Why We All Need an Off-Season
Recently I have been writing a lot about motherhood things, but today I would like to spend some time on running. It has been nearly two months since the marathon, which is a bit crazy to me. Time is moving. In those two months, my running has been very minimal. I have been very slowly returning to it. I still take a few days off from running per week and have only had two longer runs (10 and 12 miles, respectively) since the race. And I am totally good with this slow return back to higher mileage and greater intensity. I am embracing this off-season. I am approaching this topic of the off-season from a running perspective, but the truth is, no matter what we do, we need time to step away from the high intensity of it all.
Just within the past couple weeks I have become more consistent with my runs. I have mentioned this on here before but I will map out when and how much I will run on Sunday before the week gets going. Even if it is just me writing down mileage in pencil in my floral planner, you better believe I will hit that mileage. If it is written, it is happening. It is this type of intensity and commitment that really got me through the tough days of marathon training when I did not have a team or a coach.
Two Fridays ago, I adjusted my mileage. That day I was supposed to run 6 miles. The run started later than I typically like, and it was already incredibly hot out. I was pushing the jogger and within my first few steps I could sense it was going to be a bad run. That first mile is usually a pretty good indicator for me on how the rest of the run will go. In mile one, I already felt so sluggish and weak. I could have pushed through and ran the full 6. Instead, I listened to my body and in the middle of my park loops told Hudson that we were running home. I told him that mommy was hot, tired, and weak. I made an adjustment.
In college, it was all about pushing and proving. This mentality is something that is still within me. To some degree, I love this about myself, but there are days where I need to remind myself that I am not a collegiate runner or a pro runner. I am a mom. I can have days off, days where I run less, days where I just jog. This holding back and listening to my body is hard for me. I am running such low mileage right now without any workouts, and if I am honest, I feel guilty. It feels like I am slacking, and that I should be doing more.
Make Future Goals
These feelings are rather funny because I literally have no need to run at all. I have no coach or team, but these pressurized feelings that have been placed on running seem to not easily be shaken. And I am okay with this to some degree. I feel like I still have a lot left in my legs. I want to still push and prove; however, it is just going to look different and there will be more adjustments, especially in these months where the focus is not all about training. I have a few other things on my plate right now that I am prioritizing over miles.
Right now, I am just running to run, but currently trying to figure out a couple races to put on the calendar before Boston! That is one big, exciting thing that I have not mentioned on here yet. Two weeks ago, Lance and I registered for the Boston Marathon. This has been the goal motivating me since the spring and it is so exciting to see it all coming to fruition. It is 7 months away, which worries me slightly because who knows what will happen in those months, but if it is aligned with God’s will, I can’t wait to show up to the start line at Boston. This date of April 20th excites me because it gives me a clear indicator of something to train for and it will help pull me out of my current off-season.
All this to say, set big goals for yourself. Chase after them wholeheartedly, but don’t be afraid to adjust along the way. Don’t be afraid to run slow to eventually run fast. Don’t be afraid to run less to eventually run more. It is so easy to let the dreams and goals take over. It is easy to feel like we should push, push, push. But we all need an off-season. We ultimately, need to slow down.
Off-Seasons are for Everyone
This relates to you if you are a runner or not. We need time away from high intensity and high output. We need a season that is off. If you are like me, you will keep running, keep doing the thing that you love, but it will not takeover your days in quite the same way it does when you are in the peak of training. These off-seasons are tough because it feels like too slow and too low, but I firmly believe it is these times that will ultimately allow for big things to happen for later seasons to come.