I’ll be honest: after running my first half-marathon last weekend and having a beautiful, joyful experience, it’s easy to come down off the high and feel like “well, enough now. I did it.” It’s easy for a few days to go by and then to feel deflated. The first couple of days I was still so jazzed about running I ran a 10K just for training and another 4-miler, easy breezy.

But then “rest day” hit, and I watched a lot of Netflix, and then it got really, really freaking cold out. I went out one day with the intention of doing 4 miles, and it took me hours (it was a Saturday) just to get the momentum up to put my shoes on. Once I got out on the road, it was so cold and my legs felt so heavy trudging up the first hill that leads out of my neighborhood, I made an excuse that if I did my full 4 miles I’d be late for my date that night and cut it in half, ending it at just 2.

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I haven’t run since.

The last thing I want is to lose steam. I have 4 more half-marathons I’m signed up for, one less than two months away. And I need exercise during the winter to fight off seasonal affective disorder, which always hits me pretty bad. The last period of my life where I was in an exercising groove and then stopped, my positivity and easygoing-ness tanked pretty hard and I became anxious and worrisome, judging people freely and easily and meanly, picking fights that just weren’t worth it.

And yes, admittedly, I don’t want to gain back all the weight I’ve lost now that I’m fitting into dresses I haven’t been able to wear in years.

It also hasn’t helped that I’ve been briefly unemployed while waiting for my new [dream!!!] job to start (one week to go!). Grad school has prevented me from completely slacking off during this time, but it is easy to say “just one more episode of Parks and Rec, THEN I’ll get on the treadmill.”

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Speaking of oMG can we TALK about this episode!! all the feels!!

So it’s time to readjust and review my routine. Months ago I set myself a fall training routine, which I totally didn’t exactly stick to, but it provided a basic framework. I did stick to going to Body Pump class most Mondays except when grad school/work combo was hitting me pretty hard. I didn’t sign up for that training program, mainly for monetary reasons, so I just kept running on my own. And instead of yoga on Fridays, since it didn’t work with my work schedule, I did the elliptical and weights with my friend Jill every Friday, which we called (and still do call) our “gym dates.”

This winter, I will finally no longer have my dreaded Wednesday night class after work interrupting my schedule and making Wednesdays a weird day to have a rest day and also a horribly long hump day making me super exhausted just even thinking about the work week. By December 7 the semester will be over, and on December 8, I signed up for a 5K with Potomac River Running, the Run with Santa 5K.

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Coincidentally, that’s also supposed to be the morning of my first long run with my PR Running Half Marathon training group I signed up for!! I will have to miss the orientation session for their race, but I did want to sign up for at least one last 5K before 2013 closes out to see if I can beat 30 minutes for the first time. I’m excited to try running with a group, but also kind of nervous. I’m a pretty shy person in large groups and usually my best running motivation comes from my headphones. So we’ll have to see.

I’m hoping to stick to the following schedule:

Monday: Body Pump class
Tuesday: 4-5 mile short run
Wednesday: Track practice with PR Running group
Thursday: Body Pump or Yoga
Friday: 3-4 mile short run or REST
Saturday: REST or RACE
Sunday: Long run with PR Running group

I’m also going to try and add at least one day a week where I go meat-free and one meal a week that I wouldn’t normally try except that it’ll be packed with health benefits. Tonight, it was a post-gym snack of blueberry Greek yogurt (BLECH) with hemp seeds (…interesting?) for muscle growth.

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I can’t lie and say I’m not dreading dealing with this ice cold weather for the next three to four months. But I am excited for winter break from school, for my new job starting, for doing my damndest to beat the winter blues, and for going into my next few half marathons still in shape, hopefully better shape, and with plenty of confidence.

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