If there's been one defining "feature" about most of my runs this year it could be summed up as "extra effort - less reward".
I know it's a common moan/gripe/constant grumble among most runners, but "it ain't getting any easier".
I've been looking at my log and, with a few exceptions; based solely on average heart rate as an indicator of "effort" a lot of my runs are "as", if not "more", effort laden as previous years. But the "reward" i.e. the times are all slower (albeit very slightly). Runs that I might regularly have done in 40 minutes at 145bpm I'm now doing in 42 at 150bpm for example.
I realise you cant keep improving (it would be nice - but you can't).
In awful moments of self doubt I've even pondered if that "thing" that starts in "A" and ends in "E" with a "G" in the middle might be a factor. But surely not.
One: Reassess my goals. Maybe do different runs/races/events - focus on endurance a bit more and speed a bit less?
Two: Bury my head in the sand and refuse to give into the inevitable. While coupling this blind refusal to let facts distract me, with an increase in the training (mileage and effort). Push my body to destruction and go for one final year of improvements.
Lets face it ... it's two. "Death or glory" - Charge!!