One run at a time

I have a confession to make: my marathon training schedule intimidates me. Since hiring on Jeff Gaudette as my coach and following his schedule, I am doing more speedwork in a week (volume wise) than I have ever done. I’m also doing run combinations that I’ve never tried before. For instance, last week I did an eight-miler on Friday that included six at marathon pace, followed by an 18-miler the next day.

What I’m realizing is that perhaps over the past couple of years I’ve gotten a bit slack with my own training. The no-plan training plan was perhaps the lazy bones training plan.

Yes, the general framework that I was using had equaled out to success for me, but…have I shaken things up at all in the last few training cycles? Nope, not at all. I had fallen into the same old, tried-and-true training pattern that I’ve been using for years now.

IMG 19621 224x300 One run at a time

Trying to keep fear at bay

That’s one of the big reasons I turned to a coach in the first place, and now that he’s delivering new and challenging things, I’m a bit scared to receive. So my approach has become one run at a time. Every time I head out and think I can’t do the workout, I find out I can. It’s hard, no question. But I’m getting through it. And I’m learning to try not to think about what’s on my schedule later on in the week, but rather just focus on each run as it comes. I don’t need to psyche myself out.

In the meantime, I can feel myself getting a bit stronger, and that’s exciting. I also know that when I finish this cycle out, I’m going to have a boatload of confidence. If I can make it through this training–each one run at a time–then I will be able to run my goal pace. That is one run I will take to the bank.

Ever feel afraid of the training you are facing? How do you deal with it? 

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  1. I’m afraid of my training almost all the time. It almost always amazes me when I run a mile, then two, then five. Maybe some day it will sink in that I can run ;).

    It sounds like a change might do you good – good luck with the coach!
    Heather recently posted..Goofy Weekend – Goofy RecapMy Profile

  2. I definitely needed to hear this! I’ve been eyeing other people’s training plans and worrying that my mileage isn’t big enough, or that I’m not running fast enough, and I just need to focus on what I’m doing now.
    Jessica recently posted..Leona Divide 50k Training: Week 1My Profile

  3. All this hard work is going to pay dividends. You’re going to be stronger and faster but more importantly you’re going to have more belief that you could do what you never thought possible. It’s going to be interesting watching from the side-lines.
    Char recently posted..Rich Beyond ImaginingsMy Profile

  4. Oooooh, yes. I definitely used to have the same kind of pre-hard-workout anxiety for challenging tempo/speed sessions. Finally, I decided that this worry was adding up to more stress that I didn’t want or need in my life – and I told myself that if I couldn’t get the obsessing under control, I was going to have to find a less challenging training plan.

    Of course, I desperately didn’t want to do that, and so managed to get my worrying under control. Now, I make sure everything is in place for success (nutrition, hydration, gear, rest) – but don’t let myself consider the workout until it’s Go Time.

    Awesome timing here, because I *just* wrote a post on this, and how I’ve had occasion to apply this same strategy to my “real life” these days!
    Holly KN recently posted..Conquering the “Bad Weather Blues”My Profile

  5. I think I sometimes do what you did and don’t push enough during my training. I am also in the process of changing that. I often fear the training I have to do, but as you say, you find that you can deal with it. I also focus on the day and don’t think about what needs to be done tomorrow.
    Johann recently posted..Two This TuesdayMy Profile

  6. you got this girl! like you said…take it one day at a time. you’re gonna rock this!
    Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean recently posted..What’s In My Grocery CartMy Profile

  7. I just take it one day at a time otherwise I get too freaked out. Great job with your training!
    Christy recently posted..Bulu Box ReviewMy Profile

  8. I’ve had a couple of the guys worried about what has been on their program… But it’s gone well and we’ve got through sessions like 30 x 200 and 20 x 300, tonight is an easy 15 x 400…
    Coach Dion recently posted..JUST A TRAINING RUNMy Profile

  9. Funny what happens when you just break down what would be an intimidating training cycle into one day or even interval at a time. Good for the confidence, methinks!

    Keep it up!
    Adrienne recently posted..What Recovery Feels Like: A Personal Case StudyMy Profile

  10. That’s great that your coach is pushing your boundaries, and that you are succeeding! I’m often scared when I get my workout plan but like you I just focus on one workout at a time.
    Leana recently posted..Race Report: Disney Family Fun Run 5KMy Profile

  11. I always tend to get a little scared when I see a whole training plan out in front of me. I seriously am thinking of hiring a coach just for someone to tell me what to do, how to do it and when so I don’t take the easy route. Plus, I am usually the one telling others what to do so it would be a nice change of pace. :)

    It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and test your boundaries especially when you are seeing results!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Indoor Bike Trainer WorkoutMy Profile

  12. The feeling of getting stronger can be a very powerful tool when things overall look intimidating!
    abbi recently posted..Discoveries at Eat, Sleep, Run, GrowMy Profile

  13. Your coach’s name is my boss’s name! :) I think it’s astonishing how much someone else’s perspective can push you. Even just running with others can change things up – they go faster or further or do more drills, etc. Can’t wait to see the improvements!
    Gracie (Complicated Day) recently posted..Louisiana Marathon: David’s firstMy Profile

  14. Speedwork worries me but its helps me a ton! Sticking to a plan and having a coach is where it’s at!
    Kat recently posted..2013 – The Year of the Run-cationMy Profile

  15. YES!!!! ALL THE TIME. I actually wait to make my training plan until a day when I’m feeling a bit cocky so that the plan is extremely aggressive and, on a normal day, scares me. I think it’s extremely easy to fall into a routine with the plan and never really push the envelope with some workouts. The fact that you are hitting all your workouts is awesome – I love that they scare you a bit – makes me so excited to see how the whole training cycle goes (and to see how you end up liking the tough runs on Friday + long runs on Saturday)!! =)
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..Battle of the Sexes – Household Bragging RightsMy Profile

  16. I like your “Your run at a time” approach, one step at a time ‘eh? When I get intimidated I just put the blinders on, I don’t want to see what’s coming, I just want to do it.
    Molly recently posted..There is still just enougth time for a Five For FridayMy Profile

  17. Makes a lot of sense. While I do feel I want to ramp things up and challenge myself, I still have the injury issue/worry hanging over my head. I do think the “one run at a time” approach is a good one.Glad this coaching thing is working out for you!
    Shut Up and Run recently posted..Who Do You Pick?My Profile

  18. I can see why your new plan/coach may be intimidating, but if anyone is capable I think it would be you! So your take it one day at a time, makes total sense. Happy training!
    Robin recently posted..Cross Training and Winter (?) FunMy Profile

  19. I’ve only used one training plan, and it definitely intimidated me. I just followed it as best as I could, trusting that the author knew what he was doing! :)
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..Sleep to Perform: Technogel Anatomic PillowMy Profile

  20. I hear you! It’s so hard to change it up at times. I just switched to an actual training plan for Boston and my whatever training plan that left little stress is sorely missed :)
    Sheil recently posted..Tinkerbell Half Marathon Race ReviewMy Profile

  21. I’ve always been nervous about hiring a coach because I’ve always been worried about finding someone who can help me find the right balance between the reality of my body and reaching my full potential. What I do think I would benefit from though is a strength coach! I hope that this works out well and that you run a great race then you can pass the tips along to us :)

  22. I have definitely felt afraid of training! I’m still relatively new to running, and I’m using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half Marathon Training program this time around, and I keep wondering if I can handle it. Even though so far I’m doing fine, I continue to have that plaguing self-doubt. Your strategy of one run at a time is really smart and I need to concentrate on that!
    Jen @ Jens Best Life recently posted..Seattle Mini-Vacation RecapMy Profile

  23. Just thinking about training for a marathon again makes me want to be sick…but it’s the things that scare us and don’t break us that make us stronger each day!! You are going to be rocking this training!!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..If I could just chop off my leg…My Profile

  24. That seems like a really tough back to back run workout. I don’t even know if I could pull that off. I think that with these tougher workouts your coach has in place for you, you are going to run an awesome marathon.

    I love the feeling of myself getting stronger. My coach actually sent me new revised workout times last night. My times have dropped drastically over the last couple of weeks. They are getting much closer to what they were at this time last year. Last night I wanted to throw up, but I nailed 4 x 1200s at a 6:00 min pace. When I was done I could not stop smiling. :-)
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Week 4: Milestones & Christmas!My Profile

  25. I am doing three days of speed type work a week as well, I can barely walk but I feel exactly the same as you, perhaps I’ve been relaxed with my training… getting faster hurts and is hard work, but I love it. Have a great week Amanda! PS: Rundilious top is muy bueno
    LisaM@RunWiki recently posted..Strawberry Napoleon with #SilkAlmond Pastry CreamMy Profile

  26. I think it is so interesting that someone who is a coach, has a coach! Good for you to shake things up and I wish you continued success and improvement as you train for the next big one!

  27. My training scares me in 2013, especially when I hit the mark of the “unknown” the place where I havent trained at that level in the past

  28. I do think that it’s so great that you turned to a coach, especially since you are a coach yourself! I think that it’s good to push yourself because you never know right? Me? I’m always terrified of training :-)
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..How Content Brew saved my blogMy Profile

  29. Right now I’m feeling pretty intimidated by marathon training and by the Vancouver Marathon I’m registered for in May. It’s been a couple of years since I successfully trained for a marathon and I ran pretty lackluster half-marathons last year. I’m doing my best to take it one run and one week at a time right now — otherwise I think I would feel really overwhelmed.
    Raquelita recently posted..Anniversary Number 3My Profile

  30. I have a coach as well and experience a lot of the same feelings. I frequently get workouts were I think there’s no way I can do this he must be crazy, but 9 times out of 10 I’m able to do them. I think that’s the benefit of having a coach…they push you beyond what you think your capable of.
    Amanda recently posted..Workout Recap and Workouts through 1/21-1/27My Profile

  31. I feel like my training plan is a bit too easy on me. I think I can run faster on my speed/tempo days but I am trying hard to trust in the plan. I would LOVE to have a coach and would love to be able to take it one day at a time.

    I can’t wait to see how this training pans out for you! It sounds great so far!
    Kate @ So Cal Runner Gal recently posted..A Long Weekend + A Long RunMy Profile

  32. Good for you. The reward is so great after completely a tough workout.
    I’m don’t get intimidated by a tough workout, just hope I have enough in me to
    push through the toughest points. My challenge is getting burned out at about 1/2 way through a tough training program.
    Joanne recently posted..Like New Workout Clothes? Like PVBodyMy Profile

  33. I think it sounds exciting that you are taking on such challenging training. It makes me long for my good ol’ days, when I used to really push myself in training (kind of, anyway :-)). It pays off though.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Vegan Recipe: Potato Tornadoes Starring Silk Almond Milk.My Profile

  34. I always psyche myself out looking at the training calendar. Your advice — one workout at a time, is absolutely spot on. And one week at a time. One mile at a time, really.

    Having a coach would make me accountable to someone else, not just internally, to my owen expectations and analysis. That can be good and bad I imagine.
    NY Wolve recently posted..A Music RevolutionMy Profile

  35. Sometimes we just have to take it one run at a time. It helps us focus on what’s on tap for the day. No need to worry about what we need to do tomorrow:)
    hikermom recently posted..Time For a Virtual RunMy Profile

  36. Every cycle! I have a bad memory, so after off season, I forget what it feels like to be conquering peak weeks. They just look so… intimidating. But when you do the build up properly, and you take each day one workout at a time, oddly enough you get through it and get strong! Good luck with your training cycle!
    Quix recently posted..Motivational Monday: Sticking With ItMy Profile

  37. That’s great you feel yourself getting stronger already! And you know confidence is key!
    I forget which pro, and whether it was a runner or triathlete, that said they always take their training one day at a time. That way there’s no wasted energy stressing about future workouts and no slacking in hopes of being better prepared for another session.
    Can’t wait to see some of your results!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Ice and running don’t mixMy Profile

  38. My marathon training plan was pretty intimidating but I tried not look ahead on the weeks to come. I took it week by week. There were some crazy workouts for sure that I did. I remember running 13-15 miles on Thursday nights! With a 20 miler on the weekend. But it was worth it!
    J recently posted..Oh my shoe!My Profile

  39. ooh-i’m so excited for you!! and to answer your question-this training cycle was scary and exciting at the same time. i’m still not sure what it will hold for me, but it’s been really cool to see the changes and learn to believe in myself.
    elizabeth recently posted..I’m so FLYMy Profile

  40. I’m both surprised and a bit relieved to read this! You’re SUCH an incredible runner, it wouldn’t occur to me that you would ever be intimidated by your training or by a race.

    I’m just tapering for my first ever marathon (after years of running halves and vowing never to do a full :) and when I first looked at my training plan, I was terrified, horrified, stupefied, etc-fied. At day 2 of the 10th week (of 11), I’m looking back at it realizing two things –
    1. if you take it run by run, mile by mile, it IS possible to push yourself to new strengths and speeds
    2. a plan is only as good as its execution and there have been days or weeks when I’ve had to adjust a bit, but it’s okay so long as I make every run count

    I guess the proof will be in the puddin’ come February 3, but after 3 20+ mile runs where I found I felt better at the end than at the beginning, I know that if it’s given me nothing else, sticking with a daunting training plan mile-by-mile has given me faith in myself.
    Rachelle recently posted..Will Run For…My Profile

  41. I am working on a training plan after not having one all through last year. This training plan is tougher because it is more miles then what I did last year and the weather is pretty cruddy, so a long run of 20+ miles on the treadmill just really psyches me out! But I guess I just need to take it a mile at a time.
    RunInBoise recently posted..Nominate Me For Inspirational Runner of the Year!My Profile

  42. I love your approach! I think I’ll adopt it :) I’ve been finding myself feeling a little nervous about some of the speed work on my new training plan… one run at a time… you got it!
    GreenGirlRunning recently posted..Catching UpMy Profile

  43. I was so afraid of my last training cycle especially my 20 mile runs. My coach had me completing 20 mile runs at paces I had only hit once and that was in my marathon. I was so scared of it but so excited to see if I could handle it. And I didn’t hit every single workout how she wanted me to. But I did hit a majority of them and it did give me the confidence I needed to push a pace I never thought I could run in a marathon.

    I am really excited to see how you do with a coach. I am amazed at the results I have seen in the past 6 months because of my coach.
    Robin recently posted..My Week at Disney & the RunDisney Meetup + Giveaway!My Profile

  44. I could have written this exact same post! I am using a coach for the first time and am surprised at how hard the workouts are and so close together, too! I actually had to lie down on the couch for 2 hours yesterday after my 11 mile run, which is completely out of the ordinary for me (and thank goodness my husband had the day off and could help with the kids!)

    The most surprising thing is that I have run faster and harder than ever before. And my coach thinks I am capable of much more than I have ever believed. Yet I am slowly starting to believe it myself!

    Yes, I have felt fear. I am afraid of tomorrow’s 8 x 800!
    Kristen @ Happy Running Mama recently posted..Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortableMy Profile

  45. Jeff Irvin says:

    I am good at compartmentalizing my training and never look ahead. Probably because I lack the needed attention span to look ahead!

    BUT, the athletes I coach now only get one weeks of workouts at a time and it is for this very reason. I want them concentrating on the workout they are doing and not worrying about the ones coming up.

  46. It sounds like hiring a coach was definitely the right decision for you. That’s something I definitely want to try once I’m making a bit more.
    Rachel recently posted..Review: Saucony Guide 6My Profile

  47. I’m most terrified of long runs. I know it’s because I’m scared that I’ll end the run in pain, but there is nothing else to do get out there and run but make sure I’m taking care pre&post runs. I know that a run coach would do wonders for me. I am open to giving it a try for my first marathon!
    beka @ rebecca roams recently posted..Avoiding the 7′s + Weekly Workouts RoundupMy Profile

  48. YES! I’m always freaked out if I look ahead in Ironman training. But I also think if you’re not a little nervous, it’s probably not pushing you enough. You’ll be ready when you get there. Excited that you’re tackling a new challenge with a new coach!
    Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted..Faux-Pho Udon Noodle Soup {MMAZ #21}My Profile

  49. I think that is the best approach, taking each run one at a time. I try not to look far ahead with Coach Erin’s training plan so I don’t get scared :) Each one is treated as it’s own special one in my mind. She’s having me do things I’ve never done before too, but I’m still tackling my first Full so everything is something I’ve not done yet! I really like having a coach, it brings a sense of relief to me in many aspects, a fresh perspective and approach.
    Christina recently posted..Brooks Pure Flow 2, hot tea, and rice dishesMy Profile

  50. Yes—and yes. I think I have been too slack on my own training, so I absolutely get it. It sounds like the extra push is going to be great for you–and if anyone can handle it–it is you!
    Elena recently posted..The Old West: Silverton ColoradoMy Profile

  51. That’s fantastic that you are getting out of your comfort zone and finding that you CAN. Kudos!
    Mandy recently posted..Training Update: A New Me!My Profile

  52. The next 11 weeks of training daunt me. But I love that I will be pushed and yes you give the best advice – one run at a time! Good luck!
    Jenelle @ mummy loves to run recently posted..12 weeks – Canberra MarathonMy Profile

  53. I am afraid to start running again, as I have been out of the game for so long due to illness and injury. Good luck with your training and new coach. Taking one run at a time is good advice!
    Toni Church recently posted..Wordless Wednesday-RecuperationMy Profile

  54. My coach’s speed workouts in particular always give me stomach butterflies at the beginning of the week. Often, in the middle of them, I find myself taking them one interval at a time! I think it means we’re doing the right thing. You can’t get better results with the same training, right?

  55. I know what you mean. Also I think that training in the winter, in the dark, in the cold, after work…is intimidating! It’s hard!
    Travel Spot recently posted..Over and Over AgainMy Profile


  1. [...] runs, and accomplished some really big workouts that I never thought I could do. Using my “one run at a time” approach, I have managed to complete just about every workout as it was [...]

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