Week #3 and I’ve made a welcome realization: I am feeling better and stronger at this point in the season than I have in any of my previous seasons. I am loving this! 🙂
As anyone who trains with me knows, I typically take the winters off and join TnT only during the summer months. It’s not that I go idle during those 7 months out of the year; on the contrary, I do lots of other activities that I often have to set aside during my running, such as kickboxing, step, heavy weights, circuit training, etc. It’s great to get the physical and mental break, but it does come at a price: when I come back to training, I often feel as though I have to start from square one and re-train myself all over again to get back the running-specific endurance I’ve lost. The ugly truth is, no matter how fit you are in general, if you don’t run regularly for more than a few months, you will definitely lose a lot of those gains–at least this is what I’ve discovered for myself.
So the first 3 weeks of any season I am usually miserable, trying to keep up with my much stronger/fitter running buddies and wishing I had been more diligent about running in the off-season (instead of cursing the cold, the rain, and the dark). But this time around? I feel super strong and have even started to experiment with longer intervals again. A few seasons ago, I had gotten up to a 6:2 (6 minutes running, 2 minutes walking) interval, but due to not running in the off-season, I couldn’t get back to that the following season, and have since stuck with a 3:2. I’m now trying to shake myself out of that rut and much to my surprise, it’s actually WORKING. I think the difference really is that aside from the 2 weeks following my marathon (when I was sick as a dog), I went back into running and didn’t miss a beat.
In the last 3 weeks, I’ve run 6-8 miles for my long runs and have felt great–I know this because I end each run thinking, “I can’t wait to get back out there and try to run longer or faster or both.”
Things bode well for the rest of the season, I hope!!