Running On Average

Marathon Deferment

Last week was a doozy. My kids both had a stomach virus, which then Dave got. Then while he was on a business trip, I got it. Needless to say, marathon training did not go according to plan.

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I got my Monday and Tuesday runs in all right, but Wednesday I pretty much just put on cartoons for the babies and when they got bored I parented from the couch.

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I began Googling “should I defer my marathon” and 10,000 related searches. Most of the articles that popped up seemed confident that I could still run my race even with numerous missed runs. Maybe it wouldn’t be the race I planned, but I could still be in marathon shape.

But the more I found that answer, the more I realized that I was just looking for an article to tell me, “look, Jess. You’ve missed too much. You won’t be prepared to run this race.”

I realized that my heart just wasn’t into training this time around and that’s when I made the decision to defer my race. Coming to that decision was hard and took hours (or let’s be honest, I’ve been wondering this for weeks since I had the flu) of debating, but once I submitted my deferral I didn’t feel upset at all. I felt relieved, as if a huge weight was off my chest.

And that’s how I knew I made the right decision.

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It wasn’t that I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon in May- I know I could have- my heart just wasn’t into the strict schedule and I’d found myself dreading every long run instead of looking forward to them.

And I think that’s really important for a lot of runners to realize. Sometimes it’s better to walk away from a race and let yourself be happier than it is to sludge through training simply because you feel like you have to, like you still CAN make up those miles so you SHOULD. But if we’re not enjoying running, what’s the point?

It’s just not my season for training and that’s fine. It’s my season to get healthy, get my babies healthy, and run to build up my endurance not break down my body by running through the flu or sinus infection or stomach virus or whatever else the kids give me next.

Yesterday I took the kiddos to the gym and dropped them off at child care while I did a 4.5 mile tempo run, reaching 7:30 pace, followed by some shoulders/chest weight lifting and abs. The last few races I’ve run, I’ve really slacked on weight lifting in favor of running, so I want to rebuild a solid weight training routine and when I begin training for my next race I can incorporate weights in more.

Have you ever deferred a race? Did you feel better or worse about it? Did you ever wish you’d deferred?