Resisting temptation

It’s the temptation of the road that sometimes does us in.

Most runners I know do a pretty good job with eating a good diet as well as with motivating to get out the door for runs. Where we all might fall short, however, is in resisting adding on too much mileage or too much speed. It’s easy to get sucked in to too much of either or both sometimes, especially when we run with others.

I found myself in a tempted situation just last week. Suffice it to say that my long run schedule has gotten entirely out of whack lately. What with the Runner’s World half marathon on Oct. 21, travel plans, and the Baltimore Marathon relay this coming Saturday, I’ve managed to get my long days all turned around. Being one who loves likes to stick to a plan, this is bugging me.

This past Friday, I planned to run 16 in between two weeks of 20. In getting the run organized with several friends, it became clear that most of them were doing 20. Joining them for the full 20 would put me back on the correct long run pattern, so for a few hours, I considered adding in those extra four miles. But–doing so would have made it my third 20 in a row. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to do this. My legs were feeling a bit tired last week and going for my third 20 in a row? Just didn’t seem smart.

On the other hand, my next chance to run 20 is this coming Saturday at the Baltimore Marathon. My friends and I have two teams put together for the relay. In years past, I’ve turned this run into a 20-miler. So I run hard for my 6-7 mile leg, and then add on the remainder of the miles on the course. I like doing this but will admit that it can be a hard way to do a 20. With the Runner’s World half one week later, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go with this option either.

In the end, I chose the 16. With the emotional pain of past injuries looming large in my brain, I decided that conservative was the smarter approach. So I did my 16 in a glycogen depleted state, did an easy seven on Saturday, and followed up with a nice 10-miler on Sunday. My legs are feeling pretty good now, so I think I made the right move.

Would an extra four miles have made or broken me right now when I’m running 50-mile weeks? Probably not, but I feel good about making the right move and not having any regrets. These days, I’d rather go with safe over sorry.

Do you manage to resist mileage or speed temptation fairly well? How has it worked or not worked for you in the past? 

Don’t forget–if you want to join me at the Runner’s World half weekend, you can get a discounted registration by using code blogger17.



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  1. says

    It’s tough to resist. Fear of missing out. Mistaken belief that more is better. Trying to reach an ethereal number each week. I’ve done run more or faster for all of the reasons above. Sometimes it didn’t matter too much but mostly it came back to bite me on the bum. Well done on resisting your temptation.
    Char recently posted..In My Next Life I’d Like To Come Back As …My Profile

  2. says

    Wise choice Miss Zippy!!! I remember those heartbreaking posts while you were injured and missing out on the fun! I find it easier to resist the higher mileage than the speed. I have a hard time slowing down knowing I only have X amount of time to get my run in…if I go faster then I can get in more miles!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  3. says

    I get so flustered when I have to adjust my schedule because of stuff like races so would be very tempted to run the extra miles. I luckily, usually am more cautious because I have been burned one too many times with injuries. Way to listen to your mind and not your heart. :)
    Robin recently posted..Running MotivationMy Profile

  4. says

    I have a couple of different groups I run with and, yes, I get asked all the time if I want to do race x,y,z. If I was to do x miles, this hill session, that track workout but I’m on a schedule set by my coach and simply don’t have that kind of flexibility anymore. Some running friends seem to find this hard to grasp!!!!! When I say I need 6 easy but they’re doing hills, they still expect me to come along but I can’t/don’t, it’s 6 easy I need so it’s 6 easy I’ll do. It’s can get kind of frustrating but I remind myself it’s nice to be popular too 😉

  5. says

    Temptation to run more miles is never a problem for me, ha ha. I always error on the side of caution. :) I’m pretty good at sticking to my training schedule exactly, but the few times something’s come up it’s pretty annoying. This time around though, I’m trying to just go with it and not stress. Running is just fun and fitness for me so I’m not going to take the fun out of it by stressing.

  6. says

    I think that you are being very smart. The temptation to run more miles is always there, but I have been pretty good about ignoring it in the past. I agree that it is hard to run a race and then add on extra miles. I had to do that a couple of times last year when I was training for CIM. I will admit that one day I was supposed to run 19 and I didn’t because I was too exhausted after my 1/2 marathon. I am pretty sure that my training didn’t suffer because of it.
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Happy Birthday Sweet TiaMy Profile

  7. says

    I tend to go with how I am feeling along with knowing my upcoming race goals. If I am going for a fast longer race, I tend to be conservative, if it is a faster short race and I feel good probably do the longer run. It also depends on how many little aches and pains I have going, if there are too many, am pretty conservative. It just depends…:-)
    Harold recently posted..AVR–Week In Review 10/7/12My Profile

  8. says

    Great post- I’m glad I’m not the only one who overthinks these things… I’ve become so much more conservative after dealing with injury too. It’s just not worth the risk to be out for a few weeks. But I also like a set schedule, and spend too much time pouring over my schedule trying to tweak it all to work when there are extra races thrown in. Nice job being flexible, and still listening to your better judgement. :)
    Laura recently posted..Blogging Tips from Fitbloggin 2012My Profile

  9. says

    It’s a really tough one! Now that I’m finally able to breathe again I want to run ALL. THE. TIME. But I know it’s awful for my body to go from 0 to running 4 times a week. It’s really tough to keep it dialed back but I know I have to!
    Good luck with running Baltimore and can’t wait to see you at Runners World!
    Carly D. @ CarlyBananas recently posted..Friday Fitness InspirationMy Profile

  10. says

    You made the right choice for sure. I deal with the distance temptation constantly. Now that I’m “old” :) I have to be much more conservative with my training. My rule is to always choose the shorter distance if I have any doubt.
    Johann recently posted..I’m Famous!My Profile

  11. says

    I definitely can relate to the temptation of wanting to do more – whether it be with running or other parts of my life. I think I fell into this trap last week because coming off of a solid 10K performance I was really ready to go full-throttle and didn’t really think about how I should be in somewhat taper mode. Perhaps fortunately life intervened so I didn’t log all those miles anyway.
    Raquelita recently posted..Halloween Half Marathon Training Week 7My Profile

  12. says

    I agree. I think safe over sorry comes with age and experience. I know I always think about my body and listen to it, where in the past when I’d have an injury I’d push harder and harder thinking my body could bounce back from anything…I was fearless!
    marissa recently posted..bathing suit or jeans?My Profile

  13. says

    This is something I continually struggle with, hence my bazillion injuries. This time around, I really am playing it safe. Right now, my highest mileage week has been 41 miles because I am painstakingly following the 10% rule. I just can’t handle missing ANOTHER marathon because of injury, so yes, I have been resisting. And yes, it is extremely hard. I definitely don’t meet many runners who lack motivation. I see way more of that in non-runners that can’t fathom the amount we run and how we manage to get our butts out the door every morning (or night in my case). I feel very fortunate to call myself a runner.
    Kate @ Run with Kate recently posted..The World’s Grossest Toe. I Promise.My Profile

  14. says

    I have gotten much better at resisting this kind of temptation. It also helps that I don’t run with a group (not sure how strong I’d be in a peer pressure environment!). It also helps that I’m feeling so good with this heart rate training–I don’t want to go back to either injury or that overtrained feeling.
    Terzah recently posted..Wardrobe MalfunctionMy Profile

  15. MJ says

    Congrats on your choice! I have been having a lot about these moments in the last few weeks. Since I feel like I fight being “lazy”, I always second-guess myself if I stick to a shorter plan or cut a run short for some reason. But I try to remind myself of a few things: 1) it’s usually my ego (and/or insecurities) that want the numbers/miles, not my body – one recent really bleh double day and the impact to the next day’s speedwork reminded me of that – those 3 miles weren’t worth it, 2) the miles are important, but consistent smart training is what will get me to the race healthy and as good as I can be at that moment (tough, always think I can/should have pushed more) AND 3) if I push now, what does that do to tomorrow’s run, the rest of this week, next week? Why do I want to do it? Sometimes pushing is ok or even the right thing. It’s really hard to judge when it is or isn’t with all the other emotions and psych stuff in play. Someone once told me “There’s a fine line between stubborn and stupid.” I try to think about whether I’m about to cross it, and why, and sometimes that helps. :)

  16. says

    Good for you resisting tempation. It is hard to sometimes.

    Most of my friends are much faster than I am, and I’ve had to stop to walk long enough for them to get out of sight (so I didn’t try to catch them) and then finish my run at my pace.

    I’m trying to train smarter, not harder in my old age! lol!

  17. says

    I think I have been resisting too much. I finally did my first 20 mile run of this training cycle and my marathon (NYC) is just a month away! I’ve done some races and kept telling myself to take it easy the week following the hard effort, so I haven’t gotten a 20 miler in until now.

    I am constantly in a state of concern over getting injured again. Thankfully, I’ve been running for a little over a year without major injury, but it’s hard for me to forget about my past of being injured for long periods of time, so I’m kind of paranoid and I think it is actually hampering my training intensity and performance. But at the end of the day, I’m just happy to be running, so maybe it’s worth the paranoia?
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..20 Miles FinallyMy Profile

  18. says

    I recently wrote a “Quality vs. Quantity” post regarding a week where I was looking at a 48 mile week. I’m a fairly low mileage kinda girl, so even 48 is a good number for me. With my first ultra looming in the distance (a little over 3 wks – yikes!), flirting with injury is what I feel like this training has done since day #1. So, I quickly decided 48 was an awesome weekly mileage at that point, and that since I was (so far) dodging injury, 48 it would be.

    I’m sure your decision will prove itself a good one!
    Lisa recently posted..A Training PR!My Profile

  19. says

    I always, always recommend the conservative route. At the end of the day, nobody gets awards for training week stats. All that matters is getting to the starting line healthy and ready to race.

    My rule of thumb is – if you have to ask the question, it shouldn’t be a consideration. Go with the option you know will result in a correct decision. Not the one that could end in the wrong one.
    LesserisMore recently posted..Making It WorkMy Profile

  20. says

    You’re right, listen to your body, stick to your plan and do what’s sensible. Your body knows a lot better than your watch, or any of your running friends, what’s best for you.
    Gordon recently posted..Autumn of my lifeMy Profile

  21. says

    You have a fun couple weekends coming up! I think you definitely made the right move to run 16.
    I’m pretty good at resisting mileage temptation, except for when I’m not actually training! When I don’t have any races on the calendar, or not for a long time, I try to hold back. I find that is when it’s the toughest!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Change of Pace – Mountain bikingMy Profile

  22. says

    I swear we are on the same schedule. There is a marathon and relay marathon in a few weeks just an hour away. I’m scheduled to do 17 but I’m toying with SLOWLY doing the entire race because I’m not sure I can find a relay partner and my running partner is doing the full for a PR.
    I can’t believe I’m obsessed with these choices. Glad you didn’t do a third 20 in a row, I want to see you kick bootay in Sacramento. It is PR City.
    Fueled by Spite recently posted..MarathoniversaryMy Profile

  23. says

    I am always struggling to find balance between what I want to do and what is probably the right thing to do. I’m not really plagued by running injuries, though I have had to deal with injuries from being clumsy that effect my running, but j want to keep it that way. I tend to always lean toward being to conservative(probably why I don’t get injured) which I think holds me back from reaching my potential(probably why I’m slow)It’s a constant internal struggle for me.
    I’m getting better at knowin it’s ok to push hard as long as you listen when your body is telling you to rest, even when you don’t want to.

  24. says

    smart choice! I pushed through pain for a long time and only have been learning that often, choosing quality over quantity is a wise choice. Sometimes, I feel like it is hard, but then, I remember how hard it is to be injured, and this is pretty much how I find my balance.
    Nina recently posted..Koehlbrandbrueckenlauf: Race ReportMy Profile

  25. says

    So hard to resist! I hate to admit it but I probably did push too hard too fast when I hurt my knee earlier this year. I was finally loving running again after taking some time away (not completely away but just not running as much) and felt good and strong and yes, probably added on too much speed too soon. You’d think that I’d learn my lesson by now but now I have. I’m glad though that you did decide to go conservative and that your legs are feeling strong. I’m kind of sad that I can’t join in on all the Runners World fun!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..An unexpected visitMy Profile