Run, run, running

Yep, I'm still running my happy buns off. After six years of marathoning (whoa), I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of it. No, it's not easy, but yes, it's becoming more second nature.

I feel like I finally have a routine that doesn't make me feel INSANE, but keeps me fit and gets me prepared for a marathon. 

I still remember when marathon training made me feel completely exhausted, my quads were wrecked all.the.time. and I couldn't do anything but work, run, eat and sleep.

What's my marathon training lacking? Mileage, stress, rigidity.

I'll be honest, when I read about other faaast runners' marathon training, I feel a little worried. What?! I'm not running 60 miles per week. Is that a problem? Will I be able to do this?

Sometimes, I answer the question, yeah, I should be running more miles. My body rarely feels "worn down" (which I realize is a good thing), but it could also mean I'm not pushing hard enough.

And then other times, I know that the mileage is right for me and it's awesome that I can train for a marathon, fit in cross training and yoga a few times a week and not feel overwhelmed OR injured!

As for no stress and flexibility in my training plans, those are both due to the fact that I just sort of decide that each weekend needs to be a "longer" run and that I do my speed workouts with coaches and a group. There's no worry about "what should I do today?" but rather I show up, run fast, feel exhausted, stretch and foam roll.

And, if I do have weekend plans when I need to do a long run, I try to figure it out by either doing an early Friday morning long run or switch my long run from Saturday to Sunday or vice versa.

For now, I'm happy with my running, mileage and frequency (5-6 runs per week/35-50 miles total), but I also know that if I want to take the next step (ahem - try to run a < 3:35 marathon), I may need to pile on the miles and run with friends who are a wee bit faster than myself.

But you know what? After Boston AND New York upped the ante on running their marathons, I gave a mental "screw you" to those races.

I felt like "Maybe I'm not meant to run those races? If I can't qualify with a strong race (for me) without killing myself over training, it might not be worth it." Note the might. I still hold on to a little hope that I will run these races, but NYC Marathon and Boston are no longer on my bucket list.

As far as I know I've come in the last few years with my running, there is a point where I just am not sure I want to push my body much further in a race. 

My wish list marathons are now: Cincinnati Flying Pigs, Nike Women's, NYC (by lottery) and Big Sur.

How do you guys look at your racing and running? Are you aiming for a certain time in order to qualify or just pushing yourself to your personal best, or even your best at this moment?

I saw this on Teri's blog and it seems like a cute way to do the photo a day thing. Anyone else want to join in? I'm going to give it a shot (pun intended).

Final thoughts: As I was racing to hot yoga tonight, I made it there to find the door already locked. I was late and frustrated. But then it dawned on me that maybe I needed to just let it all go and be alone for a bit.

So I didn't let a long day and a missed yoga class get me down. I took some deep breaths, went home, lit a few candles and listened to Dave Farmar walk me through a series of yoga poses.

More and more, I'm trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. Do you feel like the universe is offering you advice sometimes?


I think the universe is telling me to slow down. ;) The first 6 weeks of the year have been almost frantically busy. On the weekends, I have no energy and basically no desire to see anyone or do anything. I am not depressed or anything like that, I am quite happy, it's just that the weekend hits and I kind of want to sit alone in silence. So that is what i have been doing. But that will change in February as I have some social things on my calendar (which is good for me).
jen said…
Great post. I love your approach to marathon training and running in general. At the heart of it, this is something to be enjoyed!! You definitely have it right in my opinion.

Now that I am pregnant, I am trying to be more tuned into what my body, the universe, etc.. it telling me. It's not always easy, but in moments when I "hear" something, I try to listen.
Michelle B. said…
Good for you for not letting missing yoga get you down. It's hard, especially when you look forward to it all day.

Oh, and I'm not much of a marathon runner...but Big Sur is something that I've always wanted to do! We might have to plan a Road triiiip! Big Sur is one of my favorite places on the planet. It's so beautiful.
I really don't think I'm meant for higher mileage. The last time I marathon trained the first 40-mile week I put in and BOOM I was injured. I am getting up to about 40-45 miles again this cycle but I'm building much smarter than I did last time so I'm hoping it would be OK. I LOVE cross-training though and even though I love running I don't think I love it enough to run 60+ miles a week.

I know Big Sur is on mine and Lisa's list too! We should really plan to do it as one of our destination race in 2013 or 2014 maybe. When is it? Spring, right?
First of all - YES, the "universe", or whatever/whoever, is always speaking up. And from what I can tell, it's always better when we listen and just relax. :)

Secondly, higher mileage does not {always} = faster race. I think finding someone who is faster than you by just enough is Key! It pushes you to run just a little bit quicker during every run you take together, and eventually that pace feels easier and easier. 1) because you chat & distract yourself from the pace and 2) those runs are more enjoyable, so you don't mind pushing it :) At least that's always been my experience. I ran anywhere from 30-40 miles per week when training for MCM, and just got faster by running with Kate & the Saturday group. I did no regimented speedwork, and never went above 43-ish miles in a week. So, just sayin' - its different for everyone! And also, if you're enjoying what you do right now, then there's no need to justify or feel guilty for having FUN with running. :)
Linz said…
I LOVE this post. Thank you so much. That's exactly how I feel about my running, and I do WAY less than you! I run because I love it, first and foremost, and I'm happy and content with where my running is at.

I unexpectedly took a wrong turn on a 7 mile trail run on Saturday and ended up completing the half marathon course! I definitely didn't train for it. So regardless of where we "think" we should be, we are still amazingly strong, healthy runners who value balance.
Liz said…
Agree with you on the mileage/training - it's best to do what's working for you at the time. It can be so tough to know just what that mileage/intensity is, though. Some weeks my body can handle really tough workouts and high mileage, then other weeks my legs get sore on easy runs!
Anonymous said…
If you know what works for you, stick with it!!! And about Boston and NYC... I will never qualify. Sometimes this really bums me out but there are some really cool marathons out there!!!
Lindsey said…
I like the idea of the photo challenge. I'm excited to see all of your February photos!

It's so impressive that marathon training has become second nature to you. I ran 9 miles yesterday and it was hard for me. I can't imagine training for a marathon, let alone it feeling second nature!
Anonymous said…
I'm pretty guilty of settin a specific goal and then anything less isn't good enough, even if I've improved from my previous running self...which is pretty self destructive. I'm getting better though at focusing on doing the best I can do that day, rather than some strict absolute goal time. And starting to focus on things other than time. I need more of your attitude though!
Anonymous said…
I'm pretty guilty of settin a specific goal and then anything less isn't good enough, even if I've improved from my previous running self...which is pretty self destructive. I'm getting better though at focusing on doing the best I can do that day, rather than some strict absolute goal time. And starting to focus on things other than time. I need more of your attitude though!

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