So in amongst angsty posts, I plan to intersperse some training logs.
I talked about routine and habits in my last post, and how essential those are to my mental health. Knowing this, and being aware of my own precariously unhappy brain, I set about a week ago to get myself back in training.
I’ve been running throughout the winter, but almost exclusively with the dogs. This is a totally different style of running. Because the dogs are so strong, I work a lot to resist their pull, which means instead of my calves and quads working hard, my hamstrings and shins bear the brunt of the work (or at least this is my assessment based on what’s sore after I run!), and I also absolutely do not have to work as hard when the dogs are pulling– They take on a lot of my weight, they give me inertia. It’s awesome and I can go FAST, but if I want to accomplish some of my own race goals and keep myself in true top form, solely running with the dogs isnt’ going to cut it. I need to pull my own weight!
So I need to figure out a way to accomplish both giving the dogs the appropriate amount of exercise (whether that’s running “bonus runs” with me or free running, or both!), and to give myself what I need.
This isn’t just running. Running is huge for me, but I also really love and need the hardcore workout that is boxing. The combo of these two activities seems to be my sweet spot, for now. It’s my favorite method of being in training.
“You’re in training” is a phrase that works for me. I have a lot of goals in my life but my depression can severely truncate any motivation. So I have to find things that do push me, that make me take that next step forward. (I actually think some of my motivators are problematic in nature, but that’s a post for another time.)
This is what’s working for me. My alarm clock says “you’re in training” when I wake up. When I’m running or working the heavy bag, this is what I think and it gives me extra oomph.
What am I in training for? Hmm, that’s a good question. I have some ideas but they aren’t yet fully formed. Because I knew I needed first and foremost to adjust my routine, I created a training plan for myself just for one month. This plan will get me back up to relatively longer miles, and get me in the habit of boxing four times a week.
I’ll make a weekly post about how things are going. This is not just to torture you with boredom, but to hold myself accountable, reflect on things and worked and those that didn’t, and process what I can do better.
Here’s my training log so far for this week:
My plan started on Saturday, but after this week, I’ll consider my week to start on Sunday. I set myself up with 5 runs from Saturday – Saturday to get myself back in the saddle. (That’s an 8 day week– So 5 days of running and 3 days off.) I set myself up with two intense boxing workouts (90 min each), which I do with a couple friends in the boxing gym I set up in my basement, and a couple “quick boxes” to do along side running days– Where I can do a shorter boxing routine that still helps me stay conditioned and builds muscle. My eventual goal with this is that I’ll do 4 full boxing workouts a week.
Quick shout out to two folks who have been hugely instrumental in my training in general, and have taught me what works best for my body. For boxing, I use the training routine I learned in Mark’s Boxing Gym. It’s an awesome workout, keeps me conditioned, and pushes me. I owe Mark a big debt for teaching me this circuit and helping me learn I could accomplish it. I’m excited to get back up to Alaska soon and back into MBG when I can. For running, Kate Arnold from Active Soles Performance Footwear got me to the point of running 26 miles on my own two feet this past summer. These folks are my mentors and I’m so grateful to what I’ve learned from them. I’ll also probably be pestering them for advice and insight.
Here’s how my plan has gone so far this week.
My first day, Saturday, I had a 3 mile run planned. I didn’t give myself any big expectations as far as speed, because it has been so long since I last ran on my own. It was a gorgeous day– 60 degrees in February! I got up at 8:00 (“You’re in training!” said my clock) and got ready to hit the pavement. I always have anxiety and resistance to running before every single run. I used to have so much anxiety I would get physically sick. I’ve really come a long way in overcoming that, but some of it is still there. The thing that gets me out the door is putting on my shoes. If I can trick myself into getting dressed (I don’t think about WHY I’m getting dressed in these athletic clothes), then when I’m ready, my brain says… “Oh… I guess we’re dressed for this. Might as well.” I also have a delay start on my running app, MapMyRun. I start the timer with a 5 minute delay as I’m putting on my shoes. That sets things up so that when I walk out the door, I can move around a bit, stretch, or just walk, until the app voice coach says, “Start your workout.”
This three mile run was tough. I could really tell it had been a good while since I had gotten out on my own feet. I definitely have gained some weight over the winter (pretty normal for me, unless I’m mushing), and I could feel it. I tried to think light, easy thoughts and take light, easy steps. Learning to run with a quick, short-stepped cadance was huge when I started training for my first half marathon three years ago. I had always run with long, heavy strides. Short, light steps are the key to long distance– at least for me.
I sweat and suffered through that three miles, but I made it. My time was even half decent, if I recall. I felt great.
I have a routine after running now where I take a bath right away. I’m horrible at stretching, though I’ve gotten better in my old age because I have to. Stretching and then taking a hot bath helps keep my muscles limber and happy, and so far injury free. I’m awesome at pushing myself way too hard and ending up hurt and off my feet. Moderation does not come easy to me, but I’m trying!
Sunday I originally planned to do a short boxing routine and rest from running, but life transpired and I had to push the boxing to Monday.
Monday it was rainy, but I got out for another 3-miler. This one was easier! The rain was nice. I went down to my basement boxing set up and did a quick short routine right away, while I was still warmed up from running. Good quick workout! I didn’t do as much as I had wanted but let that be okay.
Tuesday night I had my longer boxing workout with my buddies. This went really well. I had been slacking off on these workouts, but I determined to push hard and my friend Whitney and I had a really good workout. Buddies are good to get a little competition going and push each other to do our best. I think we both ended that workout feeling it!
Wednesday I jumped up to a 5 mile run. I was a little nervous about if I could do this, since the two 3-milers were a lot harder than I expected! But I went for it and had an awesome run in the sunset. I don’t always run exclusively in the morning or afternoon. I do have to coorinate my eating around running or my workout, or else I’ll have a terrible stomach experience. I have to have at least 2 hours of not eating before a workout– more is better. Morning workouts are good but sometimes it doesn’t work out for me. Wednesday morning I met with a friend, so my workout was slated for the afternoon. I procrastinated right until the sunset, but it was a beautiful run. Then I went home, stretched, and hopped in a really hot bath. My legs were sore but I felt great. Wednesday nights I go to basketball. This was right after my bath– so about an hour break between running and basketball. I a
te a banana and granola bar, because I was definitely hungry durning my run, but I didn’t want to eat anything heavy before playing ball. I played basketball with friends for a good 30 – 45 min. I love basketball and although I may not have a lot of skill, I hustle. Thanks to the bath I didn’t feel too stiff.
I think moving again a couple hours after my run was really good for me. I’m surprisingly un-sore today. I think I’m doing a good job easing myself back into training. Typically when I amp my exercise back up I do some suffering the first week, during the workouts and after too, being sore. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at with this. It’s not to say I don’t feel it. I have some soreness. Having a bath available to me is pretty huge. Trying to be deliberate about what I’m eating, and working really hard about drinking a LOT of water (for me) has probably helped too.
Tonight I have another intense boxing workout, and tomorrow I have a 4 mile run planned. My eight-day week will end on Saturday with one more 4 miler. I have the urge to jump right up to 7 miles, because mentally I know I can do it, but I also know that’s probably not smart with my body. Next week I’ll operate on a similar pattern, and do a longer run of 6 miles next Saturday.
I’ll be doing my boxing routine on my own tonight, without my buddy to help push me, but I have to be accountable and push just as hard as if someone was watching. I’m in training!
I know there are some other folks out there who have shared their own training programs or goals with me! I appreciate the accountability. It inspires me to hear what you’re up to! Feel free to comment below with your own plans for this month!