“I know what’s best for me, and I want to do things my way. So, now I listen to my inner voice and my heart – and that’s how I make my decisions.” – Nina Hagen
It happened again. I intended to run consistently through the winter to establish a fitness base before training for a half-marathon. But I didn’t succeed with that intention.
There were reasons for this (and to be fair to myself, I did run and walk occasionally.) I had a heavy cold and sinus infection early this year that lasted about a month. My leg muscles were tight and I had blisters on my toes from walking a couple of miles one evening in unsuitable shoes. We’ve had a rough winter here in the Chicago area with lots of snow, slippery running surfaces, and cold. And I’ve been focused on other issues lately.
I do want to run the half marathon, which is on April 22. Integrity is important to me, and I paid for the race with the goal of running it ten minutes faster than last year. Training for it will help me get more fit. But if I want to run well, it is time I stop making excuses and start training in earnest.
So I thought about how I wanted to train for the race. Last year, I ran with a 1/2-marathon training group. I joined a pace group for interval running: 8-minutes running, 2-minutes walking, which may have been too strenuous for me. My legs were constantly knotted up, and I think shorter intervals would be better. So I decided to do the training my way this year, rather than join that group.
Doing things my way doesn’t mean starting from scratch. It’s always good to learn from the experts. I pulled out the training plan from last year and adapted it.
A few years ago I ran with a group coached by “Ironman Bob,” who I wrote about here. He emphasized the importance of warmups, cooldowns and stretching to avoid injury. Warmups and cooldowns are simply walking before and after a long run. These will be a regular part of my training.
The first milestone was to run six miles. I did the run alone last Saturday, using intervals of 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking. I liked that interval but realized I need to run a little faster or shorten the walking interval to meet my goals for time. Music on my MP-3 player and a picturesque route made the running pleasant.
I will supplement solitary running by running with my fun run club sometimes. People in the group train for different distances and at different paces, but one member is doing the same half-marathon, and she runs a similar pace. We plan to do some runs together. This morning I walked five miles with two other women from the club. Walking is time on my legs, and I consider it to be good training.
Recently I lost a few pounds, which should help my running, and I want to lose a few more. This would be a win-win situation: Losing pounds will benefit my running, and running should help me lose a few pounds.
So what about you? Maybe you’re not a runner, and talk of running isn’t of interest to you. But I hope you’re walking or getting other exercise. What is your best way to do this?
And I hope you’re doing things your way in other areas of your life as well. The tag line for this blog is “Be a Leader in Your Own Life.” If you’re not doing things your way, whose life are you leading?
What are your goals, why do you want to meet them, and what is your plan for getting there?
When have you found your own way?
I truly admire your “stick-to-itiveness”! It has been a rough winter here and those hidden spots of ice can be dangerous. Good luck as you pursue this your way, Sue, and keep us posted.
It was a rough winter for me as well and I’ve found a few pounds creep back in, reminding me to keep moving. I need to return to my nature walks, which get me moving and bring me joy. Today, with the sun out and temperature temporarily decent, I think I will take a good long walk.
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Yes, today was a good day for a walk. I walked with the same two friends that I walked with yesterday–5 miles again. Most of our walk was in nature along the river. I agree with you about not walking or running on icy or slippery areas during the winter. The truth is, I could have gone more often to the park district fitness center, which I belong to. But like you, I much prefer the outdoor walks in nature. I hope you had a great walk today.
As a former runner (had to swap running for gym time when my knees started “pinging”), I applaud your smarts for tailoring getting in stride to what you know works for you. I take that approach with writing. I don’t worry about word counts per day or what’s “hot” in publishing at the moment. I write what I’m moved to write because you live with a book a long time. I work daily but I never try to rush a scene or a chapter, or a book. I agree with you–you don’t want to turn something you love into a slog to fulfill someone else’s checklist.
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Amy, I applaud you in changing to gym workouts when running didn’t work for you. That is so much better than giving up on exercise. To my readers: Amy sets a good example for doing things “her way.” She left a career as a magazine editor to pursue her own writing and freelance editing. See her post: “About Amy Henry” at https://amyhenrybooks.com/about-2/.
I feel your pain on the rough start to the year – I had a sinus infection too (and was sick the whole week leading up to Christmas) so it really threw off some of my New Years resolutions. Good luck and great start on getting it back!
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