Like Anything Else, Running Takes Consistent Practice.
In the past couple weeks, I slowly came to the tough realization that I'm not in the same running shape as I was back in April. Looking back at some of my recent runs where I was trying to crank out 8-10 miles at under 9:00/mile pace, I see that I wasn't hitting a wall, getting dehydrated, or having trouble dealing with the heat, I'm just not at the training level I was for my half marathon a few months back. Much to my own chagrin, my high school football coach's mantra of "you either get better or worse, you never stay the same" rings all too true right now.
Maybe one of these days I'll learn to listen to myself when I harp on how important it is to listen to your body. I remember typing the post about hitting the wall and how I had remembered the obvious advice, when really I was a couple weeks away from remembering the EVEN MORE obvious issue of not being in half marathon shape any more. My body was screaming at me to take it a little slower on the way back up, but I was blocking it out.
Fortunately, I feel pretty ok with this.
And it took a fraction of the time to feel good about it than it did to recognize the problem. Once I realized why I had been having such a rough time getting my mileage and pace back up, it became an easier issue to deal with. I just have to build it up the way I did the first time. Only now, in marathon training, I'm not over halfway when I run an 8 miler. I'm barely a quarter of the way to my target distance. So that's daunting, but also exhilarating. Mostly scary though, at this point.
Finishing a 5 mile run at my target pace for the first week of this marathon training program got me thinking about multiplying that by 5 and still not being all the way through marathon distance and it's certainly intimidating. By the same token, half marathon distance was intimidating to me at this time last year so it's all relative. It will just be a matter of grinding it out and doing everything I can to keep my body from falling apart!