Do What You Enjoy

These words came to me on my 10-mile run yesterday. I had been struggling with what to do running-wise lately. Over the past month or so, I had decided to just use Crossfit Endurance workouts for running and Crossfit for strength training. Then I discovered after just a couple of weeks that CFE workouts are all hard, all-out suckfests. Yes, they were quick and dirty, but it took away the part of running I enjoy---just getting out there and running for an hour or even two---relaxing and letting my stress slip away, enjoying good music and the conversation of a friend. Don't get me wrong---I want to be the best runner I can be. I want to see improvements. I don't mind hard work. But when every run is tied to pace and splits, running starts to feel like a job and not a stress reliever. If I were totally crunched for time, CFE would be a great way to go. But, heck, I only work part-time and I will have all 3 kiddos in school this year after August 23. I have time! (Can't spend all that time cleaning!)

So, then I started reading The Big Book of Endurance Training by Dr. Phillip Maffetone. Within a chapter or two, I decided to adopt his method of training, which he calles the Maffetone Method. This method is advised for anyone who has really plateaued in their running. I had been seeing some improvements in short distances, but not in long distances lately. It involves building an endurance base at your maximum aerobic heartrate---ALL running during a period of time is at that heart rate. A quick click on Amazon and I had a heartrate monitor. I took the MAF (max aerobic function) test and was shocked to find out that after all that anaerobic training, I could only run at an 11:20 pace and keep my heartrate under 145. I can run a mile much faster than that, but my heart rate very easily gets up to 90-95% of my max heart rate. That shows a lack of overall aerobic fitness. He doesn't recommend any strength training (it is all anaerobic) during the base building period and no speedwork. I figured I'd better lay off the Crossfit and just focus on the running. If I had to choose between running and Crossfit, I'd choose running.

So, for two weeks, I did no CF and just ran a lot of slow, easy miles. And then I realized I missed Crossfit!

So here I am now, just trying to figure out how to keep strength training through Crossfit, which I really do enjoy, one or two times a week plus building my aerobic base with easy running. I can already see some improvement--yesterday, I was able to run a mile or two of my ten-miler at 10:50-11:10 and keep my heartrate where it needed to be.

I thought about a late fall/early winter marathon, but the only one within driving distance that fits our schedule is the Rocket City and they have a strict no-music policy. Music is one of my favorite parts of running--I love saving it until the later miles where it inspires and re-energizes me. After a lot of debate about whether to register (it usually sells out right about now) or not, those words came to me---DO WHAT YOU ENJOY. That settled it.

This whole running and exercise thing SHOULD be about doing what I enjoy. What do I enjoy?

1. Doing small, local races. (Especially if I place, which is rare, but still happens.) I'm excited about this year's state park series and hope to do a few.
2. Running at a relaxed, conversational pace. Sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend, sometimes with music.
3. Running short tempo runs and intervals, too, just not every time I run.
4. 10K's and Half marathons. The world doesn't revolve around the marathon. And as a masters runner, I'm thinking that about 1 per year is enough. 2011 is done!
5. Trail running! I just love the trails and FINALLY found a pair of trail shoes that work for me. Now I'm working on finding trail running buddies.
6. Having a running schedule, but not being married to one. KWIM?
7. Push ups, pull ups, burpees, kettlebell swings. I enjoy many aspects Crossfit. Just not killing myself with it. I don't care much for heavy lifting, but the bodyweight exercises and plyometrics are fun.
8. Treating my body like a temple. Putting good foods into it. Right now I feel lousy because of two days of bad food choices. I feel happier and healthier when I eat right.


Here is a song that really inspires me on a run. I really like the line at 1:47.


Michael Nelson said…
Hi there. I have enjoyed reding your blog tonight. I am from Australia and have 4 children and also took up running at 36. I just did my first marathon 5 days ago and have been looking for other women's experiences (and not elite runners' experiences, to which I cannot relate!) Great blog you have. Inspiring! Cheers Motherthunks.