January 2016 recap: marathon training & yoga

caitlin-beach

A reminder that even when things get stressful, my life is still pretty freaking good.

There’s really no way around it – January was a bit of a clusterfuck for me. As it was related to my job I will exercise some discretion here, but I just have to say: total clusterfuck.  Fortunately it appears to be over now, which is good, because I was dangling by my fingertips for a second there. And after this sorely needed three-day weekend, I’m actually feeling refreshed and ready to deal with everything I had pushed off to the side when I went into my “please god let me survive this intact” mode.

The one thing I managed to keep on track through all the nonsense was my marathon training.  Here’s the thing about me – I am generally a chill, laid-back lady who can keep her cool in some pretty chaotic environments, but that’s because I get a TON of physical activity.  Without it?  I’m a heap of scattered, anxious neuroses who can’t get shit done.  It is not only in my best interest that I break a sweat at least once a day; it’s in the best interest of everyone around me.

As I mentioned before, I’m doing the Run Less, Run Faster program, which is three targeted run workouts per week plus a bunch of cross training.  However, the thing about a one-size-fits-all training plan is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for your specific needs as an individual.

I keep this in mind when I’m doing my training and I allow for a certain amount of flexibility depending on what’s going on with my body at the time. There were days when I was scheduled to do, say, mile repeats, but because my hamstring was bugging me from inadequate recovery, I opted instead to substitute easy miles for the workout.  Plus the current program calls for five 20-mile runs, but I’m really not sure that’s a good idea for me at this point in my life as a runner, so I’m shooting for three and maybe making one of them a 22-miler.  I don’t know. We’ll see.

Speaking of 20-milers, I did my first one of the training cycle this past Saturday, and it was absolutely lovely.  I teamed up with Kristin, who is one of the other five women from the Kennedy Law Racing team who qualified for Boston this year. Kristin is super-fast, one of the elites on the team (in fact, I’m the only non-elite who qualified), and so I looked forward to the opportunity to run alongside someone I knew was a strong runner.

Normally when I do my long runs I pop in my earbuds and just focus on getting the miles done.  I’ve never been a big one for talking while running. This time, Kristin and I talked the entire time we ran. At one point I looked at my Garmin and was surprised to see that we’d been running for two hours. We finished the full 20 in just a shade under three hours. It was undoubtedly one of the most pleasant runs I’ve ever had.

So running has gone pretty well, but other things sort of slipped.  I had trouble keeping up with the masters swims, mainly because I was just too tired to pull myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m. those mornings. I’ve done a few easy indoor trainer rides, enough to get me well into Season 2 of Gossip Girl. (Quick aside: I know I’m supposed to hate Blair and goodness knows she gives us reason enough, but I love how she gets shit done.  As Tina Fey and Amy Poehler said, “bitches get shit done.” Plus, those headbands! I die.)

I’ve been trying to do a pretty basic full-body strength training workout one or two times a week, usually during my lunch break.  I’m not lifting heavy right now, but whatevs.  I’m just trying to find a way to be consistent with it while still keeping up with my running and cycling, and doing heavy squats and deadlifts doesn’t allow for that.

This is the thing about fitness – everyone else may swear by something, but if it doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work for you. And that’s fine! What’s important is finding something that does work for you, and right now, in my case, that’s one-leg deadlifts and goblet squats with kettlebells.  I mean, I love the feel of a solid barbell in my hand but I love being able to hit my running splits even more.

Here’s another thing that’s working well for me – yoga. Specifically hot yoga.  I started going on the recommendation of Keara, who says it helps with her running, and as she is one of the fastest women I know, I basically take her recommendations as gospel truth. (I bought Stance socks and tried Infinit because of her, plus she’s the one who introduced me to Coeur Sports, which obvs changed my life.)

There’s a studio about a mile away that offers hot yoga, and the classes are always packed.  This one instructor plays Erykah Badu and the Weeknd while we sweat literal buckets onto our mats as we move through our flow.  I suck at yoga, especially compared to the bendy girls in Lululemon with rubber bands for spines, but I don’t mind because I always feel so damn good and so wonderfully calm afterwards.

I can’t always make it, though, so I’ve also been doing yoga at home.  (If you follow my instagram you know I sometimes do what I call “wine yoga” while my cats wind their bodies around my legs, which is my Peak Middle Aged Lady.)  I really like Yoga With Adriene.  She’s kind of goofy and she keeps it real and she recognizes that we’re all at different levels and that there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’m a fan.

I’m slowly coming to understand that as I get older I have to prioritize my recovery, and I think yoga is a really good way to do that, while also helping to keep me on an even keel emotionally (which will become even more important as I am a news person and election season in Florida is looming – *sigh*).  I’ve been inconsistent about doing it in the past, but between cultivating a home practice and finding a studio near my house that I like, I might actually have a fighting chance at making it a habit.

So this is basically how January’s training has gone. (If you follow me on Strava you can actually see all my workouts, and I follow back.)   I also had two rather epic races – the HITS Naples Olympic triathlon and the Clearwater Halfathon – that I wanted to recap, which I will do in my next post, likely to be entitled “El Nino is the woooooorst,” if that gives you any indication of what’s ahead.

How has your January been? (A hell of a lot calmer than mine has been, I hope.)

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15 responses to “January 2016 recap: marathon training & yoga

  1. Yoga With Adriene is my fave!!!! I just love her. I just completed the 30 Days of Yoga series on her channel, and every video I’ve done with her is excellent.

    • She’s so good! I feel like I’d like to be friends with her.

      I’ve been slowly making my way through the 30 day yoga camp and I’m a little behind but even so I’m trying to get it done.

  2. Glad you survived Jan intact. I know how these things are.

    I was off for most of Jan and now I’m back at work. I haven’t been the happiest at work lately for a myriad of reasons and I’ve started on making changes to improve the situation. If all goes well, the approval for my working at home will go through in a few months. I already work from home as much as I can and I’m far more productive at home.

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  4. I’m right there with you in choosing to sleep a few mornings instead of getting up early for exercise. This morning included. 530am came too early….but I regret my decision now because my littlest one awoke at 630 am throwing up. 😦 Opportunity missed. I’m glad you made it through January!

    • Yep, I’ve had a few times where I’m like “sleep is more important than anything right now.” It’s almost always the right choice.

      Hope your little one is feeling better now! That’s a terrible way to start your morning. 😦

  5. You are absolutely right in saying what works for you may not work for others, and vice versa. What an important thing we fitness people have to remember 🙂 I really love your encouragement to go for whatever works for YOU! And best of luck in this next month, you got this! 🙂

  6. I have a couple of friends who just finished a 30 day thing of Yoga with Adrienne but I’ve been reluctant to try. After reading this, though, I’ll definitely give it a shot 🙂 Good luck this month!

    • She might not be your cup of tea but I enjoy her. I got my husband to do one of her yoga for runners videos with me the other day and he seemed to like her too. (I think it was when she broke out in the same “boy…boy…crazy boy…” line from West Side Story that he always sings, lol.)

      And thank you!

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  8. I was just talking to my training partner/friend about our Boston plan. We are burnt out and didn’t really do a “recovery” off-season, and following the BAA plan is a bit too much. We are looking at less running, but the Run Far Run Less seems like alot too! Glad you’re taking care of yourself though

  9. I was just recently wondering if you were on Strava! I followed you a bit ago, codyallieandme over there. Sometimes I’m envious of your ability to get up and go work out so early, other times I’m not because I have a 17 month-old and I feel like Gollum and Precious when it comes to my sleep.

    Last year I just wanted to make it through some 5ks. This year I have actual Goals and Aspirations. But it’s good to hear that sometimes not all goes according to plan. I remember something you said ages ago, that sticking with a training plan at least 80% of the time will produce results. I use that a lot – taking a day off here and there won’t ruin everything nor is it an excuse to stop, but if you don’t complete at least 80% of it you won’t succeed either. Unfortunately you can’t just sit on the couch and visualize your run to success.

    I’ve been using rowing as my non-run workouts. I tapped my brother, a D1 national-level former collegiate rower on the shoulder and asked, “how do I row for strength?” Hooooooooly hell. The massive benefit from it though is because I can only run 3 days a week (the aforementioned 17 month-old can’t keep up on the runs, his legs are too short) the strength training from the rowing also has a good cardio component that helps nudge me along.

    Then again, I’m only one month into it. Come ask me how it’s going in April when I’m running a 10k with an elevation profile that looks like a heart monitor on single-track mud-slick….

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