Why Hitting a Brick Wall isn’t so Bad

I’d hit a wall regarding my half-marathon training.  I did my 11 mile run on the Saturday which was a real boost and then after that I lost motivation, commitment and enthusiasm for it all, just like that.

The fatigue came on like a wave.

In the previous eight weeks of training I didn’t have to think about running at all but by week nine I wasn’t only thinking about it I was positively fretting about it.

Of course things never work out as planned, even with the best laid plans.  I realised my plans hadn’t factored in three issues:

  • Fatigue (in conjunction with lack of sleep)
  • Injury
  • Autumn

Now you may be thinking the first two are completely understandable (although the plan should have prevented it, more about that later), and really I should have allowed myself an extra two weeks training for any rest and recoupment but I didn’t so I’ve learn an important lesson there.

But what on earth have I listed Autumn for?

Every year, around this time I get hit with a real sense of glum.  It’s official name you might recognise as SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  I hate making an issue of it but seeing as it’s just made an issue of me I figured it best to share.

I thought I’d escaped it this yr because after all we’d had a decent summer and I’d picked up as much vitamin D as I could over the months.

However it would seem this isn’t going to pass me by and for another couple of weeks, until the season settles and I get reacquainted with dark nights and cold temperatures my mind and my body just kind of falters slightly while it grapples with the environment changes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love autumn.  I love the colours of the leaves, the crisp air, the birds chirping for food.  I don’t mind all that.  It’s simply the transition that my body doesn’t cope well with.  I go through this in Spring (around March time) although it’s not nearly as hindering.

So along with the fatigue having this SAD come along had also caused me to just fall back somewhat and in between my running schedule has got caught up.

It’s not all bad

I don’t think the changing of the seasons should be seen as a bad thing.  I see it more of a time for reflection. What has been archived, what would I like to achieve?  It’s a time to cut back the unnecessary stuff/work/areas in my life and concentrate on only that which brings happiness and usefulness.

As for the half-marathon training I think it might simply be something that I just need a temporary break from. This not only allows my body to recover from the stress it’s been put under recently (my knees and hips are not happy bunnies), but it also tells me I need to mix things up a bit.

While competing in an official half-marathon would have been nice, it was not my main goal for doing the training.

I did it for one thing only – to see if I could run the distance.  Whether that’s measured in official terms or not does not bother me so much as not actually getting the 13.1 miles completed.  The stress of trying to get 11 weeks of training in just so I could attend an event seemed a little pointless and could have aided more injury complications later on.

So I decided to pull away from the event and concentrate on just getting the distance done.

If you’re in the middle of training at the moment and you hit a brick wall, don’t beat yourself up.  Like me you’ll still be:

  • Following the plan
  • Getting fit

And that’s fine.  Sometimes you need to stand still, take stock, look at the wider picture and accept the fact that carrying on in the same vain isn’t going to work.  There is more than one way of completing things.

So accommodate changes as necessary, even if that means delaying, taking a break, doing it a different way, or just sleeping for a whole day!


You’ll be pleased to know I did in fact complete all 13.1 miles in 2hrs 54mins, two weeks before the date of the official event.

I decided to go it alone and I felt ready to complete it (as having completed 11 miles previously).

Yes it was done on a treadmill and yes it was boring as it sounds.  And no I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way, but as any runner knows once you’ve put all that effort in you want to see results, how ever they are achieved.

A lot of runners wouldn’t scoff at my attempt, but running can be all sorts of things, it doesn’t have to always be official, nor recognised.

I’m pretty proud of myself for completing that distance.

I would debate about going for long distance training again.  For me I prefer smaller, higher intensity runs.  It sure was good to have a go though, and as always I learnt so much from the training 🙂


5 responses to “Why Hitting a Brick Wall isn’t so Bad

  1. Hi Sophie, this was a good post to share, a lot of folk must go through the same feelings at this time of year. The change of seasons zaps my energy levels too and I dread the dark early nights. I am impressed with the running, I wish I could do that!

  2. I recently moved to a place with a cooler climate – just in time for autumn. I worry my instance of seasonal depression will be especially acute this year.

    Keep on rockin those miles! Listen to your body though, injuries jump out of nowhere, and they’re no fun.

  3. Good for you!! I ran the Marine Corp Marathon in 2000 and I remember the “hitting the wall” moment perfectly after an 18 mile run. I never did get that “runners high” so many people talk about but I did have a group of people I was training with and we all supported eachother to keep on keeping on. After I finished the marathon I ran for about 3 weeks and decided I just didn’t want to run anymore. I enjoyed the feeling of running but needed variety and couldn’t commit the amount of time needed to keep up long runs.

  4. I would argue that you just did a more serious accomplishment than running the event. The mental fortitude it takes to spend any length of time on a treadmill without the dullness convincing you to stop is something. Two hours and fifty-four minutes of it? You may have run a half marathon but you did a full marathon of focus and determination. Well done!

  5. For me it is already a big thing to be able to run and to run such a distance! I think that you must do what you feel . Just that. Do you want to run in a marathon ? Do it. Do you want to run just for yourself ? Do it . 🙂

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