Looking Forward - Finishing 2014

Hello all,

So as we look towards the end of the year and into our 2015 race calendar, it's always good to stop and reflect.

What went well this year?
What needs to be adjusted?
Is new gear worth trying?
What can make you a more confident runner in 2015?

My year, after setting a few new PRs, is unfortunately going out with a whimper. This year I ran 4 marathons, which is twice as many as I normally run and it has taken a toll on my body. My hip and knee have started hurting and I've started carrying a lot of tension in my shoulders because of it. With Avengers Half (yay!), then Dopey (yay! x4), and then Star Wars Weekend (yay! x3), taking time off completely, isn't in the cards since I'd like to finish all of these races upright.

So what's the plan? Basically, I'm going to just focus on endurance. These races will be run but not raced as I give my body time to recover a bit from the intense training I put it through this year. Also, I'm planning to work in more stretching and recovery into my routine more regularly. Recovery has always taken a backseat and again, it's showing in how my body is hurting more than usual after the training I put in this year.

Focus for the next 2 months: Put in the miles, don't worry about pace.

Once I get through January, I'll reevaluate but I'm hoping that building my endruace base will then set me up to start working in speedwork again and I can race another marathon in May of 2015.

So how is your year finishing up? What are your goals? What are your plans for 2015?

Refocusing and Listening

So this year has been an intense year all round. Work, family, running, friends... you name it, they were all ramped up in intensity this year.

As I approach my 4th (yep, 4th!) marathon this year, I'm starting to think ahead to the next races and figure out some downtime. I'm usually not one for taking time off, but I'm exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I know if I'm going to make it through my next Dopey challenge I'm going to need to take it easy and listen to my body.

It's important to know when to take it easy and for everyone it's different. Here are the signs that trigger me:
  • I'm tired repeatedly during "standard runs" - I'm not talking about the occasional off day, but rather the repeated, every run kind of tired. It isn't always reflected in my pace but it just feels harder.
  • My body feels "soft" - this is weird to describe but when I get physically exhausted, I don't stand as tall, my core doesn't engage as well, and I tend to be more "floppy" or lop-sided when I run. Tired running=bad posture running=no bueno
  • Don't get that good post-run feeling - Usually I come back from a run feeling focused and invigorated but when I'm starting to burnout, I just feel done. I don't feel peppy or like a rockstar, I'm just done running.
My plan to combat this before Avengers and Dopey? Taking some time off. Or more specifically, run when I feel like it, not when the schedule dictates for a couple of weeks.

After the Columbus Marathon, I have the rare unicorn of a vacation, going to WDW with NO RACES! Yep, you read that right, I will just be there to eat, drink, play, eat, take character photos, ride rides, eat, drink, and oh did I mention eating and drinking, it is Food and Wine time you know!

Will I run during that week? Maybe, I'll have my stuff with me so a run will probably happen one morning but I'm not going to stress about it. I'm going to take that week to really rest and just enjoy being a 20-something in WDW with my boyfriend. Then when I come back I'm going to be extra mindful of my running and listening to my body, it's hard to do but totally awesome when you can get the signals right. Training for Dopey was intense last year so I know I need to rest now before I fully ramp up again.

So what are your cues that it's time for a break? What do you do to combat or work through it?