No Goal Running

Holy smokes, you guys. I gotta give a shout out to Theodora over at Daily Burn for the amazing mention in her article yesterday. I don’t even know what to say. I’m honored.

Welcome to the off-season of running. With the exception of CIM, I don’t think there are many other large marathons happening for a while. Hallelujah.

Hip-hip HOORAY for off season!!!!

Hip-hip HOORAY for off season!!!!

I realize that not all of you love off-season. I agree that it can be difficult to get motivated to run when there’s not a specific goal in the upcoming months to work toward. It’s not easy.

Buuuuuuuuut, there are lots of things to do that will prepare you for NEXT YEAR’s race. Read on.

  1. Get that nagging pain checked out and addressed.
  2. Get in better shape. Not running shape, better shape.
  3. Work on weight loss. If this something you feel you need to do, this is the time.
  4. Get stronger. Every one of you needs to do this RIGHT NOW.
  5. Work on speed.

It may be hard to believe, but the work that you put in NOW is going to determine how those 12 weeks of marathon training next Spring or Fall will go. Really.

So, yeah, go for runs. Have some fun. Play in the snow (or, if you’re in NYC today, the pouring frickin rain) and run the shorter distances (10 miles or less) until your training season ramps up next year.

Get strong before you go long.

Me? I'm Refine-ing to get stronger! Apparently, great minds think alike over at Refine Method. (Image shamelessly stolen from Brynn)

Me? I’m Refine-ing to get stronger! Apparently, great minds think alike over at Refine Method.
(Image shamelessly stolen from Brynn)

I should trademark that. But seriously, get strong now. Work on those weak areas now. Get into the gym and get to know your friendly physical therapist. Cuz off season has its place, too!

Now go out and run.

When to Start After the Finish

You’ve done it. You’ve finished your race. You reached the finish line.

Congratulations!

Like water in a desert, this probably seemed like a mirage at first. But NO! You did it!

Like water in a desert, this probably seemed like a mirage at first. But NO! You did it!

One of the hardest things for runners to do after 12-16 weeks of training and then completing their goal race is to rest. It sounds crazy to non-runners.

“Ummmm, aren’t you tired?”

Indeed we are, but we’re also used to spending 60+ minutes a day and 2+ hours on the weekend performing physical activity. It gets addicting. It feels good.

We miss it.

But here’s the thing: YOU NEED REST.

I need every pillow in our apartment to sleep. What? That's normal.

I need every pillow in our apartment to sleep. What? That’s normal.

You’ve just pushed the limits of your body in all capacities. Whether you like it or not, no matter how well-trained you are, your body is damaged. Not in a permanent, destructive way, but damaged all the same.

Muscles have microtears, including your heart, for several hours and days after such an endurance event. You’ll recover if you give yourself TIME to recover. Here’s a guide to knowing when you can go ahead and get back to normal workouts:

  • Before your event, take your heart rate in the morning, before getting out of bed, and collect that data for a week. After your race, monitor your morning heart rate. When it’s back to normal, the majority of your superficial healing is complete.
  • Wait until you are no longer sore. Duh.
  • Give yourself at least a week of nothing more than easy walking to get back to normal daily movement.
  • Don’t go back into weight training or plyos for at least two weeks. Trust me.
  • Eat when you’re hungry. Eat a mix of carbs, protein, fruits, & veggies to make sure you’re getting all your essential nutrients. You will be more hungry, don’t fight it.
Cupcakes are a recovery food.

Cupcakes are a recovery food.

I recommend taking a full week off of exercise. All exercise. Yoga, spinning, elliptical, CrossFit, all of it.

Return to light, easy, non-Garmin running after that. It is my professional recommendation that you not return to any type of training for at least a month to fully recover and then assess if you have any residual issues from your race.

Weight training can resume after about two weeks, or depending on how your body is feeling in response to light, body weight exercises.

Rule of thumb: if you’re tired, take it easy. Cycling through racing seasons is the smart way to be a runner for life, not just for now. Enjoy the down season!

How long do you usually wait before you ramp up again? Do you enjoy the down season? Tell me your favorite down season non-running workout!

Now go out and run!

 

 

Hello, Old Friends

Oh hey there, old friends. Well, not old-old, but…you know. Hiiiiiiiii!!!!

Not much has happened running-wise since I last posted. Seriously, my running is there but nothing to sing about as of late. I haven’t raced since September (if you could call what I did “racing”) and I didn’t end up being able to volunteer at the NYCM again this year.

Sigh.

Slide1Best intentions, right?

But, I have a lot of friends who have been kicking butt recently at the NYCM and other races around the country.

There was the Runner’s World Hat Trick Festival as told through the eyes of my friends Ashley (who is preggers) and Tina (who wrote two recaps). John has been busy over in PA at every race within 50 miles of him. Emily ran her first (for sure not her last!) marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Gia ran Chicago for time and New York for fun (you crazy, girlfriend), and so did Erin.

Then we have all the NYCM-ers: Jess ran for fun, Ali ran for herself (!), Erin and Theodora both became members of the sub-4:00 club, Leticia (who almost didn’t make it to the start line) represented Texas-style, Kim‘s race was 9 years in the making, Mark ran with his Mom in mind. Charlotte PR’d by 45 minutes!

When the flags go up, the city goes wild!

When the flags go up, the city goes wild!

If you’ve been reading this blog for over a year, you might remember my runner friend Jen whose family lost their home to Hurricane Sandy last year. Well, she’s totally a celebrity now and totally kicked butt at this year’s NYCM. So proud of you, friend!

Then there’s Janae who PR’d her half marathon time in a costume and Meaghan who became and IronMan last weekend, which absolutely blows my mind. And then there’s my friend, Kara. Kara completed the IronMan in Lake Placid (swim, bike, run) AND THEN PR’d at the NYCM by 44 minutes, hence her new nickname is IronKara.

Congratulations to all the runners and if I missed your recap, send it to me! Best of luck to everyone running Richmond (go Birdie!) and Philly this weekend. Go get ’em, Runner Army!

Yaaaaaaay Philly!

Yaaaaaaay Philly!

I’m not planning any crazy races in the coming months. Maybe a hot chocolate run here and a turkey trot there, mostly for the food and liquid chocolate. But I like to run these races for kicks.

Post-marathon/half-marathon training is a great time to do a silly costume run that requires you have fun instead of stressing about PR-ing. Find that local Jingle Bell run and dress up like Santa Claus. Have some fun. Run with a friend.

Enjoy the holiday season by running all the fun runs you can. I promise you, it’s a better way to get through cookie/pie season versus stressing out about getting a 20-miler in sometime after your holiday work party. That’s not fun.

Mmmm...pie.

Mmmm…pie.

Are you running a fun holiday run? Turkey Trot, Santa Shuffle, New Year’s Eve run? The most important question being: will you be wearing a costume?

Me as a Turkey. Can you tell?

Me as a Turkey. Can you tell?

Congratulations again to all the Fall racers! Can’t wait to get back out on the racing road with all of you.

Now go out and run