Recently, I have had quite a few people ask me “what’s next?”
The past 3 and a half years, I have had an answer to this question. But today, I do not.
Since fall of 2011, I have had a marathon planned. I knew what race was coming up for the fall and spring, and had it marked on my calendar when the 12, 16 or 20 week training would begin. While some days I hated the training, most days I loved it.
I loved the accomplishment of getting up in the 4am hour to complete an insane workout, checking it off my training schedule and documenting it on my daily mile. I loved talking to my running friends about our upcoming races and the goals we had. And I also loved the miles and miles of thoughts I had to myself, or those that I shared with friends. While there were days I despised my alarm clock, cursed the Garmin and was over the training schedule, I really did love it. As we discussed in my run group today, we hate the training schedule, but we love it more.
Today, I am not experiencing any of that. And I know I won’t experience it again for a while.
Over Thanksgiving, I decided that after I ran Phoenix, I would force myself to take a break from marathons. My body hurt, and I didn’t love running like I thought I should. With this decision, I removed the Boston Marathon from my list of upcoming races. It was a hard thing to do, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
I have done Boston the last two years, and had quite the experience at each one. I am not sure that any race will every top that of Boston 2014, and for that fact I accepted that I was OK with not going back. Now instead of running a marathon on April 20, I will be coming home from a wine trip with friends. I decided that a new experience with people I love took precedence over running the same marathon for the third year in a row. I also knew that the break was much needed and would be good for me.
Taking a break while I am still on top and healthy is much better than being forced to take a break because I am seriously injured or hate the sport.
I also do not have any marathon planned for the fall, which is very strange. My husband and I are planning a big trip to Europe late summer, and I know it is not feasible to train for a marathon while on a two week trip. I want to enjoy every minute of this adventure, not be worried about hitting 50 miles a week while I am there.
One of the reasons why I decided to run Phoenix was because I had a feeling it could be my only marathon of 2015…and it looks like that will be right!
Even though my marathon schedule is obsolete, I do have some halfs on the schedule. I am beyond excited to run the United NYC Half Marathon in March! After that, I will be running as the 1:45 pace group leader for Running with the Cows, and the 1:50 pace group leader for Hospital Hill (my favorite KC race!)
Since I am focusing half marathons now, my flexibility will be much better with my training. If I skip a day, it isn’t the end of the world. And goodbye to 60 mile weeks. Which means more sleep and more of a social life (my friends haven’t seen my out on a Friday night in 3 years 😉 )!
My goal is to maintain 25-30 miles a week this spring, and focus much more on my cross training. I went to a class on Tuesday and I am still sore…which proves that I have got to get my strength training back! I will do a couple speed sessions here and there, but nothing intense like I had been doing. Hopefully with this rest, my body will heal and I come back to my next marathon mentally and physically stronger than ever!
Have you ever taken a break? How was the transition?