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My Running/Racing Plans: What’s Next?

I’ve had a busy year of running and racing.

In January, I was determined to get back my speed. Doing two full marathons (the Richmond Marathon in fall 2013 and the LA Marathon in spring 2014) had given me a lot of endurance awesomeness, but not a lot of pep in my step, and I wanted it back. I was over 26.2 for the time being and wanted to work on shorter, faster running again.

So, in the new year I joined an in-person coached track group that met twice a week and started focusing on speed again. It was fun to work on speed after having my sights set only on distance for so long, and even though getting up for dark, freezing, and occasionally snowy track workouts wasn’t easy, it felt good to challenge myself.

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By spring, I started racing again. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon in March with friends just for fun, and then raced the Cherry Blossom 10(ish) Miler and the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler, both in April. The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler would have been a new PR if the course had been correct (it was short due to an accident). The GW Parkway Classic wasn’t a PR but was very close. I was feeling good – my efforts were paying off and I was just about back to my pre-marathon speeds.

I continued training and raced the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in June, not setting a new PR but still rocking the super hilly course. Next up was the Beach to Beacon 10k in August, where I finally got a PR. In September, I set another new 10k PR at the Clarendon Day 10k. Last on my list this year for races was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon earlier this month. My goal for that one? Run at an easy pace, enjoy the views. I’d done enough racing and I knew it would be hilly – it was time to relax and take it all in.

2015 running races

I love racing – I love the challenge, I love the excitement of the crowds, I love the feeling of crossing the finish line totally spent (or not, depending on the race – but either way with a big smile). Even just looking at all these photos makes me realize, wow, what a fun year of racing I’ve had – so many cool opportunities and adventures! But you know what? I’m also kind of tired, unsurprisingly.

I’ve spent basically 10 months getting up early for track workouts, doing long runs, and racing. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon was the last one on my list this year, and now I’m left thinking: what’s next?

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Well, while I love running, I’m officially sick of “training.”

I think it’s time to get back to running just for fun again. It’s been awesome to push it on pace again and see what I can do, and I’m sure I’ll want to do that again in the future, but I’m ready to take a breather on official “training” for a little while.

I’ve been torn on quitting my track group or not because I know I’ll miss my track buddies, and I don’t want to lose the speed I’ve gained, but I think it’s time for a break and for more runs that don’t involve me running in circles around a track. I’m tired of having such a rigid schedule and ready to do more “just for fun” and flexible runs again. I am also looking forward to not having the obligation to get in a long run every week anymore. It’s funny because I was all “oh, I’m so over having to do long runs all the time,” and then I went out and ran 9.3 miles “just for fun” on Saturday. Isn’t it ironic how sometimes just removing the obligation means you want to do it again?

So – the running news is basically no news! Unless some sort of epic opportunity pops up that I can’t say no to, I’m planning on taking a breather from official training for a little while and just running when I feel like it. :) I’m looking forward to rediscovering the joy in running, to enjoying the beautiful fall running weather, and to getting to more yoga classes and boot camps, too.

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I met my friend Karen for a run yesterday as day 1 of my new “I can do whatever I feel like, but I actually do feel like running and will probably run more now that I don’t have to” plan. Karen and I used to run together all the time but got out of the habit a couple years ago when she was injured, and started doing classes together instead. Classes are fun, but running together is soooo much better. I’d missed it! Can’t believe we hadn’t done this in so long.

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We had the best run chatting away nonstop. I love the undivided time to talk that running with a friend gives – can’t be beat. <3

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We ended up covering 5 miles at a good clip, too (~8:30 average pace) – all that talking distracted us quite nicely!

Karen and I decided we’re going to start doing a weekly run date again and I’m already excited about it. Here’s to running happy, my friends!

What are your running/racing plans for the rest of the year/next year? I’ll probably have a couple months of chilling and then be itching to train again, knowing myself, but we’ll see… :)

Comments

  1. 1

    enjoy a break after a year of racing! glad your speed workouts paid off :). i’m week 1 into my official running retirement and am loving it so far. :)

  2. 3

    Love this Anne! You’ve had a busy year and deserve a break!

  3. 4

    I can completely relate! I played college lacrosse for 4 years, and was SO sick of feeling the pressure of training. But obviously, got the itch again shortly after graduating and starting doing half marathons- and got sick of that! I finally have a good balance of crossfit/running/walking and listening to my body. No pressure! It feels amazing right now!

  4. 6

    Breaks are so important!! Even though I missed running, I loved my break because I fell in love with fitness classes and met new people! Enjoy your time off!

  5. 7

    I had so many plans for races this winter…. but combination of no time, applying to schools, and just a general lack of interest in running means i’ll probably back off of all that. i want to keep working out and doing SOMETHING, but i think i need a break too. I do need to do more track workouts though, because I find my soccer game is suffering due to all of my long distance running!

  6. 8

    I feel the EXACT same way! Well, you ran more than I did. But the desire is just not there. I have not “raced” since April and I just don’t want to? I run for fun a few times a week and that is good enough for me :P

  7. 10

    Hey lady!! First of all, miss you! Second of all, congrats on kicking butt in your races this year! Amazing!! Third, I’m running my first half in 2 1/2 weeks. Eeek! I just ran 11 the other day, but for some reason racing 13.1 seems much more intimidating. Easy to forget how fun racing is! My pace has gotten so much better, but I’m ready to not HAVE to run long distances. I also miss strength training as my body has just been so exhausted training for the half. I kept up with training until my mileage hit double digits. I’m so ready for more hot yoga, a couple runs a week, and more strength training. I’ve been so impressed by how my body has gotten stronger and faster, though. It’s been a fun challenge!

  8. 12

    Congrats on all your races!! And good for you for taking a rest and getting back to running just for fun. Sometimes you need a break. This weekend I’m running the NYC marathon, and it also happens to be my first marathon! Any last minute advice for a rookie marathoner?! I’m super excited, but also getting nervous.

    • 13

      I didn’t know you were doing NYCM, Nicole! My best advice it just to have fun! And to not try anything new on race day (in terms of fuel, clothing, etc.). Also, be sure to drink enough water and reign in the pace at the beginning – with all the excitement it’s hard to not start out too fast. You’ll love it — good luck!

  9. 14

    You’ve done so many awesome races, I am sure a little break will be just the right thing to get you back into it when ready. I haven’t run at all this year since my goal has been more yoga and HIIT workouts. This next year, I want to do more trail races. Have a great day!

  10. 16

    Good move, listening to your gut! You can always go back to training more rigidly any time! :)

  11. 17

    That’s been me this year and it’s weird because people assume I’m not running anymore just because I’m not “training”! It’s been mentally freeing to run when/where/how fast (or slow) I want to without the pressure of the end goal. I’ve enjoyed the flexibility of trying new fitness formats/classes too—just enjoying being active and trying new things has been an adventure in and of itself!

    • 18

      Exactly! This doesn’t mean less running — in fact, I’ll probably run more now that I don’t “have” to — just less long run obligation and a lot less of the track. :)

  12. 19

    Maybe you should try a triathlon since you enjoy swimming and biking! I’m due with my first baby this week (eek!) and had to miss almost an entire year of serious racing. I cannot wait to get back into tri racing next year!

    • 20

      I did a sprint tri a few years ago, and it was fun but I don’t love biking enough to want to train for the bike part. :) Congratulations on your soon to be new addition! :)

  13. 21

    I am running less (days and mileage) for a bit. It’s weird.
    But at least I have a lot more time to eat.

  14. 23

    you’ve done o much this year, wow! i remember reading when you were ready to get back to racing… cant believe it was so long ago! im excited to hear about more crossfit workouts and what not :) there’s never a dull moment :)

  15. 24

    Love your blog, it’s so inspirational to me! I’m beginning to think about my running/fitness goals for the new year. Looking to more updates from you.

  16. 26

    Congratulations on such a full (and successful) race schedule! Sounds like you have the perfect plan to just enjoy running for running’s sake. I live in Arlington VA as well and have been toying with the idea of joining a coached group – never done speed work before, but am curious to see how it could improve my times. I’m just worried that may take the fun out of it. Was your group really serious? Some of the local teams sound intimidating.

    • 27

      My group had varying levels of serious-ness and paces, but everyone was friendly and it wasn’t intimidating at all since everyone was at different levels. Running around a track is a lot more fun with a group and a coach to tell you what to do than it is on your own. :) Give it a shot!

  17. 28

    Ha! It’s like you reading my post right now to me. I just wrote up my post about what is next after MCM and you pretty much took the words out of my mouth, lol. I told my hubby no marathons next year unless “some crazy exciting opportunity popped up that I couldn’t say no to.” I definitely need a break after 2 years of training constantly!

    • 29

      It’s hard to stop because it’s so fun, but definitely smart to dial it back every once in awhile. Enjoy your running for fun days, too!

  18. 30

    I hear ya! I’ve had the exact same feeling! Good for you for taking a race hiatus!

    My running club is trying to tempt me into signing up for the Phoenix Marathon in February. I’m really not in the mood to train throughout the winter but Phoenix in February is WAY better than Chicago in February!

    Enjoy running for fun!!

  19. 31
    Roadrunner says

    Great strategy, Anne. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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