Summer running goals

I’m now well into my second round of boot camp at 3rd Degree Training, and as I continue to work on my strength, the spring weather has me itching to set some running goals.

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It’s hard to believe I have only run a handful of times since having the twins – who are now 7.5 months old. When Silas was about nine months old, I ran the Lorneville Loop, a 13-kilometre race! I’m nowhere near ready to take on such a distance but I know once I start training, the running will come back to me before long.

With three young children, the days slip by so quickly, and I feel like I need to go ahead and set race goals so I have incentive to get out and run, or else the time will just float by and my mat leave will be gone.

St. Andrews Father’s Day 5-Miler – June 17 – I have run this challenging course twice before – once in blazing heat, and once in pouring rain. Maybe this will be my lucky year and the weather will be perfect. This gives me six weeks to train and lines up with the end of this round of boot camp. A great way to celebrate! Not to mention honouring my awesome husband and father to three under three.

Marathon by the Sea 10K – August 12 – I want to be good to my body and avoid jumping into distance running too quickly. Training for a 10K is a great way to continue to increase my mileage without sacrificing my weekends to long runs away from my kids. A quick look at the Marathon By the Sea website indicates this run crosses Saint John’s Harbour Bridge, which is an amazing experience. There are lots of hills, so definitely not expecting a personal best, but Marathon by the Sea is always a hometown favourite.

To get myself back in running shape, I need to start getting the miles in. Doing this while completing another boot camp may be a little challenging, but I hope to attempt 2-3 runs a week in addition to my 3-4 workouts at 3rd Degree. The great thing about this is my stronger body should make me a stronger runner less prone to aches and pains.

I’m also still following my custom Actual Nutrition guide and avoiding treats except for special occasions, so I am curious to see how this impacts my running.

I’m still breastfeeding the twins, although they continue to eat an increasing amount of solids. So I still need to consume plenty of calories to keep us all going. As I gradually start weaning this summer, my mileage will be increasing so I will be able to pare down the volume of food a bit, but probably not by a ton. Ah yes, one of the greatest benefits of running is the food.

 

 

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My marathon training plan

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I’m now officially in Week 3 of my 16-week marathon training plan. I haven’t joined a running club, or a gym, and I don’t have a trainer. I’m doing this on my own.

To be honest, I prefer to train this way. I’m more or less a self-taught runner, and while I enjoy running with friends the odd time, to me, this is the ultimate solo sport. I love the flexibility, freedom and peace that goes along with it.

That said, I realize it’s absolutely essential to go into any kind of distance race prepared. So I have been loading up on podcasts, running mags, blogs and I even bought a book on marathon training.

There are many training plans available online, but I decided to go with the beginner marathon plan in my Runner’s World training guide. It includes four days of running every week, with two short runs mid-week, as well as one on Saturday, and a long run on Sunday. So far I’m loving the schedule because it takes the pressure off during the hectic work week and gives me more time on the weekends. I’m not sure how I will feel tackling a long run when the Saturday runs get longer, but I know the idea will be to keep them slow and easy.

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To me, the grand plan is to keep it smart and simple. I’m not going to restrict my diet, but I want to fuel and recovery properly. I’m not going to wear out my body during workouts, but I want to include good amounts of stretching and strengthening to prevent injury. And building up mileage gradually will be key.

While the long runs do look daunting, I find it more manageable if I break it down. Really, there are only four weeks that include scary distances – 15 miles (24 km) and beyond. The Sunday long runs peak twice at 20 miles (32 km), which is freaky but just 10 km longer than I’ve ever gone. Heck, even if I walk half of that, I’ll be happy.

Now I’m off to wind down for the evening before so I can run 4 miles on the treadmill in the morning before the toddler wakes and the work day begins. Feels like not hitting the snooze button is half the battle.

A mid-week run

My training plan calls for four runs per week for a total of 16 weeks. It all seems very doable right now.

But still, there are days, like today, when even a 5 km run seems nearly impossible.

I was originally planning on getting my run over with first thing in the morning on the treadmill, but that plan was thrown out the window after Silas ended up waking up in the middle of the night and moving into our bed. There would be no sneaking away to run.

After patchy sleep, my energy was lagging all day. But the afternoon sun and bare pavement were beckoning. I instantly regretted not taking advantage of a lunchtime run, and vowed to get out after work with the jogging stroller.

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It was glorious! Just above zero Celsius and it was so nice to take advantage of the extra daylight we have been experiencing. Spring was certainly in the air.

My pace was slow – close to 7 min/km – but it was steady. It was so sweet to look down and see the little pom-pom on my son’s hat, and his mittens grasping the stroller tray. We saw dogs, kids and city buses and heard “choo choo trains.” We went “wheeee!” and “bump, bump, bump.” Running with a toddler is fun, almost working the same way a podcast or great music can take your mind off things.

As we rounded the final corner onto our street, I heard his sweet voice say, “hommme.”

This was just another lesson that even 5 km runs can seem daunting, but they are always worth it in the end.