What’s Next

At long last, it’s finally time for my annual, “Here’s what I plan to do with myself now that the marathon is over,” post. While I usually try to lay out a plan much sooner than, you know, nearly an entire month post-race, I had a lot of architecture to tell you about before we could get back to me 😉

My fitness routine has been haphazard at best over the past month. I took a week off after the marathon, per usual, only compromising that to go to dance on Tuesday evening…and, fine, to go climbing on Thursday, but only because I could go for free because anyone who had run the marathon could bring in their bib and climb for $0. So I went climbing (and saw my ex-boyfriend. THAT was a delight. And by “a delight” I mean “night-ruining.” To be fair, our first date was at that climbing gym, and the entire reason I started going climbing regularly on Wednesdays (aside from the fact that it’s Ladies Night and most affordable to climb on Wednesdays) was to “reclaim” the place from my memories of him, because gosh darn it, no self-centered extrovert was going to take that place away from me, because I’ve liked climbing since I was a kid. (Also he had told me days before we broke up that he was freezing his membership at the gym for the summer, so I knew he wouldn’t be there.) So it wasn’t entirely unbelievable that he was there. But it also was not welcome!). But other than that, I took the week off.

Then I went out to Seattle, where I logged just shy of 10 miles over the course of three days. It was the first time I had run at all since the marathon, and it was really nice to get my legs moving again. I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to add one more state to my list of “places I’ve run,” and it was kind of fun to log a run in both Washingtons (of the D.C. and state varieties) in one calendar year.



For the past two weeks, however, things have been all over the board. I’ve done some NTC. I’ve done some yoga. I ran once. I’ve gone climbing once. I’ve been to Trainology twice. My schedule has been unpredictable, I’ve been under an enormous amount of stress in my personal and professional lives that may or may not go away soon (speaking of things being unpredictable…), and while I have been working out, it’s been difficult to write anything down in pen on my calendar and definitively say, “This is what I’m going to do today.”

However, I can only handle so much disarray, and while I may not have complete (or much, or any) control over the outside factors causing me personal and professional stress, I certainly do have control over my workout schedule, which, incidentally, also tends to help me manage stress. Win win.

So! Many months ago, my sister asked me if I’d run a half marathon in January with her. I conditionally agreed at the time, saying I’d have to get through marathon season first and see how my body held up against training this year. Since it held up just fine, I’m tentatively planning on running a half marathon in January (NOT in Chicago, though I could do that if I so desired, as there are, for goodness only knows what reason, half marathons in Chicago in January (but none to my knowledge in February. Go figure.)). Last Wednesday, my sister texted me to let me know she’s been getting migraines when she goes for long runs (does anyone else have that problem? I don’t get migraines (my temperamental GI system and anxiety give me keep me more than occupied in the health department, anyway), so I’m useless at providing guidance as to how to adjust her training to make sure her head stays happy.), so she’s not sure she’ll be able to train for a half marathon. Given the state of my professional life at the moment, I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be able to take a brief vacation down to Mississippi come January, either. Regardless, while optimism is hardly my forte (<– understatement of the year), I’m remaining optimistic about my chances of being able to run a half marathon in January and plan to at least set out to train as if I’m going to run one (without registering for the race itself until I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I can go to Mississippi in January). Worst case scenario, I could run F^3 in Chicago, adding one more notch to my Badass Runner Points belt.

However, running a half in January means I’m going to have to join a gym. I don’t like running in the dark under any circumstance, and I particularly don’t like running in the dark when it’s cold. As of last week, Chicago lives in a perpetual state of post-workday darkness from now until March, and while the sun may be rising earlier right now, we all know that’s not going to last much longer either. The only good hours of daylight are during the work day, and since running during the work day isn’t an option for me, I plan to log my weekday runs on the treadmill (please pray for me and my sanity), while heading outdoors to do my weekend long runs, which, if all goes according to plan, will start this Saturday.

I’ve been around the half marathon block enough times to still know enough to respect the distance but no longer fear the distance, so I’m training for this half in the most unconventional way i’ve ever trained for a race: by following a strength training program. Sort of. Does anyone remember Best Body Bootcamp from a gazillion (by which I mean two) years ago? I really liked what Best Body Bootcamp did to my body and think I could use to get back into some dedicated strength training. I still have all the workouts, making this a relatively easy plan to follow. As an added bonus, Best Body Bootcamp involves three days of cardio workouts ranging from steady state to intervals to tempos, which, hey! Sounds a whole lot like the way I train for races anyway! How convenient. Best Body Bootcamp also lasts eight weeks, which was the amount of time I planned/wanted to dedicate to training for this half marathon that may or may not happen. Don’t you just love it when things fall into place so neatly?

Due to my other fitness commitments (by which I mean dance and climbing), I’ve tweaked the Best Body Bootcamp protocol…kinda a lot. While I may not see the same results I saw two years ago, at least this will give me some structure and guidance in terms of strength training, which I, personally, think I could really use outside of my usual NTC workouts. In all of this, I also plan to for sure run at least one race in December, and possibly another race as well that month as well…tbd.

So that’ll carry me through January. After that, I’ll probably take my official “off-season” from running, but that’s all so far away in the future that I haven’t given it too much thought yet. In the mean time, I’m excited to have something to work towards, and, even more so, to have a little bit of stability in at least once area of my life.

What do you do when you’re not running? Assuming you normally run, that is 😉
Who wants to crowdfund my gym membership 😀 ? I know there are quite affordable options in Chicago, but considering I’ve never paid for a gym membership before in my life, I’m not really looking forward to paying for the opportunity to work out. Alas, if only I had the resources to create a gym in my apartment.

12 thoughts on “What’s Next

  1. Now I’m doing all HIIT stuff — no running except sprints and all that. It’s weird! Sorry about the ex run-in. That’s never fun, especially when it catches you off guard. Good for you for (potentially) adding a race to the calendar already!

  2. It’s been just over two weeks since my marathon and I still haven’t run yet either (thought that might change tomorrow). As much as I love running, it has been a nice change of pace to focus on strength training and conditioning. By the end of training, my body definitely felt wiped up, so I’m not ready to just jump back into running and I’m enjoying not having to run in the meantime. Sounds like you have kept plenty busy, even with the set running schedule!

    • Yes, definitely. It’s so nice to work on a different aspect of fitness, especially after a long training cycle. And the nice thing about strength training for me at least is that I’m not working towards any one event like the marathon, so I feel WAY less pressure. It makes for a nice mental break, too!

  3. Okay soooo my first thought when I started to write out this comment was “she must be doing her math wrong. There’s way more than 8 weeks until January.” Until I realized it’s November, which is 2 months away from January, and less than 8 weeks now. WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!

    I like the idea of using best body bootcamp for half marathon training! It’s something I wish I was better about incorporating because I do think it makes a big difference, I’m just not good about strength training. Fingers crossed for you that your life calms down a bit and you can actually run this race!

    • I know!! Isn’t it wild! I thought I was going to be able to put off training for a lot longer, but nope. Definitely need to get cracking on that soon. Usually when I’m training for a race I’m the WORST about strength training, so I really hope this helps. I have to cross train somehow anyway, so instead of wasting my time mindlessly pedaling away on a bike, this will hopefully benefit me by helping me get stronger rather than just getting my heart rate up.

  4. There are actually two half marathons in Chicago in January, although, from what I understand, the Team Ortho one is a hot mess. Of course, I think I’m contractually obligated to say that since I’m working for the F3 race 🙂

    I added two half marathons to my calendar for the next three months. So, apparently, I want to go from basically not really running to doing ALL THE RACES. I’m doing one in Indiana in a month and one in Tampa in February. I’m going to keep up with my weight-lifting-as-primary-exercise and add in a weekend long run and one weeknight run. I don’t mind running in the dark because A. it’s never that dark in my ‘hood and B. pretty sure Chewie would eat anyone who tried to approach me and I usually run with him.

    I liked Best Body Bootcamp when I did it, too (although right now I’m getting my workouts from http://lm-fit.blogspot.com/) . Hopefully it works the way you want!

    • I saw that you’re working with F3 in that email Kim sent out a few weeks ago! Exciting! If I were to do a half here in January, I planned on doing F3. I think the Polar Dash is the same weekend as my race in Mississippi, but doing F3 would give me a chance to taper, which I don’t have time for with this eight week plan.

  5. Oh no I’m glad you survived seeing your ex at climbing! I don’t think I’ve really ever taken an “off-season” from running except when I’m injured and forced to! I’ll be marathon training through the winter so I have a feeling after the race in March I will need an off period for my sanity!

  6. I can actually provide a great case study for what I do when I am not running or swimming or biking right now! I’ve been filling my time with way too much crocheting and general crafting and online shopping. Plus I’ve been doing a few yoga and strength and conditioning classes at the yoga studio I bought a groupon for during the week. I sometimes think about riding my bike on the trainer and then don’t. Every year I tell myself I can spend the off season working on strength training and then I give it a half effort.

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