So if you've been here for a while you know that I'm a runner through and through. Hence the name...
But after I had my overtraining period (Catch up HERE), I knew I needed to change how I approach running, training and my overall health. Don't get me wrong, I had set a PR last January, was in shape and was running fine. But I needed to start being more well rounded for my physical and mental strength. Running is physical but it's also just as much mental. No matter how fast you are, how strong you are, or how fit you are if you don't work on the mental side of the sport you will struggle.
I had to take a big step back and look at what I was doing and what I could get better at. I knew the biggest problem was I was falling into the trap of only running. I wasn't cross training, resting or strength training like I should.
I got so hyper focused on building miles and speed that I needed to step back and make my training and rest well rounded if I wanted to grow and become faster.
I had wrote about my new strength training routine with Audrey Bowman Fitness (HERE). Which has done WONDERS for my running. I feel stronger, steadier and overall more fit than when I was ONLY running. I can feel myself engaging more muscles in my legs and also my glutes which gives me so much power and has steadied my stride. Now that I've built up my muscles more I don't feel as shaky taking corners or dodging people on the sidewalk (NO ONE MOVES IN MY NEGHBORHOOD AND IT'S INFURIATING!!!! PSA to other pedestrians, move over--especially if someone is running with a stroller) I'm able to throw in some strides and feel like my feet are exploding off the ground vs feeling like I'm leading with my chest and willing myself to go faster. I feel like I'm actively engaging to go fast vs hoping that my legs wont give out.
When it comes to rest I've been trying to use my massage gun more when my legs feel tight, use my compression sleeves, and stretch more. I had done yoga prior to having my daughter and loved it. After pregnancy, busy life and focusing more on my running I fell out of practicing. Recently, I pulled out my old mat, cleaned it off and just let it flow. I can still remember the beginning sequence from the class I used to take and just let myself move through it with ease. It helps stretch out my achy muscles and helps my concentrate on my breathing and quieting my mind which has in turn helped me push through the mental blocks that come up when you're on mile 5 of a long run and (Me circa 2015 doing tree pose) are feeling it HARD. I can check my breathing and just focus on one foot
in front of the other.
Along with physically resting/stretching I've also tried to stop being SO busy. Between momming and other day to day life I found myself endlessly on a hamster wheel.
I needed to structure my time better and be flexible with my expectations. I started waking up at 4/4:15am so that I could have some quiet time to myself, workout and start the day with a purpose instead of being woken up by a raring to go toddler. I'm able to get my sweat in, have some coffee and prepare myself to start the day. I've even gotten into a groove of doing a mini gratitude list. Nothing earth shattering, just 10 things that I am grateful for. I don't feel pressure to make it meaningful I just put down whatever comes to me. (I may or may not list coffee and blankets on every list butttttt I'm not getting graded so whatever....)
All these little pieces have helped my become more well rounded and overall more focused. I still am running about 3-4 days a week depending and I can honestly say I'm enjoying my miles. I finish with a smile and a sense of accomplishment even if it's not the pace/distance I want. I know that there will be another run and another chance. I'm not training for an specific race so putting the effort into my "base" is my reward. Luckily I'm seeing gains left and right and feel like I am in a great place.
With 2020 being a dumpster fire and no live races it was actually a blessing for me. I think I would have burned myself out otherwise. I needed to take a break from races and step back---Concentrating on my love for running, my new blog and getting my coaching certification. I now am finally ready to sign up for a new challenge I think. I have been hesitating to sign up for a full marathon out of the uncertainty of what races will look like. What if live races are still not happening? Would I really have the discipline to train for a race if I knew the chances of it being virtual were about 90%?
Well----I did it anyway!!!! I officially am committing to completing a marathon in 2021!
I've been getting the itch and have plenty of time to train, freak out, questions my choices, feel amazing and then freak again during the taper. The race isn't until December so you'll all be able to share in my joy (self inflicted torture) and the ever changing race landscape that we will all have to navigate.
Am I crazy? Fearless? Semi-delusion? Brave?
I'd safe to say its a little of all of the above.