It’s been a busy couple of weeks but I’ve managed to stay strong and continue my new fitness adventure. I am now, as of today, on week 12 of a 26 week training program to run my first marathon. This past week (week 11) was the transition from focusing on running minutes to focusing on actual mileage. It feels good, to say the least, to have a good grasp on this new training program. I wanted to get into a good chunk of my marathon training before I actually began blogging about my experience because, well, I wanted it to feel real. It takes a good long time to get used to a new habit, and this is a new habit that is challenging and invigorating at the same time. But with the feeling of strength and invigoration comes the the set backs, the exhaustion, and the quirks that every day life throws your way. I wanted to touch up on that today because I feel that Jeff can’t be the only person who hears about this, and it can’t be in every conversation that I have with a long distance friend because you don’t want to be one of those people who are like ‘hey, I’m training for a marathon! Look at me!’although I totally think people should be able to talk about these things.
So here are my list of set backs that I’ve had in the past of 11 weeks. And also how I’m overcoming these potholes in my path.
I GOT THE STOMACH BUG AROUND WEEK 7! This was the worst thing to happen in the beginning stage of training. I was actually two weeks ahead of schedule as far as how much I was able to run and length of time, so it was not a huge set back in my time of training, but my energy was zapped. I went to kettlebell the following Saturday after being sick and in the middle of my second plank I was pretty much having to set a knee down. I went to my instructor and said “I think that stomach bug took more out of me than I thought!” and he agreed. While I was closely back to 100% after a full week, my first run after that week was really rough. I had to stop and walk because I felt tired earlier than usual. So I knew I needed to get those electrolytes built back up. I was already, at that point, drinking plenty of water, but I added a bottle or two of sports drinks to help with electrolytes and piled up with complex carbs. Before I knew it, within three days, I was running strong again.
While rough runs are expected and I don’t take them to heart because ultimately the goal is just to finish the marathon within the 7 hour cut off time, I was worried, initially, that the bug I had was going to set me back two weeks. However, I kept the faith and was able to bounce back due to proper nutrition.
SPEAKING OF NUTRITION, THE HOLIDAYS THREW ME OFF A LITTLE. For the most part, I don’t go ape shit when it comes to the holidays, but you know, snacking and sweets are inevitable. So I ate more sugar and not-so-great carbs during the holiday parties and potlucks. But, like you would any diet plan, once I messed up I got back on track right away. I drank lots of water and after one meal of awful food, I made sure the other meals were full of veggies and fresh fruit.
The biggest thing that helped me from going off the deep end at parties was that A) I kept up with my training, meaning, even though I traveled to the in-laws’s home in Michigan I still managed to run. And B) I made a game plan for travel days and holiday parties. When we traveled I made sure that I only allowed one diet soda and the rest was flavored water or water. I didn’t want all of that sodium to swell me up and bog me down. Also had this plan for holiday parties too. Usually at holiday parties, to deal with drive lag and all the carbs I eat, I drink a lot of caffeinated diet cokes. This time around I made myself drink two bottles of water before I allowed myself a diet soda. Also, with traveling, we stopped where we could get (almost) clean meals and no snacking. This was tricky on the drive up to Michigan since we drove on Christmas day, but I some how managed to get some clean eating with snacking on fruits like oranges and apples between stops, and if I absolutely needed to get non-fruit snack, some healthier trailmixes. At parties, I made sure that I loaded up on fresh fruit and salads before getting into anything else. Most of the time this was easier, except when there was Jeff’s Aunt Judy’s sausage, cream cheese cresent rolls. (OMG THEY’RE SO GOOD!).
IT’S PRETTY HARD TO RUN OUTSIDE WHEN THE ONLY TIME I’M NOT AT WORK IT’S DARK OUTSIDE! So, I run outside because I can train on roads full of curves and steep hills. It builds up my endurance, it prepares me for hills when running a marathon (if there are hills) which can be the devil, and it’s a change up so the run can seem different and not redundant. However, I work 9.5 hour shifts Monday through Friday, so in the beginning of December when it was dark before I even got off from my shifts, it was hard to go run because I am limited to the routes I can run since I live out in non-lit country roads. Whether I get up early in the morning or run in the evenings it is still the same conditions and I run a lot better in the evenings.
To adapt to this I created a route that I can run back-and-forth several times to meet my time and, now, my mileage requirements for training. This specific route is dark, but I watch carefully for cars, and it’s full of small and large hills so I’m still getting that endurance push. On Saturdays, I run in the morning for my long runs. It feels the same through out the week, but as my my long runs mileage increases at the end of the week, there is a change up to the routes I run which is enough to make the weekday runs not seem redundant. So far the weather has only given cold nights and rainy weather conditions, with the exception of one weekend with snow.
THOSE ARE MY ONLY SET BACKS FOR NOW….and I have managed to overcome these obstacles. I’m feeling good! I’m feeling proud! And it’s an awesome feeling to get that runner’s high after a stressful workday.
My go-to songs for running as of now, they are a must on my playlists, are:
- I have to start out my run with Rolling in The Deep: by Adele. This song starts out with the right beat to get me warmed up and charged for my long distance run. Something about the drums in the beginning of the song help me find my rhythm.
- Girls (Run The World): by Beyoncé. I mean, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Beyoncé is on my playlist. Listen is my favorite song to finish my run to because I can close my eyes and imagine crossing the finish line. But my fight song is Girls (Run The World) because it empowers me and it can really (as crazy as this sounds) make me feel like a warrior. My favorite line: “Boy you know you love that we’re smart enough to make the millions/strong enough to bear the children/then get back to business….
Let’s get back to business this week.
Have any fitness set backs that you have had to overcome? Tell me your story! And tell me your favorite songs on your playlists!