Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cross Training

So, I'm at the gym. I am taking a yoga class rather than running on the treadmill or outside. I love yoga. It makes me feel stronger and more fit. After a few weeks of daily yoga, I see results. I look more toned and my clothes fit better. After a few days of doing yoga, I get the urge to run another marathon.

So I sign up for races. I religiously attend yoga and brush up on my Pilates. I might swim, bike, even add weights. I take the dog for long, fast walks. Do I run? No, I do not! I do not run!

I mentioned to some friends last week that I was planning to run the Marine Corps Marathon again this year (assuming I get in). I don't know why I was surprised by the response. This was it: "Are you going to run this one without training, too?" Keep in mind, these friends are a group I used to work out with every day at 5:00 AM.

Well, when you put it that way!

I have run 4 marathons, lots of 10-milers, a couple of half marathons, some sprint triathlons...but I can't say I have ever logged more than 30 miles a week. That would include those weeks I was supposed to be running those longer-than-the-actual-marathon runs.
I am a bit slow right now, but pre-baby I kept a reasonably steady pace. I could run a 7 minute mile and average 10 for a marathon. My best marathon ever I stopped running a month before the event. It was the 2001 MCM and I wasn't sure it would actually be held that year. Luckily, I had trained with a running coach early on...but I stopped because the faster I got the less fun the running became. No what? I actually finished ahead of the 3 people I struggled to keep up with during training!

Some people run to get faster, or to meet personal goals, or to lose weight. I run to have fun. I mentioned getting faster takes the fun out of things for me. I usually gain weight when I run. Personal goals...sure, I have those...hey, maybe my personal goal is to run marathon #5 without training for it! Although, that gets harder as I age...

For me, running clears my head. It gives me energy. It tans my skin. It often provides quality time with friends. It gives me something to talk about and a reason to be outside.

There are lots of reasons to run. Not everyone has to run to be faster. For those of you who are like me and aren't into that, it's okay. We still count as runners. And my training may not be traditional, but it gets the job done. I feel great during and after the race. And I have fun. My goal is not just to finish, but to enjoy the process. I like long distance runs, but I like too many different activities to possibly train for running just by running. After all, it's the journey, not just the destination.


morgan said...

Great philisophy. I have had a bad marathon or two because I do the wrong things (and I know all the rules -- start out slower, taper, taper, taper -- but sometimes I don't follow them just right). But I am learning -- relaxing -- and having more fun. Thanks for the reminder!

Cross training has supported my running, prevented injury... I rarely run more than 30 miles a week myself.

We are all runners, no matter our style and approach!

Kimberly said...

Thanks for teh comment Morgan!
I guess we all need to find balance. But I got on the treadmill and did speedwork today! Yaaay, me! I am back to yoga tomorrow though :-)

I know sometimes it's tempting to just go go go. I did that one year at the GW Parkway Classic. 7 minute miles AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK. I am not a front of the pack-er. End result: sciatica. Grrr.