MCM Week 8: Already grinding

A somewhat concerning pattern has started emerging: while it’s obvious my legs are getting stronger, my endurance doesn’t seem to be improving. My long runs for the past month–8, 16, 17, and 18 miles–have gone ok, but never really felt good. Perhaps with the exception of the 8-miler, all three of the others felt uncharacteristically high on the expended effort chart. The 18-miler in particular felt really, really hard.

I ran miles 11-16 with Devin, one of my former Ragnar DC teammates who is training for the AF half in September. But slowing to his pace turned out to be a welcome reprieve; for some reason, my usual cruising pace of 8:30-8:45 was unusually taxing.

Last night was particularly troubling. I had an easy 6 miles, a routine distance when training for a marathon. This being a cutback week, I was excited to finally run some easy miles: more than the usual 2 or 3 we’ve been having, but significantly less than the long runs that have been less than stellar.

Just one word to describe this run: ugh.

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 4.04.40 PM

My paces were ok, but this was hard. I even ditched the music after two tracks–hardly a mile in–to see if that made a difference. Not once during this run was I enjoying myself; all I could think about (despite my best efforts to focus on the scenery) was “how much longer until I’m done”. And before anyone asks: I wasn’t watch-hawking either.

I have no idea why I’ve been so dead lately, endurance-wise. We’re not even halfway into our training schedule yet, and my most grueling deadline is almost a full month in the rearview mirror. Has anyone experienced this before? My strength and speed seem to be ok, but my endurance doesn’t appear to be improving. I can’t find a rhythm during my runs; there’s almost no adrenaline, and I haven’t felt the runner’s high all month except for one mile of my 8-mile tempo run last week. I can’t describe the feeling any better than a grind; every mile takes effort.

Maybe the recovery process from the thesis proposal is taking longer than I’d thought? Perhaps the sudden swing from the “go-go-go” mentality that dominated all of July to the total lack of deadlines in August is shocking my system? If anyone has any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.


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