Not running is Not easy!

Morning!

Thanks so much for all the kind words and excitement from the Marathon this past weekend! I love how runners share in one-another’s excitement ❤

The recovery process is not easy… especially when I feel so good! I don’t have any soreness/tightness/tiredness. I just want to do something to make me sweat!

I will try and hold off a little longer before I run… but I will start doing some cross training. I am honestly going crazy without a workout of any kind.  And yes, I am actually have some big mental struggles with eating and not working out that I have not had for the last few weeks. While I am not expanding the energy I normally am on these days off, my appetite has not subsided at all– I am still eating a ton! And craving the carbs, even though I am not doing anything but sitting and studying!

A few things are helping me deal with this mental component however:

  • Realizing that NO ONE should remain at “peak-race performance” throughout the year. That is a recipe for an injury, not to mention would end up being detrimental to your training. So I am telling myself to use these non-racing months (end of Nov-Jan to Feb-ish) to take time off…eat… get that period…work on strength exercise to push through those last miles of a race… and yes, get out of running shape! I think it would be great for my legs to do cross training, focus on lunges/squats/burpees/deadlifts/etc and let them slightly “forget” about running. It will feel funny when I get back into training mode for whatever race I have planned in the Spring, but I know my body, and I think my legs will really really appreciate it! So bring on the winter pounds and insulation!! My body needs it to ultimately be HEALTHY FOR LIFE.
  • Eye on the goal– get my period back to signify my body is “healthy”. No matter how much weight I have put on since I started this whole recovery process… no matter how many other “signs” I have had that my body is coming back alive and being properly nourished (my hair is growing, skin color is brighter, belly rolls, energy level)… I still need to get back to menstruating. I am trying to think of these rest days (or rest months!) as the perfect opportunity to do all of this!! Long-term, Andrea, this will make you a better runner and a healthier person!
  • Get back into fun cardio cross-training like spinning, stair climbs, etc. I LOVE STAIRS. Kind of like I LOVE hills! I did the a Stair Climb race last January and it was one of my favorite things! I plan on doing it again this year! And let me tell you… THAT is an entirely different kind of training! Actually… no running… but squats squats SQUATS!! Strong booty and thighs are what get you up those stairs!

I wanted to show you guys my favorite shirt I got from the marathon this weekend. I got it at the expo for 10$ and it has nothing to do with running. I loved it though!

20131118-211751.jpgIt is a simple, beautiful little scene of a Native American and a Wilderness Mountain Man canoeing down a river…. it gives me peace lookin’ at it 🙂

I hope you guys have a great day and have great workouts/runs/rest days!

Do you race over the winter seasons, or do you ease back?

Do you let yourself “get our of shape” throughout the year in order to get in better shape?

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30 comments

  1. You’re doing exactly what you need to do. I know that it is difficult. Believe me. But it is necessary. Craving carbs is also normal. It is your body attempting to restore what you used during the marathon. If it makes you feel better at all, I was starving for several days after my marathon. I wasn’t sore either, but when I did finally begin to crosstrain/run, my body was definitely tired. I am still more tired that I thought I would be. Keep doing what you are doing.

    As for winter, I generally don’t race. I have a half 12/08. After that I don’t have anything planned until May. I still run over winter, but definitely focus more on cross training. It’s nice to be able to strength train more regularly and not focus all my time and energy on running.

    Congratulations again on your marathon. Your recap sounded similar to how I ran mine. Although, you’re faster.

    1. This is great great GREAT to hear!! thank you so much for taking the time to tell me this and what your experience is/has been. I find so much comfort when I hear first hand accounts from others ((rather than just reading Runners World and taking their word for it!))
      You are defintiely right on resting and crosstraining over the winter months… it will only make me stronger come spring race season!! Thanks again girl and have a great day!

  2. Runner Girl Eats · · Reply

    I have my stair climb Saturday and I’m feeling sooooo nervous! I haven’t prepared as much as I’d like to and am starting to wish I’d taken training a little more seriously :/ oh well, lesson learned, right?!

    1. YAY!! Oh gosh seriuosly, don’t worry about the training for it! When you get there and start doing it… you will actually realize that asside from doing a million “practice” stair runs, squats and lunges every day, it will be hard and your legs will burn! haha so really, ignore that feeling of being “unprepared” because I found that it is hard no matter WHAT!!

      with that said…I PROMISE it is so so fun!! I can’t wait to hear how you like it! I found that looking at the ground, not counting the floors and trudging along as long as possible before FINALLY looking at how many floors you have climbed is the best “mental” strategy. I would always say, “ok in 2 more flights I am going to look at what floor I am on…. then I would be like, never mind, on the next one… ok just a few more…” By the time i look up at the number I am very surprised and happy to see how far I have come!!

      Anyways, HAVE FUN WITH IT! 🙂

  3. I totally understand what you’re talking about! I’ve been more or less forced to stop running because of my hamstring, but I think that it is almost a good thing because I also hate not running and getting out of “running shape.” but on the bright side, now I have time to do strength training and also, you know, sleep lol

    basically, you’re not alone!

    1. so sorry yours was a “forced” rest period… but at least you are taking the injury seriously so it doesn’t really blow up in your face and become a BIG DEAL
      I hate the gaining weight thing… but I have to remember that it doesn’t mean I am a worse runner when I get back into it ((in fact, more fat to burn and sustain me for the long runs, right!)) also, no one probably notices but me!!
      Heal up fast so that next time I am in Chicago ((lets be honest, I am there all the time)) I have a running partner!!

  4. pickyrunner · · Reply

    If it makes you feel any better, your appetite is probably still at crazy high levels because your body is catching up from the race. For some reason, I’m always STARVING for a few days following a half and I would imagine that a marathon would be the same if not more.But I think your new plan is great and perfect for you! The more you strengthen and focus on getting your body healthy (and take that oh-so-necessary off-season), the faster you’ll be when it’s time to run fast again! I’m realizing I need to lay off the running a bit this winter so I’m going to use the time I’m at home over winter break to focus on other things… like spinning and SKIING!

    1. YAYYYY SKI SEASON IS UPON US!! haha can’t wait! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 some days it is easy to remember that the time off and strength training will help me… other days I just ignore that line of thought and just completely feel fat and disgusting!!! bahhh I will get there… gotta keep believing in the process!!!

  5. Keep the positive attitude and it will get easier. I was totally freaking out the first couple months of my injury….and really not happy about the weight gain, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not such a big deal right?!

    1. You are so right— seriously, grand scheme of life… SO not a big deal. And we are probably the only ones to “notice” the little bit of softness we put on in the winter! Thanks for the reminder– i need that from time to time!
      yayy you are healing!!! You were so smart to take the time off when you did… shortened your recovery period by a ton! Smart girl 🙂

  6. I use to only race during the winter months, I prefer running in the cold than in the heat haha. I had to stop running once, I had an injury that made me stop running for 2 years. During that time, because I wasn’t able to do anything, not even walking. Because of this injury I can’t do long distance now, but I am able to do short distance. Maybe, if you were looking to get into a different kind of running shape, you could do HIIT, sprints, and a load of speedwork. I do that now, and seriously, never been so humbled in my life haha! And of course I do weights now too, every other day to be exact. I still have my period, and I’m able to go all out in all my workouts too 🙂 Just a thought!

    1. I actually love cold weather too!!! love the snow and fridgid air! I do not like wind with it though… that is kind of miserable haha…
      You are right! This is a great time to build some speed! Get some powerful legs, work on short intervals and hill workouts, etc… good idea– change up my type of running completely would be beneficial to the body AND mind!!

  7. I think all the points that you make above are really important! I’ve even read things from elite runners that say that they aren’t in peak race shape all the time. Their weights and bodies fluctuate throughout the year – in a healthy way – and that is totally normal for us as runners as well!

    1. Thank you for confirming that train of thought! I always hear these things, but some days do such a good job of convinicing myself they are NO TRUE! You have no idea how helpful and wonderful it is to hear confirmation that other real life runners out there can get a bit out of shape in the off season and then come back strong or stronger again! 🙂

  8. I for sure let my body get out of shape during my off time. Typically my running break falls right around Thanksgiving but since I’m training for a marathon in January it will fall at the end of that month this year. I think if people are being honest everyone worries about putting on the pounds or losing fitness when they are taking a break, especially if the break falls around the holidays, but you need to reward your body with much needed rest so that it rewards you back with getting your period, getting stronger later, staying injury free later, etc. I always make sure I give my body what it is craving during the break too, and while a lot of people say their appetite goes down when they are not training as much, for some reason my appetite goes right up and craves carbs in the form of any pastry (donuts, scones, croissants, it’s a serious problem lol) so naturally I definitely get out of shape, but even though my upcoming marathon is in January, I still plan on thoroughly enjoying those holiday goodies. Not saying I will go crazy and eat nothing but cookies and pie haha but I’m a firm believer in giving my body what it craves while also keeping a balance of eating healthy most of the time. Your recovery plan sounds like a great one to me! P.S. about the comment I made about the running time prediction calculator, my intention wasn’t to make you feel pressure at all. I know pressure is for sure no fun, so I’m sorry if it did! I just think its a helpful training tool is all :]

    1. you are seriously wonderful!! This was so great and helpful. I really don’t think I can adequately express how much this just put me at ease… Hearing confirmation from an AMAZING runner like you ((seriously girl you are lightening 🙂 )) was like getting confirmation from Kara Goucher that “letting your body go” a bit during off season is actually a GREAT service to your body… Thank you for taking the time to comment because this just has weighed on my mind since the marathon and has made me so frustrated for so many reasons!!!
      I love the holidays, mainly becuase I am obsessed with my family, and can’t wait to enjoy it as well! Also, I always find I am more hungry during rest periods too!
      haha I seriuosly copied and pasted this comment on a sticky note on my phone so I can read it when I start get “anxious” thoughts regarding food/body image and stuff… So again, thank you ❤

      Can't wait to hear how YOUR marathon goes in January! what a fun time for one! I have to travel too far to get to the warm races during the winter seasons haha

      Oh and seriously no worries about the prediction calculator thing! I decided to let it be used as a great training tool to help me come up with solid workouts for when I am training to hit my goal marathon time… I will not let it "get to me" and be a pressure device!! haha I really am happy you made me aware of it so I can check it out!

      Thanks again for EVERYTHING 🙂

      1. You are so very welcome! I am happy ALWAYS happy to help in any way that I can 🙂

  9. I’m glad I’m not the only one whose appetite is still insane! And constantly craving carbs. Today I walked into my office and one of my co-workers was eating a biscuit and the smell was enough to make me want to dive over her desk and take it right out of her hands. I was able to contain myself… barely. It’s great to hear you’re focusing on giving your body what it needs and wants because that’s super important – especially during this critical recovery period. Enjoy some relaxation time because you definitely earned it!

    1. hahah YEP… laughed out loud at that one 🙂
      Great job on your race!!! Can’t believe it came and went you know!! I miss the expecations and looking forward to it!! Do you have another planned yet?!
      Thanks for the advice! I know you are right… I just have to remember it!!

  10. Just curious, Andrea: Do you use free-weights for all your weight work? or do you sometimes use machines? If you do use machines on occasion which ones do you prefer?

    1. I use almost 100% free weights…. maybe somtimes I will do Fly’s on the machine, but even those I prefer to do on the bench with dumbells. I will also do work on the cable machine occasionally…. for tricep pull-downs,cross body pulls, or upright rows. But mainly all free weights!!

  11. I think its great that you are making an effort to make yourself happy, but while making sure your overall and long term health is number one! I was running around 600mpw and struggled with eating issues, and was underweight for a long time… I didn’t have to cut exercise out entirely but I did slowly have to cut back, and also gained an amount of weight over a year that I didn’t really love the thought of having on my body. But the good news is, you come to accept it. You realize those extra pounds are not as bad as you thought and they don’t define you. Its not to say weight gain is comfortable right away, but I promise you become okay with it the more time that passes! You also learn that all those thoughts you had about it were probably wrong. I was worried I’d “slow down” if I gained weight, or my running would suffer… But of course that was wrong! I only feel stronger now… and more confident that I’m not at risk for injuries and bone issues! That is a great feeling! Also, don’t feel defeated or think what you’re doing isn’t working… it takes time! I gained over a year… and then once I hit that weight that just seemed to stabilize for me, I had to sit at it for about 2.5 months before my period came back! Let me know if you ever want to talk about it, sometimes it helps to talk about it with someone who has experienced the same thing!

    1. WOW this is so helpful and encouraging to read… thank you thank you for sharing this. It really puts me at ease when I first hand hear others saying they handled it and got through it and the world kept turning.
      Yesterday for some reason was one of the mentally hardest days I have had in a really really long time. I felt like an absolute ball of fat…and I was mainly so mad at myself for letting myself “get that way”. But I again have to keep thinking long term like you said– decrease risk of stress fractures, strong bones, my period, etc. I have no idea what I weigh right now or what weight my doctors want me to get to… but hopefully i am getting close.
      Thanks for being so open to me emailing you and discussing it– I may very well taking you up on that in the future ((and especially over the holidays here!! ahh a little overwhelming))
      have a great day and THANK YOU 🙂

  12. haha I don’t get out of running shape on purpose per say. It just happens! After running for so long, I need a little break and I need to mix it up with other work outs. Then when I come back to running I love it that much more because I’ve missed it so much. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! Plus I’m a fan of not getting injured so that’s a plus 🙂 Love you and your perspective! I’m proud of you for striving to become healthier! I don’t think I’ve ever hope so much that someone will get her period 😉

    1. hahaha you are so right– when you get back into running it feels like the greatest thingin the whole world!!!
      And no stressfractures/hip injuries/shin splints = AWESOME. That would be worse than anything… injuries are just exhausting!!!

      hahaha thankssss girl— maybe throw in a Period Prayer every now in then for me!! 🙂 Love it, thanks so much for being there to calm my ridiculous insecurities!!

  13. […] was so comforted yesterday reading all of your words of encouragement and advice for dealing with “time-off” and […]

  14. Gosh, I relate SO much to this post and have so many thoughts that it has taken me a few days to figure out exactly want I want to say! Basically it boils down to this….I am SO proud of you. Andrea, your awareness of what your body is asking for and what it needs is great. I know that it can be so. hard. to actually begin to listen (what is that big, intimidating word? Oh yes, INTUITIVE! You are being intuitive!). Running a marathon during my first few months of real, dedicated recovery was probably not my best choice looking back, but it absolutely required that I start tuning in to my body, giving it rest even when I didn’t want to, and feeding it when I felt like I was just absolutely INSANE with how hungry I was post-marathon! I can relate so much, and your mindset is leaps and bounds beyond where I was two years ago and I am so so proud of you, encouraged by you, and inspired by you! You are looking at the BIG picture (LIFE!) and are making choices in your own power and the power of the Lord to ensure that you are healthy, present, and living with the vibrancy that you want to live with. I know it’s gotta be so so hard but I love how you keep reminding yourself of the long term goals and the beauty and peace that comes with crushing Satan and kicking ED in the face. You are a champion. And that shirt is AMAZING! 🙂

  15. I know I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to say how inspirational and motivational you are. You’ve really jumped into recovery head first and it’s paying off. You’re amazing!

    1. Oh you are too kind with those words… I am feeling so weak and vulnerable and not at all the strong person you have congratulated me to be… but I want to STRIVE to be that girl!! Thank you so so much! Have a great evening!

  16. […] am about 2 weeks post marathon. While I took the first week off, I put in 36+ miles the second week. Ya, I know, probably more than I should have. HENCE the […]

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