Training Seasons + My Winter Running Goal

>> Thursday, October 17, 2013

Exactly two years ago -- when I was around 34 weeks pregnant with Ada -- I dramatically slowed my running. I decreased the frequency of my workouts, the speed, and the distance. All of it. At the time, I had mixed feelings. Running was so much of my identity. Seemingly one of the few things left that was mine and mine alone as my body had changed + softened and my mind had filled with thoughts of baby 24/7.

However, running had also become progressively uncomfortable at this stage. Not painful, but the pressure on my bladder wasn't pleasant. The energy I had in the second trimester had waned. My muscles and motivation didn't recover so quickly. I could have pushed harder, yes, but ultimately decided to give my body the break it was telling me it needed. I jogged barefoot miles on our treadmill and favored long, brisk walks and prenatal workout DVDs.

Somehow my mind transformed to the maturity of a 12-year-old about this change. I worried I'd never EVER be fit or fast AGAINNNNNN. That taking a break would somehow be the end to something I had fought so hard to continue, to prove to myself that I could maintain. I worried I'd never regain the competitive spirit or stake claim to the activity that allowed me to think, to feel strong, and to exude body confidence.

So, it's been a long journey, but here I am today, having gone through varied seasons with my training -- from not running at all after birth or very little due to discomfort/newborn sleep to PRing at all distances from the 5K (22:18) to half marathon (1:44:25). I'm happy I've reached a good balance with training/life, but sometimes I wish I was more motivated. My younger self could stick to training plans 99.9% because I had the drive and (all the) time (in the world) + limited responsibilities outside my desk job.

Honestly, it also seems when I became a mom, my competitive spirit took a back seat, for which I have no excuse other than not putting as much value on it. I don't necessarily miss the urge to push myself to the max or that distinct craving for new PRs. To prove to myself and, of a strange, chief importance, to others that I'm a badass athlete.

I guess you could say I've mellowed. Maybe it was the mom-factor or perhaps it was turning 30. I'm aging like a fine wine. I sort of revel in this new sense of centered-ness that comes from within. What I do miss, though, is consistently making time for something that is mine, and that's what running is to me.

I knew a new goal was in order, but after years of training for half marathons with the same old plan, anything else seemed too much/risk of injury (marathons are murder for my IT-band) or too little/too intense (hello, my love/hate relationship with 5Ks!).

It's hard to break out of a rut, isn't it?

Anyway, I guess this post is just a long-winded way of declaring that my new goal is to run a winter 10K in 46:30 or faster. I'm going to follow a more advanced plan that's challenging, but far different from the plans I've grown accustomed to. That photo above is from my run last night. I'm ready for speed. I'm excited to try something new. I'm also looking forward to carving out more time for myself as a runner and mom. I don't do enough of it. And I'll write more soon.

What are your cold weather training plans?

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