At the beginning of the year I set a goal to run a 38K trail race in July. As you probably guessed, I’m not running it. The first reason is just that I won’t actually be in town that weekend, but for right now finding a similar race is also a bad idea.
Trouble actually showed up the first month of training, in the form of fatigue and shakiness. I have autoimmune-type crashes once or twice a year, and they’re gone within a couple weeks as long as I dial everything way back. So I thought this would be the same. Long, frustrating story short: after many doctor visits and tests, I don’t have a diagnosis and I do have fatigue. (We did figure out the shakiness was due to constant tiny muscle twitches; they’re not caused by a serious disease and are controllable with medication.)
Some people, possibly people more reasonable than I, would say it’s a better idea to stop running for now. But some days I feel better after running. (Some days I feel worse, but I can usually recognize those days and not run then.) I do not, however, feel better after long runs – roughly an hour and a half or longer. I know from previous experience that long runs are pretty exhausting even when I’m 100% healthy. So training for a long race, trail or road? No. Bad idea for now. But…
I also know from previous experience that my body recovers faster from short speedwork than from long slow runs. I could just not train for anything, but I need some external motivation right now…so I’ve gone to basically the complete opposite of a long trail race: training for a 5K.
Because I need to ease back into speedwork, I’ll be using the workouts in this mile training plan for the first few weeks, then transitioning to this 5K plan once I feel ready for the longer speedwork. I likely won’t follow either plan exactly – I’m aiming for 3-4 runs (10-16 total miles) and 1-2 hikes per week. The long(er) runs will stay on trails, because you know I can’t give up trail running completely.
As for everything else, I need to be consistent with gentle/restorative yoga to stave off joint and muscle aches. I’m aiming for a minimum of 15 minutes, 3 times a week. Planning strength workouts is tricky – they can simultaneously make me feel better and drain a lot of energy. For most of the year I’ve been doing ~45 minute workouts twice a week, so it’s time to try something different: I’m going to see how my body responds to much shorter (~10-15 minute) but more frequent workouts.
That’s the plan for now, but it’s subject to change – even significant change, as I’ve learned. I’ve only talked about training priorities so far, but priority one is remaining a semi-normal and functional human.
How do you decide when a goal has become wrong for you?