Getting back into the swing of training has been harder than I expected. After my dad died I stopped running, at first because I was so busy and mentally exhausted, and then because I'd gotten too used to being lazy. I've spent a few days working on coming up with a year long training plan to get me from zero to 70.3 strong and fast. In the past I have done multiple training plans each year as I trained for a variety of races each year. The biggest change I'm making for 2014 is that from start to September-October I will be working towards the same goal. My two big goal races for the year are age group nationals in August and then a half ironman in September or October.
I'm finding it hard to get motivated to train when my goal races seem so far away. I know taking a long term approach will be the best for my training but it's really easy to lose sight of why I am logging miles. What's helping is focusing on the races I have coming up this spring. Although the only race officially on the calendar is the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I am planning on signing up for the Columbia Triathlon in May and will probably also do a local 10k or 15k as a tuneup race before Cherry Blossom.
Since last Monday I've run four times. Each time has gotten a little bit easier but running is still hard right now. I guess not running for six weeks will do that for you. I'm trying to be really careful with increasing my mileage because I'm not completely clear on the status of my knee. Although I trained really hard last year I think my knee injury was caused in part by doing my long runs too hard. Right now I'm at a point where my knee doesn't hurt at all while running but the most I've run is only three miles so I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic. I'm making sure all of my runs are super easy for a few weeks before increasing my mileage and then eventually adding in some workouts.
All of my runs have also been with my dog whose only speeds are 10:00 miles or 7:00 miles. Running with her keeps me from trying to speed up because I don't like the paces I see on my watch. A lot of people have recommended running without a watch for my easy runs so I'm not worrying about my pace, and while I think that's a good idea for some people, it's not what I want to do right now. I need to learn to accept whatever pace my watch shoes and not let it upset me, regardless of whether it is a long run, and easy run or a track workout.
Yesterday I did an easy two miles in the middle of winter storm Janus [what kind of name is that, seriously?]. The roads had already been plowed once so there was only a few inches down. I ended up slipping twice but luckily didn't hurt anything. It was cold, it was wet, but it was refreshing. I could barely feel my face by the time I returned to my house but I loved every minute I was out there. There is something so peaceful about putting fresh tracks down as the snow is falling. Runs like these remind me why I love running so much.