Mental Marathon Training: (One of the Many Reasons) Why I'm a Head Case...

FACT:  Most normal people think distance runners are utter whack-jobs.  I can't even tell you how many times I've been told what a nut-case I am for running the mileage that I do.  Some of my favorites:
  • Was someone chasing you? {'s how I KNOW I'll outrun your ass when the Zombie Apocalypse happens...because it will, you know.}
  • Don't you know how bad running is for your knees??  {Don't you know how bad sitting on the couch is for your WHOLE FREAKIN' BODY??  Apparently not.}
And my all-time favorite:
  • You RAN xx miles?!? I don't even like to DRIVE that far! {Shocking.  Based on your svelt stature, I never would have guessed.} 
Non-runners are HILARIOUS.

So anyways...I might be willing to concede that those of us who willingly choose to sacrifice the comfort of our pre-dawn beds to pound out mileage before the sun decides to show it's beastly head are just a little touched.  And by touched, I mean bat-shit crazy.  Agreed.  However, marathon training throws a whole new level of whackiness onto the crazy-parade. 

I'm not one of those runners that ever, ever says, pre- or mid-run "WOW! I LOVE RUNNING!!" I actually can't stand getting up at the ass-crack of dawn. I'm not really a fan of pain in any form, and sweating is gross.  But what I do L O V E is the sense of accomplishment that I get when I'm done with a run.  I mean, like, in the car on the way home after.  Not immediately after.  I want to puke in a bush immediately after most runs.  So I have this constant battle when I'm preparing for a race...on top of the physical challenge of running 1.7 gazillion miles in a week, training is mentally hard.

I go through these mental cycles...for weeks at a time I'm hopped up like a toddler on pixy stix - I (mostly) look forward to my next run, I read every running related anything that lands in my inbox, I google things like hydration and vo2 max (which is WAY over my feeble little brain's capacity), and I truly don't hate my runs.  I feel a great sense of accomplishment after a run's completion, and during these "good" weeks, I feel like my workouts are really solid.  Training is GREAT!  Running is THE BEST!  I am an ATHLETE!!  Yea me. 

And then I have weeks like the past two weeks.  I.  Hate.  Every.  Run.  Long run...short run...intervals...HATEFUL.  I'm annoyed, I don't want to train anymore ever again, I wonder why the hell I signed up for another stupid marathon...blah...blah...blah. 

I haven't yet figured out the trigger to the "bad" weeks, but I can assure you that they're bad.  I can justify completely bagging a run for the silliest of reasons (I CAN'T possibly run 4 miles by myself!  It might rain in the next county.  I don't have a single clean pair of shorts...I can go on for days).  And when I do manage to actually get my clean shorts on and head out the door during a bad week, the runs suck.  One mile in and I'm certain that I can't finish that day's mileage.  Everything hurts, it's hotter than hell, I'm not properly hydrated, mercury is in retrograde, my calf might be broken and I just don't wanna.  Gutting it out through a bad training week is just shy of shoving bamboo sticks under my fingernails in the realm of torture.  And I choose to do this.  

So yea...runners are nuts.  On top of self-induced physical abuse, we're mentally abusive TO OUR OWN SELVES. And this good week/bad week stuff?  'Tis but a toe in the pond of distance runner crazy. 

Runners:  How do you get through a bad training week?
Non-runners:  Does it frighten you that you're zombie bait?

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