Summer running and training

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything on here. I’d like to say I’ll do better. But I probably won’t. As a mom, who works full time outside of the home (yes, I don’t work from home), prioritizing blogging is a bit difficult.

Plus, who really reads these things anyway? It’s a question I’ve asked myself lately. Yes, I’m sure some do-especially those who know me. But for the most part, I’m writing all of this down as a journal of sorts. Like something for my children to perhaps look back on and see what a goal oriented person their mom is/was (depending on when they actually read these entries).

Life is short, and you just don’t know when it could change. In recent months I’ve experienced friends losing loved ones before their time should have ended. We’ve all seen the devastation that the pandemic has brought.

Throughout all of this, I’ve been able to consistently maintain my training schedule, which has led to some success in the marathon. Running has provided a sense of control over a chaotic and uncertain world. It has brought a sense of peace and fulfillment when that felt unattainable.

How my running is going so far

I ran my second marathon on May 2, 2021, at a live event, and finished with a personal record (PR) of 3:42:07. I went into it reminding myself that I can do hard things. After all, I’ve been able to parent three children during a global pandemic, with two being in school. Going into this race I was hoping to better my time (of course), with a stretch goal of finishing in less than 3:40. Well, I came pretty darn close to that stretch goal…and I blame having to stop to put Vaseline on my thighs (chafing problems)! 😅 Jokes aside, it was hot that day, and I believe aside from having my husband cheering me on, two friends on their bikes as support, and other friends along the way encouraging me, what helped me was staying ahead of my hydration and fuel (and a popsicle from a friend). What didn’t help was Nature. Had the weather been ten degrees cooler, perhaps I would have finished quicker.

Whatever the case may be, I am back to training for my next marathon that I had to defer in 2020 for reasons we all should know, and this time with a running coach to assist me in reaching my goal of a BQ (Boston Qualifying) time! I never would have thought that I could have that as a goal…but here I am (probably helps that I’m now over 40)! 🤣 Of course, any runner somewhat familiar with Boston knows that just qualifying isn’t enough. There needs to be a buffer time. This has also been factored in for my training goals. So now I’m getting comfortable with my long runs (coming on weekend 7, and the plan is 16 on Saturday). From there, I’m not sure what coach has in mind for me, as she gives me my schedule a week at a time, but I’m confident she has a specific plan that will make sense, and I’m definitely willing to change what I’m familiar with in training, to accommodate her training, so that I can improve and hopefully hit my next marathon PR!

How to stay motivated

Paying for a running coach definitely helps keep things interesting for me. But not everyone can or wants to pay for a run coach. If you are in that group, or you just find you’re in a rut with training, I encourage you to change things up. How, you might ask?

1. Start a strength training program to complement your running, even if this means less weekly running miles. Not only will it keep things interesting, but strength training helps prevent injury! There are apps, such as FitOn, or even MyFitnessPal that give you some strength training ideas! FitOn has information you don’t have to pay to use, too!

2. If you haven’t incorporated at least one day of speed work, and you’ve built up adequate base, start adding one day of speed work. I would say, based on my years of experience running, if you are running consistently at least 3 days a week for about 10-15 miles total each week depending on your distance needs, for about 2 months, you’d be ready to add one day of speed work. Again, this is assuming you are planning to run a race, and you have it on the schedule. Nike has training programs online for various distances that will give you examples of some speed related running workouts. Other apps, such as Mapmyrun, Runkeeper, and Strava will offer programs as well, though these would cost extra depending on the app.

3. Change your focus to a different distance. Sometimes walking away from a distance that you may be trying to PR in, but you aren’t getting there, is the answer. Often times if you refocus, then come back, improvement happens. At least that has been my experience in the 10k!

4. Try trail running to change things up! No joke, I’ve done it, and it’s awesome! Tough, but awesome! Plus, it works your legs in a way that road running just can’t. I really believe it has made me a stronger runner, even though I haven’t done a lot of miles on trails, considering some of my running friends do half marathons or even 50ks among super tough trails with steep hills, tree roots blocking their way, and even mud and rocks! But it’s beautiful!

5. Try joining a group to run with if you have been running solo. You can usually find a local running club on Facebook, or by reaching out to your local running shoe store, such as Fleet Feet. If you’re not running solo, but constantly running with people, maybe you actually need some miles to yourself. Everyone has different needs.

Whatever you decide, remember that lowering miles or modifying your schedule is not a bad thing if you’re feeling burned out or aren’t hitting the goal times you are trying to hit. This is especially true if you’ve been battling an injury!

The benefits of 2021

Bonus 2021 perks: with the world opening back up I managed to run on vacation both in late May/early June (Florida) and late June/early July (South Dakota). Since it was just the two of us traveling, the Florida miles were with my husband twice, then once solo and the scenery was beautiful with the ocean next to me! It sure was humid and warm, though! 😅 🏝 The South Dakota miles were with our kiddos and my parents, so I ran once with my husband, and once solo, and while the weather was cool, the terrain was tough as I ascended mountainous trails! 😬⛰ Both were very different, but fun in their own special way!

So in summary, remember this: life is too short, you can do hard things, and if it becomes too much, or you’re feeling stuck in a rut, change things up!! Now I’m off to prepare for my oldest daughter’s 12th birthday! Time sure flies when you’re enjoying the run! 😉 Happy running!

Post latest Marathon!

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