Training After a 1 Year Hiatus

by Sara on September 19, 2016

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This is Ralph.  {The husband remember?}  Ralph has trained smart and consistently all summer.  He has a great aerobic base and can now begin to sharpen his running to prep for fall 5ks.  Ralph is going to kick this running season in the a$$.

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This is Sara.  Sara hasn’t trained seriously for a race of any distance in just about a year.  She has been doing yoga, spinning, hiking and most recently weight lifting.  She has worked hard to achieve a steady work/life/fitness balance and is finally settling in to a consistent routine.  However she is NOT really in any kind of shape to be racing this fall.  {and yet she just decided to run a 5k in a few weeks.  She’s getting really good at selfies though that matters right?}

Don’t be like Sara.  Be like Ralph.  Run smart and consistently all year so that when fall comes around you aren’t suddenly cramming for all the races that are sure to pop up on your calendar.

Here’s the thing though.  There are probably more Sara’s than Ralph’s out there and right about now they’re looking for advice.  So from the girl who hasn’t had a training plan for anything in a very VERY long time I’m about to give you some of my best tips.

Take it Slow.
My weekly mileage is going to max out at a whopping 12 miles a week and you know what, there is nothing wrong with that.  You cannot expect to go from 0-100 in two or three weeks time so be sure to look at the time you have and make a realistic plan to accomplish your goal.

Be flexible.
I wrote out an insanely detailed training plan, and then five minutes later I promptly changed it.  And then before the night was over I had changed it again.  Be flexible, and listen to your body.  It’s cheesy but it’s true.  Maybe you thought you could handle more mileage or less rest days but when you try to execute your body says no.  Listen to it!

Cross training matters.
Ok so you can’t go straight into running four or five days a week but you can mix it up with cross training.  Ride a bike, take a spin class, swim, dance etc. just do something that’s NOT running.  Yes, you heard me, not running.  I’m so over the advice that the only way to get better at running is more running.  More running is not going to help you if you’re hurt again so go easy on your body and mix it up.  It might take a little longer to reach your goals but you will find you have less setbacks and that will benefit you more in the long run.

Be realistic about your goals.
With a little over a month to train for a 5k race, my only goal this time around is to build some steady mileage and let my body adapt to running again.  I have a very conservative plan in place and it includes about zero percent speed work.  I know I am not going to come close to my PR from years ago when I was training all the time.  And how could I expect that.  I’m just happy to be running pain and injury free and excited to see where this journey takes me.  If you haven’t been running in weeks or months come up with a realistic goal.  If you think you are setting your sights too high consider picking a new goal race.

So how was your summer, did you train like Ralph or did you train like me?

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Training Again??

by Sara on September 12, 2016

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Last weekend I sat down and did something I haven’t done in over a year.  I made myself a training plan.  For a race.

Um, Sara didn’t you just post about how running was not working out for you right now?

Well yes..

Um, Sara haven’t you been preaching all summer, about how fitness has finally been fun and you’re enjoying doing spin and weight lifting and boxing and having more flexibility in your workout schedule?

Yes…

What gives then?

Well here’s the thing.  It all started with Shack Track & Field about a month ago.  I can’t believe I have lived in Baltimore for a year now and hadn’t made it out to a single run with Charm City Run.  For the first mile and a half I wanted to die.  I had a side stitch.  It was hot.  It hurt.  How did I love this for so long?  And then after 2 miles went by something clicked inside me and I felt amazing.  Oh yea this is why I loved running.

The free drink at Shake Shack afterwards might have clouded my judgement on this one a little bit.

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A few weeks later I went out to one of the Charm City Run Thursday night group runs.  The same feels happened all over again.  Mile 1 – I hate this.  Mile 2 – Why are we even doing this.  Mile 3 – Oh wait I actually like this it’s not that bad.

Not too long after that, Ralph ran the Charles Street 12 and because I like taking advantage of this city life we live I thought, why not just run to meet him at the finish.  The weather was pretty perfect, nice and cool and I was out so early there was no one else really around.  That and everyone who was a runner was probably in the race already.  That moment pretty much sealed the deal, I wanted to race again.

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Haha nope just kidding about that last part.  I was already signed up for a race when I went on that adventurous Saturday morning run.  But it certainly reminded me that I loved running.  Ralph and I decided to sign up for the Baltimore Running Festival 5k {which is in about a month – yikes!} and I realized I better get my butt in gear if I didn’t want to totally embarrass myself and/or end up hurt like the last time I raced.

However, this time I was determined to do it differently.  Instead of ditching the spin, weights, and boxing, I wanted to find a way to incorporate all of those things into my schedule.  The first thing I needed to do was figure out just how much I had been running, or exercising in general, for the previous four weeks or so.  Turns out not that much, although I have been consistently been doing an upper body weights day usually with some core added in on Sundays.

Then I wrote down the things that were pre scheduled and out of my control like spin or group runs.  I quickly realized I was going to have to chose between boxing and Thursday group runs.  That was a bit of a bummer but in order or priority that one was kind of at the bottom.  Spin was important because for me, it would mimic speed work since the intensity is so high but easier on my body than running.  Lifting is super important because it’s what’s allowed me to become a more well rounded athlete and honestly I think over time will make me a much better running.  And that last thing highlighted in yellow…. oh yea Ralph and I are getting an open water SCUBA certification starting last week and that’s going to take up some time as well.  All of this and oh yea, I still have a full time job.

But that’s just life amiright?

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So here we go.

This training plan is a work in progress.  It is not meant to be 100% set in stone, in fact I’ve already changed it about 4 times in the past week as I realize partly it was too ambitious and partly to get the most variety

Here’s to chasing big dreams friends.  Hopefully I come out the other end of this training plan alive.

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