How to Train When You Have No Time

There are people in this world who legitimately have no time to work out. Instagram would have you believe otherwise.

A quick Google image search brought up these "fitspiration" quotes.

A quick Google image search brought up these “fitspiration” quotes.

The Internet thinks I’m lazy. Isn’t that nice? They call this “fitspiration”…I’ll let you decide how inspiring sayings like this are. For me? Not so much.

Guess what? I no longer have all the time in the world to work out. I really don’t have the opportunity to take 2 hours out of my Monday-Friday to hit the track and then the gym. I only wash my hair 2-3x/week as it is.

And yet, I’m still training for a half marathon by running 2-3 days/week.

Yes, TRAINING.

Yeah, for that, too.

Yeah, for that, too.

So, what to prioritize?

Science tells us that short-term speed and interval training elicits similar physiological effects on the body as endurance training. It’s not a total replacement, mind you, but I’m not Kara Goucher. I’m thrilled that my mitochondria are getting more efficient in my 45 minute intervals versus a 90 minute easy run!

Hallelujah!

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • Day 1: Repeats/ladders/short sprints
  • Day 2: Progression/tempo run
  • Day 3 (optional): Distance w/stroller

Day 3 really isn’t happening these days. It’s just not. The weather hasn’t been favorable for stroller running and I won’t take even more time away from the already very limited family days I have on the weekend to run.

Why?

Because I also need to strength train. And, as science has shown us repeatedly, strength training helps maximize endurance performance AND prevents injuries.

You will find me at Refine Method AS MANY TIMES A WEEK AS POSSIBLE.

You will find me at Refine Method AS MANY TIMES A WEEK AS POSSIBLE. I’m not only one of their amabassadors, I’m OBSESSED with them.

So, yeah. That’s what I’m doing and that’s why I’m doing it.

Now go out and run!

Running-ish

I didn’t imagine it this way. I figured that 8 months post-partum, I’d be back running 3-4 days a week and feeling strong on my runs and ready to train for a half marathon by now.

Here’s the reality:

  • I run 1-2 days a week. That’s a good week. Some weeks I run zero days.
  • I go to Refine (thank goodness I’m an Ambassador for them!) 3 times a week.
  • I’m signed up for a half marathon in July.

I’m ready for the sidewalks and roads to get less icy so I can run to and from Refine. I hate sitting on the bus or in a cab when I could be getting some miles. I’m gonna be sweaty anyway, right?

Pudgy hand on my chest = heart melt.

Pudgy hand on my chest = heart melt.

So what’s a runner to do when she has very little time to run? Me? I complain to Birdie (sorry, Birdie) and run when I can.

When I run with the Mountain Buggy jogging stroller, I just run at whatever pace feels comfortable. If JB or Birdie runs with me and the stroller, they push the stroller and I we just mosey along.

If I’m running on my own, I do a workout. I hit the track or the treadmill and do something involving sprints or repeats. I run to Central Park and bust out some hills. Between Refine Method (thank you, Brynn) workouts and these runs, I’m in relatively ok shape.

Hello, old friend.

Hello, old friend.

There are legitimate barriers to my running. My kid (the happiest, cutest reason I sometimes can’t run), my absolutely bonkers school schedule, the crazy slippery road conditions we’ve had, and life choices.

But part of being a smart runner is recognizing where I am now and what I can do. Placing unattainable standards and goals on my plate will only serve to make me a very angry, frustrated Abby.

And no one likes pissed-off Abby.

So there you have it. I’m running-ish. Looking very forward to the Spring when I won’t be nervous about skidding around with the stroller or the air being too cold for the munchkin. Oh, and I get to be done with school.

Yaaaaaaaay!

That’s the state of things in my running world. Where are you? Are you running or running-ish?

Ready for Summer running.

Ready for Summer so I can get back to running, not running-ish.

Now go out and run!

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.

Friday Fitness News: Dump

I’ve been slacking on my Friday Fitness posts. Partly because they’re pretty time consuming, partly because I’m too busy enjoying my Fridays to sit down and write a post. That will probably change pretty soon since I’ll be sitting a whole lot more when school starts.

On a cheerier note, happy Labor Day long weekend, everyone! I hope you’re all at the beach, attending a clambake, wearing your best summer whites right now.

Before and After. (Image courtesy of Andrew Dixon and Huffington Post)

Before and After.
(Image courtesy of Andrew Dixon and Huffington Post)

Sheep Meadow looking very fine this Fall day!

I love to run in the Fall!

  • I will be attempting to make my own energy “gels” this weekend. I just can’t find one pre-made that doesn’t taste like liquid candy. Yuck.
  • A fascinating article on why we love certain doctors and not others.
  • GB and Aleah have started blogs. You should follow them: GB for all things sweaty in NYC, Aleah for the best jams to pump you up.
My buddies.

My buddies.
(Images shamelessly stolen from their blogs)

In a totally unrelated category, you can support a seriously awesome company that makes undergarments for ostomates, Awestomy!. It’s really hard to find the right apparel to support an ostomy and I encourage those of you who followed my 5-month ostomy journey to consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign. I did!

Everyone wants to feel good about how they look, even with and ostomy!

Everyone wants to feel good about how they look, even with and ostomy!

Phew! Friday Fitness News dump done! Thanks for sticking with me. That’s a whole lot of randomness in one post.

Happy Labor Day weekend, y’all. Anyone racing this weekend? Any news I missed? I’m gonna go get new school supplies for the big day on Tuesday. See y’all in the next school year!

Now go out and run.

*For the record, this is actually very similar to the type of strength training I do at Refine Method and I have found it to be enormously complimentary to my running.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Days Like This

I’m not Pollyanna but I’m not Oscar the Grouch either.

I was OBSESSED with Hayley Mills' costumes in Pollyanna. So gorgeous. The bows! (Image courtesy of Disney.com)

I was OBSESSED with Hayley Mills’ costumes in Pollyanna. So gorgeous. The bows!
(Image courtesy of Disney.com)

I’m somewhere in the middle where I don’t let myself wallow in the dumps but I feel my feelings and deal with them. Some days are harder than others, but I try to remind myself that tomorrow is a whole new day and something awesome might happen.

I'm Cookie Monster. He's somewhere in the middle-to-mostly-sunny side of life, isn't he? Plus, I like cookies.

I’m Cookie Monster. He’s somewhere in the middle-to-mostly-sunny side of life, isn’t he? Plus, hello, COOKIES.

Days Like This: when I have a great run.

Days Like This: when a respected friend and colleague asks me to collaborate with them.

Days Like This: when I {finally} don’t feel like I’m going to die in a Refine Method class.

Real life tweets between me and my favorite torturers, er, instructors.

Real life tweets between me and my favorite torturers, er, instructors.

Days Like This: when I have a hard workout one day and I’m not hobbling around for a week.

Days Like This: when I accurately answer a question for one of my classmates or a patient.

Days Like This: when I’m able to coach someone else to the finish line.

Best phone call ever received on vacation: from Sam after she finished the Nashville Half. So proud!

Best phone call ever received on vacation: from Sam after she finished the Nashville Half. So proud!

Days Like This are why we fight through the crappy days. Days like this are we we keep on going when there is no visible light at the end of the tunnel.

One can only hope that Days Like This come along so much more than the ones our mamas told us about. You know, the “Mama said there’d be Days Like This“-days. Then again, many of us have far more of the latter type of Days Like This and for those times, we have our memory and our friends to help us get through it.

I mean, when you've got friends like these...

I mean, when you’ve got friends like these…

We remember when we ran and it felt good and we know that there’ll be Days Like That again.

We remember when we felt normal and could do normal things and we hope for Days Like That.

We remember that life is constantly changing and, although today might not be the same as yesterday, it is a new day and we make of it what we will.

Each race after surgery is even more of a victory than the one before cuz it's one more than before.

Each race after surgery is even more of a victory than the one before cuz it’s one more than before.

Days Like This can lift us up and give us hope but in the end, if we don’t recognize them when they come around, we may never know they were ever there. Enjoy this day, this moment.

Enjoy Days Like This, friends. They are absolutely what make today so much Better Than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

What are “good” days in your book? Great weather? Good workout? No traffic on the way home from work? I count any day that the train is running on time as a good one. Hooray for public transportation!