Thursday, December 31, 2015

For 2016- "make it count"

Killing two birds with one stone on this one- A- race report (finally) from my October 2015 BQ at the Columbus marathon, and B- starting my 2016 resolution- write every day. Also, I gotta pump this out quickly because naptime is almost over ;)

I've already seen so many posts about wanting to lose weight, get stronger, improve eating habits, the usual gamut of health-related resolutions for the new year. Some experience success, others do not, even year after year resolving to make the same changes with no result. You try the shakes, the pills, the fad diets, you buy the diet books, you hire a personal trainer, you have seemingly done it all and still feel like you're barely holding it all together. Sound familiar?

So, I'm sharing my race recap NOW because I have learned a lot not only about myself but about the human body after having had a baby. I will say, I do not consider myself "postpartum" at this point (20 months out seems a little excessive to me), but I am still very much learning how to balance my training habits before baby...and after. The one difference between then and now that has changed my fitness for the better is an emphasis on quality in every workout.

Why should you care how I go about my workouts? You should care because of the aforementioned tactics you may have taken to achieve your goals. What is it about a personal trainer that helps you reach your goals? Perhaps he or she helps motivate you to increase the intensity of your workouts beyond what you feel capable of doing on your own. What is it about diets that (sometimes) lead to successful weight loss? Usually, it is because you have exchanged low-quality calories for high-quality ones, and your body really likes those high-quality kcals.

My point is this- my BQ success this year is the perfect of example of how quality can equal quantity, or, in some cases, surpass it. Short and sweet run-down of my "plan" vs. my training partner- Dee. Dee and I shared the same goal (qualifying for Boston) so we started our long runs together late in the summer. The only time Dee and I ran together was on Sunday mornings for long runs. Otherwise, our training plans could not have been more different. Dee used what I would consider a moderate-to-high volume training plan capping at 55 miles a week at its highest. I think the week I ran my 22-mile long run (only once), I ran one 6-mile tempo run three days prior. That's it. I did not have a formal training plan. Having studied the physiology of all this stuff, and given this was my seventh full marathon, I've picked up some ideas along the way.

Anyway, the basic gist of Dee's plan vs. my plan was this- she was running most days/week, and I ran maybe three times/week. On the days I did not run, I was lifting, and compared to marathon training seasons prior, I was lifting pretty heavy. Before I wrecked my bike over the summer during a cross-training ride, I was able to bench my bodyweight one time (135lbs). Let me tell you, should injuries really suck, and even being married to a stellar PT, it has taken this long to inch my way closer to that strength. I'm able to do several reps of 115lbs, but man, what a long road to recovery! Anyway, I was lifting for strength during my marathon training. No 4 sets of 20 for this girl!

Final result for me and Dee- Dee beat me by three minutes. We both qualified for Boston. She ran virtually double the training miles per week that I ran and yet we ran almost exactly the same times. So, can you train for a marathon if you only run a few times a week? Sure. I shaved ten minutes off my last marathon time running less than half the weekly mileage. Aaaaaand the running haters are going to say "well okay, I could give a shit about running, what about us normal people who hate running and want to lose weight?". The take-home message is the same- make it count. Make your workouts count! Make what you feed your body and your family count. Make the time that you spend count toward something. Having a baby has forever changed my concept of time management and prioritizing everything that needs to happen in a day, and sometimes not everything does get done, but the priorities find a way to get in there. Make your health count in 2016, whatever that looks like for you.

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