Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Regaining Speed

I shared earlier this month about our pregnancy loss. While I continue to have good days and bad days emotionally, one of the ways I'm working to feel better is to try to get back to normal in regards to running.

When we decided we were definitely ready to have a baby (after my Grand Prix win in 2014), one of the first things my doctor recommended was that I cut back on my speed. She encouraged me to continue to exercise, but said I needed to slow down. At the time, my typical training pace was less than 7 minutes/mile with a racing pace of an average around 6:30/mile. She suggested I start running 7:15-7:30 miles. This was hard. In fact, it was even harder than running 5:58 mile repeats!

Hesitantly, I listened and slowed down. I definitely didn't run this speed most of the time, but I did try to keep my pace around 7:00/mile. When this didn't seem to have an effect on my fertility, it was suggested that I run less. In peak weeks when the stars align and I can run as much as I want, I'd only run about 20 miles/week which is nothing compared to most runners, but for me, this was tops. I listened again and got to the point where some weeks, I wasn't even running 10 miles.

In October, when I began Clomid, I pretty much stopped running regularly. I would run 2-3 slow miles every few days, but that was it. I even went for 10-12 days without running some. As soon as I saw that positive mark on the pregnancy test, all I wanted to do was sleep and daydream about my new baby, not run in the cold. Plus, I was a little fearful that running while early pregnant wouldn't be good.

All that to say, my fitness has suffered. I gained 2-3 pounds during the almost 11 weeks I was pregnant, but that's all gone now. Now, I'm dealing with getting back to the same level of fitness I'm used to.

My husband would tell you that it's not good when I don't run. I have to agree. Endorphins are real and my body needs lots of them.

Since I was cleared to exercise a few weeks ago, I've put together a mental plan to get back my fitness. I want to keep myself accountable, so I'm sharing it with you!

Goal: Run a 5K in 20:30 by March 1. Yes, I know this is really slow compared to my PR of 18:47, but it's a time that I feel is respectable given everything (hopeful for a baby soon) and one that will win local races.

When I first started back running seriously about two weeks ago, I could hardly hold a 7:20 pace for a 5K. It's incredible to me what 3 months of no speed or core work will do to your body! Here's my plan for getting back to where I want to be:
  • Run a 5K with breaks at each mile. This has been really helpful. I've been able to run closer to my normal speed for my second and third miles (my first mile is always slower) and have a break of about a minute to catch my breath. Not only is this helping me grow stronger, it's also giving me confidence. Initially, my 5K was up in the 23's. I got it down to 22 flat the week before we went to Disney. Last week, I ran my fastest in 21:17. My next goal is to get it below 21. I want to do that by next week.
  • Increase my total run distance. While TTC, my doctor advised me to just run 3-4 miles, nothing more. I ran 2-3 miles max, so now I'm creeping up to 4. After running a 5K, I've been adding .9 to the end as a cool down which gives me 4 miles. I'm happy to be able to do this. As of today, my fastest 4-miler was 28:21. I'm really, really happy with that.
  • Run a 5K without stopping. I don't like feeling exhausted after running a 5K, so the next thing I want to do is to be able to run a true 5K (without stopping) comfortably. I'm not worried about time on this one because I know it'll come. My main concern is comfort. I've gotten my time down to 21:34 on the road.
  • Include intervals. Intervals are so important. They hurt, but they're fun. I do these all different ways. Sometimes, I'll do .25 mile repeats and increase my speed on each. Other times, I'll increase my speed by .2 mph every half mile. Most of the intervals and repeats I've done have been on the treadmill since it's freezing outside.
  • Get back to core work. Y'all, I have been so sore since starting back core work. I've been using my 10 lb kettle bell to do a few things and man, am I sore. Situps are still a bit painful, especially with weights, so I'm holding off on those. I've also been doing pushups and pullups.
  • Yoga! I love the Tone It Up Girls. All of their videos are awesome, but currently, my favorite is the Bikini Body Yoga. This video really works you, but it's so relaxing. 
  • Squats. Squats are so important for that kick in racing. I haven't done these in way too long.
Do you have any tips for getting back in shape?

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