He's really lost it now, your probably thinking when reading this post title. But, if you think about what I'm about to say, this may actually be something we all have mild fear of occasionally..... or maybe I'm just a weird, half-glass-full-but-slightly-paranoid crank, you decide.
Going back to late January I didn't seem to have got that surge in training I've experianced the last few years. The road miles weren't visiting sub 8-min/mile pace without considerate effort, whereas last year I ran a half-marathon PB in mid-Feb. I had to think back awhile to my last promising sign. Much-like last year I'd been out injured late summer to early autumn, though not for as long as the previous year - this seems to be my body "giving in" after 10 months hard running. I'd done a few ok longer trail runs at the slow pace expected of such runs, but when I looked for signs of speed they weren't there.
A month post-injury I'd put in a very steady, by my standards, cross country, my slowest winter league 3m road race in years followed a month later. I figured that I'm often sluggish this time of year as I've missed a bit of training, so I'd get better indication in January, by which time I'm usually hovering around a PB in these short league races. Week after week I was running slowly, heavily and lots of other negative descriptions on Thursday night hard training runs with the club.
Just when I thought I was doing something wrong, things started happening again. I'm not quite sure what fixed me, maybe the mileage rising taking my fitness up a level. But every type of run got easier and faster and just recently I've been going great guns again. Good speed in the Thursday fast sessions on reps and especially tempo runs. My Tuesday hilly-trail run sessions have also been getting better and better, the last one hitting 11 local (ableit small) hills in 11 miles executed at good pace.
So now the paranoia kicks in, when I'm running well I can never see the line I shouldn't cross. While the goings good I want to keep going - hence the worrying too good feeling. Will it be speed or distance that eventually breaks me. How many fast runs is too many, how many ultra distance trails is going to be too many? Everybody has a number - much like I hear a local Super league team coach knows how many "big hits" his big guys can take before they need some time off the field. Experiance gives me hints, but nothing conclusive and it seems a certainty that just when you think your about to smash that PB, or flatten that hilly trail, well... actually the wheels might be about to fall off.... or might not, it might happen next week, next month,....... but it usually does! Best to try my best to delay it then.
Knowing that I first broke in April last year and never really fully was fixed until I broke again and hard more time off in September. And I broke even earlier the year and for longer in August. I've allowed for that this year, moderating my training mileage expectations against ambitions, setting myself a lower monthly miles target and taking more consideration of the type of miles I do (more event-specific quality). I've got nearly every run planned March to September now - routine and planning works well for me.
I guess I shouldn't worry yet, have faith, its only February, I've just got to moderate the harder runs a bit. Then hopefully I won't break until September!