If You Want a Different Result, Try Something New!

I’ve been going back and forth trying to get my training plan right.  I am working with a Marathon Heart Rate Training group plan which calls for me to keep my heart rate at, or under 140 bpm.  I also have been thinking about using the Galloway method of run/walk/run intervals to train.  I keep going back and forth with the benefits of each plan.  The heart rate plan builds my anaerobic systems and should keep me healthy and injury free.  The Galloway plan also keeps me injury free as I’m building in recovery and not continuously straining my ankle tendons.  I keep asking myself, Do I realistically expect to run 26.2 miles without stopping?  Do I want to train using run/walk/run intervals, or continuous running like I did for my half marathon?  There are so many things to consider and honestly my achilles is still not feeling great.  I’ve been trying to push through and modify as needed but the pain has not totally subsided.  It’s super hard to be motivated to train and run when it hurts.

When I returned to running this spring, I was using intervals to build my stamina back up.  I always felt the time went faster and it was a great workout.  Yet, I still thought of it as a temporary measure, one that was meant to build me up and then taper away.  As I continued, I had the goal of increasing the intervals until they were gone.  A few weeks ago, I began continuous running and worked up to 6 miles on long runs. If I’m honest with myself, my feet were crying from mile 5 on.  After the run I had difficulty walking and my day was pretty much left to roll, soak, elevate and rest.  Clearly, something had to give and that something was my EGO.

Last year, I joined a running club in Manhattan – The Galloway Club.  I never went to one run and just decided it wasn’t for me because after all, I was a runner.  This year, I joined the club again and told myself I was going to try it, but didn’t.  While I did try intervals, I didn’t go to join the club for the long runs, which by the way are geared to training for the marathon.  This week I had a long, honest talk with my EGO and decided that if I am going to make it through this marathon I need to do what my body needs, not what my EGO wants.  Wednesday morning I met with Filicia, a local Galloway club member and we ran 3 miles at the park.  We did 45:30 intervals and I noticed that my pace was much quicker than when I run continuously.  I also noticed that my feet didn’t hurt quite as much.  The rest of the day I didn’t need to recover and elevate, ice, etc my feet.  Listening to her tell me about the three marathons she ran successfully really helped me make my decision.  I am officially doing run/walk/run interval training and plan to run the marathon using this strategy.  Thanks Filicia for talking me through this and for running with me!

Today, we met again and ran 7 miles, the same route I ran last week.  Last week by mile 5 my feet were pretty shot and I wasn’t sure if I could finish.  This week, though I had some soreness, I finished the run and didn’t feel finished for the day.  I’m super excited to feel like I WILL complete this marathon using this strategy.  I also am excited that perhaps my achilles will finally begin to heal.  When I compare how I felt this week recovering from the run to how I felt last week it is really a no brainer.  I feel much better and more able to go about the business of my day.

In reflecting on why this decision was so hard for me to make, I know my ego is the cause.  I didn’t think of run/walk/run intervals as “running”.  I felt that if I needed to use this strategy, I was weak.  I am fully aware that the man who created this method, Jeff Galloway, is an Olympian, but I just couldn’t get past feeling like a failure.  A funny thing happened on these last two runs – I felt like I worked hard.  I wasn’t slogging along slowly, praying for the run to end.  I actually felt invigorated and more athletic than before.  It’s hard to explain, but I felt very accomplished and know in my heart I made the right choice.  The reality is, whether I walk, run or crawl, a mile is a mile and I’m out there moving forward!

What are the bullshit stories you tell yourself when you workout, or run?  Please share below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Regain a Love of Running

When I started a heart rate training plan last year I was excited to be able to run without injury.  That was my goal.  I didn’t care how slow I ran, or how boring it was running for hours on end, I was happy to be able to finish what I started – a half marathon.  But shortly after, a funny thing happened to many of us in the heart rate group.  We seemed to have lost our running mojo.  Disappointed with our lack of measurable progress we began to feel defeated.  Running by heart rate is a long process, not a quick fix and many of us had thought we’d be further along a year in.  Some of us, myself included, were never able to get back to our pre heart rate pace.  This perceived failure to grow as a runner led to lack of motivation to run.

After spending the winter months training with broken toes on a treadmill to keep my fitness going, I was bitch slapped when I began running outside again.  I totally felt like the winter running was a huge waste of time.  I couldn’t even run a mile without feeling defeated.  To top that off my weight was up about 15 pounds and that didn’t help my running one bit.  As I struggled to get those first outside runs in I began to have pain in my achilles.  To say I lost confidence in my ability to run is a huge understatement.

This past week, I read an article in my local newspaper about a woman who is running her first marathon (NYC) this year.  She spoke about feeling overwhelmed by the task and how it caused her to lose her confidence and question why she was even attempting to do it.  Right! That’s exactly where I am at right now.  On each of those struggle runs I talked at myself and said, why in the world are you doing this.  You don’t need to do this.  You can’t even run 3 miles right now how in the world will you run 26.2.  Reading this article really helped me understand that it was completely normal to feel overwhelmed and scared of the daunting task I am taking on.

Running a marathon is a huge undertaking and one that can’t be taken lightly.  Thankfully, I have now given myself a break and accepted that my feelings of being overwhelmed are completely normal.  This week I was able to do a 3 mile run without using intervals.  Hope springs eternal and I feel like I may be over the hump of getting started.  I’m still suffering from pain in my achilles and have been trying to use intervals to not damage it as it heals.  These last two runs I completed without intervals and while I had some pain afterwards it wasn’t too bad.  Maybe, just maybe I can do this marathon after all.

When confidence is lost, the first step on the road back is to identify what is causing these feelings.  For me it was fear of failure – not being able to complete the marathon I’ve signed up for.  Recognizing that and giving myself permission to feel this way was a huge help to motivate me to at least get out there and try.  Like any other obstacle, the first step is admitting the issue and then creating a plan to deal with it.  My plan is pretty simple right now – take it one day and one run at a time.  Here’s my current plan to regain my running confidence:

  1. Set a goal – My goal right now is to complete my training runs each week and not get too far ahead in my thinking.  I’m going to focus on just one week at a time and follow my plan without skipping workout sessions.  This week so far I’m on track with this morning’s long run ahead of me.  Hoping to be able to get 6 of the called for 8 miles in.  Not sure I should jump up to 8 miles too fast as the achilles has prevented me from running more than 3-4 miles.
  2. Stay connected – I’ve been reaching out to other runners and trying to find someone to run with at least for long runs.
  3. Change or scenery – I always run the same route day after day.  I’ve decided to try to vary my routes to spark some interest.  I’m seeking out new places to run that might prove more interesting and break the monotony of my routine.
  4. Cross Train – I’ve decided to get back to the yoga studio.  I loved, loved, loved hot yoga but when I started running I gave it up.  I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in.  I signed up for unlimited yoga classes this summer and hope to get yoga back into my weekly routine.  I also think it will help my achilles and other muscles a lot!  Super excited about this.

The long and short of my musings today is give yourself permission to feel scared.  It’s completely normal to be nervous about new challenges you are taking on.  Just don’t let those nerves steal your motivation to do the work.  Break it down to smaller, more manageable tasks and keep on going.  One day, one workout, one run at a time – just put one foot in front of the other.

Have you lost your confidence, or motivation to work out?  What helped you get back on track?  Please share below, I’d love to hear about your struggles and successes.

Great memoir for anyone running their first marathon –

On the Road Again

Sometimes I feel like I’m always starting over with my running. I’ve had to overcome some serious injuries along this path, but I keep getting back out there. As you know this Christmas Eve I broke three toes. Not quite the present I hoped for, but you take what you get in this life. Even though I worked out over the winter these first days back out on the road reminded me just how daunting my new challenge really is. 26.2 miles – gulp!

This week, I started reflecting back on my running journey. When I was younger my dad and I used to run together and do some local fun runs. My training runs back then consisted of me running either on the track across from my house, or around Juniper Valley Park. I was blessed to live across the street from this beautiful park. At the time, I worked in the city and also did some fun runs with my work friends.

Fast forward far too many years to mention and I returned to running with the hope of losing weight. I was doing some walking, but always felt the pull to move my feet and run, so figured I’d go for it. I had no plans to do any races, but ended up signing up for one with my work friends. The running community is a beautiful one to be part of so I’ve continued doing races. To date I’ve completed many 5k, 10K, 15K and one half marathon. The half was my goal race last year and I thought that would be my distance limit. Why then do I now find myself signed up to run in the NYC Marathon?

I can’t even tell you why anyone would even want to run 26.2 miles. I’m not sure how I plan to do it, but do it I will. The real training plan starts June 12th, but the base building plan has already begun. With the arrival of warmer temperatures and healed toes, I’ve taken myself off the treadmill and put myself back outside. With my broken toes, I tried hard to maintain my base by using the elliptical and treadmill over the long winter months.

My first few outside runs have been challenging and disheartening anyway. I feel like I’m back to the beginning again and three mile runs have felt like marathons.  Already I feel my negative self talk returning full force. As I’ve been out there I say mean stuff like, “Are you out of your mind? Three miles feels like this, imagine what 26.2 will feel like. Why do you have to do this anyway? You should forget about it.” Right now I’m procrastinating getting out to do my long run. Lord, I need to get CONTROL.

What do you do when you feel yourself giving in to fear of an upcoming challenge? Do you eat, drink or quit? Me, I definitely eat and indulge in some nice wine. I wallow in self pity for a bit and beat myself up with negative self talk. What I don’t do though, is quit. Once I’ve allowed myself to go through the process of eating, drinking and talking trash, I begin to claw my way back out and get busy.

This week has been about that – getting over it and getting serious. This goal is not going away and I fully plan to meet it. Here are a few of the ways I get myself back on track when fear of failure gets in my head:

Connect with People Who Share Your Goal

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I reminded myself this week that I am NOT alone on this journey. I have a tribe of people who are supporting me. In addition to my family, I have running friends who will support me as I train for and run this race. I have a running club that I am part of and have started reaching out for support. They connected me with another group who consists of people also training to run the NYC Marathon this year.

I also have two running partners in crime who will toe the line with me this November.

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Helen & I – Roosevelt Island 10K
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Flo & I – Freshkill 10K

I also have my 2017 Run the Year teammates coming up to NYC so we can run this race together.  We have in essence created our own tribe of strong women who will meet this goal.

Read, Read, Read

When I start feeling self doubt, I like to read motivational books, articles, quotes, basically anything I can.  There are tons of books out there written by others who have walked our walk in life, whatever it may be.  This week I reread my own blogs written to remind myself why I am on this path.  These two in particular were most helpful –

I Got This

Declaring My Why

I also read a wonderful memoir that truly resonated with me.

Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run

In her memoir, Alexandra speaks to the journey through self doubt and hard work to meet her goal of running the London Marathon.  I laughed out loud in some parts and strongly connected to her pain in others.  A true journey of triumph and highly motivational to me and many others who have read it.  Worthy of a read for anyone questioning their ability to meet their goals.

Get Started and Try Your Best

The hardest part of the journey is often getting started.  Just lace up and get out there – take that first step.  I’ve been using my week off to jump start my motivation.  I’ve been able to get my runs in outside in the beautiful world.  It’s refreshing to see the sights after a winter in the basement.  It’s good for my soul to be out in nature and though it’s been hard this week, I know I’m making progress.  Finally, in the words of William O’Brien –

Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing,
Others say nothing gambled nothing gained,
Go all out for your dream.
Life can be lived either way, but for me,
I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.

The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day, I’ve bared my soul here and now feel ready to get out there and get it done.  Enjoy this day and set yourself back on the path to meet your goal, whatever it may be.

Please take a moment to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear about your goals and plans to meet them.