Happy Hump Day!
The winter weather officially started Monday morning. I brought out my long sleeves a couple weeks ago, but this was the first week my tights made their appearance.
This is the best picture I could get of my tights and long sleeves. It was 4:30 in the morning – just go with it! Add in gloves, a hat, and a jacket and you have my go-to cold weather running attire.
While I am naturally a cold natured person, I have to say I am pretty open to the cooler temperatures. It feels so fresh when running in the morning and I don’t miss the awful humidity that accompanied my marathon training. I’m sure I’ll eat my words when the real cold weather gets here, but for now I am welcoming it with open arms!
Today I wanted to talk about something that I have struggled with in the past, and still do some.
When I train for a marathon I spend 18 weeks building up and pounding out mile after mile. Before that I usually have done a speed focus for a while, but regardless I’ve spent about 4-5 months of tough and higher mileage.
I should add in that high mileage is very individual. What is high for some may be an off season for others. For example, my husband’s step back is averaging roughly what I did a day during marathon training but for him it’s a huge cut.
Once your marathon is over, the running comes to a halt.
Last week I didn’t run at all until Saturday morning. While I appreciated the extra sleep I kept feeling the itch and desire to go run. The thing was, I didn’t need to be running. I needed to give my body a break. I am happy to say that I made it and survived!
Monday morning I started really getting back into the routine again. This week the focus has been on easy running. No speed, no workouts, just easy and relaxed running.
After my run on Monday I found myself wanting to up my mileage again. It’s habit, instinct, or maybe just the OCD part of me but I couldn’t imagine myself running 4-6 miles every day. I immediately wanted to be back to my training mileage.
I thought this was just a problem I was experiencing, but after talking with several individuals I found out I wasn’t alone.
In case you struggle with cutting your mileage back, here are a few things I’ve been focusing on:
Enjoy the Down Time
It is almost hard for me to remember the last time I could just go out and run without a plan, specified mileage, or workout. I do benefit a lot from a plan, but a little break every now and again really helps me out mentally.
Remember WHY You’re Doing It
It doesn’t take me long to remember back to how frustrating the early half of my marathon training season was. I knew I was capable of hitting the paces but my body just wasn’t having it.
I was over trained, tired, and exhausted. It set me back and resulted in having to adjust my original marathon goal. When I feel the desire to push the miles or start back workouts I remember how horrible it felt when your body is burn out. I remind myself that the off season can make all the difference in how my training goes when I begin again.
Your Body Has Worked HARD
Your body goes through a lot of work during a marathon, or any race for that matter. On top of that you’ve put in hard work for 4-5 months. Your body needs a break!
Even though you may feel like you are ready to go, your body deserves some rest. Enjoy the extra time!
Focus on Other Areas
I’ve been using the extra time in the morning after my shorter runs to fit in form drills and strength training. I spend about 10-15 minutes doing form drills directly after (or during) my runs and then have come up with a new strength routine for post run.
I hope to add in the gym in about a month or so at least 2-3 times per week after work. Still want to give my body a break and not jump right into intensive weight training.
Between getting up super early, trying to fit in mileage, work, fixing dinner, stretching, strength training and getting other work done I rarely had any time for me.
I love using the extra time to do things that I’ve been meaning to get done. I’ve already spent time cleaning our house, doing a few projects I’ve been talking about doing, and just enjoying the few hours in the evening we have with my husband.
A cut back in mileage can be hard for those of us who are used to going out there and giving it our all day in and day out. However, it’s a great and beneficial thing for your body in the long run.
Don’t worry about losing fitness, don’t worry about not running enough, this is the time that can actually help you to have better training in the coming weeks/months.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my favorite bracelets right now as a reminder!
Do you like cutting back your mileage?
What do you focus on post marathon?