For a while I was totally cool with taking a break from serious competitive running. I could dink around and still place pretty well in the trail races and small road races. It was so nice taking a break from tempo runs, weights, and two-a-days. I ran to stay sane during a rough first semester of grad school and that was enough.
Lately though, I’ve been dreaming of a bit more. I don’t want all my pr’s to be from college. I would LOVE to break my 800, mile, and 5k pr’s from freshman year! I’d really love to be able to run a respectable 10k and lose the love-handles-in-training and remember what it’s like to look in the mirror and see ABS! And I want to feel like a ‘real’ runner again.
I’ve watched some of my other alumni teammates slowly turn into non-runners. They don’t enjoy running enough to do it for themselves, and have picked up other hobbies. I’ve watched other graduated teammates hit the road and track with a renewed passion and make huge jumps. I know which of these groups I want to be in – I don’t want to give up something that makes me so happy just because I’m not fast enough to make a career out of it. If I’m going to be running and putting in the training anyway, why not see exactly how far I can take it?
So how am I going to get there?
1) Build back into it gradually and cautiously
I’ve injured myself through over-enthusiasm far too many times – it’s time to make a smart plan and stick to it!
2) Join a running group
I really, really, REALLY miss my teammates. Not only the social aspect, but also the support during long runs, early morning shakeouts, and, most importantly, gut-wrenching workouts.
Easy running by myself is fine. Working out…not so much. It’s way too easy to tell myself that I don’t really feel up to it, or that my original workout plan was far too ambitious. Time to get some accountability in the form of running buddies! I’m planning to try a workout with a local group tomorrow – here’s hoping I don’t keel over from lack of fitness!
3) Get a coach?
I’m kind of wavering on this one. I know an excellent coach that my friend hired – he coached one of the local NAIA schools and had a very successful women’s team. I’d love to have someone else do the thinking and planning. It’s so nice to just have a plan and trust it – which is really tough when I’m the one doing the planning! I tend to second guess and over think – not helpful when you’re trying to have faith in the workouts. My only concerns are 1) not feeling like I’m fast enough to have a coach (is he going to laugh at my far-from-elite pr’s?) and 2) money. This guy charges a VERY reasonable rate – like $30/month. That’s only one dollar a day! But it’s still a decent chunk when you’re supporting two people on a graduate student stipend…
4) Live the lifestyle.
Ok, there’s only so much I can do here – graduate school is my top priority and it keeps me BUSY. But people train for marathons while working full-time jobs, right? I’ve got this! Time to invest some small chunks of time each day into stretching/icing/drills/core work etc. If anything, I’ll be healthier and being fit will help me cope with the stress of TAing/research/coursework.
Time to make a plan and stick to it!