What Now?

I have been on a continual training cycle since May 2014. At first, I was just building my milage back up. After the Hartford Marathon in October 2013, I took a long break in my training. I was somewhat burned out and my interests were lying elsewhere. I began to build my milage back up, 30-40 miles a week in May 2014. I was running the Fairfield Half (last weekend in June) and coming off a year of an increase in speed, I was excited to race it.

Fairfield Half
Fairfield Half 2014

After Fairfield, both BF and I (may or may not have convinced him) were selected to run the Chicago Marathon in October. I had a solid base so I began running higher milage, higher than I’d every run before (capped at a 45 mile week) to prepare for my fall marathon. I was hoping for a big PR and to re-qualify for Boston. This training cycle also marked the first time I made my own running schedule. I even raced a half 2 weeks out from Chicago and set a new PR of 1:32:xx

Hogsback Half  September 2014
Hogsback Half
September 2014

I had a few setbacks due to my Crohn’s diagnosis, but otherwise come October, I felt rested and ready to run. I had an amazing race with a PR of almost 20 minutes.

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Because no actual race photos were cute…

Immediately following Chicago, I signed up to race the Philadelphia half marathon (6 weeks later). I took 3 recovery days post-marathon and got back to training. I wanted to race hard and PR in the half. I introduced a speed/tempo workout once a week and increased my milage to a peak of a 50 mile week. I PR’ed by over 5 minutes and came back from Philly on a running high.

In preparation for Boston’s challenging course, I started an 18-week training program in December. But training this winter was A BEAR. I ran on the treadmill for 90% of my runs. Including a 16-miler. Lets just accept the fact that I used an insane amount of data to watch Netflix on my phone. Just trying to stay sane. Thanks Mom! I’d hop on the treadmill Monday – Thursday at 4:30am to get my workout in before work. I’d go to SoulCycle on Friday morning, followed by a short run (again on the treadmill – ugh) to get my body used to running on tired legs. I would plan to do my long runs outside over the weekend. But thanks to the worlds worst winter, no exaggeration obviously, I think I only did 3 of those scheduled runs outside. I had planned for 3 x 20-milers. I only did 2. I wanted to peak at 70 miles. I peaked at 62. Towards the end I lost some steam. I took the breaks when I needed to. I accepted the fact that some days I just physically could not run outside, and mentally I could not run on the treadmill. I know I have a more focused and intense training cycle in me, but this winter wasn’t it and I’m okay with that. I finished Boston strong and most importantly, injury-free.

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Except for this run. This run was not injury free… #struggleisreal

I’m running the NYC Marathon in November. This is going to be my goal race. Sure I’m running the Fairfield half again this summer, but I plan on enjoying it. I’m stepping away from the “must PR” mentality. I know those of you who know me are laughing. I’m competitive to a fault. But I’d rather be running healthy in November, with a total fire under my you-know-what, than burning out in August/September when I need my running spark the most. So that was the long winded way of saying, I’m running for me now. I’m still going to sketch out a general plan of weekly milage I’d like to hit, but I’m thinking it’ll be capped at 40 mpw. If that means 4 x 10 mile runs then perfect. If that means 7 x 5 mile runs, then so be it. I need to spend the time strength training, stretching, resting, NOT running, to help get me ready for a strong training cycle this summer. I want to get back to the basics. I want to run because I want to enjoy the fresh air….I don’t want to be staring at my Garmin.

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1. Finish. 2. Check watch immediately.

Does anyone else find it hard to get out of the “training” mentality? What is your favorite form of exercise BESIDES running? I love love love SoulCycle but I NEED to start loving yoga …

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7 thoughts on “What Now?

  1. I totally get this. I was a competitive athlete for most of my life but after getting injured so many times, something had to change. That’s why I only run 4 days a week now. It works better for me, but it’s hard not to get into the back-to-back training thing. Races are fun, and when you do them, you get hooked! I love spinning as cross-training but I really need to do yoga more regularly. It’s so good for you, and once you find a teacher you connect with, it’s a lot easier to make yourself go!

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  2. I don’t think I can see myself taking a complete break from running. I will decrease mileage after a race, but I always have to be working towards something in order to stay motivated. I can’t remember the last time I took more than 3 straight days off.

    Netflix is also my bff when I’m on the treadmill 🙂 Thank goodness my gym has wifi or my data charges would be through the roof!

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    1. My data in February was absurd. I kept telling myself I would wait 3 weeks post-race to do a double digit run, but with this nice weather it’s getting harder and harder to follow my own rules 🙂

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  3. Considering you got diagnosed in the midst of all this, you are doing pretty darn incredibly! I do best on training mode because it gives me some structure, and also because I tend to train for my marathons rather conservatively–it seems that as soon as I am allowed to “play” I get hurt!

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    1. I 100% agree with that. It’s so much easier for me to have structure to my training/diet to not over do it with my running and to not eat ALL THE FROYO when I have a race on the horizon. I always feel like two weeks post marathon, the stress from the race/me eating all the things catches up and I have some GI problems.

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  4. Hot yoga. Do it live it love it. Youll be hotband sweaty your favorite things! Many studious have sculpt classes that incorporate low weights/high reps with your flow sequences.

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  5. I like getting out of a training mentality once in a while when I do trail races. They are really fun and I am not competitive at all. It feels recreational and I mostly just like to hang out with other runners (and post-race beer!)

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