running… And a pregnant lady with a jogging stroller. I actually kind of enjoy laughing about it now.

      In all fairness, trail running is hard and it hurts. It hurts bad. And there’s the fear of being lost in the woods.

  6. I just wanted to say that this is a really brave & honest post & that I admire you for being able to write as you do. I’m admirable of all you guys who are marathon training. I’m doing my first Half Marathon in a week & thought I was alone in struggling. I really hope all goes well for you & keep going 🙂

    • The funny thing is, I think it happens to everyone regardless of distance or pace. That what can make running really rewarding or the most consistently painful and miserable thing in the world–a 5k feels as hard as a marathon while you’re doing it, and the same is true for a half marathon. Running 13 miles never gets easy and neither do 3 miles!

      GOOD LUCK ON YOUR FIRST HALF!

  7. This sounds like me too, except I’m not training for a full. I spent most of the summer dealing with a jacked-up IT band and have only been back to normal for a couple of weeks. I’m running the Army Ten-Miler in two weeks and it’s likely I will get nowhere near my goal time (which sounded perfectly reasonable back in May when I registered, pre-injury) and am displeased about that. I don’t remember the last time I had a good long run either, although much of that is attributable to Texas weather. I’m hoping the cooler DC temps will help me for the ATM. Yep, putting all my eggs in the cooler-weather basket…. So I have no advice, but I can sympathize.

    • I think you’ll get nice weather for the ATM, if nothing else at least relative to Texas it’ll be an improvement. The heat’s been on a good decline and our humidity’s definitely down a LOT. And for a DC course, the ATM’s as flat as you can get around here. Please be sure to pause and enjoy the natural beauty of our monuments and the 110 highway in Northern Virginia! The scenic Pentagon Parking Lot in mid October is quite beautiful.

  8. Perhaps you are overdoing it? I know that is what I did this summer and as you know it has come to bite me in the butt big time. I think that is the danger of having so many races scheduled, it turns training into a job…and then you begin to hate the job.

    Is there any way you can defer any races or dare I suggest missing a few so you can have a break from running? I skipped a race yesterday morning for the same reason (feeling burn out).

    • I’d like to skip Staten Island and I might do that and just try to substitute a shorter race for NYC marathon guaranteed entry for 2015 (oh my god I can’t stop myself!) if only because I need the sleep. After that it’s just Wine and Dine and the NYC Marathon and let it be known to everyone I’m walking a big chunk of W&D.

      • Damn straight we’re walking a chunk of it! BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO PR IN FUN!!!!!

        But seriously, I was gonna suggest the same thing, but Lisa already beat me to the punch. You push your body pretty damn hard, this might just be it’s way of telling you you need some rest. Stressing yourself out about it is only gonna make it worse. You will be OK. I promise.

        Or you could just do every run with me so you’ll feel better about how awesome you are at running 🙂

  9. Pingback: Runner’s Confessions | Prairie Princess Runners

  10. HEY. I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE RUNNING THE STATEN ISLAND HALF. WHAT. I too am kinda dreading it because I kinda struggled during the Bronx 10-Mile yesterday. I know I always kinda slack off during the death heat of summer and I pick things up once the weather starts getting cooler, but my pace times are all over the board. Some days I feel like I could PR in a race and sometimes my legs feel like they weigh 100 pounds each and I have to struggle to get keep my pace below 11 minutes per mile.

    I was planning on trying to run the Bronx 10-Mile as a gauge for if I could go sub-2 at Staten Island in two weeks. Based on the pace I ran yesterday, the answer is no. I should just accept that and do a long run this coming weekend and treat Staten Island as another marathon training long run, but part of me still wants to back off the mileage before Staten Island to see if I can PR. I know that I’m running more, building mileage gradually, getting better about fueling and hydrating during runs, but I’m also not seeing any improvements. It’s really frustrating. I’m sorry things are blegh for you too at the moment.

    • Somehow, the Staten Island half just doesn’t have the same EXCITEMENT as other races. I actually forgot I was running it. Or just passing through it. Whatever it is I’ll be doing that day.

      You should go for it and if it’s your day, you’ve just proven awesome things can happen in Staten Island and if not I would definitely blame Staten Island. I think everyone would agree that’s totally justified. I’m 100% unfamiliar with the course, is it hilly or anything? This borough is like a foreign country to me, all I know are the landfills and that highway that goes to the Verranzano.

      • Marcus and I once drove through Staten Island on our way to New Jersey but we didn’t stop, haha, and that is my entire experience with SI. I’ve never taken the ferry or anything, though I hear there’s a Dairy Queen in the terminal, which is pretty exciting. A co-worker who ran the Staten Island Half last year said that it’s an out-and-back and there are some rolling hills that are totally no big deal at the beginning but kinda hurt on the way back…

  11. I’ve gone through several running phases like this where I just hate running. my legs feel like lead, I can’t breathe and the fact that I’ve run a mile, much less several marathons seems like such a distant memory I can’t believe it ever actually happened.

    But somehow it eventually passes. I honestly wish I had some better advice that than, but for me it’s always unfortunately been a struggle through it and it’ll pass type of situation…

  12. Do ya think it’s kinda weird we’re ALL going through this at about the same time?!? It’s like we’ve got a freaky running hormone thing going on. I think a good couple dozen of Lisa’s cupcakes with a side of Moose Tracks will make EVERYONE feel better. And some new #buttcapes.

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