Training gone to pot with 3 weeks to go

I don't know what happened today but it was an epic f*il. My plan is 10k for an event in 3 weeks. Back in March I was running 10k in 64 minutes(10.20 min per mile), then the plan did slow 6 mile runs which were fine. Since then the plan went faster over 3 miles then 4.5 miles and I have been getting several 5k pb at 9.30 min per mile. Saturday I did parkrun and all was good. The afternoon I did a short sprint race and I may have upset my knee as it stiffened up over the weekend but no pain. I missed Mondays run as I was limping a little. Today I was due 6 miles but managed just 3.89miles. I had an ankle issue so loosened my trainer twice, my legs were lead and felt tired. I felt I was slapping my feet and scuffing my shoes occasionally. The inclines were tough. My breathing wouldn't settle right and I just had no mental grit to carry on. Every conceivable gremlin was at my run party. Now I have had stress for about six months with an investigation at my children's school due to complete last week that now has been prolonged for another week or so, yes I am fuming and affected by this. We need a suitably serious outcome to reflect what they have done and I have been holding in this emotion. I know emotion can affect running. Now I am worried I cannot do 10k! I have just 3 weeks to go, what do I do now?

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  • Sounds like you've been doing a lot of fast runs recently. I think, for optimal performance, you need to have a mixture of 20% high intensity hard runs and 80% lower intensity comfortable runs. It's like the law of diminishing returns, the more full-on hard training you do, the less benefit you derive from it. I'm sure someone like Bazza1234 or Dunder2004 will be able to give you more information.

  • I am following the my asics plan so I assumed that they factor in these things. I do feel that for longer distances my pace will have to slow down but that depends if 10k is considered a long distance by the asics people. I feel it is quite far and today my planned 10k ended up as 5.5k and that was at a slower pace. I just couldn't do it physically or mentally. I need to be able to do it in 3 weeks though!

  • Oh heck! I'm a huge fan of the personalised Asics Plans and I do try do the pace they suggest *usually*. However, if it's not working for you then it's time to stop and take stock. Personally, I'd try do the distance, but more slowly than the suggested pace. So if your target pace is, for example, 7min/km, then go for 8min/km.

    Or another thing you could try is to do a run/walk session -1min running, 30sec walking- for the duration of the planned run. It's much less tiring than running but still really good training.

    Or you could try running listening to an audiobook to take your mind off the running. I did this a lot at one time and it really works.

    Or you could put the w9 podcast on and take Laura and Julie along for the ride, and then just start it again when the 30minutes are up. I did this when I did my first 10k because the music is carefully chosen to facilitate running.

    Just a couple of ideas. Hopefully one of them will help you reconnect with your mojo x

  • Thank you, I will give it a go again on Monday. I did some walk run today to try to get round but my legs just were not feeling right. That's when I gave in reluctantly at 4 miles. I will aim to do the distance with a route I have done before, today was a new route based on my 10k event. I will forget time and see how I feel rather than pace. I just hope the people on the event will help draw me round the route like parkrunners do. My knee is holding up at the moment though.

  • Audiobooks are great for taking your mind off pace. I find I run slower when listening to them - possibly because I subconsciously imagine myself speaking as well. And I'm not distracted by a beat which I try to keep up with.

  • You can definitely do your 10k race H, you have trained so well for it!

    I think the stress of the investigation has drawn you down and affected your focus maybe, and that is to be expected. Plus maybe a few too many fast and long runs over a short time? You are younger than me but I know I get weary if I do too many runs, either fast (for me), or long runs. Plus you are carrying an injury.

    I suggest maybe take a planned few days off running. Three or four days. It will help the tiredness dissipate and hopefully allow the injury to heal. During that time try to be kind to yourself, a bit of downtime if you can. Try to move to a position where you use your running to help with the pressures of life, which means you will need to not pressurise yourself with the running, just enjoy it.

    We have watched your journey and its clear you are a great runner and you can now easily cover the 10k. Could you perhaps focus on finishing the race rather than your finish time, that might give you the lift you need. You know you can run 10k, its a done deal!

  • Thank you Jacs for your kind and wise words. It has had an emotional effect on me as it is so close to a conclusion (hopefully rather than further action needed). It has made me angry and frustrated along the way which has spurred on my running but emotions seem to have the opposite effect. Turning emotions into effective running would be good but I just don't know how. I am trying to give myself a break and have family visiting next week for support.

  • You will get there. Big hugs (((:)))

  • I agree that maybe the high number of fast runs may have taken their toll a bit. Why not ease off the pace for a bit and just go out on one of your favourite routes for one of those no pressure, no expectation, runs and just remind yourself of what it is to be out there...just running!πŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈ As for your 10k, you know you can do it so be kind to yourself for a bit - you will be ready for your race! I know lots of folks use formal plans but there has to be a bit of flexibility and listening to what our bodies are telling us, too. You have done brilliantly with your progress up until now and my guess is you will be fab on the day! Good luckπŸ™‚x

  • Thank you Sandra, I think parkrun on Saturday will be with my daughter at an easier pace so I enjoy that. Monday will be an old 5 mile route I can extend to 6.5 miles and I will be ignoring pace. I will just see how I go. It is such a confidence drop following a bad run.

  • They do happen - and you do learn to just write them off as 'just' a bad run ( but still miles on the clock!) Your next run will hopefully see you back on form. Don't let those gremlins inπŸ™‚

  • Darn gremlins, I think the whole tribe of them came out with me today, pesky things!

  • Those that know have given you great advice for your 10K event... I would just add... channel that energy and emotion, into positivity.

    You have worked for this...

    When you do head out, feel strength in every step.. power in your pace and flatten those demons. You are strong.. you will get the outcome you want from the issues you are facing...each step takes you closer to your goal. Know it :)

    You know I love my quotes... this one is for you,

    " A tree with strong roots, laughs at storms"

  • You will do your 10k, you are quite capable of it. Give yourself a break, you're not a machine. Take a few days off, I've had runs where my legs felt like blocks of wood, when you're ready to go out again, go with no plan other than to have a nice steady run, go slow, make yourself slow down, walk abit if you want to.

    I sometimes go out with just a length of time in mind, e.g 'I'm going out for an hour' no speed, no tests, just out for a leisurely run and see what happens....try and relax, enjoy your surroundings, take in the views around you.

    Take care of yourself, hope all gets sorted, try not to take your stress out on your legs, I ran 'angry' once and pounded the streets, hard, and ended up with a torn calf muscle........lesson learnt......😏

    Mx πŸ€—

  • You are right, I just could not relax and take in the view. I teach my daughter to do this on her runs to help her relax but today I just couldn't do it. My mantra didn't work either. Today was just not a run day. I will try to be positive that Monday will be different. I will take it easy. I too have run in anger and that got me to 10k earlier this year, a distance I didn't think I could achieve. Fortunately I didn't hurt myself so will reflect on your experience.

  • Even if you do absolutely nothing between now and your 10k you will be able to run it. It is now a skill you have acquired, at least for the next few months (and barring injury). Do you want a PB at the race? Or do you want to enjoy the fact that YOU CAN RUN! When I take a step back from all the distances/times/pace/PBs etc. I am still astounded that I can run 5k pretty much whenever I want. That a 10k is nothing unusual and that I'm out there running at various speeds and covering all sorts of distances 4x a week. Celebrate what you can do.

    We'll be cheering you on!

  • Thank you for your support. I do find I lack confidence at 10k only because it is a distance that I have only done 5 times in 64 or 65 minutes. The last 10k was in March. I have done 5 mile runs in april and recently 3 and 4.5 mile runs hence building up again. I would like to run the event knowing I can do it. I would like to come in around 60 minutes if possible, there are pacers for 50, 55, 60 and 70 minutes. I don't want to struggle and I would like to enjoy that possible?

  • Why do you want to come in under 60 mins? You are a comparatively young runner, both in terms of age and time running. This is your first 10k race, whatever it is, it will be a PB in a race. Why set yourself such a target when it puts you under unnecessary pressure? Why not build up strength (not speed) and go for under 60 mins later on?

  • 60 minutes was a time suggested to me based on my 5k 28.46. I will be keeping an eye on the 60 minute pacers and hopefully on front of the 70 minute pacer. But I will see on the day. I will set out easy and take it from there. Being my first event I have no idea what to expect! However the first 5k pretty much follows the parkrun route so not unknown territory.

  • Definitely start out easy and then just keep going at that speed and run a bit faster if you can right near the end.

  • When I first graduated, I looked at 10k training plans, but thought they were too extreme for a new runner and just devised my own. I believe that most plans push too hard and do not allow long enough recovery and tapers.

    This may have been influenced by my age, 61, but I have used my less stressful means to get myself back up to speed after non running related injury and am now running sub one hour 10ks even though I have not tried to push myself hard.

    I have observed over the years that many of my PBs have come after not running for a couple of weeks. In short, I believe you may be overtraining.

  • I feel as though the plan is higher intensity at the moment. The tapering is literally just before the event so a 6 mile run is due on the Monday with 3 miles on wednesday and friday, the event on Sunday. I may adjust that last week myself!! This is my first experience of a plan but I wanted something structured as I don't know how to plan for myself yet. I think I will see what my legs say over the next couple of runs, loosely following the planned distances but not pace.

  • Lovely, supportive advice from folk :) I agree with the suggestion to slow down a bit and listen to your body. You will be fab on the day! Hope things get sorted for you.

  • Thank you. This forum is amazingly supportive and it is great to have some very wise words for a newbie like me. Perhaps I am trying too hard.

  • You can do it - you have already done the hard work. There is a lot of good advice there. Have a few days rest and then just go out without any aim or pressure and see how it goes. Hope things settle at work - not what you needed.

  • It sounds like you aren't worried whether you can do 10k, rather you're worried whether you can do the 10k you want to do. Having recently run my first proper 10k event I can guarantee you'll get things out of it you never expected to, so try to worry less about speed, pace etc. It is so different running with a tonne of people compared to all the training runs on your own, for example through matching others' speeds, watching the various running styles, soaking up the atmosphere. I would suggest you run more slowly from now onwards to ward off any potential injuries. On the day the crowds will carry you along and the speed will come more easily. But the last thing you want is to get an injury between now and then. And that's not the gremlins speaking, just my own thoughts - feel free to ignore of course! Take care and hope your next run goes better :)

  • I watched hubs do his event a few weeks ago and the crowds were amazing. He said it really helped him. I have never experienced this so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I do run in parkrun crowds of 1000 runners so following others is really helpful to me. I am going to take the pressure off my training over the next couple of weeks now. I do worry about an injury so will try to avoid that. Thank you.

  • My 10k felt different to parkrun, people weren't so chatty and social, it felt more serious and focused. But the organisers were everywhere with people cheering and music coming out of unlikely places along the route. And I just felt absolutely confident that I knew what to do. You will feel it all come together too :)

  • You've put in the hours and the miles and I'm sure you'll be fine. Those longer runs in March will really have built your stamina, even if you didn't feel it on your bad run. Everyone has bad runs, so look at it in the context of all the runs you've done in your plan.

    As others have said, I'd strongly recommend taking a few deliberate rest days and then getting back into the plan, but don't be afraid to listen to your body rather than rigidly follow a plan.

    On the race day, the atmosphere will make you run faster, and all the speedier work you've been doing will help you cope with that. Just see my comment above about starting slowly and then overtaking people. Much more encouraging psychologically to help you get through the last few km.

    Hope all gets sorted with the school stuff. Take care and have some proper rest with your feet up!

  • When I did my 10k race last year I saw so many people charging off ahead of me, but after the first 500m I managed to find "my" pace and stuck with it. I had my own water with me so when "everyone" stopped to drink out of flimsy cups just over half way round, I was able to overtake lots of people. Then I just kept passing people who had started too quickly. It really is the best tactic. Much better to be able to speed up at the end if you have some energy left in that tank.

    Oh, and I finished sub-60 minutes having not run 10k at all for 2 years!! So if you've only not done the distance for 2 months, you should be absolutely fine :)

  • I also start slowly and speed up later, have become confident enough to hold my pace now. On my 10k I overtook loads of walkers who started off too fast. Didn't make under 60min but came close! :)

  • Thank you, that makes me feel so much better about this. I will take your advice on the event too and look to take my water bottle as well.

  • Chill out! It's running not life or death. You are supposed to enjoy it πŸ™‚

    you have got the mental toughness to see it through. We all have. You just have to break it down into it's constituent parts to see it for what it is. A to B.

    I cut back on the fast runs as I was getting crocked before race day. I know to race fast they say train fast but we are amateurs so can cut ourselves some slack πŸ™‚

    If you are under stress then these runs should be helping you to chill out a bit, not piling on more pressure.

    Which asics plan? An easy one I hope. The intermediate ones are for runners of over 18 to 24 months of running behind them. If that's not you switch to the easy plan. I do the easy plan and I have been running longer than that, but even they are tough! I think myasics assume we run on athletics tracks! πŸ˜ƒ I run hills if my upcoming race is hilly. Ok it's slower than the plan but it pays off on race day πŸ™‚

    Quit worrying, calm down a bit and go run πŸ™‚ Have fun! That's an order πŸ˜ƒ

  • Thanks misswobble. It is the easy 10k plan running twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays then I slot in a saturday parkrun every other week. I don't think I am over training but the fun run sprint race was an impulse run that seems to have upset my knee and hamstring . I always find uneven ground harder on my knee than tarmac. I am hoping my knee is the issue and it will improve asap as I haven't run since Thursday. I might drop the pace to get the distance on Monday to take pressure off myself. It is my first event so I have tried hard to follow the plan!

    I have some stress too with this investigation, at times running has helped. My clinical job involves emergency situations and it has been a bad week. I run to alleviate stress but emotional stress can hinder my run. I hope I have dealt with this and can run more freely. We shall see on Monday!

  • It sounds to me that you are massively over training and your body is telling you to rest. If it was me, I would take a break from the plan and see a physio about your ankle, and above all try and relax. Good luck with the 10K, if you manage the next 3 weeks sensibly you'll be fine. You just need some rest.

  • I miss Parkrun most weeks because it encourages me to race, risking injury, so I tend to give it a wide berth. I save it for after a race, before starting the next plan

  • Ah yes, that is the beauty of taking my 7 year old with me as she runs a slower pace which gives me a nice easy run. I love encouraging her and seeing her do so well too. If i went alone I would be chasing my pb!!

  • Deffo! πŸ˜ƒπŸ…πŸ’ͺ

  • It sounds as though you and I are similar in terms of experience and speed/distance. I recently had a similar thing where 5k was unexpectedly a REAL slog after a few weeks of improvement. The following week was really busy and I ended up with 3 or 4 rest days rather than a usual 2 days. I was relieved that when I next went out it all seemed way easier; I think I just needed a brief break from it. There doesn't seem to be much logic re. which are easy and which are hard.

    Also do you know if your iron levels are ok? I'm on iron supplements (not anaemic but my ferritin (stored iron) was very low). I find things much easier after a month and a bit of iron supplementation. Ferritin isn't routinely tested but the GP would probably check if you have been feeling run down for a while or if a blood test shows small red blood cells. The stresses with school can't be helping either (although of course running is probably helping you deal with that).

    Good luck - hopefully the next time you go out will feel like a breeze!

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