Last time I posted about the importance of taking a break, I suppose I needed one from blogging as well as running. Let’s be honest: without much running happening around these parts lately, I haven’t felt inclined to write, nor have I had the time. And if I don’t want to write it, trust me, you don’t want to read it.
But with <4 months until the Chicago Marathon, I’ve slowly but surely started easing back into training. I had been running on and off in late May, never more than 30 minutes or so. I gave myself until Memorial Day weekend to run only when I wanted to, and then started keeping track of my mileage and forcing myself out the door more diligently.
Getting back in shape is …humbling. It’s extremely frustrating to struggle through easy runs, and tempting to just sleep in when a few miles at a sluggishly slow pace doesn’t seem worth lacing up for. Most days, I don’t even bother to wear my Garmin because I don’t care to compare my pace or distance.
But I’m used to this period, and know that being diligent and getting in a base will pay off. Soon enough, runs will become easier and my pace will get faster. I’ll dive right back into workouts and feel strong instead of wiped out. Getting back into shape can be discouraging but I just try to push those thoughts aside and continue to put in the miles, no matter how slow. Consistency and working through this tough phase is key. I think this is where newer runners get discouraged and quit. And I totally get it, running really sucks when you’re not in shape!
I’ve started to build out my Chicago Marathon training plan loosely, but still need to work out a few details. Here are the nuts & bolts:
- One rest day: Running 6 days a week, with 1 total rest day, works well to give my legs & mind a break
- Cut-back weeks: I found that cut-back weeks every 3/4 weeks really help build up mileage without becoming too fatigued or overwhelmed. I am going to try to time these around busy work/travel weeks, if it’s possible to sync up.
- Peaking at 75+ miles: Slowly but surely, I’m increasing my mileage loads. In college, it was 50-55 or so. For NYC 2010, I peaked at 66.5. For NYC 2011, I peaked at 70.5; For Boston, 72. I am hoping to get in a good solid weeks at 65-70 and then cap it out at 75. While this isn’t a lot compared to other marathoners, honestly, it comes down to not having enough time (& energy!) to do much more.
- Structured Mon-Sun weeks: I used to always chart my weekly milage like a traditional calendar, Sun-Sat. This made swapping long runs between Saturday and Sunday each week tricky, as the weekly totals would be wacky. Adding my weeks Mon-Sun just makes it simpler. Rocket science.
- Strength Training: I know I say this every training cycle, but I am going to make a more concentrated effort at strength training and core work. I know it makes me feel (and look!) better but it’s the first thing to go through the window when my mileage increases. I need to stop making excuses and just do it. Thanks, Nike.
Honestly, I’m a little nervous about squeezing in a solid block of marathon training amidst a busy summer. My weeks and weekends are just about booked up until mid-August. Whoa. Work is incredibly excitingly busy (thanks, Ali) and most days I’m extremely overwhelmed and overtired and stressed. But I’m finally doing something I love and am so passionate about, the long hours, insane travel, and demands are so worth it. I’m someone who does not function well on little sleep, and I’m already feeling the effects. Something has to give.
And that something can’t be my job. I recently got an exciting promotion (yay!) and will be slowly transitioning onto more of a PR role versus straight digital communications. Of course, the two will always be intertwined but I’m excited to start to handle more day to day media relations. There’s so much opportunity to grow in my role which is tremendously exciting and terribly overwhelming at the same time. I have faith that I’ll figure it out and still have time to pursue other goals of mine: like running and maintaining a good life balance.
So I hope you’ll keep coming back and checking in, even though posting might get a little less frequent. I barely have time to do laundry most weeks, let alone write a substantial post. But I enjoy writing as an outlet and way to track my training and connect with others, so I’ll still be here!
Next week, I’m headed to Houston for about 24 hours and then straight to Eugene the 27th-2nd– that’s right, a perk of my job is being lucky enough to get to work at the Track & Field Trials. A runnerds dream. I’m excited since it’s my first trip to Eugene, and while I’ll be tied up with work most days, I hope I can catch a race or two, or at least get to hang with some college friends who are racing. Stay tuned as I make it my goal to stalk some Olympians. Kidding. Kind of…