I started blogging in 2008 with the intent on writing my love story with Mr. Right. A few months after our wedding, I began training for my first 5K and religiously tracking my food. As a result, I have pages and pages on my first blog of “Weigh-In Wednesday” posts.
This morning I was at the right place at the right time. I got to witness a one friend encouraging another about how best practice self-care. When anxiety is the question, exercise is always the answer.
I purchased 2 stickers for my car at the Disney Marathon expo 4 years ago. Of course one was the obligatory 26.2 decal, proclaiming to the world
that I am better than them I run crazy distances for the fun of it.
The second, however, explains how I truly feel about all this running and fitness stuff to which I devote so much time and effort.
Starring at this quote prompts a couple of questions.
- Why are the first letters of “courage” and “start” capitalized?
- Do I really have the courage? What prompts what I do?
My training buddy and I decided upon a sprint triathlon for the summer. While I love running, doing it in the hot and humid summer months are miserable.
With our eye on a tri, we decided that cross-training through the summer would be the perfect fit. Regular swimming and biking would keep our cardio up, while providing us an alternative to the head index versus treadmill debate we always have in the summer. With only 2ish days of running, and short distances at that, we wouldn’t lose run fitness either.
Neither of us are confident swimmers, and open water swim would require some work and dedication on our part. She did a bit of research and contacted the director of a local master swim group. For the past 2 weeks, she’s attended the sessions. By her assessment, they are challenging but she can already see improvements to her swimming.
I don’t think I have the courage to try it out. I have a whole list of reasons I’m not doing it. The reality is, if I wanted to, I would make a way. But I don’t wanna.
Heck, its even taken me 2 days to put the words together for this blog.
As the gambler says, you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Only I don’t know which this is. Do I let myself off the hook? Accept that I can’t be good at everything. Or do I push through, and force myself to face this anxiety?
For the past year, I’ve lived in a perpetual state of training. The beginning of 2014 found me in week 5 of marathon training. Following that round with 26.2, I began 10K training, immediately followed by 8K training. Then it was time to training for my fall half marathon, and that training bled into my training for this year’s marathon.
I had planned to go straight into 5K training, in prep for a late May race. Mostly, I just think I want a break. Maybe its the post-marathon fatigue talking, but I have no desire to stick with a straight plan. I didn’t do speed work in the later part of my plan, so I’m not sure what my hesitancy is.
Of course it could just be too soon to think about training. I’m less than 3 weeks recovered from my big race. Add to that the beginnings of what promises to be a big allergy seasons, and I wonder if I’m asking too much for myself. Perhaps I should just allow my body to be active, rather than in perpetual training.
What does that even look like?
My race schedule typically averages over 1 a month. How would my body react to a month without racing?
At the moment, I’ve completed 3 races in 2015. This coming weekend I’m participating in the Ragnar Trail series in Atlanta, but I wouldn’t count that as a race. Its certainly not something for which I’ve trained.
Dare I clear the race calendar and just keep moving? Yesterday I participated in the Total Body weights class at my gym for the first time since January. I enjoyed the change of pace the circuit routine had to offer, not to mention the muscle soreness that hurts-so-good this morning.
Listen to your body.
If you were to ask for advice, I would tell you to listen to what your body is trying to say. You’ve just come off a your 4th marathon – a personal best time yet again. What’s wrong with a bit of rest and relaxation? I guess it comes down to not being able to trust myself. The longer I stay inactive, the harder it will be to get back started.
Confession: I’ve never properly trained for a marathon.
Sure, I’ve gotten long runs in on the weekend and did some mid-week runs. Its not like I just showed up on race day expecting to go the distance. However, I’ve never seen a training plan through start to finish.
The first obstacle is always the mid-week medium run. Straight up, I have never done one. I can’t figure out how. During my winter marathon training its dark when I go into work and when I leave. I don’t run in the dark solo, ever. The thought of 60-90 minutes on the treadmill, while perfectly safe, isn’t appealing.
Profession: For this, my 4th marathon, I vow to follow a training plan to the best of my ability.
I’m going to keep it simple – Hal Higdon, Novice 2. To that, I’ll be adding in 2 days of Total Body weight training class as my cross trains, and we have a few hikes planned as well. My training buddy Kelly is also signed up for the race, so she and I will be completing the midweek runs – keeping each other accountable and safe.
Hypothesis: Marathon training takes far fewer miles than anyone truly thinks.
Of course I hold this as a truth, given my history with the 26.2 distance. With each race I’ve significantly bettered my finishing time, while also taking training less seriously.
The opposite could also be true – what if, properly trained, I was capable of far more than I can imagine? Hence the purpose of the test. Do all the runs. Log all the miles, then sit back and compare the results.
Training starts this week. The mileage is supposed to be 3 – 5 – 3 – 6, but that’s a significant cut back to what I’m currently running. So my question to you is this:
Is it cheating the marathon plan to do more than prescribed? Or is the mileage to be considered a minimum?
Since my last race, I’ve felt lackluster about training. Sure I earned a nice, shiny new PR. HOWEVER I was a couple of minutes off my goal race time. I felt like all the hard work and consistency I had put in leading up to the race was for nothing.
The local race calendar is full of shorter distance runs – 10K being the longest. This translates into lots of speed work on the plan. I’m not sure what genius thought fast running in the humid/hot summer months was a good idea.
In previous years, I’ve trained for triathlons – but after the flat tire coming out of T1 a couple of years ago, I’m unmotivated to train for those either.
So, what’s a runner to do? Right now on the schedule I’m doing weight training 3 days a week – glorious air conditioning! The plan is to run Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. And perhaps another easy run doubled up on a weights day.
Fast running is extra difficult in the humidity, but just doing easy runs all the time seems boring. There are also 2 goals for the year that would require me not giving up – PRs at every distance AND 1,000 miles logged for the year.
How do you train through it?
When is it time to take a break from training to prevent burnout?
This past Saturday, I left the early 30s demographic and entered my mid 30s. In celebration, I made the weekend awesome and epic. I haven’t decided if I’m going to put it all together in one ginormous blog post, or break it up and stretch it out all week. Given that I’m celebrating a birthday month, the prolonged approach definitely crossed my mind.
I’ve got a list of deep, wanna be insightful post ideas swirling around in my head (and compiled in a list via an email to myself) which I haven’t taken the time to flesh out. First I was just getting back into the blogging routine. Monday, Wednesday, Friday – like clock-work, I wanted to publish something, anything in an attempt to get my mojo back.
Then May hit – the month of a race (almost) every weekend. I had reports to right. And of course who can forget the trail reports. I think my blogs are the only way Jay and I keep track of just how many miles in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park we’ve logged.
Truth be told, I have no plans on stopping those posts. I’ll throw out an occasional fluffy What I Read Wednesday and of course the Foto Friday fun.
My desire is to get back to journaling again, bloggy style. Pouring out my heart on the page, then cleaning it up enough that I’m not sharing too much with the world. Sure, the fluff is a part of me, but its only a part. I hope to get back to more thoughtful blogs soon.
This coming weekend, I’ll be running the Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries (SMARM) 5K for the 4th time. I very much enjoy this race, despite the challenging terrain because of my history with it.
I ran the inaugural race as my first 5K back in 2009. Having just finished the Couch to 5K program, I was excited to run the entire race without walking. I finished in 33:59, and immediately began looking forward to improving my time. A pattern which has continued over the years.
The following year, I ran the race again. With the hills and terrain variations in our area, an apples to apples comparison for race times is practically impossible, save repeating a race the following year. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was incredibly anemic for SMARM round 2, and finished slower. My 36:48 time was disappointing and should have been a red flag of my illness.
I skipped the race in 2011 but managed to finally break through to a sub 30 finishing time at a different race. I had high hopes in 2012, but circumstances made this race only a 3 second PR – 29:17. On race day, my friend Christie O. was having cancer surgery, so I wore this tutu (crafted by Mrs. O herself) in her honor.
I’ll just tell ya, rain and tutus don’t mix. We got hit with a monsoon at the start line, and I lost my fluff. Instead, during the race I fought to keep the tulle from going between my legs and chaffing.
For 2013, the year of the half, I chose to travel to Ohio in quest of the illusive sub 2. No SMARM for me.
I’m excited to be tackling the race again this year. I know I’m a stronger runner than ever, but I’m not sure where my speed puts me in relation to my current 5K PR (25:50). I’m excited to see what I’ve got! I’ve ran the hills a couple of times this past week or so. Knowing the course well can’t hurt!
Your turn: Do you have any races/challenges coming up? Do you prefer running the same race every year, or tackling something new/different?
File this under “thank you Captain Obvious,” but training for a 10K (6.2 miles) is much different than training for a marathon (26.2 miles). While distant training always improves my endurance, which helps for shorter distances, it does present a challenge when trying to come up with a race plan for shorter distances.
In attempting to race the Mountain Man Memorial 10K I found myself conserving far too late in the race. Partially because of the crazy steep terrain, but also because I taught myself all winter how to start incredibly slow the early miles. “Early” in my marathon mind is the first hour. After all, that first hour I wouldn’t even covered a quarter of my distance yet.
This past week, I started speed work in an effort to get faster before my goal race. I’ve got the next 5 weeks to get in the 10K mindset. The first hour isn’t for warming up, its for racing. My current PR is 55:19, so come Expo 10,000 I hope I’m already at the bagel table when the clock hits 1 hour.
As we do every summer, my training partner and I are debating the merits of the weights class we take. Muscular endurance is all well and good while we are building stamina, but during our speed focused training we just aren’t sure how much it would benefit. Currently on the table are the possibilities of returning to swimming and/or cycling for cross train activities.
My current plan is the Hal Hidgon Intermediate 10K. I’m not incredibly happy with it, but his advanced plan has 6/7 days a week of running. I just don’t run that much. The intermediate plan calls for lots of easy miles and only 1 day of speed work per week. The challenge, however, is to actually follow the plan.
I never follow training plans. Typically I’ll look at one, decide its not practical and make up my own thing as I go. A fine approach if I were using research to back it up, or if I were okay with sloppy, thrown together result – neither of which is the case.
Its time (past time really) for me to try the revolutionary new training method called stick to the plan stupid! Its sister plan slow down stupid worked marvelously for my marathon.
The part where I ask for advice:
How do I keep the easy runs from becoming boring and monotonous? How do I set a goal, when I believe I can do so much better than a new PR? How do I mentally get it through my head to start fast and get faster?