22 August 2013

the inevitable bad workout

i read on dailymile the other day that my friend stan chose (wisely) to bail out of a planned 32k training run at 24.3k.  he attributes it to soreness having raced/paced a 30k on the weekend, plus anticipating a half-marathon this coming sunday.  i read that post with admiration and respect, because i'm not sure that i'd have the wits or courage to call off a planned training run. 

and as it turns out, i didn't.

this morning my coach had on the schedule a 10k tempo run at 4:15/km or faster.  i'd managed to produce a 4:16/km effort for the same run last week, and that was on the heels of an exhausting 9 days working at the Rogers Cup - so i felt like after a comparatively easy week that this should be more than manageable.

however, a couple of factors managed to complicate things.

first, i ran my longest training run of this cycle this past sunday - 39k.

second, it was humid like crazy today, and factoring that in the temperature at 6:30am this morning felt like 26° celsius.  

i went to bed last night thinking "if it's raining in the morning, i'll take an extra day's rest and run on friday instead."  the weather gurus have forecasted friday to be a cooler, much less humid day.

but it wasn't raining when i got up.

so, being the stubborn, 'if i'm supposed to run i'm gonna run' kind of guy that i am, i hit the road with a 4:15/km 10k tempo run in view.

what i got was 10k in 44:38 (4:28/km pace), and sweat-soaked everything.

i'd call that a bad workout.  and with under four weeks until my next race, it's a little deflating.

still, everything that i've read is that just about everyone experiences at least one or two bad workouts in a training cycle, elites included.  the difference between 'joe casual runner' and 'addis ababa joe' is how you well you can put the lacklustre performance behind you and get back on track (without injuring yourself).

i don't plan on doing anything crazy like trying to jam in an extra tempo run this weekend. i'm not dripping that much machismo that i have to prove myself before this week's out.  i will trust my coach, stick with the plan, and believe that this one workout will not define me or my performance on race day.  i know that i've put in many strong workouts during this cycle - pushing myself to go at faster paces than i'd ever trained at before - and that my (short) racing history tells me that i tend to be able to capitalize on a proper taper to produce actual race paces that top my training paces.

bad is bad - but it doesn't mean that i'm in a bad place.  



  1. whew...I was preparing for the worst as I read your post but am very very glad to know that you're not injured.

    yep bad workouts happen...and it seems like it's almost once every 3 to 4 weeks for me.

    Also, good on you to not squeeze in an extra run. Get a bit of rest and come back stronger next time.

    BTW, you do realize that 10km at 4:28 on a very humid day is very strong right?

    1. thanks stan! i do feel blessed with some decent resiliency, as i've not really experienced a training-derailing injury to date.

      and as you're an athlete that i greatly admire and respect, i appreciate your encouragement about yesterday's run. i'm still fairly confident that i'm building a strong case for a BQ in erie!

  2. i went out Monday morning for a run, feeling tired, too much on my mind and with stiff sore knees as well. i had decided to push through it since i usually feel better after a run. about one km from home i stumbled and fell, coming down hard on my knees, putting my hands down, i willed myself to stand up but felt that i was going to fall on my head (i was going downhill) so i arched my back and rolled to the left to save my noggin. end result: two banged up somewhat swollen knees,bruised left shoulder. scraped up my ear and the left side of my face and banged my chin really hard on the pavement. a really nice lady that saw everything happen stopped and would not accept my embarrassed assertion that i was alright and took me home.
    a trip one day later to my favourite chiropractor took care of the dizziness that i was experiencing, my face is almost healed but the knees are taking longer.
    in conclusion i should have listened to my body and rested that day. i realize that it could have been much worse, i feel very blessed and cared for, He is always looking out for me.
    i really admire you, stan, rick and all the other runners that i read about for your constant dedication to the sport. running has taught me so much about life and myself and i have had some incredible conversations with god. good days, bad days but i count them all as good times!
    at this point i am running only for fun and fitness, although i do feel pulled to run a 5k, then maybe a 10 k... i wish you all the best in all your endeavours , don't be afraid to take a rest when you need it :) i run 4:28 in my dreams only, you are doing great! i am cheering for you as i am sure are a lot of other people.

    1. sherri - so great to hear from you! i still credit you with connecting me with my coach ...!

      thanks for sharing your story. while i'm sorry to hear that that stumble really took a toll on you, i'm certainly glad that it hasn't turned out any worse than it did. i'm hopeful that your knees were just banged up a bit, and that once some bruising and/or swelling diminishes you'll be able to get out there again unhindered.

      there's definitely a fine line between 'commitment' and 'recklessness' that some runners (yours truly included) walk on a regular basis. my 'favourite chiropractor' has often told me that pain is your body trying to fool you into quitting, and often i have proven that to be true. but like everything, it's a principle that has its limits.

      i appreciate all of your support, and please know that i am rooting for you as well! i would love to be there on that day that you run your 5k!