Trying to avoid the winter blahs

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It’s been a very long time since I have taken a moment for a little self-reflection. While this blog evolved over time to share my running journey — especially last year’s marathon — I have also used it more recently to share some of my writing and stories about others. But for those wondering what the heck April has been up to (is she even still running?), here it is.

Yes! Still running, just not as much, and for the first time in a long time, without any immediate goals. It’s actually quite liberating!

Instead of focusing on mileage or training plans, I have been trying to mix up my exercise with more cross training, yoga and strength training. Trying to become a less injury-prone runner for when I sign up for that next big race. While I didn’t suffer any injuries during the previous two half-marathons, my IT band was under duress during the marathon, and I certainly don’t want to go through that again.

I don’t think I ever shared my New Year’s goals on this blog, but they were to do yoga once a week, do strength 1-2x a week and read one book a month. So far I am more or less on track. Even if I don’t get to yoga or a strength class, YouTube to the rescue.

Our membership at the Saint John Y has certainly helped. It’s also been a blessing to keep Silas occupied (in child-minding) while I exercise after work. So far we have only attempted to do that one day a week, but it’s been awesome to get back into spinning!! I also try to go to Group Power (like Body Pump at Goodlife) on Saturday mornings, and on Sunday, Silas and I go to the early years open swim. It’s a beautiful facility and so perfect for this point in our lives.

"The Y? Can we go to the Y?" #startthemyoung #ymca #swimming #toddlerlife

A post shared by April Cunningham (@aprilacunningham) on

As far as running, my goal has been to aim for three runs a week. At first I was hoping for two short and one long, but realistically, they’ve all been short, “easy” runs. On the treadmill. I feel as though that, combined with the other stuff we’re doing is pretty reasonable. This week Silas and I even got out for a stroller run. Holy, it was tough! I’ve been used to #netflixandtreadmill!

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At this point my biggest challenge has been to stay motivated to eat healthily. Craving carbs and sugar, hard. Even fast food (ugh, I know). I always joke that I hope all my running and exercise cancel out my bad eating habits, but I know that only goes so far.

So as the mountains of snow slowly melt outside, I hope to stock my fridge with healthy snacks and get inspired with fresh, family-friendly recipes to carry us into the spring. No more blizzards, please.

Happy trails, everyone. Run on!

Between storms

I’d never been so pumped to run 7K on a treadmill. I know, I know… the treadmill is boring as hell. But see, I am a mother of a 7-month-old baby who has not stepped foot outside her house for three of the past seven days due to the snowpocolypse. So today’s outing was pure joy.

First, I helped shovel our driveway. There is not much room for the 35 more centimetres that is expected to fall tomorrow.

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Then off to Iron Jungle, where I was mostly on my own. I fired up the treadmill and ran at a steady 6 mph for 4.3 miles. It felt pretty good!

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Farthest run post - baby!

To help occupy myself during the run, I listened to Ultra 2015, a bass-pumping dance album. I also risked my life successfully texting my mom and sister while running. Probably not the smartest thing I`ve ever done.

Things that could have made my run better: not wearing a too-small shirt that kept riding up, cleaning the gunk out of my headphones (I had one ear blasted by the end) and emptying my bladder. #momlife

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My 13K training plan

In just 2.5 months I will be running my first official race in a year and a half. Having a 13K run on the horizon is both daunting and exciting.

Although there is still lots of time, I decided to rough out a training plan so I don’t leave it all to the last minute and risk an injury. I want to get plenty of miles on my feet so running 13K doesn’t feel like the end of the world – and it shouldn’t, knowing that I am perfectly capable of running 21.

However, I’m trying to be kind to myself, knowing that, yes… it was only seven months ago that I gave birth. And the farthest I have run in months is 5K. So here goes.

  • Run three times a week, including one “long run”
  • Strength workouts two times a week

Basically I have enough time to gradually increase my distance by one kilometre every long run from now on. So this weekend I am up for 6K, next weekend 7K and so on, until I hit 13K in mid-March.

It’s not a strenuous plan but consistent, so it should do the trick.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing all my running at the gym. Mark and I joined little gym in our west Saint John neighbourhood so it’s super easy for me to skip out while Mark is home so he can watch the baby.

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#runfie

Overall I love getting out for a workout since it’s one of  my only real breaks from babyland. But sometimes it’s hard to find the energy and motivation. Like today, I should have run, but didn’t. Oh well.

For strength workouts, I’m doing mostly body weight exercises like squats, lunges and modified push-ups. There have been so many workout ideas posted lately. So there’s no shortage of ways to change it up.

The last couple of times I’ve used an app to time 20-seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. I did five rounds of jump squats, push-ups, lunges with weights and a twist, bent-over rows balancing on one leg, and kettlebell swings. I got the workout from an old issue of Canadian Running (sorry, I wasn’t able to find the workout to link it online).

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I’m a fan of having a goal race on the horizon. It gives me the motivation to exercise. Working out at the gym can be a chore, but being prepared for a spring race will be sooo worth it.