About this time last year is when I was feeling beaten up, tired, and running was becoming a chore rather than something I loved to do. I was constantly battling with feelings of defeat. I was beating myself up on most of my runs and I started to doubt myself.
I made a huge decision in regards to my running and I haven’t looked back since. I realized that I needed to change my approach to running and find a way that running and training works for me or I was going to burn myself out. That’s when I switched and started heart rate training (MAF Method), I gave up on doing traditional speed work (unless I felt like it) and just ran. It was huge change, especially when I did it right in the middle of marathon training. I went on to finish my training that way for City of Oaks Marathon and continued with it straight through to Gasparilla and Tobacco Road Marathon.
Where I started mentally and physically with at the beginning of training for City of Oaks and where I ended with Tobacco Road were like night and day. I was back and feeling amazing!
So where am I now with it?
I’m still with it about 95% of my miles. I wear my heart rate monitor for 5 out of my 7 days of running. I give myself 2 days off, one on my mile “rest” day and maybe one other day when I just want to run by feel vs by heart rate. Those days usually are my speedier days of running, but I’m not going all out either. Conservatively fast, I call it.
What has it done for me as a runner physically?
The benefits of it have far out weighed any of the negatives. Sure running every single run at the same HR pace can become monotonous, but luckily, I’m running with friends for most of my runs so I hardly notice it. On days were I let it fly, I feel amazing. I can run at higher speeds with a lower heart rate and it feels awesome!! No yucky pucky feeling. I’m efficiently burning fat for fuel. I haven’t had to eat any kind of nutrition on any long runs in ages and my tummy is happy for that! Proof that I’m burning fat? I had a body analysis done in January and again in July. Over the course of those 6 months, my weight stayed basically the same (gained a pound, but my July weigh-in was after a week vacation at the beach, I’ll take it!) but I gained 5lbs. of muscle, which means I had to have lost fat at some point and replaced it with muscle in order to stay the same weight. (To be fair too, our diet also changed significantly from January to July too with the addition of Hello Fresh. So that’s just an added bonus!)
What has it done for me mentally as a runner?
Health benefits aside, mentally it has given me so much confidence. The voices that created negativity, doubt and fear are silent. They don’t talk to me any more. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to try and make every race my fastest or a PR, those voices stopped. They were replaced with voices of joy, peace, and contentment. And my goals? They have reached higher than they did when I limited myself to just wanting to be faster. Now, I love doing challenge races with crazy amounts of miles, picking ultra distances and not being scared of them and finding other ways to enjoy running without having the wear and tear of racing everything. Thank goodness for pacing! I run races with a real smile on my face not just the one I would muster for the camera. I’m having a blast out there! The negatives?
It takes tough skin to be a heart rate training runner. You have to be really sure of what kind of runner you are. Other runners sometimes don’t get it and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to make sense to them to be right for me. Those are the only voices that I have to silence now. It’s easier to ignore those than an internal dialogue any day.
Where am I going now with my running?
Good question! I’m sticking with this path for quite a bit longer through 7 Bridges Marathon and Crooked Road. I don’t really see me deciding by next year to start changing anything too dramatically. We already have some big back to back distance races in the works so I’ll need to maintain my endurance vs speed for those. I’m just enjoying running too much to want to change anything! It’s nice being content with my running. It makes me happy.
This Week’s One Word Prompt is Silent.
How do you keep those voices of negativity and doubt silent? Have you made any big changes in your running?
Go be awesome! 🙂
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