Necessary Revisions

What’s getting in the way of your fitness growth?  Is it the bullshit stories you tell yourself?  Is your actual training plan causing you to lose motivation?  Lately, for me, it’s been a little of both, with a sprinkle of injury mixed in.

Running is often a solitary activity which challenges you on so many levels.  I’ve personally pounded thousands of miles these past two years alone.  This gives me a lot of time to think and get in touch with myself, but it also can be lonely.  While I don’t truly mind a nice long run with my music, there’s nothing like a nice long run with your running friends.  Time goes by so fast when you’re chatting it up and as an added bonus it takes your mind off the other stuff that comes up when running alone.

The problem I’ve had this past year, aside from injury, is that I was doing heart rate training.  This training really forced me to avoid group runs as I’ve had to slow my pace to a crawl to keep my heart rate in the right zone.  Worse still, it’s taken some of the fun and joy out of running for me.  I thought it was the training itself and slow pace of it that bothered me lately, but realize now it’s the connection to people I’m missing most.  Like everything else in life, human connection sparks excitement and motivation.  I’m missing my running tribe.

I’ve decided to rethink some of my training because I’m feeling like I’m in a running slump.  I’m losing motivation because I’m not feeling like I’m part of anything beyond solitary miles of running.  I miss running on the boardwalk with my running friends and running without constantly checking my HR watch to see if I’m in the right zone.  I’ve made running have way too many rules and somehow lost its joy in the process.  It’s time to take back control over how I train and find some balance in my plan.

First, I need to connect to people during some of my runs and move away from worrying that doing that would violate some HR rules.  On these runs, I plan to leave my HR chest strap home and concentrate on the beautiful scenery and conversation.  I also have some running clubs that I joined last year and  while I participated in online conversation, I never went to one run because I was worried about the plan I was doing and the targets I had to hit.  This year I plan to attend the group runs and not care if I’m at the back of the pack and again the chest strap can just stay home.  I will certainly run at a comfortable effort and not overdo it, but I don’t need that darn watching beeping constantly.  There are so many great people in both of my groups who are on a similar journey to mine.  I can’t wait to go, share the journey and connect on my first run tomorrow morning!

Next, I need to balance my training.  I’m not giving up on heart rate training because I know the research shows it is right for me.  Instead of doing only heart rate based runs, I plan to do a mix of different types of runs.  This should increase my motivation and rekindle excitement about running.  I plan to reread Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 book and work out a training plan that works for me.  The premise of the plan is to balance your training for growth, including tempo, easy and long runs.  I used to love running pick ups after each miles they really made it more interesting and spread the speed work across miles, helping me improve my pace without overtaxing my body.

I’m also really looking forward to doing some local fun runs this year.  I had stopped doing them in favor of doing larger races.  Since NYC marathon is my goal race this year, my focus is solely on that race.  I am not planning to do a lot of other races, just local races that I can enjoy.  There are so many wonderful races right here on Staten Island that I truly enjoyed in the past.  No stress with traffic or parking, just convenient fun workouts.  The first of these races is rapidly approaching and I’m super excited to do it with my team – Little Red Runners.  This will be our third year running this Memorial Day race and this year they’ve improved the after party.  Here’s our beautiful team at last year’s run:

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Finally, I’m coming to accept that I am a slow runner, always have been – even in my twenties.  It’s truly fine because an eight minute mile and a thirteen minute mile are truly the same thing – a mile.  It really doesn’t matter how long it takes, it matters that I’m doing it. I can put to rest this quest to run an eight minute mile because for now it’s just not going to happen.  I can’t make pace my priority anymore as it only serves to make me feel bad about myself.  Anything that removes enjoyment from my run is no longer welcome.  This journey is about being healthy and I’m not winning any race anytime soon.  My goal has always been to finish the race and stay healthy.  I have to go back to reminding myself of that.  I’ve even washed my favorite shirt and will likely wear it to the Memorial Day race in a few weeks.

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What’s holding you back from fitness growth?  Is it the bullshit stories you’re telling yourself?  Please share below and let’s get back on track together.

Book mentioned in article:

80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower

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.

 

 

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