Training to Meet a Big Challenge

After training to meet a big challenge, today feels like a new beginning. Last Sunday was the race – I will talk more about the Cleveland Half Marathon in the race recap Jill and I have planned. We will publish that podcast on the on the second Tuesday of June. Stay tuned!

Today I’m reflecting over the training it took to prepare for the half marathon. In a way, I think of it like a “fun diet.”

(I know! Usually those two words don’t go together – fun and diet.)

No doubt, many women over 50 have been on a diet at some point. I know I have over the years! Lots of them, and it’s usually not all that fun.

It would start with a number in my mind of what I think I would like to weigh. After having a goal weight, the next thought that followed immediately after was a deadline on the calendar – which often revolving around an event like a wedding or reunion or something similar.

Sometimes I still struggle with what to eat and not gaining weight, but incorporating challenges into my exercise has made weight maintenance many, many times more fun.

The other thing that changed the last time I really lost a significant amount of weight, I changed the perspective on the goal. My objective was not to weigh less, the goal was to become healthy.
That is not as measurable unless you look at the whole picture. Training to run a race also involves a number and deadline – but to me it is much more motivating and fun!

Training to Meet a Big Challenge

I will tell you this, the big difference from my mind shift made all the difference in being able to maintain the loss.

So I tried to apply a little of that perspective for training for the Cleveland Half Marathon this winter/spring.

Instead of really focusing on a specific¬† “fast finish time” which is similar to a specific “goal weight” when dieting, I made my overall goal to have fun. And to have fun while running 13.1 miles, I felt like I had to get more fit and strong.

Important benefits of being fit and strong:

I did a lot more cross training – spinning, strength training workouts, and even personal training sessions. Getting my legs, glutes and core stronger gave me a better foundation for running.

It definitely helped with my injury prevention. Unlike training last summer when my Achilles was acting up, I managed to keep it under control.

Training for running a long distance different than losing weight and measuring the amount of weight on the scale. I guess you could measure the time it takes to cover a specific distance by minutes, but I think that makes more sense for a short race like a 5K. To me 13.1 miles is a long distance and something I need to really build up to. I knew that too much stress and strain on my Achilles could make that a tough challenge.

Instead of doing weigh ins, I was tracking exercise and how I did. “How many reps did I do?” “Which barbell did I use?” “How much weight did I lift?” “How many minutes/seconds of rest in between sets?” “What was my average heart rate during the work out?”

Although I wasn’t fastidious with my tracking, I did write down the exercises I did and what I could remember about each workout. I kept a log in my calendar and matched it up to the plan.

The results:

  • I am definitely stronger than I was back in October and November of 2017.
  • My recovery after the Cleveland Half was a lot faster and easier than the Akron Half in September.
  • I weigh more, but my clothes fit better. (Maybe that is muscle?)
  • My ankle (Achilles) is okay! And definitely isn’t worse than when I started, although as you can see I have it taped up for support.

This is the Memorial Day weekend, which always signals the beginning of summer to me.

Now that summer is starting and the Cleveland race is behind me I’m looking at a new set of challenges. I’m working on changing some of my blood test numbers. More bike rides. Heat and humidity. And training for other events. It’s time to embrace some new goals.

What’s your summer going to look like? Are you at the stage of developing new goals and a training plan? Let me know by leaving a comment below or send me an email.

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