In the last 7 years, I have had the love and hate relationship with running. In the first year, I had no structure within my training and ended up taking risks. Some of those risk were successful and some were...uh...not proud moments.
Of all of those moments, I learned a lot very quickly. I ended up doing much better during my 2nd year of running. I set a lot of PR's and slowly increased my running speed as I made attempts to get faster. Some of those moments ended up with injuries, but I remained strong to push through.
I am finishing up my first full year of running again in 2012 after my 2nd knee surgery. I ended up coming back slowly. I was slower than I wanted to do. I had to learn to accept it. It was quite difficult. There were times where I lost my running mojo. Then I slowly found it coming back again.
I have also found myself being more cautious in my running - mostly so I can avoid injury again. I have put together a strong plan for myself. I focused on half-marathons this year along with quite a few 5K's. I took some risks and paid the price when things did not go so well. But I also found some of the risks went very well.
I have found through the lack of running after my surgery that I have found my love for running again. I found that it came back stronger. I have learned to appreciate it my accomplishments more. I do not take running for granted at all.
I also found that I felt the same way when Josh and I had to place our gym membership on hold. I found that I appreciate the comforts of the gym more especially because I was forced to run outside. Unfortuately, when you depend on the weather being cooperative outside, it does not always work out the way that you wanted it to be. I had to learn to more patient and flexible in my training schedule. I also learned to get the hell of work quicker during the midweek so I could get my short 3 mile runs in before dusk so I can run in my favorite path in the Forest Preserve before the police started ticketing my car or just finishing with total darkness.
I appreciate the comforts of the treadmill. After only a month away from the gym, my legs are forced reacclimate to the treadmill. It is strange that they need to do this, but it is amazing how my legs felt comfortable on the treadmill getting a 3 mile run in.
Now as the month of October hits its middleway point, I am starting to shift my training plan slowly to my off-season. I have two more 5K's left before the weather turns cold here in Chicago. I am starting to think about what races that I want to do in 2013. I am also thinking of goals that I want to accomplish during this important period in my training.
Here's some of the off-season goals that I have come up with.:
- Maintain my endurance level during the off-season with running 4 days a week.
- Increase my "slow" speed on the treadmill towards 5.8 MPH on the treadmill by January.
- Return back into the weight room slowly and work on building a lean muscle.
- Incorporate some hill work on the treadmill and learn to love the hill (Gag!)
I want to break out in 2013 with a stronger attitude and a stronger body. I am determined to do that.