fix me friday

As my weekly mileage increases and the date of this marathon draws inexorably nearer, I realize that I am struggling with some running-related issues. On the one hand, I am pretty annoyed that I am dealing with challenges beyond the actual 26.2 miles. On the other, I’m glad that I have time to get things sorted out.

I also consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the power of such a strong community behind me. Since I started blogging here at Runs With Pugs, I have benefitted from the support and advice of wonderful and engaged readers. I have enjoyed others’ blogs and learned so much from reading about everyone’s experiences and journeys.

This Friday, I am throwing myself on your mercy to ask for your help. Maybe you have some thoughts or suggestions to share about some of my mental hangups. Maybe you have some advice to help with my physical problems. Maybe you have some of the same problems and want to read along to see what other runners can recommend. Whatever the case may be, I welcome and appreciate any and all words of wisdom you offer. No matter what the end results of this 26.2 mile run, I need to give myself as many of the proper tools as possible to help me succeed. I don’t think I can do it without you.

Are you ready? Here we go.

1. Pace Addict

I am obsessed with my pace. I cannot stop looking at my Garmin and attempting to do mental math to see where I need to be. Which is probably a fantastic way of distracting me from the whole running thing, but can also be completely jarring if I get off track. It’s something I need to let go, because I swear up and down I am not running this first and only marathon for time. But I also feel like I’m lying to myself, because somewhere, deep down inside, I DO care. I hate to even admit that I do kind of have a goal, because if I fail at meeting that goal-I-shouldn’t-have, I’m going to be pretty upset with myself. Regardless, I am spending a lot of time and energy concentrating on numbers that really shouldn’t matter.

Do I put tape over the face of my Garmin and try to ignore (I can’t run naked because I need the interval timer my Forerunner provides)? Do I get myself a pace band or pace tattoo for the race so that at least I can stop trying to do calculations in my head? And speaking of all that, should I trust that my Garmin is going to last the duration of my marathon or should I look into a new one before race day? (I had posted that I was worried about my battery life before, but it’s taking hold as an irrational fear now).


2. Long Run Motivation & Intimidation

This is kind of a chicken and egg one. I’m not sure if my waning motivation caused the intimidation or the other way around. My training plan goes up to 26 miles (yes, I NEED to know I can do 26 miles before the big day), and I have a few long runs left. But every time a number greater than 13 shows up, I feel ill. And inexplicably lazy. The weather is getting cooler and I will soon be able to go out for runs after little man is in school, which is so much more appealing than getting up at 4:00AM and running in the terrifying pitch black. It’s also a busy time of year and I feel like the only way I’ll be able to get the miles in is to split them up over 24 hour periods. I did my 17 mile run in two parts, just a few hours apart, and that went well, but I don’t know if that’s a habit I should avoid. I have a 10 mile race this weekend and was hoping to capitalize on the distance by running another 10 miles the day before or after. I won’t be able to do it the same day because of timing and other commitments, and I don’t feel safe running alone prior to the race.

Suck it up, buttercup? Split up my runs if need be? Convince myself that I don’t REALLY need the 26 miles in training distances, and take advantage of the little bit of wiggle room my training plan affords?


3. OMG Cramps!

I fuel. I hydrate. I watch what I eat and drink in the days leading up to long runs and races. I bring what should be adequate nutrition out with me for long runs. I am even carrying my own fluids on the course, in the form of Gatorade (because water just doesn’t cut it for me). However, during every long race I’ve done, my calves start screaming protest. It’s awful and miserable and I need it to stop immediately. My mom gave me a bottle of salt capsules, which I want to try (not at this next race, of course), and I am going to try Gu again, even though I find the texture upsetting, but I am desperate to get a handle on the situation before it rears its ugly head again. Even more ironic, I don’t notice it during training runs, so I am always blindsided when it happens during a race.

Do you suffer from cramps on race day? How do you get them under control? 



Now that we are getting to a point where my race calendar is clearing out again, my wheels are spinning trying to fill in the gaps. On the one hand, I have to choose more carefully because some of my weekends may not be free, but on the other, I have committed to two races immediately after the marathon, and am constantly looking at event calendars trying to find others. It is VERY motivating for me to have goals on the radar, but I think I also need to take some downtime. I’m not sure how to do that. I don’t want to burn out but I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained in training. I am 99.99999% sure that this marathon will be a one and done kind of thing, so I will never be at this level of commitment and obligation again, but I can’t get rid of that feeling of “RUN ALL THE THINGS!” I know I’m not alone in this.

How do you get past the need to push push push, even after a long and grueling training cycle?


5. Compression Knee Socks

I have run with them and without them (mostly without, and with only for recovery), but never in a race situation. I am kind of terrified that at the halfway mark, I’m going to want to stop and rip them off.

Will they help me, in any way? Maybe with those aforementioned calf cramps? Or my tendency to PF?


So, there it is. I’m sure some of these are easy-ish fixes, but I figured it’s best to get it all out there and move forward. Thank you to everyone for reading and for any advice and suggestions you may have! It’s important to give myself the best shot I can, but consistent training can only get me so far.


Have a great weekend and enjoy any races and long runs you may have on the schedule!

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23 Responses to fix me friday

  1. Lauren says:

    Hi! I just ran my second full marathon. I used a paceband ( and found it helpful, esp because I went through a tunnel around the first mile and my GPS lost satellite signal for a moment and then was off the rest of the race. Two-YOU DON”T NEED TO RUN 26 MILES BEFORE RACE DAY. Calm down seriously, if you run 20, you’ll be able to run 26.2 on race day. Seriously, trust your training. I run in compression sleeves for races all the time. I don’t cramp but maybe you need more electrolytes? I carry Nuun with has no sugar and electrolytes (no carbs so I use with Gu) but maybe try intaking more gatorade. Hope I was a little helpful!
    Lauren recently posted…Chicago Marathon 2014: The Big Race RecapMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I know, I know. Everyone keeps saying this. But I am so scared I won’t be able to get there on race day. I have trust, but not that that much trust! LOL! I drink nuun between runs – the carbonation messes with me during races, but maybe I will ramp that up!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!
      runswithpugs recently posted…fix me fridayMy Profile

  2. Angie says:

    I have the same problem with pace. I know for the first marathon I should worry about finishing, but I can’t. Deep down, I have a goal time that I really want to hit and I am afraid if I don’t I will have failed. It is a tough balance between wanting to hit your goal, but knowing that just finishing is a major feat of its own.

    I have heard splitting the long runs is okay to do occasionally, but not for every run. It is hard to find the time to squeeze in the long runs (this is when I wish I was super fast so they don’t take as long.) 🙂

    I want to run all the races too! Money and time is stopping me. Next fall I won’t be able to run very many so I feel like I need to do them this year. Are you running the Pumpkin 10 miler this weekend? I wanted to do that one, but my husband is working this weekend. I love having a race on the schedule so it keeps me motivated. It doesn’t even have to be a long one. A 5K or 10K motivate me to work on speed and time.
    Angie recently posted…It is permanentMy Profile

    • Every time I go running I have that thought: “I wish I was super fast so they don’t take as long”
      I’m the opposite of fast. It always takes forever.
      Stacie Seidman recently posted…Quickest Getaway EverMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I am doing the Pumpkin Run, and I am shaking in my boots. It’s supposed to be fast, and I am not. The finish times from last year are insane!

      I have one goal race per year (Space Coast – at least through 2017 so I can earn the entire Big Bang Series), and then I build around that. I want to do a Ragnar. I want to do a RnR race. I want to run either the Avengers or Star Wars Half (ideally both, in time). I will get to do Castaway Cay 5K. I don’t care if they are necessarily big races, but they have to mean something to me, or just be something fun to do on a holiday. Nothing like starting a day off with a 5K, right?

      I will definitely do at least one long run altogether. I have to!
      runswithpugs recently posted…fix me fridayMy Profile

  3. As you know, I’ve never run a marathon. I likely never will. It’s just not on my bucket list. Though I REALLY admire all of you who do them! So I suppose my suggestions come with a grain of salt.
    1. I have this pacing issue all the time. And rationally I know it doesn’t matter. Finishing matters, the clock does not. I ran watchless for awhile which was nice, but I’ve recently brought it back into the picture. And it tells me I’m slow. I’ve started setting restrictions for myself about checking it. So for example, when I start having that urge to look at it, I find a land mark in the distance, and I can’t check it until I reach that spot. It’s not a cure all of watch-checking-addiction, but it helps.
    2. I’m not much help here. I’m lazy. I run once a week now. Will work on that and report back 😉
    3. Can you think of anything you do differently on race day? Are you pushing harder/running faster? That may be the source of the cramping and not so much a lack of hydration/nutrition. But in either case, I would definitely try and get more potassium prior to race day. They say that’s the best thing for cramping (besides hydrating of course!). Maybe try drinking some gatorade the day before as well to get the hydration ball rolling.
    4. I often take a break after the halves I’ve run. It’s not always on purpose, but it happens. I think a break is healthy if you need it. And believe me, after running 13.1, I need it! Not so much physically, but HAVING TO RUN ALL THE SCHEDULED RUNS ALL THE TIME really stresses me out. I’m not sure about your area, but around here, most races don’t fill up. So you can sometimes register day of and just play it by ear.
    5. I can’t decide about compression socks. I have a friend that swears by them, but for me, they just feel tight. I have run several races in regular knee socks and they were fine, but usually for cooler races. I get really hot running, so I don’t like too much clothing making me feel suffocated.
    Hope something I said above is helpful! I think you’re doing great! In the words of my virtual running club Outrun38: YOU GOT THIS!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Quickest Getaway EverMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It wasn’t on my bucket list either. I don’t know what happened. LOL.
      1. I KNOW it doesn’t matter. I absolutely know that. But it does. I do the same landmark trick. I feel like we get each other.
      2. LOL!
      3. I don’t know if I’m pushing harder. I just kind of go. I do get a lot more stressed on race day, but I can’t imagine that changes much? I will try on the potassium. I don’t eat nearly enough bananas.
      4. Definitely take breaks on my half. I plan on doing only two half marathons a year. I can’t imagine how I would feel running back to back races, or one every weekend, or even one a month. I like doing the smaller races but the big ones? Oooh, no.
      5. I don’t necessarily get super hot, but I do get uncomfortable and I would be worried about the extra stuff on my legs would drive me nuts. Overthinking? Yep!

      Everything is helpful! I love your virtual running club. Very inspiring 🙂

  4. Tiffany says:

    1. Pace
    Running in the heat will always be slower. Don’t worry so much about pace when it’s over 65 and/or high humidity.

    2. Long run intimidation
    There is no need to run 26 miles as a marathon training run. The excitement of the race will get you to the finish. Don’t go further than 20. The long runs require a lot of recovery, which is the time during which you build strength. And speed.

    3. Cramps
    The fact that you cramp during races but not during training is possibly due to fatigue. During a race, you probably tend to run faster than you do during a training run. As a result, your muscles fatigue faster. Incorporating a weekly speed workout and/or tempo run (race pace for a shorter distance) can help with that.

    4. FOMO
    FOMO sucks. You just have to choose which races are most important and then chose the most important among those, allowing time for recovery. And then stay off of social media the days of the races that didn’t make the cut.

    5. Compression Socks
    I actually just wore mine during a race for the first time in August. It was during a marathon, a risky move. It was cold on race day, so heat wasn’t a problem. And I’m firmly convinced that they helped delay fatigue during the race. I wore them again in a half marathon last weekend. I felt a little warm during the first couple of miles, but then forgot about them. It’s worth it for the recovery if it’s cold on race day. If it’s warm, skip them for the race and put them on post-race.

    Training for and running a marathon is such hard work. Sometimes just letting go is what you need to do.
    Tiffany recently posted…Review: Manitoba Harvest Hemp HeartsMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      1. I’m not sure what the weather will be for the marathon. It could be 30 and it could be 80. Yay, Orlando! I will try to just let it all go, but that’s tough for me.
      2. LOL! I really don’t believe in the “excitement of the race!” I am so scared that I will hit the 20 and just not have any more to give. Eek.
      3. I do try to do my speed work, but I am not consistent about it. I’ll get back on the wagon. Thank you for that tip.
      4. LOL! I get over it, but RAGNAR! HOOD TO COAST! NYC! CHICAGO! And even some of the local thing around here! I mean, it’s just so hard to say no!It’s even harder here because we have decent race weather all year long.
      5. I will maybe take them out for a long run to test them. So many decisions in the balance!

  5. Rachel says:

    I’ve never run a full marathon before but I can totally relate to #2 and #4. When I was training for my first 10-mile race, I was completely panicked about being able to run that far. My longest training run up until that point was maybe 8 miles. I was a wreck. I’ve now completed two half’s and I am much more confident that I’ll be able to keep going if/when the full time comes. FOMO for sure. I hate not having a race to look forward to. I feel so unmotivated. But down time is important, so maybe pick up kickboxing in the meantime? Good luck!

    • runswithpugs says:

      Kickboxing is a great idea! I have been kind of interested in martial arts. It’s pricey, but it might be a good counterpoint to my running, if I can get into it.

      I definitely ran up to 13 miles before my first half. Anything under that leaves me feeling undertrained. It’s my own hangup, but it’s a doozy. I have to try to adjust my frame of mind.

  6. jan says:

    I haven’t had the issue w/ calf cramps, but I have run w/ knee compression socks and sleeves and they don’t bother me at all. In fact I think I did my half marathon with them on (honestly can’t remember but I’m positive I’ve worn them for 10K’s). As for the fear of long runs, I get nervous before anything over 7-8 miles. EVERY time. I think it is just because I’m not used to it. I think you are doing just GREAT with your plan and give yourself some credit! As for the watch issue, I make deals with myself: No looking at the Garmin unless it beeps, or no looking until that tree, or this other landmark, etc.
    jan recently posted…Saturday Trail RunMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I actually ran with them today for my 10 Miler and it went pretty well. No cramps! I think if it was any warmer, it might not have worked out so well, but I did ok. 🙂

      Thanks for the support. I’m trying to have faith in myself, but this is way out of my comfort zone, so…. it’s hard.

  7. Anne says:

    Wow, you hit almost every runner struggle in the head!

    If you can’t run without your Garmin, I highly recommend placing tape over the face, or running Garminless and finding an alternate timer. Running without my Garmin is my sanity so often!

    Now that you’ve forayed into group runs, I say what the heck, why NOT try joining a team in training? I know the Fleet Feet here in Raleigh has them for all different pace groups and maybe it could help with the motivation?? I know I struggle with that quite a bit as well!

    Good luck, we’re all rooting for you 🙂

    • runswithpugs says:

      <3 <3 <3

      I actually ran with someone else yesterday. I'm just going crazy! I don't know if I can join a group right now. Our schedule is so insane, especially with the holidays, so those weekend long runs just aren't in the cards. We do have a bunch of running groups, but it would be a waste of money to pay and then not be able to go. I think after the marathon, when I settle on a schedule for 2015 - a few half marathons and some 10Ks, please, I will work on finding a group.

  8. I used to be a pace addict . . . the only way I was able to really get myself away from it was to put my phone in my pocket with a difficult-to-enter passcode, so that looking down at my phone (which is the only tracking device I use) was a pain in the ass. I’d go out for a specific route, so I was looking at a specific mileage, ensured I had more than enough time to run it, and then I’d only inspect pace/splits at the end.

    For the compression socks . . . I’ve never used them, so I can’t really offer any advice. During especially cold runs, I’ll run with tights instead of shorts, and they’re kind of the same, but I can’t possibly take off my tights without being arrested for indecent exposure, so I need to be doubly-certain that the race will be cold enough to warrant the tights, if I go that route.

    I’ve only cramped, once, during a run . . . left hamstring, last marathon. The medical community really has no idea why people cramp in the first place, so I don’t know if there’s any solid advice I can give you there. Or, even gelatinous advice.
    John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where I write about things that have bothered me this week.My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      That’s a good idea on changing up the password. I take meandering routes that I don’t always plan in advance, so I would have to make sure I go and measure in advance.

      Runners do all sorts of indecent things. I’m sure a pair of tights have gone flying at some point. I used to always be freezing, but my body temperature is coming up (a blessing in the winter, not so much in the summer). My feet and hands still stay really cold (couldn’t feel my toes for a few miles of my last race), and my experiment with the socks went pretty well, so fingers crossed.

      Ugh. Hamstring cramps are awful! I’m sorry you experienced that. I’m going to keep playing around and hopefully cramps don’t strike me at Disney.

      • When I ran Disney last January (though it feels like it was years ago), the biggest issues were the temperature & humidity. The course, itself, was pretty flat . . . and I was *just* fast-enough a runner that I had a qualifying time that put me in a faster corral, which meant that I didn’t have to fight with crowds, at all, on the course.

        However, I left an area where there were temperatures that hovered around -20 and NO HUMIDITY (meaning that, if I ran outside, I’d commonly end up with cuts randomly about my body as I couldn’t feel large portions of exposed skin, and when I’d sweat, the skin would expand as it tried to freeze, splitting in the process . . . only, well, I couldn’t feel it, so I had no idea until I was back) to running when it was 60+ degrees at the start of the race and nearly 100% humidity. So, cramping was a worry, just because the climate was was new to my body . . . though I ran the two days previously, just to “get out to run,” and that kept everything at bay (though I was “only” running a half-marathon, a distance that I was familiar with). You should be fine.
        John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where I run for chocolate (despite despising the stuff)My Profile

        • runswithpugs says:

          OUCH!!!!! Since I’m local, I’m pretty much used to the temps and the humidity (and I’m grateful for that). It stinks not knowing exactly what you’re going to get on race day, but at least my body is acclimated one way or the other.

          I’ll be fine. When it’s over. 😉

  9. Andrea says:

    Way behind on commenting on this but
    #1–I’m not help. I’m a pace-aholic. I get really mad at myself when I think it’s not good. For example, right not I’m running with a girl who is faster than I am. Yet our pace together is a good 1:00-1:30 slower per mile and we can’t figure out why. And it makes me mad! I was so bad at checking my pace that I only let myself do it when I hit the halfway mark and the mile mark
    #2–26 miles…I firmly believe you shouldn’t go above 20. When I was starting training for my first marathon a guy posted about how every time you run about 20, especially for those of us whom it take a while to do it, you are upping your chance of getting injured. 20 miles is completely enough and your body will take over. (My 20 miler was split in 2 and I freaked out about it because it I didn’t think it’d count. Then I got injured & didn’t run again until the marathon and I was still fine).
    #3–Cramps. While a lot of my problems have to do with tight calf muscles, I don’t get cramps during my runs. Might have to do with #5.
    #4—FOMO. Oh I am the wrong person to ask about this. I had a 10k/half marathon weekend, then a weekend off. Then a 5k and half in same day. Then 3 weeks off. Then a half. Then a weekend off. Then another half. Then 3 weekends off. In Jan, if I feel good, I have 2 half weekends I want to run right after the full. Then a 5k. Then a half. Then a weekend off. Then a 10k/half weekend. Then a half. Then a weekend off. Then a 15k. Then a weekend off. Then a half. Yeah. Crazy. I know. But races keep me motivated to push myself and really the only reasons I run are for the races, and the social aspect.
    #5-Compression socks. Also swear by these. I wear them for any run 13.1 miles or over. I haven’t had any issues with wanting to tear them off. Maybe its because I know I have calf issues and these seem to really help.
    Andrea recently posted…David’s Club Ingredient of the MonthMy Profile

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