I've been running multiple times a week, even when I don't have a race scheduled. I've incorporated hill repeats and speed work into my routine. I'm actually making it to my weekly running club, getting in my Tuesday night 3 miler even when I arrive late. I'm going to the high school track with or without my running buddy Rebecca. And I'm making sure I make up a missed run within a day or two so that my plan stays relatively consistent.
|Beautiful view from the Four Mile Run Trail during my 5 miler Sunday evening; if you zoom into the center of the photo, you can see the full moon rising|
Strength training is another thing I've incorporated. I finally found something I can motivate myself to do at home, without a trainer, and without the extra expense of the gym. Years ago I fell for the Kettleworx infomercial and purchased the DVD set and three kettle bells: 5 lb, 10 lb, 15 lb. Lately I've been doing kettle bell workouts at least twice a week. They are short workouts, but effective because you are constantly moving and using several muscle groups at the same time. I hope to eventually graduate and buy a 20 lb kettle bell, but for now the workouts are challenging enough. Am I getting as tough of a workout as I got for those 6 sessions I had with a personal trainer last fall? No, of course not, but I'm getting a better strength workout than NO strength workout, and I'm developing the habit of consistency. Good things.
|Yes, it was an infomercial, but I like Kettleworx|
And finally, I've now endured the torture of a stair climbing workout twice, with more sessions scheduled. I live on the 10th floor of my building right next to a stairwell. My routine is to start on 10, go down to 9, then back up to 10; and then go down to 8, and back up to 10; then down to 7, and back up to 10. I do this all the way to the 1st floor, ending up back on 10. I can only "run" for a few flights before it becomes difficult and I can only walk. At the very end of the workout I find myself holding onto the railings for support, as I have spaghetti legs. I feel the burn, and know that this workout is helping me. And I improved by 3 minutes between my first and second sessions. Next week I go for my third session and hope to take more time off.
I'm not perfect, and I haven't done everything to plan. I have missed some workouts (but made up most of them). And I've adjusted the plan as I've determined the need. For example, I was originally planning to schedule myself for long runs on weekends. But I readjusted when I realized that it is more important for me to work on speed than distance. I'm already trained up to marathon distance, and if I keep doing long runs, I won't be able to improve my pace. So instead, I decided to make my weekend runs mid-distance and run them at a faster pace. I'm still taking walk breaks. Those walk breaks allow me to run faster on the run intervals. And let's face it: there's no way I'm running uphill in Mexico City without walk breaks, so it's best to train with them.
I'm seven weeks into this new training plan and feeling very good about it. I finally found motivation to stay consistent with my workouts. I'm gonna keep going and see where this gets me by the end of August when I run Mexico City Marathon.