When the effort is not equal to the results

Since December I’ve been struggling a little with training.  There are a couple of things going on and so I thought I’d write about it a bit. I can’t be the only person who has had an experience where the effort doesn’t equal results.

This started for me at the Reindeer Run. At least, my awareness of it started then. As I was running along, I FELT like I was putting in a good effort which FELT like my normal 5K pace.  Eventually I glanced at my Garmin, and was really surprised to find myself moving along about a minute slower in pace than the effort would have indicated.  As far as time, the whole race was a bust and I was actually really disappointed.

Since then, I’ve noticed that I’m putting forth a lot of effort and my results are just not what they were in October and early November.  So what’s going on?

Well. I’m recovering from Space Coast Half Marathon.   In the past, I usually ran a half and then felt pretty good within the next few days.  In the past, however, I was always pretty well trained for the event.  In this case, I was not, and likely it’s taking me longer to recover since I really overstretched my abilities for that race.  Runners, don’t try what I did at home, or anywhere else.  It wasn’t fun, the medals sit in my fish bowl at work and it wasn’t a “worth it” experience.  Based on this great advice, I should by now be recovered from actual Space Coast, but I think it had a big effect on my workouts at the beginning of December, when I really was not recovered, but was trying to “workout” anyway.

I’ve been tired.  Really really really tired.


The kind of tired where no amount of sleep seems to quite refresh me. I noted my eating has been a bit off, so I’ve increased the leafy greens,  protein, hydration,  AND made a doctor’s appointment.  It’s been a year since my last foray to the general practitioner, so it’s about time anyway.  I am hoping that I’ll find I’m a little low on iron, or something easily fixable.  Even if there isn’t anything wrong, it’s always a good idea to rule anything out.

I started with my new/old coach, Skeletor.  Skeletor does periodized plans, so there is always a few weeks in the plan where I feel like absolute rock bottom because I’m working hard and tired.  It’s been a long time since we worked together, so it’s possible this fatigue is related to that. We are swiftly approaching a mini-taper for a 10K which I think will really show me if it’s the periodized training, or if something else is going on.

Form and efficiency are also so important.  If you feel like effort is exceeding results, I would suggest having someone look at your form. If you are using a lot of energy with extraneous movement/inefficient movement, it’s going to tired you out.  I’ve got a time set up with our swim coach to do some video tape to see if I’ve just gotten incredibly sloppy with form as well.  I do NOT recommend having your running buddy tell you what they think (unless your running buddy is a certified coach).  Buddies can tell you if they are seeing something totally nutty, but their own ego can get in their way as well. So, I’d recommend signing up for a local run clinic, or even a run group that’s lead by a coach who can watch you over time and make tweaks and recommendations. In general runner’s tend to go for “form fads” (barefoot running, only forefoot striking etc), a good coach will be able to look at your entire form, and not just focus on wha the latest article in Runner’s world says.


Lastly, I’m giving myself a bit of a break.  I’m completing all the workouts, but not worrying about “time” as long as my heart rate is rising appropriately than I am sure I’m putting in the effort.   This is definitely not the time to push any harder and end up injured.

What’s been your experience when your effort has not equaled your results?  Did a change in nutrition help? Or a change in Form?



One thought on “When the effort is not equal to the results

  1. Hey!! Long time no see. Happy Holidays!

    Sorry to hear you’re under the weather running-wise. I can tell you that both times I saw a dramatic drop in my energy level, I got so sick of people telling me that I just needed to eat better or “reduce stress”. I could tell something was wrong. The first time, it was Lyme disease (I recovered just fine, but finding it late messed up my energy for months). The second time it was polyps from allergic sinusitis! It ruined my sleep. My energy level was downright miraculous after I solved those problems. Anyway, listen to your intuition! Happy running! 🙂

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