Lately, every time I run, I think back to training for my first half marathon. Somehow it seemed easier, smoother, better. While I did not achieve my goal of finishing under 2 hours, I was very happy with my results of 2:09. I had trained for 8 months, rehabilitated 2 injuries and I was excited to be able to say that I completed the race. I was proud.
Back then, I was not working, so I ran whenever it was convenient. Translation: during the day, usually midday. At the beginning I ran at least 3 times a week but usually 4 times. After “just running” for 3 months, I started an “advanced beginner” training program, which had me running 4 times a week, consistently. I loved it. The schedule, the routine, knowing what to expect, the accomplishments, the “trophies” on my Strava app. I started a once a week hot yoga practice to help take care of the stretching. And since it was January, it gave me a false sense of being somewhere hot and tropical, if even only for 90 minute a week. My resistance training though became very sporadic and inconsistent. I was giving everything to my running, and at times, rehabilitating my calf (left leg) and hamstring (right leg) injury. So to summarize: 3-4 runs a week from an advanced beginner program, yoga once a week and little to no resistance training.
Since that first half, I’ve run two more. The second one, a personal best. I shaved 2 minutes off my time and completed it in 2:07. I was happy given the unexpected heat and humidity for October. The third one broke no records but I finished with ease after not really training at all.
As I complete week 4 of my current training program, I find myself wondering how the heck I can change things up. My running is not as good (read: not fast) as it once was. I feel less motivated to run, resulting in slower, inconsistent runs. And no trophies.
When I look at my current situation, I realize not much is the same. I am working a full-time job, making it challenging to fit in my runs. Translation: I am not making my running a priority. I could give a number of excuses (kids, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog) but at the end of the day, running is just not happening. I am using an advanced training program which by nature is harder. I have fallen off the wagon with my yoga practice, which was basically keeping me limber. Currently I train with my trainer twice a week. He knows I am a runner, knows my goal and trains me in such a way to support that goal. So some things are better and some, well, not so much.
I can’t help but wonder if things that are not better, are just some how all wrong.
I have chosen a harder training program, while having increased my resistance training and dropped the yoga. And I have less time to fit it all in. Or at least less “flexible” time. Hmmmm.
Yesterday during my run, I felt tightness. I felt the old injury in my calf, just waiting to re-emerge. I cut my 13km run short and walked the remaining 3km home. The last thing I need to add to this scenario is an injury.
As I walked home, I wondered what it would be like if I returned to my easier “advanced beginner” training program. The one I was using when I really, really, really loved to run. Focussing less on distance and more on just running. Getting out the door and hitting the pavement.
So here I am. At a crossroads in my training.
Today is rest day and the countdown is on until my next half. 56 days. 8 weeks. I’m going to change up my training program and schedule. I’m going to share this journey with you. Let’s see what happens when we take things back to the basics.
It’s time to rediscover my passion for running. And I think once I do that, the rest will fall into place.