What’s the Why

Fall is winding down in New England with a lot of rain. I am going to be honest – I am not looking forward to the dark, cold days that lay ahead. A lot of Spring races are already falling off the calendar with cancellations and postponements. And without a concrete goal to work toward or something to look forward to, training is going to get super rough.

It’s time to start zeroing in on a big WHY. Why am I doing this? Why am I running in the cold, in the dark, in the rain and snow? Why am I trying if there is nothing to show for it? Why will I keep running?

It’s not an obsession or madness. There is a reason. I just have to figure out what that is so I can keep going forward. I have long term – very long term – goals. But it can be hard to stay motivated for something years away. I need to run in the present, the here and now. One month, one week blocks. One run at a time.

Despite the lack of racing, strange stop & go training, and all the spicy chips I can get my hands on, I am in great shape – possibly my best shape ever. I’ve also come a long way mentally, keeping my depression and anxiety in check through the lock-downs. I’m not giving up on my fitness just yet, nor am I losing hope in 2021’s possible race line-up. I simply have accepted the fact that running is going to continue to look different with different goals, priorities, and measurements. And I’ll get through it, even if I am bummed.

The rest of this year is going to be fairly relaxed with alternating A and B workout weeks. Week A will consist of two workouts (Tuesday and Thursday, ideally) with tempos and shorter repeats or hills, one long run on the weekend (probably Sunday), and easy runs around it all. Week B will be mostly easy runs with one bigger workout (Wednesday) of longer repeats (1000s, miles, or a longer tempo), and a weekend long run (hopefully with some marathon paced miles thrown in). This is how I plan on tackling my base training until the New Year when (hopefully) I’ll have a better idea about racing in the Spring (when/where/how). I want to continue to do workouts and speed work through my base training to keep myself from getting bored on the same old runs. The goal for the next two months is to stay fit, stay sane, and don’t get injured.

Summer of Speed

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and nearly all in-person races cancelled, I was feeling a little lost. What was all this running and trying even for? I’d get excited when I’d see an ad in my Facebook feed for a marathon or half marathon. I’d click on it and my heart would flutter as I’d read the details. But then my stomach would drop at the thought of being around people! The idea of having to stay in a hotel, eat out, or generally hang around other humans has simply been too much for me the last few months. But I also needed to have purpose in my running.

I resolved fairly early in the Summer that I wouldn’t be racing in 2020. This was a bummer because I still wanted to attempt my sub 3 hour marathon goal. I still wanted to see what I really had. I didn’t want to waste any time! But, I also realized that this year wouldn’t make or break my big goals. I had big goals in 2018, but due to injury took basically a year off from marathons and came back the following Spring with a huge PR. I could do that again. I could use this time to harness speed, to build strength, and come out of the other side of this pandemic as a running machine.

I am usually one to shy away from shorter distances. I haaaaate the 5k. Any distance shorter than that is just torture. They are fast and hard, and always feel like a frantic sprint. I suck at them. But, I also had to get better at them. It started with the Mile. I hadn’t run an open mile since sometime in college when my coach insisted I could run middle distance. I hated it then, turns out I still do.

I had no clue what I could pull off, but I figured I should be able to come in under 5:30. I spent most of July building up strength with heavier weights in my strength sessions, which I upped from 2 per week to 3 weights and 1 dedicated core/stability session per week. I ran lots of power workouts; shorter, faster reps, lots of hills, – shorter long runs, but quicker up tempos in the middle. One morning in August I went to the high school track and banged out four laps. 5:26. Well okay then. In two weeks I ran it again with a significantly faster kick and shaved off two more seconds. Not as fast as my college days, but fast enough to accept it as a current PR. In mid-September I was ready for a 5K time trial. I had originally planned on running this on the track, but it was packed with high school after school sports on the day I made the attempt, so I took to the roads instead. 19:07. I was a bit disappointed because I really thought going in that I could come in under 19 minutes, but this was still technically a PR, so I accepted it with grace. At this point, I didn’t have time to fret over it because I had more training to do.

The Hartford Marathon has been my go-to Fall race for several years now. I was a bit sad when I saw them announce that there wouldn’t be a race this year. I’m not sure I would have attended anyway, but it always falls on my birthday weekend, which makes it a special race day for me. I like gifting myself PRs while running my homestate’s race! I decided that while I might not be running in Hartford this year, collecting another cow bell, or crossing finishing mats, I could still go for a phenomenal birthday run. A solo-full sounded a bit too daunting (not to mention a lot of support from my poor husband and kids), so I decided to do a solo-half marathon time trial on my birthday. The rest of September’s training was laser focused on this goal. What could I do solo for 13 miles? I knew it would be hard without crowds, course support, or competition, but I was pretty confident that my Summer build up had given me the strength to at least try.

I found a 3 mile loop that I ran four (and a half ish) times with my husband and kids passing me water and a gel from the side of the road on each revolution. It was warm (about 60 degrees) and hillier than I would have liked (690 feet of elevation gain – that’s 200 feet more than Hartford Half, where I hit my PR in 2018). Like my other tests of speed, I didn’t know how I’d pull it off – I just figured I’d run like hell for 8 to 10 miles then either hang on and finish up close to “marathon race pace” or end up having my husband come pick me up off Main Street. Either way, I had to try. I ended up running fairly consistently through out the time trial. I was right on target the whole way, hovering just under 6:30 pace. I did start to fade in the last 5k, but rallied myself together to stay mentally strong and not worry about the pace. It all paid off with a surprising 20 second PR! A 1:25:24 in a solo attempt. I was truly thrilled. And tired. And hungry.

What I LEARNED from my Summer of Speed is that shorter distances can help you go long. Nail that short & fast stuff and you can use that power and speed at the end of a longer race to get you up that hill, around the last lap, or through the final painful miles. I ran my half marathon time trial about 20 seconds per mile slower than I ran my 5K time trial, which tells me that 1. I have more in me in terms of a 5K, I just have to believe in myself and tap it out and 2. With real racing conditions (anxiety, endorphins, and adrenaline combined) I will probably fly.

This past Summer of not racing has actually given me a lot of confidence in terms of my own strength & speed and what I can do when I can put a race back on the calendar. And while time trials really aren’t the same as a real race, they can still be exciting, rewarding, and an excellent tool in measuring our fitness. It has been harder to stay focused and committed in 2020, but I do believe that it has made me significantly stronger.

Ditching the Data

I took my watch off. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was weirdly attached to it. It was as much a part of me as my hand or my cell phone (the next device to go). It was always on me and I recorded everything. But, I realized one day that I was feeling exceptionally uneasy because I had to take it off to charge it. I experienced anxiety when it had a glitch and wouldn’t turn back on. That’s when I knew it had to go.

Of course I still wear my Garmin to run. I can’t go cold turkey like that. Besides, it is still a very useful tool. But I knew I didn’t need to record every act of athleticism: I stopped timing lifting and yoga sessions. Did I really need to keep track of how many minutes and seconds I spent doing these things? Surely not.

I was still kind of wrapped up in the Garmin data. How many steps did I take in a day? How many miles did that come out to? Heart rate, sleep (and how many times I rolled over), steps, hydration, body weight…all of these things seemed SO important, and not just when I was running, but all the time. I was constantly checking graphs and trends on the app, checking my resting heart rate when watching TV, checking my steps while doing chores, checking, checking, checking.

What was I doing with all this data? I wasn’t sleeping more or figuring out how to get better sleep. I didn’t need to increase my step count, but I was worried if I didn’t hit my new, automatically adjusted goal on rest days. There wasn’t much I could do or was willing to do about my heart rate at any given point of time. So why was I allowing myself to be tied to this device that was collecting and feeding all this data to the Internet? What would happen if I just didn’t?

It’s been a month since I’ve tracked anything not related to running. And, I’ve felt pretty free with a naked wrist. I haven’t run any better or worse without collecting all this non-running data. I still lift and do yoga just as often, I still sleep roughly 8 hours at night (and sometimes roll over), my heart rate is still somewhere in the wide range of 35 to 170 bpm. Maybe I didn’t really know how to utilize this data correctly. Maybe I didn’t even need it at all. I do know that I’ve been calmer about my overall health since I’m not so hyper focused on it. I’m trusting myself and just living off of effort. Maybe one day I’ll get to a point where I can run without my watch at all, or at least stop looking at it so much. Maybe.

Do you record biometrics when not working out? Does it help; how so? Have you ever thought about why you record all these numbers?

Limited Supplies and Quarantine Chub

I’m not gonna lie: I’ve gained some weight in the last few months. Apparently the “Quarantine Fifteen” that my non-running friends have talked about even effects us athletes.  Sure, there was some stress eating at the end of March and beginning of April. I was really stressed out with the uncertainty of everything, my husband being home, my kids out of school, almost nothing available in the stores, my elderly parents… I may or may not have emptied a few too many bags of chips. Alcohol came back into my life. I don’t drink while I’m training for a race, but I do indulge in a glass of something in the evenings between training cycles. While moderate drinking isn’t necessarily awful for your health, it does contain a lot of extra calories, and the fact that I was mostly drinking gin & tonics (i.e. soda, which I almost never consume), my stressed self was hanging onto those calories for dear life. There was also the fact that I suddenly stopped training. I always gain weight after a marathon because I cut way back on miles and my body stops working as hard. It’s good for me to gain a few pounds between cycles.

But, I do think the biggest culprit in my (almost) 10 pound addition has been my diet. My husband returned to work in mid-April since he was considered an essential employee. Instead of having me drag three homeschooling kids with me to grocery shop in a pandemic laden world, my husband took over the shopping duties. This meant that what I had in my cupboards to make meals with was very different from what I was used to. Typically, I shop on Mondays or Fridays on payday. I make up a big chart of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the entire week, then make a list of what I need to get based off of that. And I never deviate from that list! Most of my recipes come from The Runner’s World Cookbook, Shalane Flanigan’s Run Fast, Eat Slow, or Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight Cookbook. We eat lots of lean meats (fish, chicken, and turkey), lots of beans, and a ton of vegetables. However, the pandemic led to grocery stores being wiped out. There either wasn’t anything left (we went three weeks without any chicken at all) or strict restrictions on how much could be bought (and with a family of five, one package of anything is usually not enough). Typical ingredients and quantities just weren’t available. He simply bought whatever he could. This meant that I had to get creative and dinners got weird.

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One of his best shopping hauls yet!

At first my husband didn’t even know what to get and just bought what looked good to him in the moment without thinking about how it could be incorporated into a meal. And he was buying it after work on his way home when he was already very hungry. This meant lots of boxed, prepackaged, snack type foods. Chips, candies, sugary cereal, tons of pasta, and cookies. There was a lot of pork, but in the form of sausage. He was able to stockpile a decent amount of beans. We now have a freezer full of frozen peas and corn. But there were weeks where he wasn’t able to bring home any veggies other than a sack of carrots or a single box of salad mix. There was no fish or chicken at all for weeks on end. It also cost him nearly double our weekly grocery budget.

All the pasta, white rice, pretzels, chips & crackers really piled it on. But thankfully as the weeks went by he started learning to look at the foodstuffs as ingredients and reaching for the raw stuff. And as some things started becoming more available, he grabbed up as much as he could.  While I haven’t really been able to plan dinners like I’d like, at least they are healthier than a plate of Oreos with a side of Doritos. Mostly it’s just a random combination of stuff thrown into a pot and tossed on a plate. One week he might be able to buy up tons of broccoli, but there is no guarantee that there will be anything green the following week. I keep some frozen stuff in reserve for that.

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Random dinners, mostly with a side of beans as the protein, of the past week.

I’m not worried about my bit of Quarantine Chub. Most of it will come off now that I’m back to serious training. But this have given me a pretty good look at why diet is so very important. Being a long distance runner doesn’t automatically make me healthy. Of course I am still a healthy weight, an acceptable weight – but 10 pounds on my slim frame is considerable and I can feel it even on easy runs. I’m slower, I feel sluggish, and I tire a lot faster. I can’t eat whatever I want just because I run. I need to run AND I need to eat a healthy (preferably raw), well balanced (Dorito-free) diet. Drills, warm ups, proper shoes, long runs, hill repeats, foam rolling – we know we need to do all that stuff to stay a strong, healthy, fast runner. But running doesn’t actually stop when you end your run or stop your watch. It’s a life style and to be your best, you need to eat the best!

It might be hard to commit to healthy foods during this pandemic with limited supplies, but I’m sure we can at least commit to trying.

Stay healthy, stay fast!

Getting in Gear for a Maybe Marathon

I ran even fewer miles in May than I ran in April.  This was mostly because my mindset shifted from “get fast & strong” to “just keep moving”.  I ran slow, an average of 8:00 per mile, and very short – 5 miles here, 8 miles there, and only one “long run” of 15 miles. I experimented with some things too: lifting before running (that was a no go), and a whole week of late afternoon 6pm runs. That was a serious no go! I also took the last week of May off from all activity. My goal for those weeks to stay in the routine of lacing up my shoes & hitting the pavement. It was uninspiring and uneventful.

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Focusing forward

The Riga Marathon that I had registered to run in May had been post-poned to mid-October. My birthday, in fact. This seemed awesome; go run an epic PR on your birthday while visiting Europe for the first time. But the more Martin and I thought it over, the more uncomfortable we were with the idea of traveling. If we could even get a flight in October, we just weren’t sure if this whole pandemic thing would be in another wave or not. And what about getting the grandparents up from Florida to come watch the kids? They already said they weren’t comfortable with traveling by plane so soon. Plus, the race directors weren’t even sure if the October race would go forward… I had until 12 June to make a decision: stay registered for the October date & try to fly to Latvia if the race was on & miss out if I couldn’t fly, stay registered for the October date & run a virtual race if the government didn’t allow the event to happen, or transfer my registration to May 2021 and just see what the future brings. With zero interest in a virtual race (seriously, who pays $100 in registration fees to run a virtual race?!) and almost zero confidence in even having a way to get to Europe, we opted to push it and wait.

I’m waiting to see what will happen for the Fall. Maybe there will be a starting line, but I’m also fully aware and okay with the fact that maybe there won’t be. But I have serious goals and the gun will go off eventually. If I raced shorter distances I might be okay with sitting back for another couple of months. But marathon success comes from cumulative efforts over long periods of time. I didn’t go from 4:03 to 3:01 overnight. I took an hour off my marathon over the span of 4 years and 8 marathon training cycles. That’s an average of 15 minutes off per year. While I don’t think I’ll take another 15 minutes off my time by 2021, I do know I have it in me to go even faster, and not training or racing in 2020 will most likely deprive me of that speed.

So, the Maybe Marathon 2020 is my goal for the Summer. I’ll train to break 3 hours (like I did for Hartford last year and during the Winter) for my birthday weekend. If there is a race, I’ll be ecstatic to run it. However, if there isn’t I do plan on running the marathon distance solo on my birthday weekend, though goals for that may change as we get closer.

Base training will wrap up in another week(ish). I’m looking forward to getting back to speed, hills, and 20 mile long runs, but I’m really excited to just focus on something ahead of me.

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Off to run more miles!

Keeping Up With Where I Am

I’ve been pretty good about keeping my complaining to a minimum. I got a handle on the crisis-schooling fairly quickly, and actually don’t mind teaching the kids all that much. I almost never get a chance to sit at my computer and write these days because there is always a child using it for Google Classroom or a Zoom call, but such is life at the moment. General housework seems to be a slightly tougher task due to three kids under foot, almost always undoing whatever it is I’ve just accomplished, but they are learning about chores & responsibility in the process. There is constantly noise and dirt in the house, but thanks to the warmer Spring weather, we are starting to get some home improvement projects done.

Thanks to COVID19, life is stressful for everyone. Aside from social media and those I pass while running, I’ve had close to no human contact outside my family since 6 April (the last time I went to the grocery store). It’s been…weird. My main goal for the past ten weeks has been simply to maintain. Just keep plugging away. I had no goals except to hold myself just on the edge of fitness, so that I could just dive back into training when races were looking promising again. Keep it simple: one hard session (shorter repeats or a tempo run) and one long run a week, with lots of easy days in between. I easily floated along in the 35-45 miles a week range, at roughly 8 minutes per mile.

But I’ve quickly learned what maintaining is and what it isn’t. It isn’t trying to keep up in pace or mileage with anyone. It isn’t increasing volume or base training. It isn’t getting faster at the 5K. Maintenance Training is a lot like hovering; it’s physically weird and kinda impossible for most species. Athletes typically move forward in training – yes there are peaks and valleys in terms of effort & distance due to training and recovering – but it is still a concept of going toward something. When maintaining, my goal is to stay right where I am, which is ironic for a runner. It’s constantly keeping up with where I already am, like treading water.

I think I’ve done an okay job with it in the last two and a half months, and I think I’ve done it right, though we’ll have to wait and see how my next race turns out. I’ve haven’t gotten faster and (aside from some knee niggles) I haven’t really gotten worse. My weight has gone back up to pre-training weight (this is good), my pace & heart rate have remained fairly consistent. I’m in that grey limbo zone of non-training – that space I tend to occupy for a few weeks between marathon training cycles. I never liked this down time, but I know it is beneficial and necessary to stay healthy. But, I’ve been in this purgatory for ten weeks now! I’m getting a little cranky about it, both physically and mentally. Running toward a goal is typically what keeps me sane when other parts of my life get stressful. This hovering – this treading water is not going to work for much longer.

I’m going to train again, but I’m going to train less than before. I don’t know if there will be a Fall race. I want it to happen, but I really am not confident in there being a starting line this year. I’ve come to terms with that. However, maintaining for an entire year will not get me to where I want to be next year (or whenever there are races again). So, I will marathon train for a Maybe Fall Marathon, but with slightly less intensity and fewer miles than my previous training cycle. In fact, I may not even apply a goal time this go-round. My only true target for this is to get my fitness level to where I was last Fall with no injuries. No improvements, just keeping up with where I should already be. Easy enough, right?

This week I am taking OFF. I’m working through the knee pain that comes with the onset of Summer’s heat & humidity, so I’ll be active with maybe a few shorter runs, but no lifting, and only a slow pace IF I do run. I intend to start June off with Base Training and getting my mileage up a little bit (zero speedwork though) and getting back into a good lifting routine so I can start a 16 week training cycle 21 June which will give me a Maybe Fall Marathon on my birthday weekend in October.

Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. At the very least it will give me something to look forward to and something to focus on while we sit and wait for this virus to run it’s course.

They Are Just Numbers

Training isn’t what it was and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to it. I looked over my April stats from Strava and was a little sad. Of course, my numbers are all down.

100 miles less than the month of March?! But this should have been my peek weeks before my first trip to Europe and my best race yet. If I had been marathon training, I’d have been 150 to 200 miles ahead. Sigh.

But these are just numbers. My less than numbers don’t mean that I’m being lazy; quite the contrary. I lift 3 times a week and am making excellent gains in the weight room. I’m also more consistent with my yoga practice, foam rolling, and PT/balance/stretching work. I’m also not getting sick, dealing with allergies or head colds, burning out, or getting injured.

I know a lot of runners are logging lots of miles with virtual races, marathon distances, and run streaks. Some are even going after heavy mileage, attempting to run the farthest they’ve ever gone in a day/week/month. That’s all well and good – but really, those are just numbers as well.

There’s no right or wrong way to focus on your personal fitness during these crazy times. This pandemic will most likely keep racing on hold for awhile yet, so if you want to go after a PR either in time or distance, do it! But if you feel better taking more rest days or cutting mileage down for the time being, do it! But, more than anything, accept that these stats are merely numbers and other people’s stats are completely meaningless to you.

You do you!

Waiting to Go

I’m still going…

I’m not going very far or very fast, but I’m going. Due to the state of emergency declared by the Latvian government, they still have not set a postponement date for the Riga Marathon. They cannot post a date until the force majeure is lifted, and as of right now that date has been pushed to 12 May. I know everyone is trying to scramble and see just how soon everything can be reopened, but we really need to sit tight while the doctors & nurses fight the COVID19 battle.

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Going is what I do best.

I know I need to keep my fitness up while I wait. As soon as I get a date, I’ll jump right into training mode, so I have to train to be ready to train…

The waiting game sucks. As Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers say, the waiting is the hardest part. Tom Petty gets it. But, I’m viewing this quarantine time as an opportunity to work on my mental game. The hardest lesson that I had to learn about the marathon was when to hold myself back – to wait through the long, grueling miles – to push through the fatigue & boredom of it all to give it a kick at the end. That’s what this virus is making us do. It is making us wait it out. It’s making us suffer, long, hard, and sometimes boring – slogging through the days with miles and miles ahead. But there will be a go time. All the lights will turn green, restrictions will be lifted, races will be back on, businesses will be fully operational. We will be sprinting back into life with wild glee. I know it.

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Almost a month ago I pulled my training way back to only 30 miles a week of slow easy runs. The main focus was to keep my heart rate low (in the 140s) while keeping my lungs & heart strong. Five miles here, six miles there. It’s dinky and tedious compared to the 60+ mile per week marathon training plan I’d been so dedicated to. There are days I want to bust out a super fast or super long run, just because I can. I’m mad that I have all this training built up and no reason to use it. There were days when I don’t want to run at all because what’s the point. “Fitness” – blech! That’s not even why I run!!

I’ve started with a two days on, one off approach for a few weeks, and have now upped it to three on, one off. More volume seems to help my mental state. I’ve also upped my lifting from two days (Tuesday/Thursday) to three days a week (MWF), and I’ve got to say, I am getting super buff! I am also increasing my long run by a mile each week, which does give me something to look forward to. I’m now looking at around 40 miles per week and that will be step up to 45-50 range in another couple of weeks.

Slow. Steady. Calculated. That’s the only way to stay driven, strong, and healthy.

If everyone can keep staying home, then we may have a new date in less than three weeks. That’s what I’m hanging onto right now. That’s what I’m running toward.

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Race Postponed for Pandemic Virus

Just as I was getting geared up to increase my mileage again, I got the news that the marathon had been postponed. I knew this was going to happen. It made sense. But man, it still sucked to hear it. It also brought the severity of this pandemic a little closer to home and the sudden change in plans flooded me with emotions that were hard to deal with. I got the email on Tuesday of last week and then spent the next five days wrestling with anxiety attacks and depression. My husband got word from his job on the same day that he was part of a “skeleton crew” for his company and an “essential worker” at the facility. He could no longer work from home. This meant that he’d be out there, in that virus infected society, and I’d be home trying to keep three kids on task solo.

I was upset because I had been doing so well, emotionally speaking. The virus was serious, but I wasn’t freaking out or losing my cool. I wasn’t a mess about grocery stores being out of essentials. I wasn’t day drinking or pulling my hair out over crisis-schooling my three kids. I was keeping calm and carrying on, just like I was supposed to. And marathon training was helping me maintain that daily structure as well as giving me something to look forward to. My husband and I were prepared for the race to cancel, but getting that official word meant that I had nothing to focus on other than this virus that’s invisible and everywhere.

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Before the cancellation, I had spent a lot of time thinking about how I’d handle it. I knew I had a sub-3 hour marathon in me and I was already bummed that it might not happen in Riga this spring. Could I do it solo? Maybe my husband could pace me on a bike? I had these grand ideas in my head of running 26.2 on the Farmington Canal Trail, my kids and parents driving ahead of me to cheer me on at all the parking lots, my husband cycling just ahead to clear a path and hand me fluids. I’d be smart about pacing it. It would be really hard without race conditions, but in my head I always managed to stop my watch at 2:59. But, those dreams slid a bit. On Sunday, two days before the cancellation, I ran a 20 miler on the road and in a thunderstorm, and still had to bob and weave through walkers and joggers that were hell bent on not staying home. I had decided on that run that trying to perform a solo marathon on the canal trail, which is often littered with people on any given spring day, would be out of the question. By the end of that 20 miler I had resolved that if the race were cancelled, I’d probably not try 26.2, but I’d at least complete the training cycle.

Seemed like a good plan, until I actually got the news. Without the race, running at all didn’t even make sense. I knew I had to to stay healthy, but I really didn’t want to. I ran the rest of the week with an every other day schedule, putting in only 30 miles for the week. And what I did run was wicked slow. My Sunday “long run” was only 10 miles. I felt crushed. But, some how I gathered myself up on Monday and declared the pity party over. Maybe there wasn’t a race to be run (the postponement date is yet to be determined), but there were still plenty of reasons to run. I need to run for my general heart and lung health. I need to run to stay primed for when the time comes to throw myself back into marathon training. I need to run for my sanity and mental health. I work best with a schedule, a plan of attack, so this is what I came up with for now:
–Week 1: Every other day, focus on keeping heart rate low, and stay strong.
–Week 2: Two days on, one day off, with one workout and one long run, and lots of strength training. (Workouts will be either hill repeats or some type of speed work. Long runs will be 10-15 miles only.) All non-workout runs will maintain low heart rate.
–Week 3: Repeat week 2 if you still don’t have a race date, repeat week 2. If you do, three days on, one day off with two workouts (one hill, one speed), and keep up with the weight room.
–Week 4: (Dear Lord, I hope we don’t have to go this long), repeat week 3 if you don’t have a new race date; with a date see if you can resume a marathon training schedule.

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My “goal” is to run slow and work on keeping my heart rate low. This is something I’ve never actually focused on before, so it’s a bit of a challenge. Running hard and running long right now is not good for my immune system and I need to keep that in tip top shape. Not running at all is simply out of the question. I think maybe I have found a sweet spot in maintaining my fitness without being results driven (aka, a race). I’m also really focusing in on strength training – lifting weight every two days, bands & balance work and yoga in between. I want to keep myself healthy in case I do get sick, but I also want to be ready to train hard again when it’s safe to race.

More Miles, More Weight

I was able to bump my miles up to just over 55 and add in a few more weight lifting sessions successfully. I also got a great speed work session of two by 3 miles and a 20 miler in. My exhaustion seems to be in check, but the bone and joint pain still persists. It seems to be especially bad in the evenings. Because this has been going on for several weeks, I really feel the need to get some blood tests done. However, because it is not an emergency, the doctor’s offices won’t see me until all this COVID 19 nonsense blows over.

So, in the meantime I’m focusing on hydrating well, getting lots of rest, running mostly easy miles, and upping some of my vitamins (magnesium, iron, and calcium).

I’ve been fortunate with my husband working from home that I get to be a bit casual about my workouts. I don’t have to get up crazy early to get anything done because there’s always someone home with the kids. I can get up when I’m comfortable and I can wait until the morning warms up a bit so I don’t have to run in too frigid temps. I don’t know how long this will last, but I’m certainly okay with taking advantage of it while I can! Life is definitely a lot slower with a pandemic going on!

My race in Latvia is still scheduled to go, which is a bit uncomfortable. I want to race, but I’m also apprehensive about traveling and being in crowds. I am basically just running through my training plan, but checking the Latvian government website daily to see how things shape up. I’ve already seen some May races cancelling/postponing, and even the Olympics is pushed off, so I can only imagine that Riga will follow suit.