What’s Next?

Good Morning from my couch! I planned on going to an HIIT class and then yoga this morning, per my usual Sunday, but when I woke up I was still sore in my left hamstring and felt all-around tired (in a good way) and kept thinking about how I’ve read that you really do need to let yourself recover. It feels a little funny taking a rest day after only running 13 (during marathon training that was one of the better distances!), but I reminded myself of two things: 1. I haven’t run 13 since the marathon, and that was over 3 months ago, and 2. I was FAST yesterday! Granted, fast for me, but still – I gave myself quite a workout and I can take some recovery time.

I am still just so happy over yesterday’s race – I just can’t believe how quickly it went by! I just kept looking at the Garmin and seeing the mileage building up and being like “no way.” And seeing the results online – that there were nearly 500 people who finished AFTER I did – it’s just crazy!

This race taught me that I really can play with pacing – I read these training plans that have you run fast miles, slow miles, “easy” miles – and until very recently I just thought that I had two paces – I was either running or I was walking. But now I’m realizing that I can push it a bit when needed and that I can dial it back if I have to save energy. But I do need to work on it.

So what I’d like to do is take a whole week off from running, to let my legs recover (especially my hamstring) and gradually get back into it. I definitely want to stick with that treadmill class at the gym, but maybe just once a week – run a few intense miles with that class, run a few easier miles on the treadmill another day, and run a bit of a longer distance on the weekends. I Googled for advice on maintaining running fitness in-between training sessions and one Runner’s World article suggested long runs of 12 miles. That…doesn’t sound quite right for me. 8, sure, maybe 10, but if I’m simultaneously trying to let my legs recuperate and keep running, I think 12 is ambitious. In marathon training you don’t even get to 12 until several weeks into the plan, so I think I can let that one go!

What I’m hoping, and I’ve written a little about this before, is that I can take the “less is more” approach. I’ve read runner bloggers who really amp up their mileage, running 6 days a week, and see awesome results, but based on my injury last summer, I don’t think I’m one of them. One blogger I follow, based in London, has devised her own training plan where she only runs 3 times a week – two of those runs are a blend of speed and intensity, and the 3rd is her long run. I think that’s a more reasonable plan for me. Plus it lets me continue with strength training and yoga, which I’m hoping will all blend together and give me a much stronger all-around form.

We’ll see what happens! After yesterday I’m just really excited at the idea of resuming marathon training and improving. Let’s face it, I walked the last 9 miles of Chicago – there is PLENTY of room for improvement, even if it’s modest!

Looking ahead, I have a ton of travel between now and June (though my first two trips of 2016 have already been cancelled thanks to the snowstorm on the East Coast!), so I think this reduced running schedule will coincide nicely with all the time I’ll be spending in the air and napping in hotel rooms, trying to catch up on jet lag. Hopefully I’ll be able to start marathon training just as my travel winds down – we’ll see!

And with that I am off to get a pedicure (always a post-long run treat!) and groceries. For my East Coast friends – hope you’re able to dig out of the snow! For everyone – happy Sunday!

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