Another week, another round of deep thinking about my running.
I have been “base building” for a total of 8 weeks now. That’s almost two months. And while I’m noticing those ever-so-slow signs of tiny gains that come once the body becomes more practiced, I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I don’t mean that in a “oh boo hoo I’m not getting faster yet” way, I’m just starting to get that come-to-Jesus feeling of okay, what exactly are we doing here? Are we training or not training? Do we care, do we not care? What’s going on? I’ve been taking things slow, like I should, but I’ve also been aimless and uncommitted and putzing around, and now I’m at that point of “sh*t or get off the pot already”.
My base building period is intended to prepare me for Chicago Marathon training. It’s 6 months, which is a long time, and perhaps I wasn’t totally prepared for how drawn-out this will be.
But I’ve also been thinking about this blog and how much it’s changed since I used to blog about training every week. It’s not a big secret that my blog content has steadily declined since Pittsburgh Marathon training ended last spring. It’s okay, we can all admit it. I sometimes try to look at my blog from the perspective of what an objective outside reader would think, and in doing so I can see that I was much more interesting and engaging when I was actively working toward a goal and my blog had more direction.
There are a few people who used to be avid readers of my blog, but haven’t read or commented here in months. I can’t say that I blame them, honestly. They came here to read about a runner who knew what she wanted and was working really hard each week to get it. Off-seasons and slumps come with the territory, but mine has been really long, and there are only so many times my readers can listen to the “I’m so motivated to make changes! I’m going to do this this and this and get really in shape!” spiel before they get bored and move on. I get it. Because honestly, I’m getting bored with it too. I don’t even miss the training or the fitness as much as I miss the feeling of knowing what the hell I want out of running and working toward something.
I’m not sure I should have opened with this, because it makes it sound like the only reason I miss training is that I need good blog content, but that’s not entirely true. More and more often lately I miss the feeling of being in great shape and progressing toward a goal. I’ve had several conversations recently with people I meet who happen to be runners. We will inevitably chat about marathon training and various races and it makes me long for the days of being mid-training cycle and having that “yeah I’m crushing it out there!” feeling. It’s not even just the race training or being a faster runner that I miss – it’s having fitness actually be a priority in my life. Building back fitness after a layoff takes time, I get that. But what frustrates me lately isn’t the fact that I’m out of shape, it’s that I’m not even really trying. I feel like I’m using the “base building takes time” as an excuse to half-ass it all. I skip runs, I bail on strength training, I do the bare minimum in everything. I’m just getting frustrated with myself. Just because I’m not actively training for a race doesn’t mean I can’t make my fitness a priority.
This is going to sound really silly, but another thing that’s been influencing these feelings the last couple days is the weather. Yes, you read that right. The weather. You may have heard that we are having a bit of a heat wave here in the Midwest. Yesterday we set a record high temperature for February 18th. Temperatures have been in the high 50s and low 60s here and it’s supposed to continue through this week. It wasn’t until I breathed the fresh spring air and gallivanted about with no coat on (in February!) that I realized how much these dark, dreary, frigid cold days of winter are affecting my motivation to exercise. All of a sudden I went from feeling pretty “meh” about running, to wishing it were June so I could start marathon training!
So, after 750 words of introduction I finally arrive at the point of this post: I want to recommit to my fitness. I really do. I miss training. I miss working toward a goal. I miss the pride of not just being in great shape but knowing I’m in great shape because of all the hard work I put in. I miss tempo runs. I miss my leaner body. Hell, I even “miss” things I never regularly did before: hot yoga and cycling and strength training workouts.
So, what does this mean? I’m not exactly sure. I’m not going to suddenly #beastmode my training or try to PR in the half marathon this spring or anything like that. Nothing about my running plan for the year has changed: Chicago is still my one and only priority, and I’m still adamant that I don’t jeopardize that by getting overeager this spring and burning out/injuring myself/peaking too early. I’m still base-building until then. I just need to start trying a little harder. Fitness isn’t simply going to wait until enough time has passed and then show up on my doorstep: I have to work for it. Yes, I have to take base-building slowly, but I also need to push a little harder, stop babying myself, and most importantly, stop giving in to excuses all the time. I can do better than this.
I’ve spent enough time warming up; it’s time to start the workout.