Today when I took off to run, things did not go well.  When I went to connect my watch to GPS satellite it asked me if I wanted to continue to use the watch indoors.  I was standing on the side walk outside my house.  This was not a good sign.

Things went worse from there, every time I started to run my heart rate would spike up, way above my target of 137.  I slowed down, but my heart rate would not come back down.  I slowed more.  Then more.  Then I realized I was really just walking, so I gave in a walked a bit.  Finally my heart rate dropped, straight down to 121.  So, I decided to start running again, and it instantly spiked.  All the while my pace is displaying at 14:42.  Now, I’ve had to slow down a lot to maintain my target heart rate of 137, but not that much.  Not even on a bad day.  This cat and mouse game of chasing my desired heart rate continued for about 0.4 miles.  Then I got truly frustrated and thought forget it (ok, I might have thought a different f word) and I just took off.  I fell into what I know was around a 9:00 mile pace, and I looked down at my watch and it was still reading a 14:28 pace.

So I just stopped.

I stopped and I got mad.  Mad at my tech.  Mad at this style of training.  Mad at running.

And when I realized I was mad at running, all the mad turned to sad.  I love running.  I love the escape running provides.  I use it as a way to work out frustration, not a place to build it.  How could I be at a place where I was mad at running?

Now, I’m a pretty laid back person.  I’m and extrovert, I’m the youngest sibling, I’m not type A.  (Which I guess makes me type B?  Apparently us non type A people never really got around do determining and defining our label.)  I don’t get mad easily and feeling sad helped me calm down pretty quickly.  I decided to try a total tech reset and shut down.  Then I powered back up to try again.  Things worked out fine from there.  I had only covered 0.71 miles on my first go around, so I decided to start fresh from where I stood and begin my 4 miler again.

Over those four miles I had some time to think about how I had arrived at a place where I could feel frustrated with running.  And how long maintaining that feeling would be acceptable.  And why I felt so frustrated.  I realized that heart rate training has completely flipped how I measure running success.  Before, being able to maintain a particular pace as I increased in distance was how I measured personal success.  I sprinkled in a few races for speed challenges, but basically, if I could maintain just under a 9:00 minute mile, I was doing well.

Now, success has a very different look.  I want to see my pace go down while maintaining the same heart rate.  But in order to do this, I have had to slow way down and am therefore utterly failing according to my old measure of success.  I know, it’s my old measure of success and so I should let it go, but it is hard.  A little part of me feels like I’m failing every time I run.  Add that to the fact that I have only been trying this for two weeks and have yet to maintain any consistent pace at my target heart rate, and you get all around failure.  Ultimately though, I do believe that I will see success with the new method, so I want to stick with it.  As I ran, I decided to give it two months.

Two months is not arbitrary.  The ultra race that I wanted to try and run is in October.  Based on my mileage coming off of Ragnar, I could be “ready” in time.  But, because I have decided to re-define ready, I am sacrificing my mileage big time.  At my current mileage and workout style there is not way I could run an ultra in October.  So, I’ve decided to give it two months.  I’m hoping that within those two months I will see enough improvement to keep me motivated to continue with the training.  If not, I would still have 5 1/2 months to gear up for the ultra if I still want to give it a go.  That seems like a fair compromise, right?



2 thoughts on “Frustration

  1. So much of running is mental! It amazes me how much my mindset impacts my pace and my ability to complete a run. I’m still at a point where simply completing the run is a major victory, so I can’t imagine having to redefine what “success” means to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment Lucy! I agree, mindset is such a big part of running. It was a little disheartening to lose the love and peace found in running for the sake of training, but I do think it was just the moment. The great thing about running for me is that the act itself helps improve my mindset and clears away my stress. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t felt like running but once I got out there I felt great. Getting out there and finishing your runs is success! Keep it up!!! Happy running!

      Liked by 1 person

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