Chronic underachiever

Hi all,

Just in after running the GSR half marathon in Glasgow today and I've failed spectacularly again.  I'm so gutted, I think more so because I really thought I had a chance at this one.

I've been trying to run a sub 2h half since I started running, the nearest I've got is 2h 3min.  I genuinely believed I could do it today and was on target all the way to mile 12 but then just couldn't keep going and I'm furious and disappointed with myself in equal measures.  Finished in a soul-destroying 2h 8min.  I can't describe just how bad I feel about myself.  It's made worse by my husband beating his previous PB by 8mins and running 1h 43 - I'm trying to be pleased for him but it only amplifies my failure.

I don't know why I keep doing this to myself.  I'll be beating myself with this stick for months or until the next race I manage to mess up.

Is there any hope for me? I've run about 8 half marathons now and failed in all of them.  I guess I'm just looking for someone to say they did the same then managed to turn things around and slash their times.  Is it possible?

I genuinely feel like throwing my trainers out and never running again because what's the point when I never get any better at it?!

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Comments

  • Blimey.



    Maybe you should take a step back and realise that completing a HM is an achievement and not a failure. Rather than beating yourself with a stick you may want to consider the positives: like the fact that you can run (sounds like no big deal but everytime I hear about someone getting ill or injured I realise how lucky it is to be healthy and fit). Also, you made really nice times, and it looks like 2h can be achievable - you should probably have a good think about training plan and preparation as well as nutrition.



    Take a break now and try another form of activity - and only run for pleasure without set targets for a while.



    When you do pick your next race, pople here have advised to have 2 targets in mind - a dream one and one you'll be happy with - may help!
  • My most recent half marathon took me 2 hours and 2 seconds. Am I beating myself up? Am I a failure? No. I enjoyed the event (not race, event) and had a pleasant day out in good company.

    With the name Rubbishrunner and your constant talk of failure you clearly regard yourself as a failure. Sounds like you have a major self-esteem issue, especially if you're pissed off at your OH for scoring a pb.

    Your times are entirely decent but you're never going to win or set the world alight at running. Nor am I. So what? Run for the fun and the health benefits, eat the occasional cake, go to events for the hell of it. Seriously, if you come in after 2 hours does it really matter?

    Lighten up!

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Have you trained for a different result or do you just hope for one?

  • Muttley is right- you are better than 95% of the population of Glasgow, who stayed in bed this morinig, or vegged out in front of the TV.

    Maybe you should either: accept that you do this for fun, and enjoy the day without stressing too much about the time OR; change something- join a club? change the way you train?

    I am one of those who stares at their watch all the way round, struggling to beat some pre-determined target, and it takes all the fun out of the day...........for that reason, I've given up on halfs, and even to an extent marathons, and now do trail races/ ultra's etc, where you have no idea what time to aim for , and just enjoy the day. What about trying trail races instead, take the pressure off time- wise, and just enjoy?

  • What was you training schedule for the 1/2?



    I'm sune You can run sub 2h if you adjust your training
  • Muttley, I suppose in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter but I find it so hard to put so much effort into something then not achieve it.



    I don't want to seem pissed off about my husband's PB- he's worked hard for it. I congratulated him and meant it! It's just difficult to be happy for someone else at the same time as dealing with my own disappointment.



    I think the best way forward for me just now is to stop racing because that's where my disappointment stems from. I'll probably keep running to keep fit. Maybe I'll try again in the future. I know I'll never win a race but I'd love to see an improvement and to feel good about my running.
  • Couldn't just read and run as it were.

    I have never run a HM (training for my first in Aviemore in 6 weeks) so can't offer any great pearls of wisdom but what I can say is how much I admire someone who has run eight and also who has an a goal and keeps working towards to it. Both of these achievements are amazing.

    Please focus on the positive.

    C

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    Do you know how similar you sound like? I was the same a few years ago. I ended up stopping running and trying different sports. When lookin back on it I realise that I was desperately trying to do something that was out of my reach for where I was at that time. My fitness, head and training needed to be shaken up for me to realise that the time goal was realistic and it's only after this change that I managed to improve beyond all of my own estimations.
  • Thanks everyone,

    It means a lot that you bothered to reply.

    I have changed my training the past couple of months, working on increasing speed.  I run 4 mornings a week, between 4 and 6.5 miles usually, and a long run of 10-13 miles at the weekend.  I've been doing interval/reps and tempo runs for the first time.  I ran a 6.5 mile run a couple of weeks ago in 55mins and did a 13mile easy(ish) run in 2h 4min so I really thought I had improved my pace sufficiently to improve.  Hence the disappointment.

    Tricialitt - I can hardly take my eyes off my watch when I run and tend to panic if the pace falls. I've often wondered if ultra-runs would be the way forward for me - long and slow and different to what all my friends are doing so I can't directly compare myself to them. 

    Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) I've already signed up to Aviemore (see you there Crimson) and the Disneyworld marathon in January.  I think I'm going to just focus on lots of long, slower miles and just build up the endurance to get round them in one piece and then think about what I want to do after that.  I know that what I'm doing now isn't working for me so something is going to have to change.

  • If the GSR is in Glasgow, are the energy bars battered and deep fried?

  • Posted twice, sorry.
  • Rubbishrunner wrote (see)

    Thanks everyone,

    It means a lot that you bothered to reply.

    I have changed my training the past couple of months, working on increasing speed.  I run 4 mornings a week, between 4 and 6.5 miles usually, and a long run of 10-13 miles at the weekend.  I've been doing interval/reps and tempo runs for the first time.  I ran a 6.5 mile run a couple of weeks ago in 55mins and did a 13mile easy(ish) run in 2h 4min so I really thought I had improved my pace sufficiently to improve.  Hence the disappointment.

    Tricialitt - I can hardly take my eyes off my watch when I run and tend to panic if the pace falls. I've often wondered if ultra-runs would be the way forward for me - long and slow and different to what all my friends are doing so I can't directly compare myself to them. 

    Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) I've already signed up to Aviemore (see you there Crimson) and the Disneyworld marathon in January.  I think I'm going to just focus on lots of long, slower miles and just build up the endurance to get round them in one piece and then think about what I want to do after that.  I know that what I'm doing now isn't working for me so something is going to have to change.

     

    Rubbishrunner wrote (see)

    Thanks everyone,

    It means a lot that you bothered to reply.

    I have changed my training the past couple of months, working on increasing speed.  I run 4 mornings a week, between 4 and 6.5 miles usually, and a long run of 10-13 miles at the weekend.  I've been doing interval/reps and tempo runs for the first time.  I ran a 6.5 mile run a couple of weeks ago in 55mins and did a 13mile easy(ish) run in 2h 4min so I really thought I had improved my pace sufficiently to improve.  Hence the disappointment.

    Tricialitt - I can hardly take my eyes off my watch when I run and tend to panic if the pace falls. I've often wondered if ultra-runs would be the way forward for me - long and slow and different to what all my friends are doing so I can't directly compare myself to them. 

    Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) I've already signed up to Aviemore (see you there Crimson) and the Disneyworld marathon in January.  I think I'm going to just focus on lots of long, slower miles and just build up the endurance to get round them in one piece and then think about what I want to do after that.  I know that what I'm doing now isn't working for me so something is going to have to change.


    See you in Aviemore!

    C

  • Hi rubbish runner - first of all, as everyone has pointed out, this is actually not a bad result at all...secondly, i'd be interested to know how fresh you felt going into this race and whether you tapered at all (if anything, that training programme seems excessive to me, if it was really five runs a week plus some interval work..overtraining is a classic mistake, your body needs to rest to get stronger)...and thirdly, your previous post on pacing suggested there was a bit of a training incompatibility between you and your husband,, which won't have helped...my advice, as others suggest, is to stop watching the watch all the way round and start enjoying running again...trail races (but NOT ULTRAS) would be a good idea as they are often about enjoying the countryside and have a less competitive vibe than HMs...good luck!!

  • Hi

    My HM times are 2:22 and more recently 2:36, so at least you know your faster than me. It is frustrating when you are close to breaking the hour or whatever goal set.
    Try the Aviemore race without your watch on, I know that sounds drastic but you may suprise yourself, by running to how you feel and you know how it feels to run at that pace.

  • Crikey I'd be well chuffed if I could run a HM, a little over 2 hours is an achievement.

    Coming from an athletics background I can really understand your disappointment, the people/person we are most competitive with is ourselves.

    Maybe you need to relax a it more as in not looking at Ur watch so much during the race, you know you can do it, just trust in the fact you know the pace you to run at.

    Here's to you getting under the 2 hour mark in the not too distant future x
  • Rubbishrunner - You need to change your name for a start, and your training indicates you are cabable of sub 2hr, maybe you are getting so stressed out about achieving it a lot of nervous energy is being used. Go and enjoy Aviemore, as you train for your mara your endurance/fitness will improve and your HM time come down.

  • As above you need to change your name; running is supposed to make you feel good/better about yourself. You sound like you are 'self-harming'! Also as above you sound like you are training too hard; you stress your body, recover, stress more recover, stress more etc. Most important you 'taper' before the race so that on the start line you are buzzing with excitement. Find a good program (www.ironbridgerunner.co.uk) stick to it, see how you get on! And keep us informed!

  • I'd say it's purely down to attitude. 90% of a long run to me is the mental ability to keep going. Stop taking your watch with you, stop focusing on times and start enjoying running again.
  • As others have said - change your name!! What did someone from up your way once say - "if at first you don't succeed...". You say you have completed 13 mile training runs in 2hrs 4 - that is TOO FAST!!! You have probably worn yourself out! Look up a decent training schedule and calculate your correct training paces (all available on RW). And stop beating yourself up about it - relax and enjoy it, you'll soon beat it and your next target will be 1hr55..

  • I had a similiar issue to you, but with my marathon time. I wanted a sub 4 marathon, came close a couple of times but failed and felt terrible about it. I got ever more fustrated and annoyed and eventually it started to suck the fun out of running. I was so wound up about this that twice I ran marathon PB's and was angry at my performance! That's how stupid I got about it.

    This year I cracked my sub 4 marathon and ran Paris in 3:49. I stopped checking my watch when training. I'd start it at the begining of a run and never look at it until I stopped it when I got back home. Funnily enough when I did that I started to enjoy my running again. I also started to get faster as I'd push depending on how I felt rather than what the watch was telling me. 

    I did the GSR today too. I ran the full thing not looking at my watch once and was five minutes faster than the time I wanted for the day (a 1:45). There are two things I'd recommend. One stop thinking about the time and just enjoy the run. Secondly look at your training and see if there is something wrong with it. If you were on target until mile 12 today did you have the stamina? Had you done too many long runs, not enough? Was the course more hilly than what you train on?

    I hope you get your sub 2 in Aviemore, as I know myself what it's like to beat yourself up over a target that in reality only exists in your own mind.

  • Sounds so familiar. Your story. Your disappointment. Your attitude. I could have written it.

    Have you ever taken time off your training? A week maybe? 

    I have found that every time I fall into that desperate place and I try try try and I "fail", it's because I've been trying too much too hard. When I've had some time off, and get back to running, I run faster and lighter. Could be overtraining you see. 

    And like Eggyh said, one major thing is to stop looking at your watch.

    One major thing that is stopping me from getting what I want is my head. Too stuck in the stupid "rules" and targets, that I forget the main reason why I do it... because I enjoy running. 

  • Wow, I just looked up Aviemore half. The route looks spectacular, I wouldn't worry about a pb for that one, just run it and enjoy the view.



    Also it's at 1,100 feet. I don't know if this is enough altitude to effect a runner but that might be worth considering.



    The amount your running is plenty to sub 2 h but maybe you need to structure it better.



    Check out the sub 1:40 plan here:-



    http://www.209events.com/file/256.pdf
  • Here's a story for you. Before the Olympics I went to an event where Victoria Pendleton, Kath Grainger and Anna Watkins were the speakers. All world champions, all Olympic medal winners who subsequently went on to win gold in London. All three of them explained how they hadn't started to make serious competitive progress and believe they could reach the top until they heard someone else tell them they could - either a trusted coach or another competitor. It's normal to have doubts about your abilities, whatever level you're competing at. If you can run 13 miles in 2 hours 4, you have the ability to run a sub 2 hour half, no question. Just make sure you have a proper training plan, that allows for a taper and rest before the race.




    And yes, change your name. Why not call yourself something like 'Amazon Warrior Princess' - after all, it's all anonymous here image .
  • Thanks all.  A day later and my pride is still wounded but I'm trying to get past it. Still can't bear the thought of putting my trainers on tomorrow but I probably will when it comes to it.

    My husband spent yesterday evening trying to come up with a different training plan for me, based on his own. He runs flat out every time, usually 6miles or so three times a week to the point where he can't run anymore.  He only runs more slowly when I've forced him to run slower on our long runs.  He thinks long slow runs are a waste of time because he believes they're just teaching me to run slowly.  It's a bit difficult to mount an argument seeing as he's smashed his PB.  Everyone on here seems to say to run more slowly though, with a little bit of speed thrown in .  I don't know what to do. Maybe I will look for some trail runs and stop entering half marathons for a while until I can learn to enjoy running again. 

    I have a week's holiday next week so I'll look forward to that and not running for that week. 

    It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's felt this way and that those of you who have have managed to get past it one way or another.

  • Your husband's plan is a recipe for injury, sorry. In the same way as some heavy smokers live to 95, it may have worked for him so far, but it increases drastically the risk of injury.

    The one thing that strikes me about your plan is that you don't go above 13 miles for your long run. A long run of 15-16 at 3 and 4 weeks out from your next event would give you confidence in being able to do the distance.

  • Yes, I would say it's a good idea to run over distance a few times for a half generally, but particularly so for you as you must have really blown up spectacularly in the last mile to be on target at 12 miles and and up 8 mins over. Similarly arriving at the start line fresh after a decent taper should help you last the distance.

     

    There's been loads of good advice already on this thread. Why not set some other goals for the time being and then come back to the 2hr half once you've met some other goals.

    A very rough guide would suggest target times of 5k 25:15, 5 miles 42:00, 10k 53:00 and 10 miles 1:29 being similar to a 2hr half. Or you might want to just aim for something entirely different - do some off-road running, explore a load of zones on www.fetcheveryone.com  with the conquercise game, talk part in marathon talk's magic mile challenge etc.

  • Rubbishrunner wrote (see)

    Thanks all.  A day later and my pride is still wounded but I'm trying to get past it. Still can't bear the thought of putting my trainers on tomorrow but I probably will when it comes to it.

    My husband spent yesterday evening trying to come up with a different training plan for me, based on his own. He runs flat out every time, usually 6miles or so three times a week to the point where he can't run anymore.  He only runs more slowly when I've forced him to run slower on our long runs.  He thinks long slow runs are a waste of time because he believes they're just teaching me to run slowly.  It's a bit difficult to mount an argument seeing as he's smashed his PB.  Everyone on here seems to say to run more slowly though, with a little bit of speed thrown in .  I don't know what to do. Maybe I will look for some trail runs and stop entering half marathons for a while until I can learn to enjoy running again. 

    I have a week's holiday next week so I'll look forward to that and not running for that week. 

    It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's felt this way and that those of you who have have managed to get past it one way or another.

    Have you looked at what Smartcoach on here reccommends? I am using an app on my phone which was vetted by a running friend and it has a variety of runs including long slow ones (10 miles yesterday peaks at 12 miles for the long run), interval training (which I hate), hills, short runs and medium ones. Obviously yet to see if it works but at least I have enjoyed the training!

    C

    PS If my hubby was a runner there is no way I could run with him it would end in the divorce courts!

  • Your husband seems to have found what works...for him... Well; my PB for the half is under 90mins; does that make me more authoritative? No... I have found what works for me (but still I beat myself up for being too slow!). Take a bit of time off (7 to 10 days) and then follow the advice as above (exiled claret). You need to find what works for you and PLEASE change your name!

  • Lots has been said. Running flat out in training sounds like a bonkers training plan. At most I would run fast (not 'flat out') once per week in training. Sounds like you have the basic speed already, but you don't have the endurance. A handful of 14 - 16 mile slow runs would benefit you. I absolutely love half marathons, the last 2 or 3 miles really shows up who hasn't focused on endurance - you would be amazed how many runners blow up towards the end. 

  • Ditch the watch for a bit and run for fun... it is meant to be fun after all! If you are not enjoying it why grind yourself down to do it?

    All my racing is based on enjoying it. I certainly wouldnt go out and run races for 2, 3, 4... 12... 20... whatever hours if I didnt enjoy doing it!

     

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