Week 7: RnR DC Half Marathon Training

TRAINING THOUGHTS: Week 7 (Feb 26-March 4) —  14.75 MILES

As I post this today, this week is RACE WEEK! Spring is right around the corner and that has me stoked for so many reasons (warmer weather, greenery, longer daylight hours)! I’ve really grown to love the transition between seasons, the natural occurrence of change in our environment that doesn’t happen in one sweeping motion, but over periods of transition with a little bit of consistent change each day, the sun rising earlier and setting later just a bit more each day. This week’s Training Thoughts revisits some earlier topics and where I was (as a person!) at the beginning of my training.

Cross training

I briefly wrote about cross training in Training Thoughts: Week 2, about how the variety helps shake things up and establish other goals. I’ve found it essential for me to incorporate workout variety in training. During the tail end of this training cycle, I felt like my running workouts were becoming monotonous. Cross training has been my way of still sweating it out and getting my heart rate up when I need a change of pace (pun intended) from running. That being said, since I still plan on running a full marathon later this year, I’m going to need to find ways to re-energize and diversify my runs. I’ve only trained for races on my own, just with a plan I found online, so for me, taking my running and training to the next level in the future could mean joining a group/club or finding a coach! (with lots of room for cross training I hope 🙂 )

Physical, Chemical, & Emotional Stress

Yesterday I went to a Sweat Pink DMV event at Next Phase in Arlington. Afterwards, we snacked on Sweetgreen salads while Dr. Eric Doyle of Palmercare Chiropractic spoke to us about managing three types of stress: physical, chemical, and emotional. He talked about how the majority of our stress manifests in physiological ways and coping recommendations. It was a great talk that affirmed some things I’ve already been doing and what I can improve on in in managing my stress.

You bet I’ve experienced all three of these types of stress and recently, too in the midst of big life changes of the past three months. This training cycle honestly could not have had started at a better time. When I started, I was in an ridiculously rough emotional place. I felt stuck, I felt rejected. In the past seven weeks, I have felt burned out physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have had a good amount of excruciating moments of feeling sad, empty, and doubtful. I’ve cried way more than I want to talk about.  I’ve been hungover a couple of times. I’ve had a few days of eating only take out and non-home prepared meals. But overall, despite the stress of huge life changes, I have not once gotten sick with a cold or the flu. I have not had any injury-like pain from workouts or day-to-day posture (I’ve finally figured out what works best for me in combating the sedentary job). I have had rest days from working out that were truly restorative and made me come back even stronger. I have maintained a very regular sleep schedule. I have accomplished and set new personal fitness, creative, and career goals. I’ve found happiness, confidence, and perseverance.

What this tells me is that I’ve dealt with my stress surprisingly well (hence the stress not wreaking havoc on my body or mental state). It has not always felt like this, especially during rough times (and just trust me when I say rough). But I’ve realized that these moments are part of the process. I let myself feel these overwhelming emotions, sit with them alone and ask why I’m feeling them, then I let them go and do not let them define me. Another important thing is that I do not make self-indulgent choices regular ones. After fully feeling rough times, I make the strong decision to pick myself up instead of wallow, learn from it, and move forward. I figured out what my emotional triggers were and how to cope with them. I continue to make small, consistent decisions that have ultimately made me stronger. In rough moments, it’s been easier to draw upon the new positive experiences I’ve built and grown. I’ve been able to list many concrete things I’ve done and experienced in the past three months that directly show how my energy and effort has led to physical, emotional, and mental growth. I truly feel like the most resilient I have ever been in these three realms because I’ve allowed myself to feel through my physical, chemical, and emotional stress, sitting with it all on my own, healthily expressing it externally, and doing the daily work to address each one. So as this training cycle comes to an end, I’ll be thinking about how far I’ve already come since the New Year and will be pushing myself forward through the race and beyond!

Thank you for reading! If you’d like to read more from the RnR DC Half Marathon Training Thought series, please click here! See you all next training cycle!