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    I'm a stay-at-home-mom who, as part of a mid-life challenge, decided to run a marathon for kicks. I didn't plan on it becoming a hobby, but it did. I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON at my second marathon and slipped into the vortex. Join me as I fulfill my dream of running the marathon majors.

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Runnbatical: A Slippery Slope

Categories: Motivation, Runnbatical, Winter Training

My runnbatical is winding down. Not sure yet of the exact date official training will start, but I can tell you that I’m feeling physically and mentally more refreshed, the buttular region is less fatigued, my core and hips are stronger, I’ve become reacquainted with muscles I hadn’t seen in some time, and despite holiday parties and the hard-to-resist treats that come with them, the scale isn’t swearing and glaring at me…most days.

Here are some things I learned about taking a break from routine:

1. Change your routine, don’t just stop completely.
If you want to run less, fine. But replace it with something else. Something active. Sitting on the couch with a bag of Cheetos does not count as active.

2. Set goals. 
Just as you set goals for races and train to them, you need to set goals for downtime as well. Creatures who thrive with structure and routine still need it. My goals are:
Regain strength, especially in the core/hips
Work on flexibility
Zero weight gain

3. Be flexible but don’t cave in completely.
Bad weather, holiday obligations, the parade of tempting food and drink etc. make it all too easy to slip out of a productive exercise routine at this time of year. I found it easier to stay vigilant training through the winter when I had a big race looming. Although you may be between training cycles, make staying active a priority:
Watch the forecast and adjust your schedule accordingly to avoid bad weather
Make the treadmill your friend when it’s very cold/icy out
Take full advantage of the gym
Workout with friends for extra motivation
Change the time you workout
Do two shorter workouts instead of a long one

4. Variety is the spice of life.
Push out of your comfort zone! Now is the perfect time to add in some things that aren’t normally in your routine. During training, I often hesitate to take fitness classes that leave me sore for fear they’ll compromise my run the following day. Now’s the time to go all out.

5. Mind Games: Make perception your reality.
For me, the mental aspect of my ‘break from running’ was most important. In my mind, I’ve been on a luxurious hiatus from hard training. In reality, I cut my mileage by 30%, dropped some of the speedwork and added in more cycling and time with my new/old friend the Stairmaster. Rather than visualizing crossing a finish line or stressing about hitting a particular pace when I run, I focus on releasing pressure and enjoying myself.

In my mind, I gave myself ‘permission’ to miss a workout. In reality, so far, I have not missed any. So in essence I’m running because I WANT TO not because I have to. There’s something empowering in that. The number of weekly training days is the same as when I’m training for a race. The variety of workouts/runs is what has changed.

What are your tips for changing up your routine?

TrailHeads Winner coming soon!



Categories: Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Giveaway, Grand Rapids Marathon, Running Goals, TrailHeads

Thanks to Alma at The Average Woman’s Running Blog, I’ve been tagged!

1. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?
I am most proud of rehabbing a strained posterior tibialis last winter by spending 6 weeks running in the pool (this was huge for me as water and I don’t mix), and coming back to run Boston for the second time. I thought my finish time was pretty horrific then but looking back, I don’t feel so bad. It’s about adapting to the challenges before us, bouncing back and doing what you can.

 2. What are your running goals for 2011?
I’m 2/5 of the way toward running all five marathon majors (Chicago, Boston, NYC, London, Berlin). I’d love to chip away at that goal. We’ll see if I’m lucky enough to get in NYC. 
My non-running goal is to do a couple of duathlons. Blanche, my trusty road bike and I have become fast friends this year and I think I’m finally confident enough to race with her. 

3. What is your favorite race?
Oh this is tough. So many are great for all different reasons. The entire Boston experience was surreal for me. Chicago crowds are amazing. Grand Rapids is my favorite small town marathon. I love it there and ran both my half and full PRs there.

4. What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure?
Without a doubt it’s cookies. I’d bake and eat until I fell into a sugar-induced coma if I let myself. You’d see them cutting me out of my house on Jerry Springer. I never saw a holiday cookie I didn’t love. 

5. What was your most embarrassing running moment?
It happened around mile 6 of my first Chicago Marathon (the freakishly hot, cancelled 2007 one). At that time I carried a GU flask which hung upside down in my Fuel Belt. So I’m running along and I felt something sticky under the tongue of my shoe. I looked down to see there’s a big brown ‘racing stripe’ of espresso GU running from my flask, all the way down my leg and pooling in my shoe. I spent the next several water stops furiously rinsing. Perhaps it was I who exhausted the water supply at the marathon that day??

Ok onto some tagging:
Dawn at Running: The Dawn
Terri at Our Big Fat Greek Marathon
A Runner’s Fuel

Here are your questions:
1. How did you start running?
2. If you could run just one more race, which one would it be?
3. What’s your favorite post-race treat?
4. What’s your favorite distance and why?
5. What’s on tap for 2011?

Final Hours!
Enter my TrailHeads giveaway Here
Save 20% on all TrailHeads gear by using code teamarcia20 ends today as well!

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