January Recap and February Goals

I can’t believe we’re already a week into February. It feels like I just barely sat down to make some January goals. I swear, every passing year seems to go by faster, especially¬† now that I have a kiddo. Yikes!

Anywho, a new month is time to look back at the previous month to see how far we’ve come, and make plans for the future. As a refresher, my goals for the month of January are below.

January Goals

I am proud to say that I kept up with pretty much all of these goals to my own satisfaction. There was only one week I didn’t do an actual yoga workout, but I did plenty of stretching on my own. I ran at least one mile every day for the entire month of January. I did strength training every week thanks to Barre3 workouts with my friend Penelope. Ben and I planned our meals out every week, and I did things like make overnight oats and wash and chop lettuce to make healthy eating easier. I’ve published several new blog posts, and I’ve been a lot better about commenting on the blogs I follow instead of just lurking.

So what’s next for February? Well, you already know my run streak is over, and I will be trying to work up to more distance and speed instead of trying to run every day. With that in mind, here’s what’s up for February:

  • Run 4 times/week
  • Strength train once/week
  • Yoga once/week

So, in other words, “Follow my 5k training plan.” Nothing too crazy. Rehearsals for my Disney show will be ramping up in the coming weeks, so I want to set myself up for success. I do plan to keep up with meal planning and prep as much as possible, but I don’t think I need to make it a goal for the month. It’s pretty much habit at this point.

Are you training for anything in particular at the moment?

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Goodbye Streaking, Hello Training!

When I started my run streak at the beginning of the year, I mostly wanted to just make running part of my life again post-baby. I was having a hard time finding motivation, and needed a fitness goal. In the back of my mind, I hoped that I would be able to make it the entire month of January, but wasn’t making a big deal out of it. I just wanted to see how far I could get.

When I reached the end of January, streak intact, I started seeing starry-eyed visions of streaking for the entire year of 2019. It was exciting and a bit scary and I so wanted to keep going. But this past Friday and Saturday, I started feeling some worrying niggles in my right knee. I hemmed and hawed and hoped it would go away. But I when I woke up at 2:30 on Sunday morning to feed Vera and felt that twinge, I decided immediately and unequivocally that it was time to practice what I preach and quit before a niggle became a full-blown injury.

I have to say, I absolutely loved my run streak. I loved the consistency of knowing each day that I had to get down to my treadmill and get it done. I loved pushing through hard paces. I loved cruising through easy miles. This run streak helped me feel like a runner again. It helped me reconnect with a body that had started to feel foreign and uncomfortable. It made me feel like me again.

I’m proud that I made it through 33 straight days of running; I am equally proud that I listened to my body and quit before I hurt myself.

To be completely honest, part of me is scared that without the streak to keep me going, I’ll stop running again. It’s cold. It’s dark. I have a 7 month old baby. Motivation is low this time of year. I need something else to keep me inspired now that the streak is done. Therefore, I’ll be loosely following a Hal Higdon 5k training plan. I say “loosely” because I always mix up the days a bit, but generally follow the recommended mileage for the week.

It’s an eight week “beginner” training plan, which has nice, low mileage. I probably won’t actually run a 5k race at the end of this plan, purely because there aren’t many races available during Vermont winters, but I’m looking at it as prep for the races I hope to run this spring and summer.

 

I’m excited to build up my mileage again. The longest I’ve run since Vera was born is 3.5 miles, and that was months ago now. I don’t necessarily want to do a lot of distance running this year, but I’d like to get to the point where a distance of five miles feels comfy and doable, cause right now that feels almost impossible. When I complete the plan, I’ll have to reevaluate and see what’s next, but I’m hopeful that by then, running will be back in my life for good.

What running/fitness goal are you working toward right now?

6 Tips for a Safe and Happy Run Streak

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, trainer, or fitness professional. This is just what is working for me during my own run streak. Please be smart and listen to your body if you decide to try a run streak.

On January 1 this year, I embarked on a run streak, so I’m currently 29 days in. I had no real goal other than to make running a regular part of my life again post-baby. My first attempt at a run streak in 2015 ended after two weeks, because I was just too busy and stressed out to continue. I decided now would be a good time to try again because I am home full time with Baby V, and I have a treadmill in my basement, so I have much more time and the necessary equipment.

Streaking is definitely not for everyone, and regardless of how fit you are, can lead to over-training and injury. I really wanted to make sure that I did things the right way this time around, so that I could surpass my old record of two weeks. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy during a run streak.

Warm Up
It can be very tempting to skip the warm up when you’re “only” going to do a short run. But taking just a few minutes to do some dynamic stretches always pays dividends for me; I don’t feel as stiff and have an easier time getting going. If nothing else, I usually incorporate a few squats, calf raises, and hip swings before each run to wake up my muscles.

Don’t Skip Recovery
It’s easy to think, “I only ran one mile today, I don’t need to stretch or roll.” But if you’re skipping your recovery efforts every day, it’s all going to build up. Even five minutes of stretching or rolling a day can help keep you from the aches and pains that might stop your streak. Don’t forget about massages, chiropractic, or acupuncture, if they are part of your normal routine.

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Alternate Longer Runs and Shorter Runs/Easy and Hard Runs
For me, this is essential. If on a particular day I run any distance longer than one mile, the next day, I will ONLY run one mile. It’s simply not sustainable for me to run all the miles on all the days, or work speed or hills on all days. You’ve got to give your body a break.

Fuel Your Body
Running every single day is more effort than I’ve put out in a while. I need to make sure that I’m eating enough calories and drinking enough water to sustain the extra work. This is doubly true because I am a breastfeeding mother. I absolutely cannot skimp on quality calories that are a mix of protein, carbs, and fat.

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Don’t Forget Your Crosstraining
During a run streak, it can feel like you’re already getting “enough” exercise, so it’s easy to lay off weight training, yoga, cycling, or your other interests. But running and ONLY running when you usually mix it up can lead to overuse and injury. If all the running is tiring you out, try just adding a few simple body-weight exercises every day at the end of your run. I love to throw in squats and planks, because they are simple exercises that are very good for runners. I often do hip strength exercises like clam shells and leg lifts while I’m lying on the floor playing with Vera.

Listen to Your Body
As I said above, streaking is not for everyone. The most important thing you can do when attempting a run streak is to be in tune with your body and STOP if you start to feel any warning niggles or pains. I’m proud that I stopped my streak in 2015 because I knew it wasn’t working for me. There is no shame in protecting yourself and doing what’s right for your body.

2019 Races

It’s that time of year. The time when runners eagerly start planning out their race schedules for the year. Obviously, I’m no exception. I didn’t run a single race in 2018 due to pregnancy and having a newborn, so I’m itching to get back out there. Some shiny new PRs would be great, but I mostly just want to have some goals to work toward now that I’m not working.

Because I’m a full-time mom and we are now living on a single income, I have to be a lot more selective about races. These days, location and price are paramount. Gone are the days when I could wake up at 3:30 am and drive to upstate New York and back in a single day just for a race. If it’s further than an hour’s drive, it’s not happening. And the price-to-swag ratio has to work out. I’m not paying $50 for a race with no medal, ya dig?

The pickings in my area are rather slim, but there are a few good races that I’m pretty excited about, including some repeats. Obviously, it’s early days, and I’m not 100% sure that these races will all work for me, but I think one-ish race per month from May through November is realistic from a training and expense standpoint.

Behold, my tentative race schedule:

May
Right now, I have three races that I’d like to do in May, but will likely only run one or two. First, the Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k, which I’ve run every year since we moved back from Boston except last year. They haven’t actually posted the date yet, but it’s an annual event, and usually takes place in early May.

Next up is the GMAA Pump it Up 5 Miler on May 4. I ran this race back in 2015 and really enjoyed it. With a $15 registration fee, it’s a deal, and it’s also very close to home. There are no frills–no medals, no shirts, but there are bagels at the finish line and VERY good raffle and age group prizes. Unfortunately, the Jiggety Jog and Pump it Up 5 Miler have a history of being held on the same day. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year!

Lastly is the Vermont City Marathon Relay. I’m definitely not ready to train for another full, but I’d love to run a leg of the relay. I have some friends who usually put a team together, so we’ll see what happens there.

July 
I’ve put the Stowe 8 Miler on my race wish list many times, but I’ve never actually gone ahead and done the thing. It’s a unique distance, it’s close to home, and finishers get a medal, a shirt, and a craft beer. This is my kind of race!

August
Another race I’ve heard great things about but never gotten around to running is the Fairfax Egg Run. They offer a 5k and 10k in addition to a kids’ race. I haven’t run a 10k race in ages, and they serve breakfast at the finish. This race is also super close to our house, which is a big bonus.

October
I got my current half marathon PR at the Leaf Peepers Half in 2017, and while it was a VERY challenging course, it was also lots of fun. Registration is cheap, and while you don’t get a medal, you can get a shirt for an extra $5. Post-race food is good, and again, it’s fairly close to home. I’m not sure I want to train for a half this year, but if I do, this will be it.

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Aaaah, memories

November
Another unique distance and fairly new race on the scene would be the Vermont 10 Miler. Last year was the inaugural race, and from what I saw on social media, it was very popular. The registration fee is very reasonable, and finishers get a medal and a shirt. Stowe is also just a hop, skip and a jump away, which makes it all the more appealing.

What are some criteria that help you decide which races to run?

 

Manic Monday Training Recap – 01/07/19

Manic Monday

Woohoo, bringing back the Manic Monday posts! I’m not actually in training for anything at the moment, but since I’m actually running now thanks to my run streak, I figure I might as well document it officially. After all, that’s what this blog is for, right? Right!

Monday 12/31/19: Rest
I ran around doing errands during the day, and then we were in bed before the New Year officially rolled around. #parentlife

Tuesday 01/01/19: 2 Mile Run
First official run of my New Year Run Streak!

Wednesday 01/02/19: 1 Mile Run + Core
While Vera napped, I zipped down to the treadmill for a quick mile, then did 10 minutes of core work.

Thursday 01/03/19: 2 Mile Run + 30 Squats
Another couple of treadmill miles plus some squats. I had hoped to do a few resistance band exercises, but it looks like the cats got after my last surviving band, and I had to throw it out. Boo!

Friday 01/04/19: 1 Mile Run + Stretch and Roll
I actually ran closer to 1.5 miles because the treadmill flipped a breaker during my first attempt and shut off. I had no idea what my actual distance or time were, so I just started over. I made sure to stretch and roll well to keep injury at bay.

Saturday 01/05/19: 30 Minute Barre3 Workout +1 Mile Run
My friend Penelope came over and we did a Barre3 total body workout video in my living room. That was my first time ever doing a barre workout and holy ow, Batman! It was tough! Then after she left I hit the treadmill for a quick mile to keep the streak alive.

Sunday 01/06/19: 1 Mile Run
I was feeling embarrassingly sore after Saturday’s Barre3 workout, so I just did a slow, easy mile for my streak.

One week of streaking down! I have to say, I feel pretty good. A bit tired and hungrier than usual, but very good. It feels nice to move my body regularly. I’m excited to see where streaking will take me!

How did the first week of the new year go for you?

January 2019 Goals

Well, it’s been a hot second since I made any real goals. The last time I posted any goals on this blog was for the Rollercoaster Race back in 2016. And the last time I made any yearly goals was for 2015. I’ve written before about how goals can kind of backfire on me and cause me to freak out and feel pressured and not do stuff, but I feel like now is a good time to set some simple, realistic goals to help me get back on the running bandwagon. Now that I’m not working, I need some stuff to work toward so I feel like less of a waste of space. I plan to set out goals on a monthly basis so that I can regularly re-evaluate and see how I’m doing.

January Goals

Keep up with the run streak
In case you missed it, I started a run streak on January first, with the goal of making running a regular part of my life again. But I know that streaking isn’t for everyone, and can result in over-training and injury, so I’ll be taking it day by day.

Do yoga once a week
Whether it’s a free class on YouTube or actually going to the studio, I’m a happier person when I do yoga. It’s also a great compliment to running, so it’s a win-win scenario.

Strength train once a week
While I miss CrossFit and wish I could go back, we simply can’t afford to pay for it on a single income. That means strength training is up to me. There are plenty of free videos on YouTube, and I know enough from CF to be fairly effective at home.

Meal plan and prep
I feel like ever since Vera was born, our diet has been poor. Convenience has been paramount, and I know we haven’t been eating enough fruit and veg. By planning our meals and doing some light meal prep each week, I know we can feel better about what we’re eating.

Blog once per week
I’ve been waaaaay off the wagon with blogging pretty much since Vera was born. I guess I’m still struggling with where I want this blog to go. But I hope that by checking in at least once a week, I’ll figure it out.

Be more interactive with blogs I follow
You’d never know it, but I still read blogs every day. I just rarely take the time to comment anymore. I’m usually reading blogs on my phone, and it’s harder to comment while typing one-handed as I’m juggling the kiddo. But it’s kind of crappy of me to want more engagement on my blog without giving any engagement to the blogs I follow. So there.

So there you have it. Some January goals. I have plenty of other stuff that could be added, but let’s start small and see how it goes, shall we?

Do you have any goals for the new month/new year?

 

New Year Run Streak

As an attempt to get back into regular running, I’ve decided to start a run streak today, January 1, 2019, and just go as long as I can. Most runs will not be fast, and they won’t be far, because they will mostly have to be on my basement treadmill during Vera’s notoriously short naps. But I figure a mile a day is better than nothing, and will hopefully get my running legs under me again.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll remember that back in 2015, I decided to attempt the Runner’s World holiday run streak: run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You’ll also remember I made it two weeks before calling it quits. At the time, I declared that streaking was not for me, simply because I was too busy. But that was back when I was working full time, and before I had a treadmill at my disposal. We’ll see how it goes!

I’ll be posting my streaking adventures on IG, so check it out. I’m using the hashtag #rbdrunstreak2019, so if you’d like to join me, use the tag so I can follow along! OK, off to feed the baby and hop on the ‘mill!

What’s your longest run streak?