Now that my 5K training cycle is over–and I actually ran the race!–I wanted to share what’s next in terms of running and training.
I mentioned a few weeks ago how I’ve been debating whether to train for the Philadelphia Marathon. Training would start July 18, a date that’s inching ever closer. And I’m still nowhere close to deciding what to do! I think about it about ten times a day. Assuming I’ll be able to fit it into my work schedule–still to be determined–there’s the question of do I want to do it. Some days I decide yes. Other days I think no.
In that last post, the main reason I gave for not training was the lack of time because of my new job. Nothing has changed on that front. I still have only one hour before work to run. As an example, this week I have two early-morning meetings that would make running for more than a half-hour impossible. And right now I still wouldn’t be able to work from home regularly, which I’d like to do on the days I have long midweek runs, without having to wake up at 3:30 a.m. and thus have to go to bed at 7:30 p.m. if I couldn’t work from home.
A few times I’ve thought, well, maybe I can just train less and run the race for fun. I trained my ass off for my first marathon and it didn’t go well. Maybe I should try the opposite approach this time. Maybe if I don’t train as much, it will go well! Ha, I know. Not very logical. But seriously, a part of me does think that my second attempt probably can’t be much worse than my first. The challenge with that is being honest about running it “for fun.” If the race doesn’t go well or if I would finish even slower than my first, would I be able to shrug it off? Not sure.
I appreciated everyone’s comments and thoughts on that last post about whether I should train for my second marathon. One comment that Ariana made really stayed with me and has actually been the basis for me deciding what to do next. She said that anything we do outside of work should be fun, not a chore. And Steff had also advised to do what makes me happy.
That got me thinking: What makes me happy? I immediately thought of two things.
- Long runs with friends. I haven’t run with friends this past training cycle because it’s difficult to run with others when you do heart rate training. I really miss it. I need to change things up so I can run with friends again.
- Trail running!
Last summer I regularly ran on trails and loved it. Woods and forests are absolutely my happy place. I’ll take mountains over oceans any day. Plus, it was always nice to run in the shade of the trees on a hot summer day. But as marathon training ramped up, I stopped trail running and never got back into it. With warm days here, it’s the perfect time to start again.
Saturday I did my first trail run of the year in North Park. We’ve had a lot of rain and I knew the trails would be muddy, but I didn’t care. I ran the North Country Trail, which begins with a steep climb and ends in a fun downhill. It was very muddy, but mostly still runnable. Because it was raining slightly, I had the trail to myself. I walked the steep uphills and ran the flat, rolling, and downhill parts. Within a few minutes after I started, I met a deer on the trail who unhurriedly ambled just off the trail to watch me curiously as I passed. I saw two other deer during the run, as well as many squirrels. The spring flowers were out and beautiful. I didn’t bring my phone because it was raining, but I wished I would have to take pictures of how pretty everything was. I got really muddy, but I loved it! As a bonus, I stayed mostly within my low heart rate zone, except for some of the very steep climbs. I remember last year feeling like I couldn’t do trail runs on easy days because I was working too hard. I guess all my low heart rate training in this past 80/20 training cycle has really paid off.
One of the reasons I wasn’t sure about doing marathon training is I didn’t really want to give up both weekend days to long runs. Taking one weekend day off from running the past few months has really spoiled me. Because of not being able to run a lot during the workweek, I’d absolutely have to run both weekend days. But if I were to make one run a trail run (and the other a long run with friends)–both things that make me happy–I don’t think I’d mind running both weekend days. Maybe training would be just as enjoyable as it was last year when I did it?
So, I have possibilities. Marathon training is certainly not out of the question. But for now, I’m going to focus on the immediate future, and that means doing longer runs with friends and trail running. To that end, I registered for what will be my first trail race, the local Hell Hath No Hurry 10K on June 24. I’m very excited about it!
I also plan to continue 80/20 training. I’ll continue with my early-morning easy runs before work as my work schedule permits. I also want to continue doing speedwork and look for other 5Ks to do (haven’t found any that appeal to me yet).
I’m hoping that the decision about whether to train for a marathon will come to me. Until then, I’m going to focus on what makes me happy right now.