Boston 2 Big Sur feels so long ago but occasionally, I like to just reminisce on the whole experience and the road that lead me there.
I think about all the strategies I used to pull me out of my down times.
I think about all the doubt I had.
I think about how I will use this whole experience as a lesson.
I think about how this will teach me to not overstress.
But let’s be honest… I still stress….I still worry…. and the thought of Chicago and NYC training being right around the corner makes me cringe a bit.
…Not because I don’t want to train hard but because right now I feel something I haven’t felt in a while. I feel GOOD. I don’t have to worry about a long run lingering over my head for a week. I train the way I want. I run when I want. I strength train when I want. I go to hot yoga when I want. I rest when I want.
Lately, I have been doing two workouts a day just because I love not having a schedule and just doing a little bit of everything. However, my body sent me a friendly reminder that I was starting to overdo it. I listened, rested and was able to resume training with swapping hot yoga or strength with a massage or yin yoga.
I do love ‘Long Run Sunday’ and the excitement/fear/sense of accomplishment associated with the long run but I have been loving my new Sunday lineup…
A short run around my hot yoga studio and end right in time (always a couple minutes late because you can never plan a run JUST right) for some vigorous flow. I am not sure what sounds appealing about ending a run, walking into a 115 degree room and being suffocated by the heat…but I like the challenge and I try to remind myself that this tactic will help when I am struggling for air in the final mile(s) of a race….or maybe not and this whole thing really is crazy. But I enjoy the fun mix of everything.
This past Sunday, I ran in the Ribfest 5-miler with my running team and we placed third despite the heat and humidity. You know that whole run/hot yoga tactic I just talked about??…yeahhhh..it didn’t work its magic when I was riding the mile 4 struggle bus in the race haha.
I wish I could have contributed more to the team and clocked a time much closer to what I ran 3 years ago but I was proud with my 35:08. (I ran 32:24 in 2014!! WHO WAS I??)
My pace was respectable given my recent focus on just having fun with training but it did light a fire under me and got me thinking about some summer goals. The past 3 years have been very marathon focused. After a marathon, I would give myself a few weeks to rest/have fun with training but would quickly find another marathon to sign up for and would be back to marathon training. With NYC and Chicago in the fall, a summer marathon is a definite NO. The thought of not going back to San Francisco makes me a little sad but I am excited to set summer goals that are not just logging long runs and running a marathon. Over the last 3 years I have improved greatly in the marathon and 26.2 will always be a favorite because of the dedication and mental strength it requires. Although I have improved in the marathon over the last 3 years, I have slowed significantly in other distances. I haven’t come close to my 10k PR of 37:31 that was set over 3 years ago and my half marathon PR of 1:26.34 seems unfathomable these days.
I’ve been scrolling back in my Instagram to see how I trained to get these times and the only significant and noticeable difference is that every run posted had an average pace of 7:10 – 7:30. Anything higher would have been considered slow. NOTE** I only ran 3 times a week like I do now and did Crossfit and other forms of cross training on the other days. If you just run everyday then YES…make sure you have easy runs. For me, having the 3 days of running be key workouts was very important. When I took the leap of faith into marathon training, the miles took priority of the quality and I drifted away from those key workouts. However, I DID bring back some of these key workouts in the month before Boston this past year. To save my hip from the miles, I decided to make my mid-distance run more of a shorter tempo run and found that my overall paces started to improve. Instead of running 10 miles at an easy pace, I would do 5 or 6 miles at 7:00-7:20 pace (including warmup and cooldown) and I felt much stronger going into a 10k a couple weeks before Boston and then again IN Boston.
Another big difference was my final preparation before these shorter distance races. I took the half marathon VERY seriously because at the time it WAS far for me and it WAS a big deal. I tapered in the week leading up to every half and took extra rest days in the days prior to the race. Ever since I started marthoning, I started to treat half marathons and 10ks difrerently. I’ve developed a mindset of “It’s just a half so I don’t need to rest or taper.” Every half marathon that I have run in the last three years, I have trained hard up until a day or two before the race and went into it as a workout or tune up. Yes – a half marathon may seem short compared to the marathon but it is STILL 13 miles and if I want to run it fast and maintain a sub 7 pace, my legs need to be rested and ready to do so. If I am not going to give my legs this rest then no matter how fit or well-trained I am, I will not get the times I used to when I tapered and prepared properly for the race.
As I start to draft some summer goals, I am planning to adopt some of my old training styles. I want to hit the track more frequently, include more tempo runs, and scale back my longs runs before I need to amp them up toward the end of August for my fall marathons. I want to have some goal 10ks and half marathons that I take seriously and taper properly. August and September will be filled with miles so while I am free from a set schedule, I want to focus on having fun, building strength and pushing myself when I lace up. And of course…I want to listen to my body and learn to chill out when the warning signs are being fired.
This can be especially hard in the summer because I have more free time..translation…more time to spend jumping into different workouts. I love to workout in the morning and have the most energy at that time of day but when 4pm rolls around, I get another wave of energy. I usually want to use this 4pm energy to get in an additional workout or a short run but I have learned through experience that if I make two-a-days a daily thing, my body will give me the overtraining warning signs. I need to tackle the summer mindfully and make sure that I don’t go into ‘crazy mode’.
Here’s to a summer of enjoying the sun and time with family and friends, embracing the hot workouts, stepping up my speed work game and learning from my past whether it be from 3 months ago or from 3 years ago!
“The past if your lesson, the present is your gift and the future is your motivation.”