Marathons+Moderation Guest Post #27

by ashleyd on January 11, 2012

Hello Healthy, Happier Bear Readers! When Ashley asked me to be a guest blogger on her awesome blog, I was ecstatic! I am a newbie blogger (just over 3 months) and really love “meeting” other runners through the virtual world.

My name is Michele and I blog at nycrunningmama. I am the mother of a happy 1-year old boy and wife to my best friend. I have been running for most of my life (in order to stay in shape for the sports I was involved in) but didn’t really fall in love with running until I was deployed to Iraq. Running became my “me” time during each of my deployments – although I was pushing my body, I was resting my mind, so I happily looked forward to my daily runs. You can find out more about me and read my bio on my blog!

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If you would have asked me three years ago about Marathon + Moderation, I would have probably told you that those two words do not go together. I was single, living in an apartment two blocks from Central Park and had no real obligations other than a very flexible job. I was able to run whenever I wanted and for however long I wanted. I was comfortable and happy to log upwards of 60-70 miles/week. Life was good. Most days, I would run however long my body felt like running – 8, 10, 12 miles. I very rarely had anything that required me to cut my run short – so if I chose to extend my run to two hours, I could.

Fast forward to today.

I find myself trying to juggle logging the necessary miles with being a stay-at-home mom, blogging, working on my pre/post-natal exercise specialist certification, cleaning, cooking, and other chores around/for the home. My “free” time is limited. I no longer have the luxury of running whenever and however far I feel like.

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What does this mean?

I am no longer able to waste my time running “empty” miles. Nowadays, each mile has to matter and every run has to have a purpose. Every. Single. One.

I’ve been forced to get smarter with my training. It was a necessity – after my son was born, I realized I was lucky to squeeze in a 30-45 min run a few days a week. Whether it was due to my decision to be an on-demand nursing mother or simply because I couldn’t bear to be away from my son for very long, I no longer had the freedom to just run.

In an ideal world, I would be a sponsored elite runner with no obligations preventing me from running twice a day and logging as many miles as my body permits. But, I have no hopes of running even remotely close to a sub-2:30 anytime soon. So, being smart with my *moderated* miles is key for me.

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These days I hope to run 6x days/week. I have three quality runs that are the essential workouts to my training – speed, tempo, and long runs. The other three runs are recovery/easy days to get more miles in while giving my legs and body a rest. Although it’s a training plan, it’s a flexible one that allows me to easily skip a day and rearrange as necessary. But, at a minimum, I make sure that I complete my three quality runs – they will be the runs that affect my pace during the marathon.

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I am currently logging considerably less miles (about 20-30% less) than I was a few years ago. And despite that, I am actually faster than I was. My goal time for my spring marathon (NJ Marathon) is sub-3:10, almost 12 minutes faster than my previous PR. I’ve dropped close to 20 seconds off my mile PR. And I completed my first ultra in November (Knickerbocker 60k). I am proof that you can lower your mileage and improve your times at the same time.

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Regardless of what constraints you have in your life – child/children, work, time – you CAN train for a marathon without logging an obscene number of miles. The secret is ensuring that every mile (and minute) you run is important – don’t waste them!

{ 3 comments }

Krissy @ Shiawase Life January 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Great post! Michele – you are a true inspiration…keep running, mama! :)

helen @ change comes from within January 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Woo Michelle on healthy happy bear! What a nice suprise!

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Allison January 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Great story! Since we got a puppy last week I’ve been having a hard time finding the time to get to the gym- definitely gotta make whatever time worth the while!

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