I just got the hang of that!

For the last month or so I had been running to NO PLAN. Only running when I wanted to run. Running the sessions that I felt like and not what a program was dictating.

The main motivation behind this was to challenge myself. I have often thought that I am motivated and driven by a goal. With no goal in sight I wanted to try to still enjoy my running. The biggest driver of course was my desire to run through my next pregnancy and doing so would rely on being able to have a relaxed approach to running. So this was a great opportunity to master just that.

While it was only a short while before this plan of no plan got thrown out the window by my CRAZY MARATHON idea I still learned a lot along the way:

Plan or no plan I still love and need to run!

To be honest I expected the frequency of my running to drop without a training program but it didn’t. I still woke up most mornings wanting to run. I can’t believe how much running has become such a part of my normal day-to-day life. (Probably shouldn’t put “normal” and “my life” in the same sentence but you know what I mean)

I choose the easy route most days

Considering my love of speed work I  thought I would be doing loads of speed sessions and loving the opportunity to try lots of fun and crazy things with no regard for recovery because it didn’t matter if I pulled up sore. Not so. Most mornings I just set out for an easy run. (slacker… I know!)

I didn’t feel any more or any less recovered for or from runs

I guess this may be because I was still running the same frequency. All the same I was certainly running at a lower intensity for the most part and I didn’t feel any better or worse for it.

In summary

I honestly expected the whole running to no plan to be an ordeal like the first time I tried to switch to decaf (I literally fell apart)!!! It was anything but an ordeal. Do I prefer to run to a program… YES! I love waking up and knowing what I have to do and that each run is one part of a bigger plan. I love seeing improvements from week to week in similar sessions and I love speed sessions but clearly I just have to be told to do them!!

That said I have been known to say “I can’t wait till this race is over and I can just go and run for fun”.  I think that is normal though. Doesn’t every program hit an ugly spot? A spot when you may feel a slave to your training? BUT then you get to run that race and can’t wait to sign up for the next one because it’s just so much FUN!

See how much fun this is!?!

So the verdict is BOTH are great and both have a place in my life.

For specific goals, races and times I will always lean on the guidance of structured program that is designed to help me optimise my training. As for all the running in between these goals and races I will enjoy just running because I know I can and because I know a plan does not hold me together or keep me putting on my sneakers each day – my love of running does that!

Do you ever hit an ugly spot in your training?

Do you prefer to be training for a goal or do you just love to run?

Chill time!

I am not deluded in any way about what lies ahead…

Hours of planning, organising and prepping for runs, day after day of fuelling and recovering from runs, week after week of sweating it out on the treadie and the pavement. Actually doing the runs will be the easiest bit. Co-ordinating life around the runs, fuelling for them and then getting my body recovered for the next run will be the challenge.

For this recreational runner training for a marathon is “all consuming”. My completely relaxed attitude to food will have to shape up a little bit to ensure that I am getting in enough carbs and running-friendly foods so I can PERFORM AND RECOVER! My relaxed approach to my core training will have to shape up a little to keep me strong and injury free. My relaxed approach to foam rolling and all things recovery will have to shape up a little bit to ensure I can back up the runs day after day.

In short I (I mean WE) have 20 weeks of life being a little dictated by my running. I will write a post shortly on all the GUILT that goes with this and how I am trying to work through it and stay focused on the goal and stop driving Big A crazy by apologising every 5 minutes…. and I haven’t even started training yet!

From experience I have learned that I need a program with a little bit of give in it. Basically a little bit of room in case of injury or illness but not too much room to be “peaked” for too long. However if I am lucky enough to avoid injury and illness then I am signing up for 20 weeks of non-stop running. Running that is faster and longer than ever before. My weekly kilometres will quickly double from a casual 30-50km that I do now to a personal record of 70 – 90km.

I am excited and terrified at the same time!!!

For me there is only one thing harder than training for a marathon… tapering for a marathon. Its tough. Not running when you are only weeks or days out from attempting 42.2km is fricken crazy and totally does my head in but I KNOW it is what my body needs to perform at its best.

So with that in mind I have decided that to get my body to perform at its best for the TRAINING for a marathon (which for the record makes the actual marathon pale in comparison) I need to REST it, RECOVER it, RECHARGE it and REPAIR it.

I have decided to do this with 7 – 10 day of all out NO RUNNING or training at any intensity for that fact. Only a little recreational incidental activity for me.

Why 7 – 10 days?

My goal was to take 10 days of rest which is inside the 2 weeks at which we start to lose our cardiovascular fitness but as long as possible to rest any niggles and promote the maximum muscle repair. I have given myself the flexibility of doing a gentle run at 7 days so that I can have a warm up run or two before I hit the program. This takes the pressure off the first day of the training program and gives me a run or two to find my feet again before I embark on 20 weeks of pure insanity.

How will I cope?

I probably wont. It is no secret I turn into a bit of a nutter when I am not running. However just like the marathon training has been a way for me to shift my focus from other things I am going to shift my focus from running to other things for the next week or so. I am going to absorb every moment of life without running at the forefront while I can. I am also going to enjoy the extra spare time to catch up on reading, writing and other hobbies that come a distant second to running (watch out pile of runners mags that are sitting on my coffee table – I’m coming for you!)

This is the life… all I need now is a Mojito

I could harp on forever about how important REST is in any kind of training. As hard as it will be some days when I am itching to put my sneakers on I think this week is going to give my body (and mind in some ways) the best chance of suceeding at what lies ahead. So rest it is!

Do you ever take a FULL on REST WEEK? Post race maybe?

If you are not running how do you spend your spare time?

The universe’s plan… now its mine!

As much as I like to be proactive in trying to design my life I have come to accept that there are things in life that are just out of our control. Things that are driven by the universe and sometimes the universe’s grand plan doesn’t align with our own plans. However they do say as every door closes another one opens.There hasn’t been  a door closing in my life as much as I have been sitting by the door waiting for it to open and it just is NOT opening.

Lactational Amenorrhea sounds like a dream but when you are keen to grow your family it is kind of frustrating. So here I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for my body to kick back into baby baking mode.

2 weeks ago after my 5km “not so fabulous” race…  I had an idea. A crazy idea. So crazy it seemed ridiculous at first but the more I thought about it the less crazy and wild this idea became.

After a few days of thinking it over and over I was starting to seriously consider this idea and decided it was time to float it to Big A.

Let me just say I am lucky to be blessed with the most supportive family who have always encouraged and supported me to achieve my goals. I was even luckier to marry a man who is also so supportive of me and backs my every dream and goal 100% no matter how crazy.

So once I had got the OK from Big A I did what any Type A control freak personality does –  organise the hell out of it. I worked out every tiny detail to the point where I could see it all coming together BUT I still wasn’t ready to commit.

Then this happened. I visited my Podiatrist… The king of the lower limbs. I walked in to my appointment 75% committed to my crazy idea and walked out 100% committed.

Decision made.

As of Monday 26th November I will abandon my running to NO program approach and start a 20 week training program for …

WaHoo! YeeeeeHaaaa!

So  rather than sit around and be frustrated and impatient with my body I am going to refocus my energies on another goal. Yes, Little A (and Big A) are my #1 priority but he sleeps 14 hours per day (Little A that is!) so there is definitely some time each day to pursue a crazy goal.

Now there are so many things I want to share with you all but in the interest of not making this the LONGEST post ever I will split it up into 4 more posts that I will publish over the next week. Here is a sneak preview of them…

Chill time!… I’m prepping for a marathon but fully intend to sit on my butt for the next 7 – 10 days ( and I am not injured!) here I tell you why!
I just got the hang of that Running to NO plan. Everything about my experience and what I will do in the future.
So much more than running .. There is so much more to prepping for a marathon than just running. In this post I will share all my plans: nutrition, recovery, managing my niggles and balancing family life.
Running Royalty… A an exciting post to tell you what tipped my decision to train for the Canberra Marathon… THIS IS EXCITING!!!!

Of course running will move up the priority list and blogging will have to move down a little. However I do aim to share a marathon training update each week in addition to the normal mummy and running posts.

Finally I just want to point out that I have committed to TRAINING for the Canberra Marathon NOT RUNNING it. The truth is if my body kicks back into baby baking mode in the next two months I could easily ditch the marathon to move forward with growing our family. However there will come a time when I am far enough into the training when there will be no turning back and I will see out the marathon no matter what my body does. In the interest of making race preparations I have decided to give myself a deadline of February 21st to make a decision on the race. This will see me 12 weeks into my training and 8 weeks out from the race.

So anyone want to come line up at Canberra with me?

When have you been frustrated with your body?

Am I crazy?

How far out from a race do you sign up for it?

Seriously?!?!

Little A was finally asleep (after 10 minutes of protesting about going to bed) and I was finally lacing up my sneakers for my run. I was excited to be hitting the pavement and not the treadie for a change. It was warm and I was hoping to get out some good distance so I strapped on my fuel belt for hydration.

I headed out at a steady pace as my focus was more on running longer than any particular speed. Somewhere between the 2km and 3km mark I started to feel the horrible rubbing on the back of the foot – the start of a blister. Seriously?!?! How many times had I ran in these socks and shoes?!?! Why on earth was I suddenly getting a blister!?!?! At this stage the discomfort was bearable and I plodded on but by the 6km mark it was getting more painful and I decided I would rather get home and get the little bugger drained and sorted so not as to affect the rest of my running week. So I headed home. I finished my run at the 7km disappointed to have only done a smidge of the distance I had wanted.

I have racked my brain to think of the last time I got a blister from running and I can’t. Maybe running is a little like child birth in that you quickly forget all the pain and horrible stuff and only remember the joy. But honestly I don’t think blisters are something I have ever really encountered over the last 4 years of running.

Just when I thought my feet couldn’t get any more hideous I am now sporting this little baby…

So now I am trying desperately to work out what caused this so I can avoid it in the future. Is it just the slight increase in foot size at the end of the day (a hot day at that)? Do I need to double sock?

On a positive note the shorter run means I can try and get an early night and I am so in need of some serious sleep so I will consider tonight an investment of my time in muscle recovery!

Do you ever get Blisters? If so what triggers them? Do you drain or leave them?

How were your weekend runs? Better than my effort I hope!!

8 months

Remember this little guy…

Well now he looks a little more like this…

Little A is 8 months old now and it has been another big month of development. Everyday we are seeing more and more of his fun little personality. This month has also been filled with lots of “firsts”…

First ride in a shopping trolley

“Are you sure this thing is safe?”

“Is that food?”

“Quick Mummy…follow the food”

First time trying to feed himself…

Close but it comes out the other end kid!

Getting warmer

Jackpot!

Then there was the first trip to the pool…

“Does my bum look big in these?”

I tried to get a mummy and Little A shot but he was more focused on what was on the menu for lunch!!

Little A’s first chair…

“Look mum it is my real parents!”… we are still convinced he is a Lion!

Crawling

Little A is progressing with his crawling and starting to lift his belly more and more. For the first few weeks it was more like a “commando” crawl with his belly dragging along the floor polishing the floor boards. He has also started to get more adventurous and will now crawl out of the room and head off on his own. So we have started having to make sure we shut doors and now have a big weekend of “baby-proofing” planned. All I can say is Jeez he is quick!

Life with an 8 month old

Changing a nappy is impossible, dressing is impossible, in fact any task that requires the little guy to sit still is IMPOSSIBLE. As soon as we lay him on his back he wants to roll over and wriggle away. So much so we have given up on the change table and now change and dress him on the floor or bed. We do love how curious and active he is but it just takes twice as long to do the basic tasks some days. We have had to adjust our approach and how long we allow to get ready to leave the house.. 60 second nappy changes are a thing of the past!

Luckily his super cute smiley face makes all the impossible worthwhile…

“Did someone say playground?”

“What are we waiting for? SWING SWING already!”

“Finally she’s giving me food that isn’t mush. She must think I’m a baby or something”

Little A’s best “Angel” look. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth…

Apart from all the crawling and cuteness the month has been filled with all the other typical baby stuff. There have been some rough nights and grizzly days with the teething. The new teeth have also seen Little A experimenting with new sounds. I just can’t wait for that first word but for now we are happy to enjoy his beautiful baby noises.

All in all our little guy is a happy and thriving little boy. He is the joy of our lives and every day I feel more and more blessed to watch him grow in front of my very eyes. Pure love… pure happiness!