Training Ups & Downs & Back Up Agains

Rarely do I have a week in which my training matches what is on my official training schedule. Okay, maybe never. Like a running pirate, I consider my schedule to be more of a set of “guidelines” than rules. Still, my actual mileage is usually pretty close to scheduled miles. Last week, however, not so much.

I ran 18 miles last week. I was scheduled to run 44. Ouch.

I did run at least 44 excuses for not running through my head, though. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if it was my calf, fatigue, depression, laziness, burnout, or the alignment of the stars. I didn’t just do it. I could sit and wallow in my lame training week — and I have, a little — but yesterday a fellow trail runner reminded me of the type of runner I try to be.

I got up bright and early yesterday to volunteer at a triathlon in Paola, Kansas. Bryan, a fellow trail runner and also a triathlete, rode by in the first wave of cyclists pedaling past our aid station. As usual, he had a big grin on his face, which he displayed each of the 4 times he pedaled past us. Later, as he ran past our station, I caught another picture of him and his huge smile. He said something as he ran off, but I couldn’t hear it clearly. It sounded like, “I didn’t finish the swim,” which was the first part of the tri.

Later, I saw Bryan’s explanation of what happened:

As you may have already seen from my Garmin posts, I had a very disappointing morning. I got pulled in the swim portion of my tri due to some asthma issues. The RD did allow me to continue and do the bike & run after getting my inhaler even though I was already an official DNF for the event. I know it was the right, smart thing to come out of the water when I couldn’t breathe. I had a great bike leg and run leg, but overall not a great morning. I’m now going to sit here and wallow in my shame for a bit.

The smiling face of a winner.

Many of his friends on Facebook responded to Bryan’s post, telling him how inspiring he is for attempting a triathlon, but more importantly, for finishing it even if it was recorded as a DNF (Did Not Finish). And I posted the pictures I’d taken of him as he went past my aid station. Photos of him smiling.

After seeing responses from his friends, and having more time to reflect on his performance and gain a little perspective, Bryan posted a Mahatma Gandhi quote:

Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.

Bad training weeks happen. Now to lace up and enjoy running again.


4 Responses to Training Ups & Downs & Back Up Agains

  1. I can totally relate to off training weeks. I don’t think I have ever made it a full week without altering or skipping a workout prescribed by coach. At the beginning, I set some rather lofty goals for myself to run 1000 miles, bike 1000 miles, and swim 100,000 yards this year. Well, each month I am short in at least one of the three, but I’ve decided to keep the monthly targets to aspire for. Unless a miracle happens, I’m going to be way under in each category for the year, but still surpass any past year by a long ways. Good to keep the goals just out of reach I guess. Now, I just have to learn to not get so frustrated when I come up short.

    *bangs head repeatedly on desk while whimpering*

  3. Oops. Didn’t realize you read my blog, Coleen… :-)

  4. Great post! Don’t get too caught up in a week like this. Sometimes (be it mentally or phyically) we just have to take a down week no matter what the plan says. This could be a great week for your training. A little extra rest and a chance to refocus. Thank you for volunteering yesterday, each time through I was so excited to see friends at the aid stations. It was hard to do the entire bike & run legs already knowing I was a DNF. I can’t tell you how many times I told myself to just quit. But I couldn’t let myself down like that. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and keep moving forward.