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The end of the long-run era… 

18 weeks of training. 18 weekend long runs. And then it’s done. It’s a weird feeling. I’m so happy my hard work paid off and I was able to accomplish my goals of beating my prior half marathon time and averaging less than 12 minute miles. I was very consistent with my training, only missing one run the entire time. I was able to overall maintain my strength training as well, although my strength workouts were a little random. In hindsight, I wish I listened to Coach Miah and gotten in more training with hills. The 5K in July was pretty hilly, and I did one long run at Stony Creek which has some rolling hills similar to the course in Ann Arbor. It wasn’t nearly enough. I was unprepared for the massive hill at mile 10.5. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done physically. After 10.5 miles of rolling hills, the worst hill at the end seemed like a big fuck you. It seemed like it was never going to end. My pace slowed by about 2 minutes a mile but I was determined to keep jogging. I took a few days completely off after the race to let my body rest and recover. I like to look at life in terms of seasons, and the race represented the end of long run season. Long runs are not something I care to do year-round. They are time-consuming- not only are the runs long (mine usually ranged from 1.5 to a little over 2 hours) but it takes time to warm up and recover post-run. I also tend to not feel like doing much else on long-run days. I will miss long runs a little, it was relaxing in a way. I would listen to podcasts, enjoy the outdoors, and think. Most days I feel like I don’t really have a big chunk of time to think.

On to the next… 

But now it’s on to a new season. I still have two races on the schedule for this year, a 5K and a 10K. I don’t have any real goals for these other than have fun, but I don’t want to be miserable during them so regular running will continue until Thanksgiving. Coach Miah will give me a plan to follow, it will be much lighter than the half marathon training and only 2-3 runs a week vs 4. One of the reasons I stay married to coach Miah is because he coaches me. If someone tells me exactly what I need to do, I do it. I’m not great at being consistent if left to my own devices.  I will continue to maintain strength, with a goal of hitting upper body and lower body at least twice a week, either 2 full body sessions or split up based on my schedule. The main focus over the next 6 weeks is going to be adding yoga into my routine. I am challenged in the flexibility department, so looking forward to prioritizing this for a bit. I’m going to plan on 2 classes a week. I’m going to get a 5 or 10-pack at 2 different local studios to see what I like and go from there. Between the new studios and the yoga offerings at my gym, I should have plenty of scheduling options to get them in.

I hate non-running cardio…

After my last race of the season on Thanksgiving, it’s going to start the season of no running at all for a bit. I want to give my joints a break from pounding the pavement. Sadly, this means I will have to explore other ways to get some cardio in. The recommendations are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio a week, 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio a week, or a combination of the two. I don’t love cardio machines. For some reason on an elliptical, my feet go numb after 10 minutes. My plan is to try an hour cycling class once a week, which will give me 60 mins of high-intensity cardio. I will walk outside at a brisk pace to get the rest, and if the weather doesn’t allow it, I’ll do some hill intervals on the treadmill.  When determining the intensity of your cardio, moderate intensity means your heart rate is up a little, breathing can be a little heavy, and you can still talk but not sing. You may start sweating after about 10 minutes or so. With high-intensity or vigorous cardio, the heart rate is up more, breathing is heavy, it’s difficult to carry a conversation and you will start to sweat after a few minutes.  I enjoy running, so the season of no running will probably last only a month or two, then I will get back into it.

What’s next after the season of no running??? 

Well, my plan is to take a good 6 weeks off and start running in the new year. I don’t think I want to train for a longer race in 2024. I do like having a goal to work towards though, so I might pick something like doing a race (5-10K) every month or focus on speed and PR my 5 and 10K times. I also really want to try trail running, so I would like to find a trail race in 2024 as well. This means I get new shoes which is very exciting. I also really want to focus on strength training and getting really strong in 2024. While I absolutely love making workout programs for my clients, I’m pretty bad at programming for myself. I vow to take the time and really plan out and be consistent with a strength program and see how much progress I make and how I feel. Maybe even try a powerlifting competition… 

The takeaways…

This blog sums up how I like to exercise, but everyone is different. There is no one-size-fits-all for how you get your exercise. There are overall best practices that we should all try and meet, but how we get there is individual. You have to find something you enjoy, at least enough to stick with it. Try new things, and mix it up every few months. Focus on different goals throughout your different seasons. Be consistent! At the minimum work up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio. When you do your cardio, really focus on it and do it with intent. Your day-to-day activities and just getting steps aren’t the same as getting in your cardio. Don’t get me wrong, you should be getting your steps and be as active as you can throughout the day. But do take the time to get your heart rate up! Even if you break it into 10-minute intervals throughout the day, find a way to get it in. Do some form of resistance/strength training, aiming to hit each major muscle group 2-3 times a week. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to have a gym membership or any equipment, your body weight is enough to start. Get help if you need it! I know there’s no way I would have run a half marathon and PR’d my 5K this year if it I didn’t have Coach Miah in my corner, figuring out my plan and encouraging me. I just might know someone who can help…

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