I'm not sure what happened to Monday, but somehow in the rush of packing lunches, gettings the littles to school, finishing up some assignments, and a virtual avalanche of laundry, the day slipped by and I never blogged. Ah, well.
Despite the fact that this is my first Marathon Monday post of the year, I have, indeed, been doing some running. After my marathon, I spent the last few months of 2010 running with no set schedule, doing what I want, when I wanted, at the speed I wanted. And the result was...well, let's just say I started 2011 a bit out of shape. Though I guess blob is a shape; it's just not a very cute one.
To kick things into gear (translation: get my butt off the couch) I decided to set some goals for myself in 2011. The first is to run a new PR in the half marathon - I'm shooting for a 1:50 - and the second is to run another full marathon in a time that will qualify me for Boston, which is a sub-3:50. To help me work toward those goals, I joined a local running club. After a few workouts, I can definitively say that I am probably the slowest member (and most definitely the loudest whiner) in the group. But both the coaches and other runners are inspiring me to go farther, longer and faster than I would on my own.
My coach assigned me an 8-week schedule that's tailored to my specific goals. (After which, we'll re-evaluate and create another 8-week schedule.) Twice a week, the club meets for speed/hill workouts, but with my crazy schedule right now, I'm doing most of the workouts on my own. (Hoping to join the group more in the upcoming month.) I've also been incorporating some weight training + yoga into my schedule, and I'm already seeing the benefits of cross-training. The weights are helping me feel stronger during speed workouts (though I do have to fight the urge to flex my new biceps in any reflective surface I pass) and the yoga is stretching and lengthening the muscles I tend to abuse in runs.
I've also started using my Garmin's heartrate monitor on runs to really get a more accurate snapshot of how my body is reacting. Seeing my HR skyrocket on speed runs makes me thankful for the slower runs where it's pumping along at a comfortable 70%. I'm learning a lot about endurance, form, and speed. I'm totally stepping outside my comfort zone where running exists as a non-competitive-get-me-out-of-the-house-and restore-my-sanity form of exercise. I'm still getting the mental health benefits, but I'm starting to allow myself to think that maybe (just maybe?) I can be good at this. I don't have grand illusions that I'll ever be an elite athlete, but I feel like I am making strides to be the best athlete I can be. And isn't that what it's all about?
I'll leave you with a peek at my workouts for the week. I'd love to hear how your fitness goals are going for 2011 and what you're doing to stay motivated and on-track. If there's one thing I've learned from group training, it's that the comraderie and support you get from others can push you along farther than a solo effort. And on that note, I'm off to hit the treadmill. Happy running!
MONDAY: Cross-Train (weights)
TUESDAY: Speed (10 x 400) - Goal Pace of 1:36
WEDNESDAY: 6-7 miles
FRIDAY: Cross-train or Off
SATURDAY: Long, Slow Run 17 miles @9:45mm