The thing about training yourself is that little by little, over a period of time, you begin to take it easy on yourself. Over the last 5 years, I've looked at the training that I've done when I was a freshman in college til now and I've seen a lot of difference when I was training myself. The thing that I needed to work on was to coach myself effectively so that I could train properly. No matter how disciplined you are, you'll wear down and eventually stop pushing yourself as hard. This doesn't mean that you won't improve. It just means that you won't improve as much as you could possibly improve.
I look back at the pictures of when I first ran the marathon and when I ran my best marathon, and I see an individual that has pushed himself far in only a few months. I sacrificed so much and worked hard in those two months and I was able to mold my body into that of a marathon runner. Over the last few years, even though I've been training my body to endure running 50 and 62 miles, I'm not training as much as I could and am not as disciplined with my work. I've been able to improve, but I noticed that I've been slacking.
An important thing about training yourself is that you need to be your own coach. When you are your own coach, one of the things you must do is to evaluate how the training is. Take a step back, look at it from a different perspective, and evaluate how you're doing. It's important that you look at yourself and see how you're performing, and make adjustments where needed.
Looking at my training from an outsiders perspective, I've noticed that I've been slacking a lot especially on my meals. The amount I've been consuming has been slightly larger than what should be taken in. The balance between proteins, carbs, fats, and fiber hasn't been tip top shape. I've been focusing on saving money that I've let go of the good foods that I could eat, and instead chose to eat a lot of foods that has a lot of energy... but too much compared to the amount I use. Back when I was in college, I spent more time doing a ton of different sports activities as well as the running, using more energy, and I was able to eat a lot. However, right now, the balance has shifted enough that I need to watch the amount of what I eat.
I have also noticed that I haven't been pushing myself as hard in the speed department of things, focusing on getting myself in shape to run without ceasing. Although it's good to be able to get to that point... the whole point of a race is to see who gets to the finish line first. In my workout, I've added a little more speed drills that should help me speed up and apply that to my longer distance running.
Today, as it was Wednesday, I took it as an easy day, just going in to workout my upper body and not so much on the lower body. I went and did 20 pull ups, 50 push ups, and then cycled for 20 minutes while acting as if I was running on the bike, swinging my arms, and at the same time tensing my abs as it worked my core muscles during each push of the pedal. After going to the sauna for 10 minutes, I went back home to eat up and enjoy the rest of the night. Taking a step back to see where you are can really change the outcome of your training. When you're coaching yourself, the only person you can rely on to help you see is yourself. Take time every once in a while to take that step back to see the bigger picture and where you could go.