Getting into the Training Groove: It’s Not Always Pretty

I'm feeling it now, but it wasn't the smoothest of starts for marathon training #4. (Beth, one of my BRFs and a professional photographer, snapped this picture of me earlier this month. She captured a blissful moment for sure!)
I'm feeling it now, but it wasn't the smoothest of starts for marathon training #4. (Beth, one of my BRFs and a professional photographer, snapped this picture of me earlier this month. She captured a blissful moment for sure!)

I may scratch my head more often than I’d care to admit while helping my 10-year-old with his fifth-grade math homework, but the answer to the equation I’m about to share is a no-brainer:

5 snow days in less than 2 weeks  + 1 deadline-heavy work month + 1 twinge-y/tight calf muscle and tender Achilles + 1 very fun, much-needed girls’ (late) night out (worth it, but ouch) = 1 out-of-whack start to marathon training.

Or, put another way: Nearly one month into the Train Like a Mother Marathon Own It Plan, I just didn’t feel like I was making any traction … that is, until this week.

This week, oh, things are finally gelling. I logged a 15-miler last weekend—no small feat given dynamics explained above along with even-my-eyelashes-are-frozen single-digit temps outside. But I powered through, thanks in part to the appearance of glorious sunshine that come winter in Michigan likes to hide for days-long stretches.

Rounding that final corner of my long run, surging toward my driveway, I felt triumphant and more sure than I had in a long time of my strength and determination to have a great race come May. It was my longest run in nearly a year. Completing it, experiencing that familiar good-sore feeling the rest of the day, was such a confidence booster. Yes. That’s what I needed.

The days following proved just as good training-wise: 5 solo nice and easy miles Monday; 4 snowy trail miles with BRF and hill queen Jen on Wednesday; 6.5 trail/road miles Thursday. The plan calls for 4-5 miles today and a long run of 13 this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting another double-digit run on the books.

No doubt my lower leg tightness—it came on following a rockin’ fun snowshoe race—played a big role in my slow start. Active Release Technique (ART) therapy helped tremendously, as did altering my training plan. I didn’t follow the first two weeks of the Own It plan to a T and I’m so happy with my decision. (thank you again, SBS, for your wise counsel about taking it easy and not freaking out. Because I definitely was starting to freak out.) I took several days off from running, had a successful hurts-so-good ART session, tried a new sport for some cross-training (skate skiing) and completed my second-ever hot yoga session (too hot for me, yet strangely cleansing).

And, I must add that it’s been so great having fellow mother runners share encouragement and training updates on Twitter using hashtag TLAM2013. If you haven’t yet joined the conversation, please consider doing so—training ups and downs are always better shared, and I can say with certainty that receiving a message from a fellow BAMR such as "Look at you! What a great run and effort!" or reading about someone's fantastic run makes a big difference. It's helping keep me focused and on track. No math required.

You can find me on Twitter here. (Also be sure to follow the new-ish @TheMotherRunner account, which Sarah and Dimity both contribute to.)





9 responses to “Getting into the Training Groove: It’s Not Always Pretty

  1. So glad to see you here! As another Michigan Mother Runner I relate to you on so many levels. I had frosty eyelashes this Saturday myself…felt pretty tough! Today, the rain at 45* nearly did me in…

  2. I feel like such a wuss…I run downtown Washington, DC and have the Capitol and the Monuments to look at while i run. Today,i did a short run, 5.5 miles with a quick potty stop at the American Indian Museum. The temperature was a freezing 38 degrees with a little wind. I lived in Florida for many years, and anything below 70 calls for a sweater and gloves!
    i am preparing for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler the first week of April. My BGFs are coming from Florida for the weekend and will run also. We are looking forward to the delicate flowers and spring time temperatures.
    Thanks for the picture and all the stories of running. it keeps me motivated…. and grateful for 38 degrees ABOVE zero!

  3. OMG…I swear you are stalking me and post stuff just when they are on my mind. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking that my shoes were worn out but then thought maybe it’s just me and on FB Dimity posted a question about ‘how do you know when your shoes need replacement?’….Now this morning I was thinking about my Half Marathon OWN it plan that starts this weekend for the Cleveland Half, my concerns were that it’s been a tough few weeks of training to build to the 8 mile starting point. This training which included a .01 mile run (yes the decimal point is in the RIGHT place). The .01 mile run was a last minute decision to run in the AM instead of my usual after work b/c of the forecast, I quick tossed on my running clothes and within a few steps of my side door found out that there was glare ice everywhere. My driveway slopes so after doing some flailing and windmilling with my arms I succumbed to gravity, which once those slick running tights hit the ice I picked up speed and slid into the street. No real injuries were sustained but I’m sore and if laughter is the best medicine I should be healed quickly because let’s face it the story is funny. This leads me to be concerned about this weekends opening run of 8 miles, it seems from the blog that I could slog it out, probably much slower than usual and that I should just follow the plan and that the hard work will catch up. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my sidetracked training.

  4. Thanks for this post. I’ve been feeling the same way about my training, and the winter weather to date has been hard. It’s been consistently -30 with the windchill (that’s Canadian temperatures!) and long runs have left me feeling frozen and miserable. And then suddenly, the weather improved and things are starting to feel better. On my run this Thursday, I could actually see the pavement below my feet and it just made me feel faster. I really appreciate hearing about others experiencing similar snowy weather training.

  5. Thanks so much! I’ve been feeling really discouraged by the snowy weather here, but reading this and seeing that beautiful picture is excellent motivation.

  6. Thank you for this one! I’ve been feeling drained with all extras our life keeps tossing our way. This post spoke to me. I have not yet picked my marathon for this year. I’ve already run a half in Jan. been training for nothing longer than that distance. Missing my long runs. I’m so bad about rest. I need to fit that part in better in order to do well again in my fulls for the year. I feel so lost without my daily run. It’s my only time before the after school home work marathon starts in our home with 3 kids ( 10, 8, 7 & taming 4 yr old tot not to bug them) bringing home homework. It’s my get in zone place to handle it all. Thank you!!!! Love the picture. I want to run that trail. Enjoy your training.

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