In collaboration with 361 Europe.
Shit is getting real. In less than six weeks time we’ll be in LA getting ourselves sorted before running out into the desert. Just typing that gives me feelings. My heart swells whenever I think about being out on the road, running towards Las Vegas on what I can only begin to describe as an epic journey. Yes it will be really hard. No I probably won’t sleep much, and it will push me to my physical and emotional limits, but that’s when the magic happens and you go beyond your expectations.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot is the idea of perfect training. So often I see people expressing guilt at a missed session, imperfect fuelling, not hitting a particular pace, or any number of other perceived flaws. When we set out on a training journey we start with a fresh plan. We think long and hard about how best to train for an event. We program workouts that we think will make us stronger. We give up parts of our lives to focus on the goal and the journey towards it. The emotional investment is huge, so when we fail to meet our perception of perfection, whether it’s a missed session or a day when frankly you felt like shit, we can be quick to beat ourselves up and to doubt our worth.
My training is far (FAR) from perfect. Last week I spent a whole day in bed because I’d been so crap at fuelling and was basically exhausted, and that’s before we mention the long run that I cut short (before getting lost and having to get an Uber). I could tell you so many stories about times I’ve ‘messed up’ my training, and I used to feel really bad about it. I worried that a failure in training meant I’d fail in my race, and that by association I was a failure. That is until I reframed my thinking. I took my perceived failures and turned them into learning experiences. I was crap at fuelling, ok well what do I need to fuel better? Some quick maths and I worked out my calorie shortfall and chatted to Mike (who looks after all the food prep in our house) about how I could make sure I ate enough moving forward. Since then I’ve had noticeably more energy and in turn that’s helping me become a stronger runner. Likewise, I cut my run short because I could feel my legs were really tight. Reflecting on everything I know about good form this tells me that I need to work a bit more on by glutes and lower back so that I can hold good form for longer and run strong. If I didn’t have these ‘failures’ in training then I might not have spotted these weaknesses, and they might have held me back on the road.
Training is your practice run. It’s an opportunity to learn what your weaknesses are and then to address them. You shouldn’t expect your training to be perfect, in fact I reckon you should hope that it isn’t. You need those tough miles, those days where you’ve really not had enough to eat or that moment where you disappoint yourself to learn and develop as a runner. Training is about more than getting miles in your legs, it’s about learning about yourself.
With all that in mind, here’s what I got up to last week:
Monday - 50 minute restorative yoga class at Chroma Yoga
Tuesday - 15 minutes easy, 12 x 30s hard efforts on/2 minutes off, 15 minutes easy on a treadmill
Wednesday - got 20 minutes into a run before sacking it in. I was exhausted and my legs just didn’t want to move.
Thursday - skipped my run, but did make it to a yin yoga class
Friday - REST DAY
Saturday - SUCH A GOOD RUN DAY - 3 fast miles in lieu of Park Run (I was at work), and then 30 minutes recovery with Mike.
Sunday - 8.5 miles where I got lost, got sore and ended up getting an Uber. My legs were super heavy, but I felt pretty excellent in myself.
A truly imperfect week, but a week that taught me a hell of a lot. Not least that I need to eat a lot more.
Are you curious about how I’m training for the Speed Project? Is there anything you’d like to know? Let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do! In the meantime, you can read all my posts about this adventure here.
* images: Anna Rachel Photography
** my shoes were a gift from 361 Europe, who I am ambassador for.