It's about that time. It's about the time in my training schedule where I get lazy and bored and just don't feel like running 12 miles, or 14 miles, or 16 miles... It's about the time where any extra days off (from say... the weather or from sickness) translate to extreme guilt, but the guilt is coupled with an unwillingness to make up for the lost miles.
This time I'm referring to.... is something I like to call the Marathoning Malaise (okay, so I admit, I just thought of this name right now). It sucks. It really sucks. Because, deep down inside... I know I love training. I mean, I love the training part more than the actual marathon part... but it's during this time of my training that I find myself sometimes thinking... "uggghhh... why do I have to train for marathons?" And then, I feel guilty about those thoughts and quickly push them aside. But, in all 3 marathons I've trained for and now this upcoming 4th, I've gotten this same feeling (at about the same time), so I think it's just something that goes along with the territory.
For me, it always happens at this particular mileage: when my long runs are supposed to be 12-16 milers. It's always these runs that I skip out on the most. And, I think I've figured out why... it's because they are the least glamorous of all the training runs. I mean think about it... anything under 12 is easy... (and by easy I mean... easy to plan for... they aren't as time consuming, you don't necessarily have to change your diet any, etc). Anything over 16 is like... DAMN I just ran 17+ miles. That's impressive and you prep more for it, by getting good nutrition and good sleep the days before. It's this middle of the pack 12-16 miles that sucks. It's also the middle of your training. You've been training for 8+ weeks and have 8-10 weeks to go. It's a tough spot to be in.
The strange thing is... miles 12-16 are usually the part of a marathon that you really have to dig deep mentally (at least in my experience). It's the part where you split off from the Half-Marathoners, it's almost always the ugliest part of the race course (why is this, by the way? Is this just something that coincidentally has happened in all 3 marathons I've run, or is this something that is common in most marathons?), it's the part where you aren't close enough to be thinking about the finish yet... It just sucks. Mentally... it's the hardest part of the race.
So, next time around, I'm going to try to make sure that I don't let myself get bored with these important training runs. I mean, following a schedule of gradually increasing long runs is very important to marathon training. Maybe my lack of ability to follow those schedules can account for my struggling during the last two marathons.
The only real solution I can think of... is to have a training partner for those runs. A training partner that I don't want to look like a pansy-ass in front of, so I do my 12-16 mileage runs, no matter how bad they suck.
This weekend was a missed opportunity for me. I had 3 days off, that I could have really gotten some good training miles in. But, never fear.... I'm equipped with excuses... 1. It was so damn hot this weekend. The humidity was just out of control. I'm ready for fall. 2. I'm a little sick, again. Friday morning I woke up with a sore throat (again) and all weekend I've been fighting a stuffy nose, sore throat and general fatigue. It's the fatigue that stops my runs.
So, hopefully by addressing this Marathon Malaise, I can get over it. If anyone else has any suggestions, let me know. This is a common thing, right?