I ran 10.5 miles this morning, an interval workout with 3 mi warmup / 12 x 2 min @ 10K pace / 2 mi cooldown. I had to finish by 7 am because today is a clinic day, so I left at ~5:20, which meant getting up at 4:20 in time to caffeine / digest / etc.
I was reflecting on the fact that this time is obviously not materializing from thin air. Here are what I see as the current trade-offs:
1- Breakfast. I used to eat at the table and this probably took 10-15 min. I have switched to eating a bar (a substantial one, like Rise / Perfect / etc) in the car on the way to drop off the kids followed by something at work (Greek yogurt etc). (I also eat something before running and often during running as well — so it’s not like I am compromising or skimping on nutrition here — just timing it differently. According to the course I am taking you have about 60 minutes from finishing your run to get a good dose of carbs/protein in).
2- Headspace. I used to get in 10 minutes religiously. Today I skipped it. I still feel that meditation benefits me but there are limits to how hard I will work to fit it in!
3- Routine AM role for Josh. He has been in charge most mornings from ~6:50 – 7:15ish while I shower. The big kids are more or less autonomous in the morning but G needs some help. Mostly this is just convincing her to get up and getting her started with breakfast; I am usually the “LET’S GO NOW” sweeper crew at like 7:32 doing her hair, brushing teeth, etc. I drive them to school most days since it’s in the direction of my office. This division of labor works pretty well I think!
(If he knows he has a super early start or something I plan accordingly. Also A could help get G breakfast in a pinch while I shower).
4- Sleep. Am I sleeping less? Maybe. My phone says I’m at something like 7 hours 6 minutes daily in bed, and I used to be closer to 7.3 hours (7 h 20 min or thereabouts). I do not feel much more tired but I do feel like I go to bed earlier more often. My kids are usually tired when I am and I still hang out with them a bit before bed (ie, 1:1 time in their rooms) more times than not so this seems . . . workable. I did wonder about the relationship between sleep and migraines but I do not think in my case that was/is the main factor.
5- Strength training. I am definitely not doing nearly the level of strength training that I used to when I wasn’t running much! I am doing the bare minimum to hopefully prevent injury and preserve some muscle mass. I use lighter weights – often those Strength for Runners call for 10 lb / 15 lb whereas I used to regularly reach for 25 lb dumbbells for things like squats and deadlifts. HONESTLY I don’t miss it at all but know that it will be important to do a bit more when I’m not in marathon training mode. (And from a body comp perspective – when I stopped my OCP and started eating more protein things definitely improved in that area so it’s not a big motivator right now).
6- Walks. I used to take walks at work and sometimes on work-from-home days – now I sit and write blog posts instead ( <– another AM activity I have moved to other times!). I do not need the midday steps at my current mileage level. I do still get up and walk around the office (getting water etc) which is helpful for stretching and not staying in the same position all day.
Monetary tradeoffs: Coaching; shoes (they wear out quickly at 50+ miles/week); gels/hydration stuff; race fees/travel — my allowance coffers have been chronically empty as of late.
Things I have not done a lot of lately: Watch a TV show (though I think I could bring this back to some extent)
So – first of all this post illustrates the enormous privilege it takes to train at a moderate (I wouldn’t say high – but moderate) level at this phase of my life, and also some of the tradeoffs. I also feel pretty content with how most of these tradeoffs have played out – I feel like I am not giving up anything that is super important to me (or making it unfair for anyone else).
Do I think it is worth it?
YES. I get so much joy out of running! I really find it stabilizes my mood (more than strength training does/did), it gets me outside, it has connected me with new friends (my wonderful Monday AM group!), and it just feels FUN to have something to be working towards at this phase of my life. I know I will not always continue to improve and I know injury could always happen (I do have anxiety about this which sucks a tiny bit of the joy) but right now I really just . . . love doing it.
Do you have a marathon training equivalent in your life (or maybe it IS marathon training)?