Listen to your body. That's fairly common advice for recreational runners. I've even doled it out at times myself. But I hate it. It makes no sense. Let's be honest:...
First PB since kids!
It’s true. I just posted my first Personal Best time in running since having my first baby over six years ago. I ran 1:21:43 in the Scotiabank Toroton Waterfront Half-Marathon last weekend, which is sixteen seconds faster than I’ve ever run that distance. In fact, since I’m writing about it I just did a little bit of research and discovered that despite having been fairly consistent in the racing scene for over fifteen years, I hadn’t posted a personal best time in the last nine!
Since I’m comparing, I thought I’d take a look at what I do now vs. what I did nine years ago:
Nine years ago I did interval workouts twice a week with a competitive group of runners. We showed up after work, and began the ritual of warming-up, doing drills, and preparing our minds and bodies for the workout to come. After completing the workout we would do some more running at a relaxed pace, and often included core work. The entire process could easily take two hours.
Today, I do interval workouts at 5 a.m. I have somehow managed to convince a group of similarly time-pressed parents from my neighbourhood that this is a fun activity and a good idea. We have a group of around seven people, ranging from run-walkers to competitive runners who meet every Wednesday at 5 a.m. prepared to take on whatever hills or intervals I have planned that day. They are amazing, inspiring, dedicated, and definitely get me out there! However, there is no waiting for stragglers, not much of a warm-up and no time for drills. The entire process takes no more than an hour.
Nine years ago I often did my long-runs with my boyfriend (now husband). We would run once we’d eased into our day, had breakfast and read the paper. After the runs the rest of the day was often spent relaxing and recovering.
Today my husband and I coordinate schedules around kids and various activities for me to plan my long runs. They do sometimes still include him, but those ones involve a baby-sitter. Sometimes they involve a baby-sitter and not my husband, and on those runs I tend to break down how much I’m paying per-minute to run and work my hardest to get my best value!
Nine years ago when I raced I focused on nothing but how to set myself up to run my best times. I made sure my logistics and warm-up were timed perfectly for the start, and during the race I was completely focused on my performance.
Today, I often manage my kids’ support-crew experience (food, warmth, transportation) in cheering me on as much as my own race logistics. It’s important to me that they see my running and racing as enjoyable experiences for them as well as for me. During a race I know they’re looking for me, and I’m just as keen to see them. When I do, I make sure I have a smile and wave – whether I’m feeling good or not.
Nine years ago after a race I would treat myself to a nice meal, bath, relaxed reading, and usually a nap.
Today that is one thing I’m trying to maintain! I’m part-way there. After my half-marathon the kids built me a “relaxation fort” and proceeded to take turns massaging me. See? It’s all about training them along with you. And I feel like I’m finally getting there.
The next two challenges: a 10K PB and teaching my kids to clean up after fort/playtime. Wonder which will come first??