happy winter

Preparing for the Boston Marathon

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The Boston Marathon is four weeks away today and I am excited.

I have decided to focus on the THRILLS of running.  I will not let this winter (spring) weather get me defeated.  I will not allow a couple of discouragingly slow races (i.e. the Chilly Half Marathon) get me down.

There is much to be thrilled about and my training is looking better these days.  Yes, the weather has been challenging, but I have run through so much of it.  Let’s count my successes and think towards an exciting Boston in four weeks.

Reasons to be encouraged as I look towards the Boston Marathon:

1. I have successfully increased my mileage.  I have logged my highest mileage weeks ever these past three weeks.  My maximum weekly mileage in preparing for my past marathons was 75-80km.  My mileage last week was 97.4 km, and the weeks before 89km and 88km.

2. I have done more consistent interval work thanks to my new treadmill.  Mile repeats are scheduled on the treadmill tomorrow morning.

3. I will be thrilled to run Boston, regardless of my finishing time.  My strategy will be to start off conservatively and then pick up the pace as the race progresses.  This has worked well for me at the last two Boston races I have run.  I will enjoy the race, with all the incredible athletes and supportive spectators and simply put my best foot forward.  I have goals, but ultimately, being at Boston and running is the main goal.

4. When the weather does warm up and my legs thaw out, it will be such a glorious feeling and I will be more thrilled to run than ever before!

This winter and my disappointing races have truly reminded me that I do run for the love of it.  I will continue to run even when I see my times getting slower.  I hope that I have not reached that moment in my life yet, but if I have, I will continue to run and push myself.  It is a blessing to be able run and I will not take that gift for granted.




Fit Running into Your Life

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It is a challenge at times to fit running into our lives.  We all have multiple commitments and responsibilities vying for our time and energy.  How do you fit running into your life?

I have the Boston marathon quickly approaching.  Intense intervals and long runs are my goals for the next few weeks.  I am increasing my mileage to prepare for this marathon.  How do I fit it all in?

1. Remember why you are running – you love it and you know it is good for you!  Your life is better for running.

2. Take a day off when you need to and don’t feel bad about it.  Allow a day off to energize you for the following day’s run.  You will be fresher and you will have allowed yourself to take the break you needed.

3. Mix it up – If you are sick of the winter or the treadmill, do something different for today.  I am going to a yoga class tonight.  My body and my mind will really appreciate the variety.  I need a day off from the treadmill, after yet another winter storm!

4.  Use your schedule – prepare and plan.  If you are a parent, like me, you will have so many other commitments to juggle.  Plan when you will run and guard that time.  Don’t allow the possibility of maybe a free moment later in the day to be your maybe run time.  That will never happen.  Plan and stick to your schedule.

5. Allow your family and friends to support you and keep you accountable.  When those who are close to you know how important your running and training is to you, they will support you in finding the time.  When my resolve is weak, it is surprising to me how often James will encourage me to fit in my run.  It makes a world of difference.




Unique Joys of Long Runs

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I love the long run.  There is nothing quite like it.  All long distance runners can list off a whole host of reasons why they LOVE long runs.  Yes, it may be painful at times.  By the end, you are counting down the kms, the minutes, the stop lights, until you can finally stop running, but oh, none of us would want to lose the ability to run long runs.  My running buddy, who has no race goals planned at the moment, joins me for my Boston training runs for the sheer joy of it.  He says he is being altruistic, helping me to attain my goals, but I think he truly loves the long runs, and I am simply an excuse for him to get out there for 2.5 hours, exploring the city streets and trails.

When I tell my non-marathoner friends that I am planning on a 30+ km run for the next day, their eyes widen and a look of confusion appears.  Why would anyone run for over 2 hours?  How can you even possibly run for that long?  Here are the amazing facts about the long run:

  1. Your Body Is Miraculous:  It is incredible what you can train your body to do.  While once 15 min of running was a challenge, after consistent training, you can run for hours without stopping.  It is incredible to see your body adapting and becoming stronger.  The knowledge that your body is now a much superior cardiovascular machine to what it once was is enough to keep you going.  You can do so much more than you ever thought possible, if you only keep challenging yourself and persist in your goals.  Your body is miraculous.
  2. You Experience Flow:  That unique experience when you are “in the zone”.  The world feels right and your mind clears and you can think straight.  You feel challenged and yet at the same time competent and like you can conquer this thing…this long run.  The stress melts away and you are fully present and enjoying all that is around you.  The joy of being alive and well and in this very moment are the overwhelming emotions that you experience.  I think we all need moments like that, away from the stress of work and home. This is achieved when you push yourself to new limits in the long run.
  3. You Get New Ideas:  With that clear mind and the time to think uninterrupted (a rare occurrence for most parents), suddenly new innovative ideas have time to percolate and rise to the surface.  These are not the random thoughts that you have in the middle of the night that sound ridiculous come morning, but rather new creative ideas.  Sometimes I solve problems suddenly or think up a new idea altogether that I actually end up putting into action.
  4. You Connect with Friends:  A long run is  a great time to connect with other like-minded friends.  Two hours or more to talk and hear each others stories is a pleasure.  You definitely get to know your running partners well and a deep friendship forms.  In our hectic lives, it is amazing to have quality time with training buddies and support and encourage one another.

Long runs are obviously excellent for your physical health.  The bonus is that they are just as excellent for your mental health and bring such joy to your life.  Share some of your long run joys below!  What are some of your unique long run experiences?