back into running

Hey gang.

Remember when I looked like this?

And this?

Look at those legs! I like to imagine they ALWAYS look that hardcore when I run. Side note: that’s my bro behind me. How can I get his cut jaw line?

It’s been nearly 4 months since the Chicago marathon and I thought I’d update everyone on my fitness and healthy living life.

I posted some grand plans a week after the marathon about my fitness goals. Um, yeah. Let’s just say that I had some lofty ideas about PR-ing and running a sub 2 hour half marathon on February 19th. I enthusiastically made a training plan, posted about how hard I was going to work on speed and said that after a short distance running break I would be back and better than ever!

Not so fast. What I didn’t account for was my body wanting a longer break, the work load I would have during finals and a general desire to not run long distances.

Post marathon I knew I needed a small break. What I did not account for was my body wanting more than a month “off”. In the month after the full marathon I did yoga, ran maybe once or twice a week no longer than 3 miles at a time and did zumba. I still worked out but compared to when I’m actively distance training it was way less and let me tell you parts of it were GLORIOUS! I feel like healthy bloggers are obsessed with their long runs and being fit and I love that feeling too. But you know what else was awesome? Not having to carve time out of my weekend to run. Spending more time with friends. Taking trips to place like Palm Springs. Enjoying my vacation. Studying and getting ahead during finals rather than stressing about fitting in my run. If you say you never like a break from long running I do not buy it. At all.

I smile like this when I run. I also smile like this when I take a break.

I also fell in love with zumba! I had taken my first zumba class over the summer and enjoyed it. After the marathon I started going twice a week. Zumba includes Latin and hip hop dance for a very sweaty workout. Compared to running 40 miles a week, 2 zumba classes is a party. My teacher is a hip hop teacher and so the class is very hip hop based which I love.

Class is like this and I love it:

Turns out I excel at jumping around with energy. What I potentially lack in skill I make up for in sass and absolutely not caring about what other people are thinking about me. I danced through high school and was never the best but always enjoyed it. The work out is pretty intense and I love it. When I run I think about everything going on in my life. When I do zumba my brain empties for a while and it feels fantastic to just tune out.

Besides being preoccupied with zumba and exams I also thought that I might have law school prom the night before the half marathon I signed up for in which case I would definitely NOT be awake, hydrated and ready to run a half. Also, I planned to start training the first week of reading period last semester. Also, I signed up for the race less than a week after the full marathon. Thus, I totally blew off my training plan. Whoops.

This 26 oz margarita represents everything I loved/hated about my workout/healthy eating break.

At the same time I was basically taking an extended break from working out I blew off healthy eating too. I ate like I was training for a half or full marathon. Granted, I’ve been in training mode consistently for a year and a half. I think I gained 5 ish lbs and one pair of pants didn’t fit. Well, they fit but there was extensive muffin top that jean lunges couldn’t resolve. No worries. I know how to eat healthy and after some calorie counting I’m back basically to where I was before. That Lose It! application is very effective, let me tell you.

Anyways as much as I loved my three month break, I realized in January that law school prom wasn’t going to be a conflict with my half marathon and that I shouldn’t waste the entry fee. Thus I jumped into long running again and added in one speed workout a week. Thus far I’ve run 6, 8 and 10 miles and it overall feels good to be back. The runs have kicked my ass a bit, especially the distance. I managed negative splits when I ran 8 and my 10 mile run was at a faster pace than my 8 mile run but it’s slower than I’d like. Obviously with such a last moment training plan it would be stupid to expect to run sub 2 hours so I’m going to set a realistic goal for myself. I really want to run sub 2 hours though and I think it will be attainable with speed work and a half marathon around finals I might be able to do it. All I need to do is commit. I still also still really want to run another marathon. Seeing all the announcements about Chicago Marathon registration made me envious and sad that I wasn’t going to register. I will run Chicago again, but a fall marathon would be setting myself up for failure what with the bar exam.

My shaving 12 mins of my 1/2 marathon pr glow. Let’s recapture it.

Overall, the past few months have taught me some interesting lessons. It isn’t the end all be all to take a break from distance running. I will get my pace back. Hell, I will likely end up with a better one eventually. Gaining a tick of weight isn’t that big of a deal. I know how to eat healthy, I just need to remember to eat in proportion to my working out. It’s a good thing to check in with my eating every two years. Having to take a healthy break and then reconnect with my habits is not a fail. Taking breaks is a GOOD thing. It was a good thing to focus on school and maximize time studying (I ended up having a really good semester academically) and not on distance running. I love cross training and that’s fantastic. Booty rolling and popping can give you abs. For maximum happiness I need 1.5 hours of yoga mellowing time and 2 hours of jumping up and down like crazy. Fitness goals don’t have to be huge like running a marathon or setting a PR. The goal can simply be enjoying workouts.

Finish line glory.

So that is the update on my eating and fitness life. It’s been over two years since I started eating healthier and working out consistently. Taking a mini break from working out served me well but I’m excited to get back into fighting shape.

How do you stay motivated with staying healthy over time?


7 thoughts on “back into running

  1. There’s no break when running is part of your life. Each person has their own thing. Some people have running so ingrained in their daily life that it’s a habit and brings joy. Others cycle their running to focus on other things. I, personally, can’t go very long without running for many reasons and don’t expect those who don’t share my passion to understand that. Glad to hear you had a blast during your break and got work done. Time to accomplish those goals! Everyone has a perfect run (or two) in ’em. Good luck!

  2. You’re right about the importance of taking a break after a big event, especially the marathon. I ran my last marathon in October injured and really needed the time off. It felt weird to go a couple weeks with only a few short 3-4 mile runs in here and there, but it was also what I needed. In the past I’ve been guilty of all running, all the time. I am pretty obsessed with racking up those miles, so cross training, yoga, strength all fell by the wayside even though I knew I should be more diversified in my workouts.

    Now that I’ve incorporated those in to my routine, I see the benefit both in my running and overall fitness.

    If you ever need a pacer to help you run a sub-2 half, let me know. I’m coming to like the distance more and finding some success with it.

  3. I’m so happy to hear what you’ve been up to and enjoying it minus the running! I think after long races like that we definitely all need a break, letting our bodies and minds really decide how long they want to take. I sure wish I had taken more time off after my marathon! And I can’t wait to hear how the half goes! Sub-2 is right in your pocket!

  4. Pingback: Pasadena Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon Recap « Left Coast Contessa

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