Embracing the lack of motivation

The funny thing is that once I am actually running I am fine. I actually enjoy it. It is the idea of going out for a run that is the problem. Since Thursday I have gone for a run only once -- on Saturday for an 18-miler no less.

Instead of worrying about this lack of motivation and making plans for runs and workouts,I will just take it one day at a time and see how my mood is. This way I won't feel that guilty having skipped a workout.

I am going on vacation in late March and then not run at all during those 2 weeks. I hope that in mid-April my desire to run will have come back. I had planned earlier to sign up for a half-marathon just before the trip, but that is all but scratched. The only race in the calendar is a Coogan's 5K in two weeks which is a club's point race.


Since I have been away...

2011 ended up being a good year for me in the marathon front.

I finally went under 2:50 in Edinburgh in May. It was more challenging than I had expected. Weather did not co-operate at all. Most of the details are now muddled in my head, but the highlights are rain, hail and head winds, especially the last 10K. I was worried I would not hit my target time, but I was able to come under 32 seconds with what was then a PR at 2:49.28. Of course the moment I crossed the finish line, the sun came out. Scotland is afterall know for its variable weather.

I was not sure what to expect in Chicago in October; I found myself at the starting line not sure what time to target. Even though I kept running well through the summer, I did decrease volume, missed some quality workouts and overall I was not as dedicated coming in as I was for Edinburgh (where I expected to have a good race). For some amazing reason I felt really good from the start and knew I was going to have a good race. I just let the legs do their jobs, I did not focus on time. I just wanted to be sure I was hitting the 5K markers under 20 min (for a sub-2:50). I surprised myself with a 2:45.12. I would be lying to say that it was effortless, but it was easier that I thought it would be. I was happy.

It was my plan to run less after Chicago (regardless of time). I have since then been racing shorter distances (with PRs in both 5K and 5 Miles), but have been having a hard time increasing volume. I have been running only 4 times a week and my weekly mileage is rarely over 40.

How can I find the motivation back? A running buddy has suggested to take a whole week off. I may take him on that. Perhaps I should just sign up for races in the fall and hope that that will force me start training and give me a reason and focus to run. We will see...



There was so much racing this weekend (London, Vienna and Boston marathons) that I got inspired.

I just signed up for the NYC marathon in November. I had a qualifier but was still on the fence about it. After seeing all the racing, I took the plunge.

See you in the streets of NYC in November.


10K PR

It finally happened! I ran a 10K under 39 minutes. I have been trying to go under that barrier for over 2 years now and underachieved in every effort since.

Based on recent form and the McMillan predictor that I could run 35-36 minute race. But it still came as a total shock when I crossed the line at the Scotland Run on Sunday and saw 36:20 on my Garmin. It is a 3 minute PR and for such a short race it is huge.

I pretty much followed the same tactics that have been working for me on my other races as of late: go out fast and try to hold on to the pace. One of the main reasons, I think, that I am able to reach pace goal so quickly and  sustain it, is that I am  faithfully doing track work and tempo runs every week. It has really brought up my racing times up a notch.

Sunday also marked the first time I ran with my team's, Warren Street, singlet. It was also a club's point race and I finished just out of the top 5 of my team, so I was not able to score this time around. Hopefully next time.

Target race is still 5 weeks away. Friends will be running Boston in 10 days and I am eager to find out how they do. And if I am able to emulate their successes.


Hard Workouts

Saturday I went for the weekend long run. I planned a 22 mile route that would take me down the East River, across the Queensboro and back to Manhattan, two loops of Central Park and then back up the East River. It felt good all the way, never labored. I probably started just below 8 min/miles and got faster once I hit the park. I finished the run with a 7:12 min/mile average. I probably should have included some marathon pace miles in there, but all in all I felt good and was pleased with the run. Weather was perfect for running sunny and high 40s.

I ran later on Sunday afternoon. I wanted to rest a bit more from the long run, since I had scheduled a tempo run for Sunday. I would normally ran it earlier in the week (Thursday) but somehow it just did not happen. I was not sure how fast I could sustain the tempo with so little rest, so my goal was to average in the 6:20s. Entering from the Harlem Meer I started running counterclockwise, once I went over the Harlem Hill I started my 5 mile tempo. The first mile was the hardest and slowest one at 6:09. I got more comfortable with the run hitting 6:04, 6:08, 6:08 and 5:54 (big downhill) respectively. At the end I was spent, but I could have ran one more mile. I was back to where I started at the Harlem Meer, however, so it was time to go home.

Monday I just took it completely off -- I did not even hit the gym. I was tired and lazy. This morning (Tuesday) Robert and  I had our regular speed workout. We agreed on doing 200-400-600-800-600-400-200 meters instead of the usual 8x400m. He has more speed than I do and usually use him as a target, but this morning he was not giving 100%, so I found myself leading most of the reps which made them slower than usual. No big deal really. We both have races this weekend (10K for me and 5K for him), so taking it easy was a good call.


Latest runs

Wonderful run around Manhattan on Saturday morning with Robert, Helen and Sarah. 30s, sunny, maybe a tad windy, but just about the ideal conditions to attempt such a run. It also meant that for the first time ever I would run over 26 miles at one go -- making me, I guess, unofficially an ultra marathoner.

I was a bit worried about it and was ready to use my Metrocard in case I felt the need to use it -- a need that never came. It was not easy, but it did feel good. 4 hours and 33 miles later, the run was done and the body was sore. Maybe I do have an ultra in the future.

I took Sunday off, more out of laziness rather than soreness. Out of guilt, I ran this morning (usually day off) an easy, slow 6 miler to the park and tomorrow have my usual speedwork session with Robert in the morning.


Since I have been away...

A few things happens since last September. Some lows, some highs.

I pretty much felt miserable with my running (read over-training) most of last summer and fall. That reflected in both the marathons I signed up in the latter part of the year. 

While Berlin (2h53) was not a complete bust, it was not stellar either. NYC was just a disaster waiting to happen. I knew I was not recovered from Berlin, still I pressed on with a fast start (and dreams of a sub-2:50). I saw my self walking most of the last 3-4 miles. Finish time of 3h02 was decent, but not up to the standard I was looking for. 

After a quick break from most things running related, I started the year with a new approach -- to emphasize quality over volume. And things seem to have turned around. 

Twice I have run the Mile at the Armory and now have a 5:24 PR (pretty good for me). My 5K now is 18:38. And, most satisfyingly, I now have a sub-1:20 half-marathon with my 1:18.22 effort at the NYC half. 

Target race is still 2 months away -- Edinburgh on May 22. Let's keep the ball rolling.