Running Goals Winter/Spring

I’m signed up for a race! It’s a half marathon in Los Angeles in early April, and it’s a good feeling to complete the registration and know I’m doing something challenging in a few months. I haven’t raced anything longer than a 10k since before the baby, & I think the NYC marathon was the distance. I don’t know the last time I’ve done a half, so I’m excited.

My friend encouraged me & also introduced me to the app RunKeeper, which I just started this week. It does cost $40 a year for premium features, but if your goal is to run 6 days a week–it is well worth that kind of investment. And still so much cheaper than gym/workout classes/etc. You can enter in the date of your race, the number of running days you want (even the days of the week you run), how many miles you are currently running & BOOM–there is your plan. I haven’t explored it too much, but it seems like even if you don’t race–there is a lot of great ways to track things there.

I admit to being slow to technology sometimes. But the reason I usually shy away from tech during certain phases of my running life is because I don’t want anyone to be measuring how slow I am or how little I am running LOL. When I was super fast, I had two trainers & my blood glucose level being drawn so I could have the perfect training plan for my heart rate. I had my running gait measured, bought online training plans, etc–when I felt like I was fast. But all those tools can be detrimental to your spirit if you can’t keep up with them.

When I realized how slow I was with my dog and baby (my training parters for the past 2 years), the last thing I wanted to do was see my pace on a screen and be asked, “Do you want to share this?” Do I want to share that I probably walk faster than I run? No thanks!

But I have ever so slowly (since October) dropped cycling/swimming/weight training & focused exclusively on running. I now consistently run 6 days a week, which has been a big accomplishment for me. Every week I have increased the time spent running by such marginal amounts that it would be comical to report here. But it has worked for me. I figured when my friend shared the app with me & I know I needed a training plan, the tech could serve a purpose.

Cue the first run with this app turned on. No headphones–I’m blaring music for my kid in the stroller, so the app talks to me loudly throughout the run. It’s asking me to keep a certain pace, which would only be doable if I wasn’t pushing this toddler in this giant stroller. So it’s yelling, “You are TWO minutes behind pace!” every few minutes, and it took me the entire run to get down to only being “You are 52 seconds behind pace!” I must be more chill now, though, because I found it funny rather than discouraging. Kenzy keeps asking, “Mommy, who is that?”

It took me a few days to adjust the settings (it pauses now when Huxley poops & it’s only allowed to speak once every 10 minutes), and I’m really enjoying it. The biggest revelation I’ve had over the past few months is that 2 runs a day is what works best for me, my kid & my dog. It sounds like a lot, but it’s just one run split in two. It takes the pressure off of me if something unexpected shortens my morning run (aka no sleep the night before, running late for something, my kid is not having it, etc). My evening runs are quick enough that it’s not so bothersome I’m doing them in the dark. The only downside is having to get into running gear twice, when it would be nice to say “Well I’m done with that” for the day at 6am.

I’m about to start spending more time at work, which makes me nervous about my workouts–but I’m hoping this race & this new app will help to motivate me past the fear, the tiredness, the change in routine etc. It has been freeing to let go of all the other activities I still love to do (bike, swim, weights) & just be able to focus on the one for now. I don’t know what lies beyond April, but I’m going to see how adding distance works out. If I like it, I may do longer or more runs. If I’m missing triathlons, I’ll try to add some of them in for the summer (when they are the most fun!).

Hope whatever fitness goals you may have for the winter are going well. I’ve learned to be more patient with myself, thank you motherhood for that. I now recognize just how hard on myself I used to be when it came to being faster, or better, or more regimented. If your life/health/work is keeping you from reaching your fitness goals at the moment, don’t stress it. It will welcome you back at any time. I had no idea I could ever return to my 6 days a week running routine. That felt so much like my 20s! Since focusing on multi-sport, etc, I was never able to run more than 3-4 times a week. I’m still not running my goal time, but I am creeping up to it. My dog is the happiest about this. As long as I allow him to occasionally pee on a tree despite what it may do to my pace time.

I’ll update you on how training goes as it happens. Good luck to you and your fitness goals!!

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