Over the last few years, my primary form of exercise has been running. When I picked up the sport, living in Africa from 2008-2010, I only really ran twice a week – one morning run along my Mozambican beach, and one long run through the surrounding areas on the weekend. The other days were exercise DVDs in my bamboo hut – if we had power – and other types of full body exercises.
I got into pretty great shape. And over the last two years, I’ve spent most of my time running. And admittedly without being 100% committed to the types of runs that can help build fitness fast – speedwork intervals, hill repeats. (I got the “long slow distance” run thing down, though!) Running has helped me become much healthier physically and mentally. But, in terms of daily workouts, I’ve grown a little complacent due to my confidence in my running abilities. (Pushing the pace, running with more experienced friends, trail running: awesome challenges. But my morning runs have seen me lacking a bit of motivation.)
Enter cross-training. My big goal this year has me transitioning from a marathoner to a Half Ironman-er (just go with it) in the next five months. Which means I probably need to learn how to swim and bike in a half decent kind of way. And so, while running will remain important and my favorite sport (with marathons on the calendar to boot), it’s time to focus on bringing some new activities in as well.
#1: Overall Strength and Conditioning
An overall stronger body = better running. Especially with core strength and leg strength. I’m going to be hitting the weights more often. I took BodyPump at the gym last Thursday […]
Life has been throwing me a lot of curveballs lately as I attempt to take on some pretty significant fitness goals. Lots of international travel amongst other significantly schedule impacting events have made finding time to complete long runs and other training pretty much impossible as of late. Big goals have faded to the background as my most salient goal these days is to get enough sleep to make it through the next day. Things have just been a tiny bit crazy. And I have to face the facts that I’m dealing with a few limitations these days when it comes to capacity for training.
Unfortunately, dealing with limitations has recently equated into a lot of excuse making on my part. I don’t know how it happened to this girl who used to barely be able to skip a workout day without feeling antsy. One day I’m just a little too tired to get up. Another day the lure of happy hour keeps me from the gym, just this one time. And then another. Jet lag keeps me in bed for a few extra hours. The junk food flows and it’s free. And the dangerous cycle begins – one skipped workout becomes several. Good nutrition is neglected. And I’m definitely not feeling any better!
It came to a head this last weekend when I went to a trail race and ended up cutting my distance by a significant margin for no particularly significant reason – driven more by excuses (I’m tired. I fell and sprained my ankle and cut my palm but know I’m fine. I’m bored. These hills are hard!). Recognizing this and turning back anyways was a hard moment for me. I realized that […]
In early 2013, I plan to run an ultramarathon. The very idea strikes some fear into my heart – not so much the five-ish extra miles past my comfortable 26.2 distance, but the endless climbing and hills. (I am much less proficient at running hills than a San Francisco local should be).
Despite the fear and quad-burning hill climbing, working towards an ultra has provided the butt kicking I need to hop in my car, head out across the Golden Gate and hit the trails. To me, trail running has hundreds of wonderful qualities, but three stick out to me:
Gorgeous views. Hooray!
You can run very, very slow.
You can walk. A LOT.
Road running, at a certain point, can become routine – Golden Gate Park is beautiful, but I see it every day. Paying close attention to speed and pushing the pace can be invigorating, but exhausting and can take some of the joy out of running just to run. Getting off the road has been the change of pace I’ve needed to rekindle my love of running.
This weekend, Alyssa and I headed to the Muir Woods area to catch up over a 10ish mile run. The terrain was varied – three hours of sun, shade, jagged coastlines, and serene woods.
Our pace never went above a 10 minute mile (and that was downhill and felt like flying). A couple miles were pretty much just hiking uphill. And that was fine. There was no worry about hitting a target or to hurry through as fast as possible. We were just enjoying the ride.
On the road, I find myself subconsciously competing with myself and with other runners much more than I’d like to. Don’t let her pass you. Don’t […]