What is Your Problem – Harold

I have run two races this month and in both races I was extremely disappointed with my efforts or my results. Actually, I was pissed at how poorly I had done.


  • A big disconnect
  • Training mistakes
  • Lack of consistency
  • Weighing too much

This has nothing to do with what shoes I am wearing, surprise, surprise, surprise – as much of a shoe geek as I am, my running shoes are not to blame for my poor performance at those two races.

Patriots Day 5 Miler Finish - 4-21-14
Patriots Day 5 Miler Finish – 4-21-14

There is no one to blame, but the man in the mirror. Specifically, what I am doing for training and my running over the last three months.

Last night I started looking at my running log and my blog RunLog entries, then this morning while sitting in ACAR’s waiting room, I really took a long look at what I have really been doing over the last three months, versus what I thought I had done.

Run Graph January to May 2014
Run Graph January to May 2014

The thing that stuck out the most in my mind was that I was training like a runner preparing for a half marathon or marathon.

Instead of focusing on what I actually do and enjoy – shorter distances 5-10K

Hell, I haven’t run a longer race in a couple of years (since October 2012 – the Runner’s World Half) and yesterday’s 5.0 miler was the longest race I have done since then.

Sure I had planned to run the Marine Corps Marathons and multiple half marathons during 2013, but didn’t do any because of the injury to my Achilles in 2013 a and was looking at running 2 other half’s this spring, but didn’t do them this year, I just really wasn’t all that excited about doing half marathons with the weather we had this past winter.

Looking ahead, I still plan to run, not race the Rail Trail Half Marathon in June and the Maine Half Marathon in October.

Other than those two half marathons, everything else is 10K or shorter, so why I have I focused my training on preparing for a half marathon this year?

What happened in all honesty, was that with all the hoopla and emphasis in social media, running mags and friends talking about their half and full marathon experiences, (especially Boston), that I got sucked into the hype of “having” to do the longer distances, instead of focusing on the distances I enjoy.

A major disconnect there!

This disconnect between my actual training and what I actually race is what I believe to be the primary cause of my frustrations with my recent performance at the 5K and 5 Mile distances.

If you train to run slower and farther, you will more than likely do better running slower and farther.

I want my fast back.

No I am not going to get back to a sub 6:00 minute mile pace from my glory days, but I think that a sub 7:00 pace for road 10K’s is pretty realistic and possibly sub 20:00 for a road 5K on a perfect conditions day, while tougher is doable.

I am going to start focusing more on the distances I actually run – which is mostly 5K’s with the occasional longer race thrown in.

Speedwork/Mental Toughness

Another thing that looking back at my training log showed me was that my speedwork was focused too much on faster quarters (which I enjoy – yes I know I am sick), than anything else and I need to make changes to my speedwork and using it to work on getting my speed back (or as much as an old fart can).

I have to remember that running fast is not the same as running comfortably hard. I have to get back my ability to push through the tough spots and still maintain my pace. In other word, it hurts to run fast and I have to accept that.


I have run a lot of miles, but I have been consistently inconsistent with my miles. One week I am in the mid-40’s or low 50’s, then the next week, I only end up in the mid 30’s. This leads to lots of little niggles, that impact how I run. I also know that this miserably cold winter did impact my consistency more than I want to admit, so hopefully with a little better weather, my mileage will be better week-to-week.

Run Graph 2013 to 2014 Weekly Summary
Run Graph 2013 to 2014 Weekly Summary


Yes this is a big deal. I spend too much time in my no-zone – those 8:00 to 8:39 pace runs that really are not fast enough to help me improve for the 5K to 10K distance and yet they are not slow enough to be an easy or recovery run.

Eating Better

Yep, this is a problem. I put too much junk food down the pie hole. Gotta take care of things here and lose 15 pounds to get where I should be as a runner and 10 pounds to get where I was in May 2013. I have done this before and know what I have to do.

Training Log

I needed to go through and update/simplify my tracking system in my running log. Instead of going with descriptors that really do not mean a lot to me, I am going to go with more concrete categories.

Activity Info Legend Update 4-22-14
Activity Info Legend Update 4-22-14

I think that these changes to the color coding and categories will help me quickly visualize what I am doing with my training, versus the confusion I felt when I looked at the charts before.

I will go back through this year’s entries and update the type of run that I have done, to meet this update to my log.

The reality is that

I do not want to feel like I did after my last two races.

Bluntly – I didn’t meet my expectations and was disappointed by my lack of effort, mental toughness and inability to pick up the pace when I wanted or needed to.

When you have a couple of races in a row where you are frustrated with your performance, you need to stop and take a good long look at what is going on with your running, to figure out what you can do differently – because as runners there are always things we can do differently.

In my case the big thing that I need to do is focus on what I really do for races – 5K to 10K and not worry about training for longer distance races that I usually end up not doing. I believe that making this change is going to make a difference in how I approach my training and running.

It doesn’t mean that I am suddenly going to be a wunderkind masters runner, but it does mean that I hopefully will enjoy my running more and maybe come closer to meeting my personal expectations when I run in 5K to 10K races.

When I do run my two half marathons this year, it will be to run them for fun and enjoy the experience, instead of stressing out about them so much and attempting to go into the race chasing a PR.

It will be interesting to see how the next two to three months go. I know that it will take time, before I see any changes in how I run, so I am not going to do any races for a month, to not put any pressure on myself to more than I should.

Now to get out there, have fun with my running, work hard and run like the wind – yeah right, more likely run like an old fart trying not to get too old too fast. hehehehe

I hate training plans, but I have a feeling that for me to be somewhat successful with this change I will have to mostly follow one.

I can do this.

No let’s change that – I will do this.

Have you ever figured out that you were training wrong and what did you do?

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