I knew when I registered for this marathon that I had a long road ahead. I knew I had a lot of work to do before I could even officially begin training. It’s not that I had let myself go, but I sorta had in my own way. Compared to my marathon days anyway. I had put on some weight and just wasn’t really pushing myself in my workouts. I hadn’t run more than 5 miles in I don’t know how long and had been in and out of more ruts than I had experienced in my 11 years as a runner.
I just could not get myself where I needed(or wanted) to be. So, signing up for another marathon seemed like a good motivator. A crazy motivator, but a good one. I knew it was time, but I knew it would come with some work. Ok. A LOT of work.
I checked a few training plans as I was trying to choose which training style would fit this season best. It’s Summer, which means my kids are home every day, all day and they follow me to the bathroom and to the ends of the earth all the dang hours of all the days. So, I knew I had to be smart. I chose a plan that was a mix of what I had done with Hanson’s(6 days of running a week, high weekly volume) and a very conservative 3 days a week running plan(which I did for my first marathon and ended up with an injury). Once I had my plan picked, it was time to get to work. Then, the next day I woke up just as unmotivated as I was before I had signed up to run this marathon. Wamp wamp.
Ya’ll. I could not figure out what my problem was. I felt sluggish and heavy footed. Nothing was coming easily. Nothing. Not that it should, hard work takes, hard work. But still. I at least thought my brain would leap ahead with enthusiasm and pull my body along a bit. It didn’t.
I decided that I needed to do two things. One was lose some weight, the other was to set more realistic expectations.
First, the weight loss thing.
I’m not one to focus on weight as a number. It’s not NECESSARILY an indicator of where you are in your health. It can be of course, but I try not to obsess over the number on the scale. I know it doesn’t define my worth, and I hope you know that too, and believe it with everything you have. But people, when the number is going up while you are eating more and working out less, it ain’t for nothin. Something had to change.
I knew I had gotten away from eating clean and working out the way I knew I needed to in order to make progress. So, I changed some habits. I cut down on the snacking of the Cheetos (always a good place to start by the way ha!) and put my Shakeology back into my post workout routine. Cutting back on the processed stuff and taking care of my recovery made a huge difference. That and cutting back on sugar. I will never eat 100% clean all the time. Nor will I ever claim to. I’m not one to look at unhealthy things as “treats” or “cheat days.” More on that in a different post. I want to have a healthy relationship with food, not one that brings guilt or shame if I break the “rules.” So, moderation, for me, is where it’s at. The problem is, I had gotten to the point where I was allowing too many unhealthy choices too often, and it affected the way I felt and the way my body was responding to my attempts to run and get back into distance running shape. That was a ridiculously wordy way of saying, I needed to lose a little weight ya’ll because I was sort of eating like crap and not taking care of myself, so I did. But it was HARD because I’m getting older. Another wamp wamp.
In the past few months, I’ve lost 14 pounds. I gauged my success not only on losing some lbs and inches, but also on how my clothes fit and how I felt. Mostly, how I felt. I don’t crush it every day. I’m not rigid and a Cheeto or a Mooyah french fry(be still my heart) still pops up every once in a while, but I feel SO much better. I just feel better, and that’s worth the work.
On top of losing some weight, I had to set some realistic expectations. Just because I HAVE run marathons, doesn’t mean my body can just pick up and run long distances after several years off. It takes time and patience and PAIN and a whole lot of humility. I’m a trainer and a runner. Therefor I tell myself often that I should be able to do this stuff without struggle. That, by the way, is a big giant lie. I’m not superwoman. I have to work hard and get up early and resist temptation just like everyone else. And building a base to train for a marathon(especially when it requires training through the Summer heat) is no different.
I started with incline work, both walking and jogging. I went back to square one. I started lifting more, incorporating more hill work outside and incline work on the treadmill, eating better, and really zeroing in on my core***(i.e. an outrageous amount of planking and core work), glutes and hamstrings. It’s working. I feel stronger and better equipped to handle the God awful heat and humidity. Does that mean I don’t struggle? No. Ask my running buddies. There are days they are literally dragging my butt down the sidewalk. There are days I straight up struggle to knock out 3 miles, but its’ getting better. And progress is progress. I ran 6 yesterday and it was the first time I have run 6 miles in at least a year, maybe more. It was huge for my confidence, especially in 4,783% humidity.
The point: Marathons (or any goal you may have) take time, effort, consistency, discipline and a healthy dose of humility to accomplish. It doesn’t happen overnight and no one, I repeat NO ONE, can do it for you. It don’t come easy ya’ll but I can tell you it is worth the time and energy. Does that mean you need to be training for a marathon? Nope. It just means that whatever that thing is that’s good for you, will more than likely take some sacrifice. It’s worth it, and YOU CAN DO IT. You just have to take a step forward. Make the effort and give yourself massive loads of grace. Life is hard and busy and crazy and not always conducive to hours in the gym or training plans. Sometimes it’s just about survival. So make the necessary adjustments and commitments to keep yourself healthy and sane.
REST is a big part of this. It doesn’t mean all you do is resist the chocolate cake and run for hours on end. No. Rest friends. Read a book. Sit in a hammock. Read another book. Go to yoga. Go see a movie with your honey. Drink all that water. And a little coffee. It’s ok. Rest, give yourself grace, and take it one day at a time. Goals take time. You can do this!!!!!! I’m right here doing it with you. xoxoxo
This Week’s Schedule:
Monday~cross train(I warmed up with an easy jog and did weights and lots of core work)
Tuesday~3 easy miles