Summer (Running) Break

I don’t think anyone will ever accuse me of not loving running. It’s a hobby, a lifestyle, a habit, an ingrained part of my everyday routine without which life would be very different.

But I’ll be damned if I don’t want a little break every once in a while.

I think it’s natural to finish a big event like a marathon and feel such a rush that you want to keep go, go, going. I’ve felt that pull myself, in the past. But I can honestly say that during the week following Gansett, at no point did I feel the urge to go out and run.

On Sunday, a week out, I decided to test the waters with an easy 4-miler. It felt…okay. And by that I mean it felt like exercise. Exercise isn’t always fun. Sometimes, it’s something that you endure for 35 minutes so you can get on with your day.

When thinking about what comes next, fitness-wise, I’m certain about a few things:

  • I’m not going to run another marathon until Boston 2013 (I’m assuming I won’t have a problem with entry);
  •  I don’t want to spend the next few months hating the South because it’s a terrible place to run in the summertime, because other than the horrible summer running season, I really like it here;
  • I should try to lose 5-10 pounds (of excess body fat);
  • I need to build some strength in my core and back, as they tend to be the first things that tire during any type of endurance event.

So I’m not going to stop running, but I am going to take my mileage down considerably over the next four months and focus more on other activities. I tried to do something similar last summer with my stint of HEAT classes, but in retrospect, I never fully gave myself permission to et go of the weekly mileage chase and just engage in what was most enjoyable and beneficial at the time, given the hot/humid weather.

I’m not a huge planner, but in my head this looks something like 20 miles a week of running, with several other workouts mixed in. It’s the Summer (Running) Break:

  • 2 days of vinyasa yoga (god damn you, yoga racket)
  • 1-2 days of strength training
  • 1 track workout (5-6 miles total, 400s or 800s)
  • 1 “long” run (probably not more than 10 miles, maybe less, and done more for the social aspect than anything else)
  • 1-2 other easy efforts – base run or swim or whatever I feel like

That’s 5-6 days or exercise per week with only 2-4 days of running. It’s been quite a while since I ran that infrequently. But I’m looking forward to mixing it up a bit and sitting out the most unpleasant time of the year for outdoor running around these parts.

I am also looking forward to losing this marathon chub. Seriously…I know I’ve probably been doing it wrong (I think I spent my spring eating and drinking at 70 MPW rates while actually running 40 MPW) but it seems so unfair. I just ran a distance event at a respectable pace and somehow, according to my jeans, I am in the worst shape of my life.

I’ve got my work cut out for me.

But don’t worry. Even as I cut back, I’ll never give up on my beloved beer entirely. If it’s a choice, I’d rather have beer than dessert.

This Mugshot IPA from Georgia’s local Jailhouse Brewery exceeded anything a brownie sundae could bring to the table.

Lots of hops and a smooth, just slightly floral finish made this beer a delight to drink over a plate of caprese salad and thin-crust pizza. A subtle touch of citrus gave it a fresh-squeezed flavor that can sometimes be overpowered by the hoppy and/or perfumy element in IPAs.

Bottom Line: I’d never heard of Jailhouse before, but given my experience with this IPA, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for their other offerings!  If you’re in GA, give it a shot! (Restaurant pint $5, 6.7% ABV)

Alright, time for bed! Thanks for all of your well wishes on our new home; its a lot of work, but I’m not complaining one bit. And if you’re ever in Atlanta, we’d love to have you over for a rooftop drink!

15 responses to “Summer (Running) Break

  1. I could’ve written this post minus the high-for-me mileage, BQ and beer review. Okay, maybe not. Summer running in LA is enjoyable with the morning marine layer and cool evenings. I took longer than I expected to recover after the LA Marathon. It sorta worried me, but then I realized that’s pretty normal. I’ve tried some other workouts recently and they really kick my ass. It’s quite the wake up call that I have a long way to go to increase my fitness.

  2. My plan for this summer also involves a little less running and a little more yoga/strength stuff and other forms of cross training…and less eating crap. (hoping the yoga groupons I’ve picked up over the last month help with this, since I hate wasting money) My sister is getting married in August and I have less than four months to get in strapless, short bridesmaid dress shape!

  3. Good idea, very wise plan !

  4. I like your plan! It sounds like an excellent way to change it up and work some different muscle groups, plus the mental break from running a certain mileage, certain workouts, etc. also sounds nice. I’ve been really neglecting yoga lately and can totally tell – love to hear how it’s benefiting you as you keep doing it!

  5. Hi Shelby! Long time reader, but I’ve never left a comment! Congratulations on your move and the new house! I absolutely love Atlanta. My husband and I travel there every year for the Supercross race at the Georgia Dome in February. If you live close to there, you should check out the Taco Mac at the Phillips Arena. They have a TON of craft beer on tap and in bottles. Highly recommended!

  6. Before my next big race, I’d really like to work more on strength/core training as well. I hope that if I continue to say this, one day it will actually come true…

  7. Sounds good! I don’t think I will be giving up my summer marathon, but I definitely want to work more on strenth and maybe try to do some yoga again. I was so good about it when I trained for Iceland. Did NOTHING this time. So even though I am faster I feel like I am in worse shape :/ bc I probably am…

  8. Congrats on the house! I’m in serious need of a break, too – just wrote a very similar post about it! And I feel like I managed to gain weight during my Gansett training, too – trying not to stress about it, but definitely being a little more conscious of what I’m eating, so I feel less ‘puffy.’ I’m planning on Boston 2013, too – hoping the weather next year is better!

  9. If you are finding running is not as much fun at the moment, you could always try a different form of exercise. There are so many out there, it’s good to have a change once in a while so you don’t get bored. Like you say, it should be fun.

  10. This makes me feel so much better! I have done a 2-miler and a 4-miler since Boston and feel…crappy and unmotivated! Am bagging out of the 5K I have registered for on Saturday and have gone swimming twice. And now I will try to stop feeling guilty about it. Thanks, Shelby!

  11. I think breaks are great for the mind and body! I had a great running experience in the fall, and then when January hit, I really switched my focus to the bike (and I’m trying to swim more too!) which has been healthy for me – and my knees! I need to commit to strength training though. Ugh.

  12. I can finally read your beer reviews without envy. Kai is on the bottle and I am back on the bottle, um, in moderation of course…

    I finally tried that Blueberry Oatmeal Stout tonight. I dumped 3/4 of it down the sink. Shhh, don’t tell Chris. The Shadow’s Wild Black is much better, although I have firmly written off the Wild Blue.

  13. I can.not.wait for my full to be done. Granted I’m not the runner you are and apparently anything over 15 miles is hell for me so I suppose it can be expected. But really, I’m so ready for a time when I can head outside to do whatever, whenever, whyever without a training plan making me feel guilty for a long bike ride rather than a run!

    That and the fact at 75* I thought my last run was too hot…its going to be a long summer! Enjoy your time playing around with your workouts!

  14. I don’t think you ever have to explain yourself for cutting down your mileage! Congrats on finishing your marathon.

    Completely unrelated question that is starting to make me feel like I’m spamming all of my favourite blogs, but whatever: Is it ok if I pin your work on pinterest, or would you prefer that people don’t? Let me know if you want me to take your images down.