The Lazy Season

I might be in the minority but I don’t think it’s necessary or smart to race a marathon or half marathon every weekend.  I don’t think it’s smart to run a marathon every month.  Honestly, I don’t even think it’s smart to run more 2 maybe 3 at the most annually.  Yet in the world that is the internet, I feel in the minority saying that.  When I talk to a lot of my friends outside of blogging, not many run more then 2 marathons annually.  It could be my set of friends but looking briefly at elite runners, not many run more than 2 marathons yearly.  The fact is your body is not able to peak at multiple marathons each year.

When I finished New York the first question any one asked me was “what marathon are you signing up for next?”.  Is it Boston?  (no) Will I immediately be signing up for another full? No. When is my next race?  After my lazy season.

The off season is a very critical part of running or any workout plan.  In the blogging world, I find myself questioning how so many people run multiple marathons a year with no off season.  For me, my off season normally comes from injury.  To be honest with myself I tend to get injured about once per year.  Regardless you need a few weeks yearly of no running, as well as low mileage months.  Your body won’t get any better if it’s constantly being torn down.  If I logged 300 mile months every month (that is my personal peak) then I would be torn down, tired and injured.

Because I’m not “intense” about my paces or exact mileage and have learned that recovery is key I am often mistaken as a casual runner or uncaring about how I do.  That is far from the case and if you chat with me you know my passion lies in running.  I’ve learned in order to keep injury free I can’t worry about pace, exact mileage or set an exact goal weekly.  I’ve also learned my body needs rest.  I have crave those days where workouts or runs aren’t happening.  I crave days (or in this case weeks) or just recovering.  After 6 months of hard pounding on my legs my body needs this aspect as much as it needs high mileage to reach my running goals.

This particular off season was roughly 3 weeks plus the additional easy mileage weeks.  I can’t make any promises but I don’t plan to run high mileage weeks until early next year.  I have embraced the off season and down time whole heartedly.  Though I didn’t eat the amount I would running 70 mile weeks, I didn’t limit myself or deny myself calories because I was resting.  I’m obviously not burning anywhere near the amount of calories I was running.  While I don’t go and eat ice cream every night, if I want ice cream a particular night I don’t really care whether I rested or not.  My approach led to gaining a few pounds during this time.  (no it’s not muscle, or water weight…I gained a few fat pounds).  I remember reading somewhere that Ryan Hall allows himself to gain roughly 10 pounds before he resumes training after a hard marathon.  That was his way of knowing his body was ready.

You know what?  I’m not really that concerned.  I know that when I start to run again and begin another serious training cycle, I’ll be back to an optimal weight (I like to think is 130 since that is what I’ve been racing at) and be fine.

I’ve read several articles about resting after marathons or having an off season but this is one of my favorites.  Plus if you immediately begin training after a hard race you are setting yourself up for an injury.  It doesn’t matter if it was your first 5k, 10k or marathon.

So while I love running and running high mileage I also love having the ability to do that and I know I wouldn’t if I didn’t take this down time.

Questions for you:

How much down time yearly do you have?

What do you do in your “off season”?

For me I’ve taken solid rest and done light elliptical.  Nothing strenuous…

Training for Nothing Continued

Last week was another pressure free and worry free workout week.  I didn’t expect to run but then the sudden urge for me to run hit so I went with it.  I am enjoying going to the gym and actually motivated to do core work and lift weights.  I can only hope this keeps me continuing to be injury free.

Last week’s training was a little bit scattered.  I didn’t (and still don’t) plan what I’ll do each week.  I read somewhere that you shouldn’t weight train the same muscle groups every day so I didn’t… Since I started running again I hope I can keep up with doing strength and core.

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: AMT and core/back
Wednesday: AMT and arms
Thursday AMT and core
Friday: AMT
7 mile run
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: 10 miles easy in the State Park near my house

AMT Cross trainer:

It’s a new machine to me (as of last week).  It reminds me of an upgraded version of the Precor 100i.  I really like it a lot and I know I’ll be cross training on it quite frequently.  I cannot remember if I posted this but my gym is pretty small and only has two different ellipticals…the AMT and a normal elliptical you see at all gyms.  I tried the AMT and really like it.  What I’ve been doing is using it for an hour on 20 resistances with an incline of 5.  I haven’t been doing intervals or anything and schedule it around a good TV show.  I enjoy getting cardio and watching trashy tv.

amtme
Here is a nice gym selfie incase you have never heard of the machine before.

Running:

I had not planned to run on Friday at all.  Then all of a sudden around noon I got the urge to run.  I was excited to run and hadn’t felt that way since the marathon and decided to go with it.  I’m glad I did and I felt okay.  I didn’t feel great obviously because I haven’t run in close to three weeks.  It was certainly a little bit out of breath running a 9 minute pace but I know my fitness will come back eventually.  I don’t have a running plan yet or goal races to train for but I know in the next few weeks I’ll start planning for those. (I guess that is what I can do this week).

Saturday my calves were really sore and I just tired.  I wanted to run but I was entirely too tired and spent half the day wishing it was bed time.  So two rest days it was this week.

Next week:

The rest of the week was good and I’m hoping to run a few more miles in the next week.  We are going to spend Thanksgiving with my family in VA Beach.  There is a Turkey Trot in the area I’m still debating on doing.  I want to see all my running friends, I know it will most certainly not be a PR or anywhere close but it would be fun.  In fact I don’t even know if I would hit my marathon pace but it would be great to see friends.

Questions for you:

Best workout of the week? 

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? 

Removing Stress

It’s not a secret that I’ve been semi-stressed lately.  Not so much stressed as in going crazy and off the deep end but stressed as in looking to find my niche.  My niche wasn’t in Potsdam nor Oswego.  I found my niche in VA but I’m not there anymore.  I’m here in New Jersey looking to find a new niche and a new beginning.  I thought my new beginning would occur 2+ months ago moving to Texas but that was short lived.

So alas here I sit today.  I have been asked how I find my comfort zone and how I keep my stress to a minimum.  If you followed my blog last fall when I worked in Oswego, you would know I did a lot of work in mental health. Out of all the topics in public and community health I think mental health is one of my favorites.  Being mentally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy but often times overlooked.  I don’t know anyone who considers themselves a healthy individual without being mentally healthy too.

Moving on, a big part of being mentally healthy is living without a lot of stress.  Sure we all have stress and stress can be good or bad.  However there isn’t a need to get worked up and find yourself restless at night because of stress.  I don’t have a set amount of techniques and working out has never been a stress reliever for me but I can tell you what has worked for me.  How you manage your personal stress ultimately defines you.

Here are some things I find helpful.

I like to wake up without an alarm (normally around 6) and have personal time to myself.  When I was living in Oswego, my housemates weren’t up at that hour so it was personal time for me.  My parents were sometimes up but I still had my own personal time at home.  At my house here, Tim is sometimes up or sometimes not, depending on his training schedule.  I know that I just need time to wake up, relax, occasionally drink coffee and just gather my thoughts.  I am always much less stressed on days I have this time.  Everyone needs their own personal time.

I’ve also found that getting out of my house works wonders for me.  It’s also not a secret that applying for jobs is a long process.  I don’t want to apply for jobs on the computer, sit at the computer for hours on end and then just hang out at the house (probably still on the computer).  I try and get out of the house even to go get some coffee at the gas station daily.  Since I don’t have a car I pretty much walk everywhere.  Getting away from any situation and coming back often provides clarity and also a nice break for your mind.  (I also found this to work well when I was studying or writing papers).

Another way that I have found to destress myself is to simply look at the future.  In a few months finding a job won’t be part of my worries, nor will finishing unpacking or anything that is currently stressful in mu life.  For instance, a few months ago I was stressed working 60+ hours weekly…now that is obviously not a stressor. As I said the other day, I’ve always been someone to look at an overall life plan.  Things might be stressful now but I know they won’t be later.  When I think about that then I find myself far less stressed.

Some people rely on working out to relieve stress and I can honestly say that isn’t for me.  I don’t ever find myself less stressed if I’ve worked out but that could help you!

Question for you: What are some things you do to relieve stress? 

NJ Life

I feel like with not training for anything my blog lacks any sort of focus.  Not that it really matters but I don’t have any training or races to recap. 

I have been in New Jersey since Monday night.  After some rough patches with my car I made it.  When I was halfway between VA and NJ my car started to make strange grinding noises.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to do…do I drive 3 hours home or drive the 3 hours to NJ?  I chose to keep going.  Lorraine (my car) got progressively worse and having problems switching gears as well as continuing to make grinding noises.  I finally made it to my new house without any accidents but my car is now in the shop getting a new transmission.

After that welcoming party to NJ on Monday I could only venture to think what the next few years would bring.  I’ve had my car for 6 years now and never had a major issue so it’s not surprising that a 2000 model car with over 100,000 miles is starting to fall apart.

In other news, I’ve spent the rest of my time applying for jobs and unpacking.  It is nice to (slowly) unpack and know that I won’t be packing for quite a while.  I really like our house so once I unpack I’ll take some photos.  There is plenty of space for people to come visit.  Then we can all exist in real life together.

Since this is a running blog I thought I would be honest with myself.  I promised myself I would take two weeks away from running.  That really hasn’t been hard at all.  About a day after the race, my foot started to bruise underneath the fifth metatarsal.  I immediately thought stress fracture, what did I do wrong?  It never once hurt during the race nor the evening after a race.  (I would have stopped at the race if I felt a bone break).

It’s been two weeks and it’s still bruised and is tender to the touch.  It doesn’t hurt (it’s just noticeable) when I walk or the couple of times I’ve been to the gym.  I’m leaning towards a bruised bone but there isn’t much (that I can think of…) that causes a  bruise to take that long to heal.

Thinking about human anatomy the fifth metatarsal gets blood less quickly since it’s so far away from the heart (meaning it heals slower).  I don’t think it’s a stress fracture since I’m fully able to walk with no pain.  It is noticeable but not painful.  It reminds me of a dark bruise you get on your leg and you wonder…where did this come from. 

Long story short, since I’m not training for anything I’m just going to continue to take it easy until the bruise goes away.  I might try and short run next week sometime to see how it feels running.  I think it’s me being paranoid more than anything but there isn’t a sense to rush into running right now.  I’ve been to the gym a couple of times and done the elliptical and it hasn’t hurt.  The only thing that makes me suspect it’s something more serious is that it’s been two weeks and the bruise is still there.

I hope everyone else is having a great weekend.  I was dying to go to the Philadelphia Marathon but since they haven’t called me back about Lorraine I’m not sure I will.

Questions for you:

How have you been this week?

What are your plans this weekend?

Good luck to everyone running Philadelphia and Richmond!

NYCM Advice

Everyone has their own opinion (heres mine) of the ING New York City Marathon.  If you have ran it, chances are we share both similar opinions but also differ in other parts.  Here are brief tips that I have created:

  1. It’s not an easy marathon course.  If this course was not the most spectated race course, it would be the most miserable.  To prepare you should run every bridge you can find.  Twice. The bridges aren’t what took their tolls on my body but the gradual uphills. It may seem like running through the boroughs is your break.  After all there are thousands of people lined the street and it seems flat.  In reality most of that stretch are long gradual uphills.
  2. Don’t worry about being on pace the first mile.  It is uphill and crowded.  It is completely unnecessary to make it 1.1 miles because of weaving.  It will thin out.  As everyone told me make it your slowest mile…Since my marathon was pretty regressive that didn’t happen.  I didn’t weave though and didn’t take it out hard.
  3. Be prepared for the Queensboro Bridge.  Mile 15 will hurt.  Coming down into mile 16 is the most exciting part besides finishing the race.  The people at mile 16 know how painful that bridge is and the roar of the crowds is beat by none.
  4. They don’t check your ferry time slot.  I signed up for the 5:45 ferry and took the 6.  As long as you have your race number, board whichever you would like.  That being said, the later ones became far more crowded.  I had my own row on the 6 am ferry.
  5. If your friends or family is coming to watch let them know what side of the road you are running.  If you are running on the right and they are standing on the left…you don’t see them.
  6. My best advice is have your friends and family stand somewhere around mile 8 and then again in Central Park.  Nothing beat the moment I saw my friends and family in Central Park.  (except when I could finally sit down after the race roughly 4 hours later).
  7. Be prepared for the two mile walk out of Central Park.  I did not check a bag and if I do the race, I probably won’t if I have someone with me.  I would rather get out of there as soon as possible versus standing in line.  Granted I was in rougher shape than most, I still recommend not checking a bag.
  8. The alphabetical family reunion places are perfect.  Despite the amount of people, I easily located my family.  It goes backwords from Z-A.  Since we met at H it was a much longer walk for me but I had no problems finding my family and friends.  I would probably tell them to meet at Z next time.

Here is a lump of things I was not expecting for my first marathon either.  I love reading other people’s race recaps but for anyone thinking of running a marathon here you go.

  1. When I carb loaded I held 9 pounds of water weight.  I felt bloated on the race day.  You should feel like this.
  2. You probably will have to stop to pee or use the restroom.  Don’t worry about that extra minute because you will probably make it up.
  3. Your quads will burn.  I never expected my quads to burn as much as they did.
  4. I never felt enlightened or that the marathon distance was the way to be.  I never had a running high and I didn’t immediately finish and think to myself…my I want to sign up for 5 more marathons.  You don’t have to finish loving the marathon.
  5. You must fuel.  I can 100% say if I did not take Gatorade at close to every mile and did not take 3 gels I would not have finished.  (This is coming from someone who took 1 gel on a 20 mile run and no Gatorade).  In fact next time I might take more.

**Incase you wondered, yes I would do the marathon again.  

Questions for you:

Did you or have you run NYC?  Do you have any advice?

What did you learn the hard way from your first marathon? 

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