Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shifting Focus

It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that my training and diet lately have not been too awesome. I'm hoping to work on both in the upcoming weeks. But given the setbacks, I don't see myself racing a half marathon this fall after all. Instead, I'm switching my focus from PRs to regaining confidence and loving running again. 

It feels super weird to not have a goal race on the calendar but I know it's the right decision. I'm not at a place where I feel I can put all my eggs in one basket and hope the race goes my way. With my inconsistent training these past few weeks, I've lost fitness and with it the confidence it takes to chase down a PR. 

If I'm completely honest, running has been a bit of a chore lately. Instead of being something I get to do - something I'm lucky to do - I feel like it's another thing on my to-do list for the day that I have to do. And that is absolutely not how I want to feel about a sport that has brought so much joy into my life. I feel like I'm in a bit of a rut. But if I'm smart about it I'll be able to pull myself out of it and get back to loving all the miles. 

Coach Matt said one thing we can do is work on removing pressure because I have a tendency to get super wound up before a hard workout, long run or race. Maybe that means running by feel/effort instead of time. Or maybe that means really focusing on a slower, comfortable start. I tried it out during a 10-miler last week and it seemed to work. I left my watch at home and even though I knew I was running slow during the first few miles I didn't worry about it. I told myself I had all the time in the world to finish the run so why not enjoy it. And after a few miles of taking it easy, my body naturally woke up and I was able to pick up the pace during the final 2/3 of the run.

Another thing I'm doing is racing a lot of 5ks in the upcoming few weeks. Part of it is rebuilding fitness - races are great workouts! - but a major part of it is rebuilding confidence. The first few races will likely be slower but it's okay. Hopefully by the time I hit the 5ks in November I'll be fitter and faster. If I can get a bit faster with each race, that's all I can ask for!

As for this week, here's the plan. I might swap Thursday and Friday but it depends on how quickly my legs recover from the Tuesday workout. I usually recover pretty fast so I think it should be okay.

Monday: 5 glue miles w/strides
Tuesday: 8 mile workout, inc. 3-min intervals
Wednesday: 5 recovery miles + Y-Fuse + Y-Core
Thursday: 12 mile run
Friday: 6 glue miles w/strides + Yoga
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: Lakefront Marathon 5k

Total: 42 miles

I'm also slowly getting back into the swing of things with meal planning/prepping. This week, I prepped chili for dinners but am still resorting to frozen dinners for lunch. In the next week or two I hope to get back to all homemade meals.

Breakfast: Protein Oatmeal (1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 2/3 plain, unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, dash of cinnamon)
Snack: Greek Yogurt + Raw Veggies
Lunch: Amy's Organic Frozen Meal
Snack: 3 cups popcorn
Dinner: Fall Chili Bowl + Honeycrisp Apple

To end this post on a fun note, I recently went shopping at my favorite running store, Performance Running Outfitters, and walked away with some new winter running clothes. I'm seriously in love with the Saucony tights, top and headband, and I know I'll get a ton of use out of the New Balance half zip

Although I hope temps stay in the 50s/60s for quite some time, I now have a reason to get excited for winter running!

My questions for you:
  • How is your fall training going? Are you on track to hit your goals or have your shifted focus?
  • Have you already started buying winter running gear? 
  • Random: Did you know not all cheese is vegetarian?

I recently had dinner with my friend Julie and she explained certain cheese contain rennet, which is sourced from newly born calves. So some cheeses, such as Parmesan, Gruyere, Manchego, etc., at not considered vegetarian. Yet another reason why I will never be able to go vegetarian! ;)

- ST


  1. Getting back to the love of running seems to be the new fall trend. I think over the summer it gets hard to keep the mindset of *i get to run* vs *i have to run* because it's hot and miserable. I hope taking a step back helps. Love your winter running gear!

    1. Thanks Jodi! I think you're so right - we look forward to summer all year and kind of forget how hard it actually is to run with the heat and humidity. Definitely a motivation zapper. But with fall temps (and new gear!) motivation will return :)

  2. If I am not training for a marathon I don't set a training schedule. I just do my Wednesday night calisthenics and just run the miles I want to run. Sure I don't win races but I am also not tied to a schedule.

    Also, August, September and October have / are Ragnar months for me. Aug = Great River, Sept = Trail - Northwoods and Oct = Hawaii.

    I don't have any new winter gear buying plans. But I am contemplating a run / crazy adventure called the Frozen Otter. 32 or 64 mile run along the northern kettle moraine Ice age trail in Mid January! If I decide I am crazy enough to attempt this it will require new gear.

    I am and always been a meat eater. So I never even knew cheese was thought of as vegetarian.

    1. I'm like you, Bob - I'm a meat eater so it was news to me that not all cheese is considered vegetarian. I guess you learn something new every day! :)

      I've heard of Frozen Otter - sounds like a great challenge!

  3. I like your new strategy! Switching up race goals can definitely bring back a love for running. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Kristen - I think variety is key. Plus it's good to take a break from hammering away at the same goals season after season :)

  4. Use the season to fall in love with running again! It's a great goal! My fall goal is to run a strong marathon and I seem to be on track for that...we'll see in a couple of days.
    Yep, knew that about cheese. As a southern CA resident I only really buy winter clothes if I'm travelling somewhere cold. Fall weather clothes tend to be enough for running in our winters.

    1. Wendy - Mega congrats on your BQ over the weekend!! I can't wait to hop over to your blog to read your race recap. So impressive and I'm excited all your hard work paid off :)

  5. I'm sorry about your half, but I 100% totally understand you! I pulled out of the marathon I was supposed to be running this Saturday for pretty much the exact reason's you aren't going to run the half.
    I do hope you find your love for running again, you have such a great talent in it. Sometimes running for fun, with no goals in mind or switching up and running some fun 5k's is exactly what's needed to rediscover what it was that made us love it in the first place!

    1. Thanks Kristy - it's disappointing to have to skip out on races but I think it's important to remember there will always be other opportunities to run them. Running for fun is the way to go at times - or really all the time because even when it's hard and challenging it should still be fun :)

  6. We've only just recently gotten cooler weather in the Houston area and it's great! Buying new running clothes - that's my favorite kind of shopping!

  7. We've only just recently gotten cooler weather in the Houston area and it's great! Buying new running clothes - that's my favorite kind of shopping!

    1. I have a feeling your cooler weather is still hot for a northern girl like myself :) I agree - running clothes shopping is the BEST shopping!

  8. aw sun... you'll get your mojo back! sometimes burn out just takes a minute to reset. plus with losing eddie you might just be feeling down and not even really be relating the two things. xoxo

    1. Thanks Nikki! I think you totes hit the nail on the head. I haven't quite been myself lately but hopefully that will change soon.