by Meghan Reynolds
This winter was a doozy - lots of work hours, work travel, some life hiccups and getting sick (twice!). Something had to give and it was training for a marathon for me. Getting two colds this year really wiped me out as well and I knew that I needed to rest in order to fully recover. I kept my running short and easy and focused on building strength and stretching.
Now, after two months of craziness, I'm back and getting ready for fall marathon training. It's tempting to just dive back into my 12-14 mile long runs and regular paced runs. But, I know my body isn't ready and I don't want to get discouraged. To avoid the pitfalls of checking off miles and pace, I started running for time. So, 30, 40 or 60 min runs. I started this about 3 weeks ago and am just now starting to wear my watch on runs. This does two things for me: 1) hides my pace so I don't freak out if I'm slower and 2) allows me to just run! I run out for 15 or 20 mins and then come back. For the longer runs, I explore a different neighborhood until my watch says 60 mins or a loop that takes me about an hour.
I've found that this makes running more enjoyable and not so task oriented of hitting a set number of mile or a set pace. So, if you have had a doozy of a winter, don't despair. Start slow and start without miles or pace goals. Aim to hit total time running goals. Within 3 weeks, you'll be back and ready to go!