After my August epiphany "Do what you enjoy," I've been doing just that.
I've been training mostly slow and easy with the Maffetone Method. My max aerobic heartrate is steadily improving. I can run at about a 10:45 pace without leaving the 145 and below aerobic zone. Supposedly this will help my body to burn body fat for fuel more efficiently and translate to faster times. We'll see..... more about that later.
I have done 2 trail runs, which I really enjoyed. Trail running is about two things: 1) Don't fall down and 2) Don't sprain anything. I love the no-pressure-to-run-fast aspect of it, I love the ever changing terrain ("I am going up hill, I am going down hill, I am dodging a tree branch, I am dodging a snake, I am going over a bridge, I am stumbling over a big rock"---keeps it interesting, to say the least!)
I have done several short runs, just a little bit of speed work once a week, and my weekly long run with the group I'm training for an upcoming half marathon. Honestly, the long runs really do feel like work (I mean besides the fact that I clock in and out for them). I think I have fallen out of love (hopefully temporarily) with running long.
Maybe it's because I find myself in a group of people but still mostly running alone.
Maybe it's because it's been just ridiculously hot.
Maybe I needed more recovery time after the June marathon before going long again.
Whatever the case, after all this training is over, I'm thinking that about 8 miles is the maximum training distance I want to do regularly---maybe once or twice per month. Beyond that is beyond fun. That way, I figure I'm always 5 weeks to half marathon ready. I could have my base of 8, then do a couple of 10-milers, a 12, a tapered 8-9, and then BAM--race. My running club president is a big believer in over-distance training. He's planning to run 14, 16, and even 18 before his upcoming half-marathon. Me? I figure if I get in some good quality short and mid-distance runs, 12 miles is plenty of distance before a half. I once had a decent half marathon on just a 9-mile longest run coming off an injury.
To try to put some of the FUN and EXCITEMENT back into running, I think I'm going to do a bunch of races in the coming months. Here's what's on my plate:
1. Sept. 5: Labor Day 10K-- Yikes! That's day after tomorrow! I'm not sure if I can run my usual 10K pace after what seems like months of slow running. Plus, the weather is supposed to be heavy rain and 18 mph winds. I'm running 6 miles in a monsoon, apparently!
2. Oct. 2: Music City Half Marathon. Tom King Course, I'm coming for you! I was prepped for a GREAT Tom King race and a half marathon PR in March, then I got sick the night before the race and during the race had stomach issues. This race is on the very same course..... REDEMPTION! It will by my 11th half marathon.
3. Oct. 15 Go Commando Half Marathon (I'm planning on wearing undies though.) My dear husband is training for his 2nd half marathon and I think I'm going to just run with and support him during this race. It will be neat to run 13.1 together. The most we've done together is 6. (We'd love to run more together. That time, we got a sitter. After all, SOMEONE has to be home watching the kids!)
4. October 22: Wild Thang 9-Mile Trail Race I'm very excited to do my 2nd trail race!! 9 miles should be a bit more doable than that tough 13.1 in May (which I hope to do again!).
5. October 29: Possibly the APSU Homecoming 5K or the Zombie Run 5K. Run at my alma mater supporting their scholarship program or be chased by zombies. Tough call.
6. November 5: Sango Scamper 10K and 5K For only $5 extra you can do both. I did both last year. It felt kinda hard core. Raced the 10K and just did the 5K for funsies.
7. November 19: Turkey Trot 5 or 10 Miler If I'm not COMPLETELY SICK of races by then...
8. December 3: Deer Trail 6 Miler I will run this with my husband. It's about 30 minute away from his parents (aka free childcare!) Hubby's first trail race.