Realistic Running Plans.

So remember when I thought that it was realistic for me to try to train for a marathon?  Guess what?  It’s not.  (You aren’t surprised, I know.  Me either.)

While my spirit is certainly there, and I hope to do another one at some point this year, I’m also finally ready to be realistic about what I am capable of both mentally and physically right now.  As soon as I let go of the pressure to do another marathon so quickly, I felt like a big weight came off my shoulders.

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I am not a very good self-motivated runner.  I have a really hard time just deciding “I will go for a run today!” without a training plan and something to work toward.  I need the validation of checking off a box on a training calendar.  So for me, it’s still important to have goals and plans, rather than just casually trying to get back into regular exercise.

My desire to run is much more about my love for the sport than it is about getting back into shape.  I really miss running.  It’s strange to think that I am essentially starting over at something that used to be a huge part of my life.  For the past few years, that outlet has always been through marathons, so it felt natural to me to make that my goal again.  But just as my body is different and my life and time are so different now, I realize that my goals need to be different too. 

I have a hard enough time juggling being a mom with my work and writing projects, along with finding time to cook and exercise, and do all the other things that keep households afloat.  I also want to make sure that I let my body adjust to training slowly.  I don’t want to do anything that interferes with my milk supply or continued healing.

Now that I have new goals and new races picked out, I’m excited to get started on this new phase of running.  The first race I’m training for is the 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis!

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I have always wanted to do this race, but every year it falls on the same weekend of the Flying Pig (which I ran in 2008, 2009, and 2010).  I thought it would feel weird to run the half-marathon at the Pig since I’m used to the full course, so it works out perfectly to do this race instead.  It is a Saturday half-marathon, and Casey will be running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati the next day.  We’ll be able to turn it into a mini vacation to visit both of our families in Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and we can cheer for each other on the sidelines with Cullen!

When I was trying to just get back into running on my own, I found that trying to do 3 and 4 mile treadmill runs felt like torture.  In order to build up a good base for training, I downloaded the Couch to the 10K app on my iPad.  It combines running and walking, and gives voice prompts and countdowns until your next walk or run segment.  Since I’m not totally starting from scratch, I decided to start on week 4, with intervals of running 2 minutes, and walking 3 minutes for 62 minutes.

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I did my first run/walk with the app this weekend, and felt great afterward!  It was my longest postpartum run to date, finishing out at 4.5 miles.  I zoned out and watched Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix (I’m only on season six – no spoilers!), and the run went by quickly and easily.  Once you finish your run you get a very validating checkmark at the end, which I love.  I think starting with this run/walk approach is definitely the best way for me to get back into shape.

The other race I am signed up for is the Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon in June! 

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This will be my first race in our new city, and I’m so excited to finally get to do some running here now that we have lived here almost a year.  Casey will be running the full marathon too, and it’s fun for us to plan and train together.

I’m happy to have new, much more realistic goals in place now, and rather than pressure I now feel hopeful.  Run number two starts now!

In addition to running, I’m also doing as many at-home strength workouts as I can.  Today on Babble – Five (More!) Exercises for Mommies and Babies!