Sometimes I get caught up in everything I read and I forget. I forget that I am a forty seven year old mother of two. I forget that my husband works six days a week almost every week. I forget that I work full time at a demanding job that I love, but still requires a lot of mental and emotional energy. I forget that I have a passion for working towards equality and justice, and a deeper understanding of what that means for my children and for myself. I forget all of this and try to fit in all of the pieces that are recommended to become a stronger and faster runner and cyclist. Which is crazy. Because it is not my full time job, it is something that I can devote maybe an hour a day to, with another hour thrown in – if I am lucky – to read and learn.
As I gear up to run as far as I can, maybe ten miles, maybe thirteen point one, I have become incredibly tired and crabby. I have been battling myself to get out of bed, working against a constant sour stomach and an ever present feeling of tired. And, no, it isn’t the exercise. I think it might just be January and the constant stress of every day life. In addition I have watched my weight creep up the scale and though I try to pretend it doesn’t bother me, the truth is it does.
I think what worries me the most is the constant recommendations that I can’t seem to get to. Work ten to fifteen minutes twice a week to build hip strength, cross train twice a week, try to strength train the same day you run but after you run so as not to affect your stamina for running, but never the same day you do your long run, take the day off after your long run, take the day off after tough workouts (really??? for me they are all tough!), don’t forget to stretch, add in core work two or three times a week, give your body time to heal, run three or four times a week, blah! blah! WAAAAAAAH!!!!! And let’s not even talk about eating. That is just another mine field.
So, seriously, I can’t do all of this. I would need to devote way more time than I have. I am already late for work almost every day. And I am constantly tired. I think my stomach always rebels at this time of the year, so I will just work through it. And eventually, I think, it will be easier to get out of bed again. I don’t know why it is so much harder in the last couple of weeks. Maybe the cold? Anyway, I am devising my own plan. Which I say with confidence now, but will worry over endlessly and wonder if I will ever be able to run as far as six miles let alone ten or thirteen. And even though May and June seem pretty far away, they aren’t. And it seems like a lot of running for somebody who doesn’t have the summer to really work on it as I did last year. But then, I guess, if this is going to become a way of life, I have to remember that it needs to work at my busiest and hardest times and not just during the easier months.
So I have been researching beginner half marathon plans. As I said before, I don’t like that they never really make it to thirteen miles. Additionally, some don’t seem to have days for strength training. I’m not willing to give that up. And I really want to get back out on my bike again. There simply aren’t enough days in the week for all of the necessary training days and rest days. So, I think I will back the rest days down to one a week as I did when I was working out last summer. I want to include one day a week of biking, which can account for an easier day, three days of running and two days of strength training. I have been working out a plan that melds together the high intensity interval training I was using last year with recommended exercises for runners. The one consistent piece is to change up the strength training every four to six weeks, and even within the same week. Training the same muscles in different ways, using different moves. I have been upping my longer outside run each week by five minutes. It occurred to me that I was going to have to be able to run for about two plus hours straight. Somehow this is easier for me to work towards then thirteen miles. And also, in some ways, a little scarier. And although I tell myself I can always walk if I need to, I really don’t want to.