Got Energy?

I think that I'm at the busiest stage so far in my life as a mother and a runner (or as The Happy Runner calls it, a "Muthah Runnah.") Driving the kids 40 minutes round trip to and from the magnet school, transporting the three-year-old to her preschool, working part-time training (now 40) runners, two kids in soccer (we have 3 practices and 2 games in the next 5 days), laundry, shopping, and cooking for five, and running 30+ miles per week for my own December marathon are WEARING ME OUT.

I admit it, I've had it easy these last couple of years. The kids weren't into many sports, they rode the bus 7 minutes to and from our neighborhood school, and I just ran for fun. Life just wasn't that complicated, and I could pretty easily get everything done without too much stress. But, I know it's my turn. I never could figure out how the full-time working mommies pulled it all off (I have the utmost respect for them!), but they must have fantastic time-management skills. I'm working on mine as they have gotten a little rusty!

What suffers when you are in the car all day long, stressed out, have very little down time, and are exhausted? Well, your BLOG for one! Second is your running. Running is very fickle. If things aren't going just right (i.e., not getting enough sleep, too much stress, eating poorly), running lets you know. You start every run with heavy legs. You finish every run with aches and pains. You are tired before, during, and after running.

I took a step back on Friday and Saturday of last week to look at my life and my running. I was getting discouraged because I have been feeling constant fatigue in daily life AND in my runs. I've had no stamina for the past 3 or 4 long runs. I've been struggling. The most important runs when you are training for a marathon are the long ones, yet those were the ones where I was faltering. I took some advice from some good friends and made three discoveries:

1. I have not been taking very good care of myself. Sure, I've been exercising to exhaustion, but I haven't been bothering to take a mulitvitamin with iron or Vitamin C--both critical for runners. I can't say for sure I'm getting enough with diet alone, so I probably need a supplement. I've also been staying up too late and short-changing myself on sleep. That makes both running and daily living more stressful! Our bodies recover from physical and mental stressors while we sleep. Sleep is so essential.

2. I haven't been eating enough. I have increased my mileage to 31 miles per week, but I haven't been taking in any extra calories. Last time, I was starving while training for the marathon. This time, I guess I'm just distracted. I've lost 3 lbs. in the last 3 weeks when I should be building muscle. I probably need to eat every 2 or 3 hours with the kind of miles I'm running.

3. I've haven't been eating the appropriate amount of protein. I have not made any effort to get extra protein into my diet. I read just yesterday that people training for a marathon need as much protein as bodybuilders. A minimum for me would be 65 to 70 grams, and I haven't been getting nearly that much. I'm actually counting my protein for today (I'm at 27 grams right now!). I made protein shakes a regular part of training for the last marathon, but I guess with all the busyness, I forgot about them.

4. I may need to drop one of my 5 days of running and exchange it for crosstraining. My love for running is waning under the weight of this training program. This is not a good time for that to happen--especially since I'm trying to instill that love in 20 Couch to 5K beginners.

I'm going to get my life UNDER CONTROL. I made myself a master calendar with all the practices and games and doctor's appointments and meetings and long runs penciled in. I bought some pre-natal vitamins because they had extra iron and Vitamin C (my husband worriedly asked, "Is there something you need to tell me?" when he saw them in the cart. Definitely NOT! Just need that extra iron and C.) I'm going to be in bed by 10 every night and engage in INTENTIONAL eating---making sure I get in all the protein and carbohydrates and calories I need. I'm not going to be "married" to the training plan. I'm going to listen to my body and crosstrain if I just don't feel like running (not on long-run days--those are critical). My friend Casey reminded me that I control the training plan, the training plan doesn't control me!

I feel better already.


I hear ya, fellow muthah runnah!!!

I snack on craisins b/c they are high in vitamin c. When I slack off on vit. c, I really feel a difference. I need my c! Hope the pre-natals work ;-)
busyrunningmama said…
Wow! I almost thought this was my blog post! I am feeling the exact same way. I have only two boys, with one in soccer, and I have a full time job. I also have a 4 year old dog that just went blind and I just had to schedule a $4000 surgery to correct the eyesight and the doctor is 1 hour and 15 minutes away! Ugghhh!! I have been having trouble on my runs too and have been very frustrated!! Looks like I will be taking some of the advice of your friends and making some changes to this crazy life ASAP! Thanks for the post, hate that you're stressed, but love to know that there is someone else out there going through the same things and maybe I am not completely crazy!!! I haven't even posted on my blog since Friday - I am trying to catch up!!
Hope all the changes work!! Good luck!
Mama said…
Whoosh! I thought I was busy these days, but your life makes mine look like a walk in the park!

Hang in there. Hopefully your changes will have you feeling great in no time.

MCM Mama
Lisa said…
wow! That is a busy schedule! I thought I would have more time when my son started kindergarten and my daughter was in preschool. But it just seems like I am in the car all the time. Remember when there were off days when you could just hang around the house with no agenda?

You'll make it through this... I can tell. You are taking it one day at a time. I think it might be smart to swap a XT day for a day of running. Maybe yoga? At least for a couple of weeks. You would hate to burn out.

good luck!
NY Wolve said…
I hear ya! What I find is that time management becomes just absolutely critical. And running actually helps because it makes me plan my days and weekends out better. But sometimes, just no amount of planning makes it happen. And then I am OK with that too.
Jennifer P said…
It feels like I've never actually been off of my pre-natals -- pretty funny comment from your husband though!
Within days you'll be feeling so much better -- way to take control!
Teamarcia said…
Kudos to you for taking back control. Your body will thank you for it!
April said…
Whew! This post makes me tired just reading it! But it seems like you have a plan and thats the first step. Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day!