On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things are not looking good for Tracy

I'm really struggling with this heat lately.

On Sunday, after the Queens Half, I tried to pick up where I left off and do my long run.  My sister/coach was telling me to truncate my scheduled 14m and only do 10, and she was telling me to run/walk - whatever I needed to do to get over the miles.  "Ha ha ha!" I thought.  "Run/walk! As if!"  Well, two miles in and I had already switched to a run/walk.  Another mile or so in and I ran (literally, get it? ha ha ha) into a friend on the path, and seeing him shamed me into running slightly more - barely.  We were running opposite directions on the outer loop of Central Park, meaning that I then ran into him again on the other side of the park.  At that point I was basically crawling... and it didn't get better from there.

I know some of this just is what it is.  This is shaping up to be NYC's hottest July on record, period, at 6 degrees warmer than average.  But why am I not acclimating to it?  There are things I could do better: get more sleep, go out and run earlier, try harder (I do go easy on myself often).  And I have upped my mileage, or at least been more consistent with my mileage, the past few weeks.  But I'm still irritated by it.  I hate how hard I'm struggling and how much it's messing with my goals.  My runs are more often miserable than good and when I'm not running, I'm sleeping or thinking about sleeping.

If you have any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them.  Otherwise, I leave you with an amusing commercial you may have seen before.  Perhaps I should try this in the heat?  (No actual nudity as all the important parts are blurred, but possibly NSFW if you work in a conservative environment.)


  1. No suggestions for the heat which really has been messing things up.

    But what you've described about sounds to me like you're physically tired - I feel this way on my 3rd week (3 weeks hard, 1 recovery week) that I'm doing. Even 4 miles feels just awful that 3rd week. Especially in this heat.

    To me that is different sensation from tired from lack of sleep (of course that doesn't help either) - it's just muscles at their edge. I don't think it has to do with that particular week's mileage (or even that one run's miles) but there is also an accumulation of miles (that's why the 3rd week feels awful, all other things - sleep, eating - staying pretty much the same).

    And thanks for posting an oldie favorite, despite the blurry parts.

  2. I think you're on to something. I went to bed last night early (for me) at 11:30 - I had no choice, I was falling asleep - and when I woke up at 6:30, I somehow went back to bed and slept another two hours without any awareness of it. My body always handles hard training by forcing me to sleep a lot. And yesterday was an odd one: when I got back from an otherwise really good run I couldn't shake this insane crankiness. All day, slightly jittery and just really, really cranky.

    But still... if this is where I'm at this early in training, it's going to be a long training cycle.

  3. You don't think taking a week of easier runs or taking a few days totally off would do its magic?

  4. I don't know... I don't think it's simply overtraining - I've been there, for sure, and I don't have the rapid pulse or DOMS, both of which I get easily with overtraining. And I did just take a full week off because of a cold no that long ago (my body was fine; it was only my head that week). It usually takes my body a week or two to catch up with my training regimen, and I think that's combining with the crazy weather and my crummy sleep habits to produce this bad maelstrom. One thing my sister pointed out that I think plays into it is the heat stretching out my runs. Going slower because of the heat is prolonging my runs, meaning I'm actually out on my feet longer - doing more, but feeling like I'm doing less. I'm the first person to rush to a rest day, but I'm just not sure that's what I need yet.

  5. That's really a very good point about the runs taking longer so you are on your feet longer (although like you say, it feels like less).