Sunday, November 22, 2015

Off-season Recap: Week One

This week marked the beginning of my "off-season" from training. We haven't signed up for 2016 races yet, but our first race is pretty well decided. I won't need to jump back into marathon training again until January 4th (starting around the New Year makes me happy because I'm OCD like that!), so that means I have six whole weeks to fill.

I was worried about feeling lost, but so far I am having an absolute blast. After focusing on training for so long, it's fun to use my fitness to be active - just because. I'm waiting at least two weeks to start running again to allow my leg time to fully heal, and I'm more than okay with taking more time off running if needed. My goal is to be 100% again when 2016 hits, and if not running is what I need to do, not running is what I need to do.

Until then, I have been going for walks, hitting up my yoga mat, and fitting in hikes when I can (which basically means the weekends, since it gets dark at 5 now...). While I have the itch to run, it's also nice to give myself a break. I've been listening to an audiobook on my walks (I can't focus enough on them when I run), I've been watching funny videos while doing yoga (I know, I know, not the best way to do yin yoga but it makes me happy), and spending a lot of time on my feet at a low HR while hiking. I'm also developing some new hiking callouses to go along with my running callouses, so my feet will look absolutely spectacular soon!

Sunday, November 15
1.2 mi walk
Yin Yoga for Runners - Hips & Hamstrings

We flew home around 9 AM from Atlanta and were home before 12, even with a stop to pick up a pizza, which was a nice travel day for a change. We had plenty of time to unpack, do laundry, and run to the grocery store. I made sure to fit in a walk and some yoga - both were slow and gentle after racing the day before, but I felt surprisingly good Monday!

Monday, November 16
1.4 mi walk
Yin Yoga to Restore and Reboot

Tuesday, November 17
1.4 mi walk
Yin Yoga for Anxiety and Stress

I read some creepy SAR stories posted online around Halloween (I don't why I thought this would be a good idea, since sometimes even the old Scooby Doo can be too scary for me), and I've been getting the willies about going to wooded areas alone ever since. This is a bit of a problem because I'm surrounded by woods when I walk and run. I decided to face my new, stupid fear by walking through the wooded patch right by my house.

My new headlamp is excellent, but I didn't realize how creepy seeing eye-shine would be. Two deer were standing right off the path, on eye level with me, and picking up their eyes just about gave me a heart attack. But I did feel less creeped out afterwards. (Though I had some rational fear because I'm pretty sure one was a buck and it is rutting season, the last thing I want is to get gored!)

Wednesday, November 18
1 Hour Yin Yoga Full Class - Total Body Stretch for All Levels

It was incredibly windy outside and started pouring as soon as I got home, so I opted to just spend the evening on my mat.

Thursday, November 19
3 mi walk

I went for an hour long walk Thursday since I didn't go out Wednesday. It was still pretty windy and cold, but not nearly as bad as the day before.

Friday, November 20
Yin Yoga for a Deep Stretch - 45 Min Full Class for Flexibility

I didn't quite get in a full hour of activity because MSU had a basketball game at 7. Yes, it is now the time of year when our random basketball schedule dictates my life! However, I did fully get into square pose (which apparently is the real name for what I've always called half lotus) on my right side, which blew my mind. Maybe I'm getting a bit more room in my hips.

Saturday, November 21
Extreme Hiking (Mill Stream Run Reservation), 6.8 mi

This was my first group hike out of several I have planned in the coming weeks. It was at one of the two mountain biking trails in the Cleveland Metroparks system, which made it interesting for hiking, since it is built specifically for biking. (Hiking, in either direction, is always allowed when it's open, though the bikers have to go one direction. I'm surprised this is the case, because it seems like a recipe for disaster, especially when the leaves are out and visibility ahead on the trail is super low.)

I spent half the hike stuck behind a group of three of the loudest women ever and can now tell you about all their drama. My favorite was when one of them complained that someone who wanted to join her masters rowing team was too out of shape, yet none of them could keep up with the ranger. It was interesting to count how many people sidled past them when we took a break. Once I snuck around them, the hike was much more enjoyable.

I'm really glad there was a ranger leading this, because the trails were confusing, plus we took a hikers-only connector trail that is not on the map. I'm not sure I would call the hiking "extreme" after what I've done in other parks, but hiking on a trail not specifically designed for hiking was a fun challenge. It sounded like the ranger changes up the configuration, so I will definitely check this hike out again when it's offered.

Walk Miles: 7 mi
Hike Miles: 6.8 mi
Yoga Time: 3:36
Total Time: 8:56

Looking back on this week, what I'm most surprised about is my total time, which is near what I get to during peak training weeks. But I feel so good after nine hours this week because it was also spent on low to no impact activities done at a low HR. I've always thought taking a break would mean having to spend lots of time on the couch, but that's not the case at all.

This coming week I have three hikes scheduled, so I will probably spend some extra time on my yoga mat. The rumor is I get to leave work incredibly early Wednesday, so I will probably get outside some extra time then and enjoy the (predicted) sun.

I will try to get my Chickamauga race report up this week, but in case I don't, I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Glad to see you're enjoying the off season! Its refreshing to be able to switch up your routine sometimes :) have a great thanksgiving!!

    1. Yes, it's really nice to be doing some different activities than running! I definitely feel recharged, but not like a couch potato either.

  2. I'm happy to see you're enjoying taking some time off from running! Your body will feel so refreshed when you start training again. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    1. Thanks - I'm already feeling much more refreshed. I'm sure I'll feel great when it's time to start training again.