My running aim today was to complete 15 miles, which I had carefully set out in my training plan – 2 miles added on from last week and setting me up for 18 miles next weekend. If you follow my Instagram you will know that I didn’t run the 15 miles, instead I just managed to get through 6! This morning the weather was so cold (minus 1 degrees) and many of the pavements were so icy that it made the thought of running a full 15 miles seem impossible. In all honesty despite the weather my body could have ran the miles, but mentally I just wasn’t there and struggled through 6 miles before giving up.
When I got home I felt really guilty for not doing the full 15 miles. I only get one chance per week to get in a long run and if I miss it I have to work extra hard the next weekend, and risk injury, as I add on more miles than I probably should. I also really wanted to do more than half a marathon for confidence – knowing I could do 15 would make the final 11 miles seem less daunting.
But I also know that this happens and even the most dedicated runner cannot do every long run in the training plan. In fact, for all the races I’ve done I don’t think I’ve ever managed to completely stick to a training plan without failing to miss at least one run. Illness, bad weather conditions, work commitments, injuries, running shoes that randomly fall apart – I’ve experienced all these in the past and they have all prevented me from sticking to my training plan.
It’s always frustrating, but experience has also taught me that it is moving on from the miss run that counts. I now create training plans with the expectation that I will miss at least one important long run. It is also why I am very committed to getting out for my long runs when I can, no matter how tired I feel or how much I would prefer a Sunday lie-in!
I also know from experience that one missed training run won’t make a huge difference on race day. It all the runs that count. From the longest long run to short interval sessions – even the other non-running stuff, which for me is my Crossfit workouts – all help to make me stronger and fitter for the race.
So while I will never be happy about missing a long run, or like today not completing the miles I intended to run, I know that marathon training is a long process so one missed long run isn’t going to mean that I fail to finish the marathon on race day.