For well over a year now, Wednesday nights have been my “me” nights. It started because I played beach volleyball with work friends on Wednesdays last summer and then over the winter it turned into my night to get drinks or dinner or work late, whatever I wanted to do. In January my best friend forwarded me an email of a new spin studio opening in Baltimore. So when we decided to check out the new Rev Cycle Studio, Wednesday was the natural night to go. Continue reading
It was a couple hours after my second piece of red velvet cake at a friend’s birthday dinner that I started to feel guilty. I had started the day with an invigorating rooftop yoga class and slowly throughout the day cancelled out the benefits of my morning fitness session simply by making stupid food choices. Pregnant or not, one piece of cake is totally fulfilling and sufficient. Post-birthday dinner I vowed to start over on Sunday and start the day with a ride. Continue reading
I’ve found a sweet spot lately with a five mile loop. It seems to take just the right amount of time, it has the right amount of hills, and each time I finish the five miles I feel a little better about it than the last time. As nice as it’s been, you might say I’ve been in a five-mile rut. If I weren’t planning to run a half marathon the first weekend of August it might not matter that I’ve been stuck at five miles, but I am. So I finally upped my mileage and it’s been several months, since the Cooper River Bridge Run to be exact, since I’ve ran more than five miles.
One of the reasons I love MapMyRun is for my archived running routes. I think I could do my five mile loop with my eyes closed but I needed a quick refresher on my six mile route. I “dusted off” the routes and looked it up. For some reason, those six miles looked a lot longer online than I remember them being. Knowing I wasn’t going to give myself a chance to get out of the run, I switched mental gears and focused on how nice it would be to run a little longer than normal and planned to let my mind wander. Continue reading
For many of us who are dog owners, there is no question about the motivation a dog can provide to get you out of your seat and out for a run. They need exercise just as much as we do. But what if you’re really not a runner, never were, and never plan to be? But your dog is, or easily could be. I was discussing this exact scenario with a girlfriend of mine who is queen of the elliptical machine at her gym and a proud new puppy owner.
As a dog owner, she is well aware of the dog’s need for exercise and walks him regularly, but the walks don’t do for her what her regular gym routine used to do. It’s been weeks since she’s been in the air conditioned gym, bobbing along to her iPod, and sweating it out on the elliptical. While she wouldn’t trade her new pup for the world, something about dog walks that involve lots of stops for training and ‘doing business’ just isn’t cutting it for her own exercise.
What to do? Continue reading
You know that feeling when you’d rather do anything but put on your running shoes? You’re tired, you’re busy, it’s drizzly, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, you have to write thank-you cards, the excuses you can come up with are endless. And yet, you love running. You know you won’t skip this run, because you have to do this run, you need to do this run for one reason or another, but you still have to get motivated.
This feeling has hit me on days when all I’m doing is an easy 3 mile run, on my favorite 5-mile days, and on the long run training days. I imagine it’s inevitable that at some point we all have to muster up the motivation to get out there and run. Part of my motivation is having a training schedule and a race in sight. If I’m not signed up for something, I’m much more likely to talk myself into staying put instead of putting on my running shoes. What is it that motivates you? Continue reading
When it comes to morning running versus night running, winter running versus summer running, or running in the rain versus running in full sunshine, there are many schools of thought about what circumstances make the conditions perfect for running. I tend to prefer morning running as it always allows me to start my day fresh; I’ve gotten used to winter running; and I’m still waiting for my first opportunity to really run in the run.
What I have decided though is that in addition to the perfect time and temperature conditions there are certain weather windows that make running simply enjoyable. Just before it’s about to pour, there is usually a nice breeze, it’s overcast, and in the spring, every smell imaginable seems heightened, to my senses anyway. That pre-rain run is cool, I find the breeze invigorating, and the smell of flowers, clean cut grass, and of course, the indescribable smell just before a rain all make running outside incredibly rewarding. Continue reading
A key element to living a healthy lifestyle is simply getting in some form of exercise that is enough to raise your heart rate and which is typically recommended to be 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t sound hard, but for some reason, sometimes getting in 30 minutes of heart pumping exercise is the last thing you want to do. If you’re tired, injured, bored, indifferent, frustrated, too busy, or any number of other excuses we can conjure up, there is one thing that will almost always bring motivation–the unconditional loving eyes and happily wagging tail of a four-legged friend.
My furry pal is Murphy Brown, a chocolate lab/pitbull mix who sits under my feet all day long, loyal and content. Her real passion is playing fetch; it’s something she could do for hours on end no matter how tired she gets. When she was a puppy she was more than happy to run alongside me for three or more miles. As she got older she cared much more about smells and marking various territories than she did at keeping pace. She can still run with me, but only for about 3 miles and I’m sure she’d rather be sniffing or chasing her ball in the backyard. Continue reading
Usually whenever you are most tired, least motivated, and want to do anything but exercise is when you really should just strap on your running shoes and do something to get your heart rate going. I can think of many a run I dragged myself out to do and at the end I was always glad I had gone. Today was one of those days when I really just didn’t feel like putting on my running shoes.
The good news is that I had to. I committed to be an assistant coach for a Girls on the Run program at an elementary school near my house and I do not want to back out on my commitment to show up, no matter how tired I am. There is no doubt that the girls will always have more energy than me, even on the days when I’m at my peak energy level. I knew pulling myself away from the computer to get ready to go meet 15 girls in 3rd through 5th grade who are training to run a 5k would give me the boost I needed. Volunteering with GOTR is absolutely about the girls and helping them get out of the girl box, build confidence at a young age, and develop a sense of self-respect as well as respect for others, but I think the program is almost as much for the coaches as it is for the girls. Continue reading
There is no question that March came roaring in like a lion for Annapolis and much of the rest of the East Coast this year. This week started with freezing temperatures and more snow than we’ve seen in a couple years. While it was all pretty at first, it sure would’ve been nicer a couple months ago rather than right at the time when everyone has spring fever. By mid-week things were thawing out, snow melting away, the sun shining, and forecasts are predicting a gorgeous weekend of 60-degree weather.
Yesterday was the first tease of the warm weather and driving home from a meeting took me through downtown Annapolis late afternoon. Flocks of people were out walking but many of them were running. I love how the first inkling of warm weather has this magical power over people and gets them up and moving. The first runner I drove by yesterday brought a smile to my face. Continue reading
For many years, the longest run I ever trained for was a 10K. I usually ran consistently, but would really ramp up a training program about 2-3 months prior to the 10K. Inevitably after the 10K I was always likely to fall off the running bandwagon, sometimes for a week or two, sometimes for a month or more. The last several years I have participated in the local 10-miler and would train for that for months only to also take the same “break” from running as I had once the 10K was complete. Weeks or more would go by with no running at all.
These lapses from running were by no means my intentional post-race recovery plan. Perhaps it was the time of year, my busy work schedule, my lack of motivation once the run was complete, but I never had a post-race plan and so I would simply drift away from running for a bit.
Training for a marathon is slightly different than training for a 10K or 10-miler but I admit to having had the same fear that I might fall into a non-running slump post-race. This has been a strange week though because I feel like in a way I lost a little part of me. People have written about this strange feeling of loss post-marathon and I never really understood that until now. You spend months and hours of your life preparing for one moment and all of a sudden when it’s over so is everything you’d been working toward. You have achieved what it is you set out to achieve and so you are essentially right back where you started. Clean slate. This is an opportunity that you have to be willing to run with again.
Develop a Mental and Physical Plan
Post-race recovery for me is much more mental than it is physical, though the physical is absolutely critical to long-term success. For three days I have felt antsy, guilty for not running, off-kilter without running as part of my morning routines, and yet slightly relieved that I have been letting my body relax, be still, and repair. My past behaviors make me fear a little bit that I will stall running, but I am grateful for knowing how much I have come to love this sport and my eagerness to be running and training again will no doubt overpower my fears. The fact that I continue to be consumed with thoughts and plans for “the next one” are also encouraging.
So what is my plan? This first week has included very simple stretching, icing, foam roller massaging, yoga, and easy activity. While I understand that my muscles, and my IT band in particular, need time to repair I am ready to get back into cardio work that will boost my heart rate. I’m grateful that I learned to love the bike recently and will likely use the next week to log time on the stationary bike at least 4 days with some strength training and Pilates mixed in. That gives me three weeks to build back up my running and hopefully increase my pace to 8-minute miles for my 10K race April 4th. A bit ambitious? Maybe. Worth trying? Definitely.
My post-race recovery plan is entirely based on feeling good, remaining focused, and building back up at a level that is comfortable for me. I could not run the marathon alone and I cannot recover alone. I have learned from others about what worked for them and have customized a stretching, cardio, and new training plan that works best for me and my goals. I plan to focus on the muscles that felt weakest during my last run (lower back, glutes, ankles) and will be including more dynamic stretching to the beginning of each work-out as well as proper cool-downs after.
Post-race recovery for me will be a very new beginning and I look forward to starting fresh.