Before I dive into my next training cycle (which begins on December 4th) I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the really great aspects of my MCM training:
- PRs ~ I set new PRs with every single race that I ran! This is just so awesome to me. I did a few 5ks (improving my PR in that distance by more than 2 minutes), a 10k (a 3 minute PR), a half marathon and two marathons. My Half Marathon PR was a 13 minute PR and my marathon PRs combined left me with more than a 54 minute PR. My heart is proud and grateful. The only limits I have are those that I place upon myself!!
|Crossing the finish line at the VA Beach RnR Half Marathon. New PR of 1:43:02|
- Speed Work ~ For the first time ever, I incorporated regular speed work into my training. It paid off in major ways and I enjoyed it more than I can describe, but more than that those early mornings spent running around in circles were some of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced as a runner. I miss it.
- Being Coached ~ Another first in my running career: I was coached! I participated in the =PR= Distance Training Program and I really believe I could not have made a better decision. If you ask me, Coach Caitlyn is the bee’s knees. She is smart, she really cares about each and every person she coaches – celebrating all of our accomplishments, advising us when we were unsure of ourselves, picking us up when we felt down or were struggling with injury – she is a natural at the coaching thing and I was grateful and honored to be coached by her. When I joined the group in June I remember telling her that I would PR this year. I told her on that balmy June morning that I would get a solid 25 minute PR in the marathon come October (I was shooting for 4:10 at the time) and I could tell she thought my goal was a lofty one especially as a nursing mother of three, but she believed in me anyway. As training progressed and my body was responding so well she encouraged me to dream bigger, but to still be smart. Coming away from this training with a 3:41:56 marathon time – close to an hour faster than my prior PR – is just summed up with one word ~ incredible. I know I did the work but I truly believe that the support and encouragement of Coach Caitlyn and Coach Adam and also all of my “teammates” in the group – was just as important to my success as the hard work I put in to get there. I cannot imagine training without these guys. They are my posse, my friends, my people. I am so proud and thankful for each one of them and cannot wait to run together again.
- Strong Core ~ I was very dedicated to strength training and Pilates throughout my training cycle. I can’t tell you how important this was for my running as well as for my mothering! Strengthening my core, especially after having a baby, has been seriously hard work. After hurting my back in the spring I swore I would make Pilates and strength training a regular part of my life’s routine whether or not I am training for a race. How you move is extremely important in life whether you are a runner or not. A healthy spine is imperative to living an active happy life! I don’t sweat it out in a Pilates class – that is not what Pilates is about. Pilates is about how we function in life. How we carry and care for our bodies. I want to live a long and active life and Pilates will ensure that I feel good in my body for a long long time. It is something I will make time to do each and every day. I believe the quality of my life depends on it.
|Focusing on a strong core at Reston Pilates|
I’m taking these next three weeks to focus on rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. To enjoy the freedom of not having a training plan to follow and to get myself ready and excited for what’s ahead. I have big dreams for my next training cycle and I want to enter into it ready and confident as I step up to the plate. This does not mean no running and it certainly does not mean no sweating. The goal for the next three weeks is to sweat, strengthen my core and have fun. I’m also going to spend some time thinking about my goals for 2012 and how I’m going to accomplish them. It’s no secret that I want that sub-3:40 marathon and a BQ in the bag, but believe it or not I have other goals in mind besides that. I’ve got a lot of dreaming and scheming to take care of over these next three weeks. Just thinking about it makes me excited.
So how about you? What do you do in the breaks between marathon training cycles? Are you thinking about your dreams and goals for 2012?