My 6-month run challenge: week 16 (forwards and backwards)

Though I thought I’d be writing extremely triumphantly about the rest of last week’s runs for my run challenge (since I proclaimed I would be putting the fuel back into it), I was feeling pretty ‘Eeyore’ about my running performance as the last 3 of 4 runs I had were just *not* good. I felt like I’d regressed back to how I used to run: heavy in the legs, with a weight on my chest, and laboriously. I was frustrated, to say the least. And worried, too, honestly. Because I’ve made incredible progress since starting this challenge 4 months ago now, that I should be improving, not regressing. 

Looking back on those runs, I think it was a combination of things: self-doubt creeping back in (of course), adjusting to some incredibly warm temperature spikes (for March, this weather is NOT normal…not that I am complaining) and re-adjusting to running outside more consistently. I had some calf pain, I found it hard to breathe in the random humid air we’ve had, but conversely, also in the colder 40 degree temps I ran in last Saturday, too. I think my body was confused and trying to adjust to such a wide swing in temperatures definitely didn’t help.

Anyway.

Today was my first run of the week (with outdoor runs planned for ALL of my 4 runs this week – woohoo!!) and I was determined to make it a good one. I mapped out a new route (growing sick of the few I have been doing lately) and was excited to hit the road with M after not running since Saturday (thinking fresh legs would help!). Despite getting a massive leg cramp in the middle of the night leaving me with a tight and sore calf this morning (which – side note – any ideas why that happened? I drink water like it’s my job, eat a banana a day for potassium and stretched twice yesterday alone!), we actually had a REALLY good run! 

I got that run-high back that I have been missing, we tackled a few unexpected hills and I ran them all, even though I had to reign in my breathing after each, I didn’t feel like a weight was on my chest, and that was a huge relief (I was starting to worry that I had somehow lost my ability to do that, after working so hard at it). Despite the coolish temps (41 degrees when we set out), I felt good, breathing, legs, all of it. I even kept an eye out for bunnies (I’m sure it’s too early for bunny-watching, but a girl can dream…), and let my mind wander. That, my friends, is a sign that I allowed myself to just run. Not think. Run. 

It gave me the hope and confidence boost I need that this week’s runs WILL give me my full-on run mojo back. Here’s my plan for the rest of the week – subject to change, however, as I am *really* tempted to run 4 days in a row because it is going to be just glorious weather but I know deep down that 4 in a row is too much.

Tomorrow: spin class (I’ve been spinning on my own, so I think a class will be a nice switch up). Walk in the afternoon.

Thursday: run and barre n9ne long and lean legs class (one of my FAVES!)

Friday: 6 am barre n9ne method and rundate with my sis – we MAY even try to get in my ‘long’ 7 mile run. Followed by sister breakfast WITH our niece and other sister Jen (good motivation, no?)

Saturday: run with M. (if the weather looks shittastic – as it sort of does at the moment, I may turn this into an interval run dreadmill-style).

What say you? Any advice on the ole calf cramp? Why the forwards and backwards progress and missteps? I guess it happens to everyone, I just hope it goes away for good. I prefer consistency 😉 (Oh, and I am also thinking I need new sneakers…which may be part of the problem – thinking of trying these Brooks Run Connect sneakers on the recommendation of a fellow barre n9ne instructor – Julianna! Light and airy? Yes please!

**asslap to everyone adding some sweat to their lives, no matter what form it comes in…yoga, running, walking, swimming, kickboxing, barre, you name it, it counts ;-) **

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21 thoughts on “My 6-month run challenge: week 16 (forwards and backwards)

  1. I think running is all about ups and downs. It’s not a perfect progression to perfection. Make sure those shoes are ideal for your running gait first. Don’t need any injuries! As for the cramping, even if you are drinking lots of water, maybe it’s not enough or maybe not enough sodium? The only time I have ever had leg cramps has been from not being hydrated enough or not having enough electrolytes in (typically post run). So that’s just a thought from personal experience.

    1. You’re right, it is all about the ups and downs and how we adjust and cope with it, I agree. And I will definitely go to the store and get fitted for sneakers, but those were really light and seemed like they might be great. Of course, now I am antsy to get to the store! (thanks for the tip on the leg cramp! maybe sodium?)

  2. “Might” run 7 on Friday? We *are* running 7 on Friday, you can do this!! It’ll be fun and just think of that giant bowl of oatmeal I’ll concoct for us afterwards 😉

    You’re doing great sis, I love to see how far you’ve progressed in just a few months, it’s awesome!! (and I always look for bunnies too even though I know it’s too soon for them, sad face, hehe)

  3. It’s so weird, right? I’ve been running great lately and then this past Saturday my long run totally blew. I felt like I was starting from scratch. But then yesterday I totally rocked my run. I guess we need the bad in order to have the good?? Seems to be like that in most facets of life, huh?

    1. My run on Saturday kinda blew too! WTF right? It is frustrating sometimes but I guess that is why running is always a challenge! And we appreciate the good runs that much more!!

  4. I always find it’s hard to transition from running indoors to running outdoors as well as when there’s a sudden change in temperature. For me, I know that when it starts to get warm and a bit humid, my legs feel heavier and it’s harder to breath. Plus the fact that it’s only March! I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Like others have said, running has it’s ups and downs and while it would be fantastic if everything was a steady progression forward, it’s not and how we deal with those bumps makes us stronger runners.

    1. You’re right, it’s a lot of transitions all in the same week or so. I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to get frustrated with myself! sometimes it’s hard to see the forest from the trees, even when I try really hard 😉 Thank you for your encouragement and words of advice/wisdom!!

  5. Somedays the road just wins. Unfortunately I don’t think running will ever be a 100% forward progression. But you kept yourself straight and you’re rocking out again – that’s what matters!

    New shoes are probably a good idea – I find weird aches/pains in my legs when my shoes start to wear out! Be careful if you go to the Pure Connect though – they’re considered “minimal” and have less of a heel to toe drop than a standard pair of running shoes. So, that will also take a toll on your calves if you’re not careful!

    Keep up the great work – you’re rocking the runs babe!

    1. You’re right, sometimes the road does win! it won too many times for me last week! I tend to worry quickly when my running slides downhill (no pun intended!) so I am probably overreacting to it, but am glad things are improving! As for the shoes, I know they are those new minimal type shoes, so I def want to try them on and some others at a running store before buying…thank you for the advice! (no shin pain would be good!)

  6. YAY for that runners high…it’s what I always go out chasing when I hit the road. I often find it, but somedays I don’t. That’s the thing with running, there will be good days, bad days. Awesome runs and runs that we struggle with. I am so proud of you for hanging in there and challenging yourself. I bet you are improving more than you are giving yourself credit for!

    Keep an eye on that pain. I think new shoes would be a great idea (new shoes are ALWAYS a great idea in my book;-) Maybe you need salt, (Gatorade or Gu-Brew might help?!) Hope that it starts feeling better soon!

    1. I definitely think I need new sneakers. the soles of my feet hurt a bit today. And new sneakers are always motivating, right?? I am hard on myself, I know, I just also want to toe the line with being ‘just’ hard enough on myself and pushing myself further because I know I can. Ya know? Thank you for your support!

  7. Don’t forget to rest! Our bodies need rest days, too. When I don’t give my body a break that’s when cramps and weird pains present themselves. I think it’s our body’s way of telling us to take a breather. Have you tried compression socks or sleeves? They work wonders in keeping you cramp/pain free. I’m saying all this because I need to take my own advice, too!
    I’ve also found yoga is a perfect way to balance the intense impact running puts on us. And it really helps you fully stretch your muscles. I’m sure you get some of that in your barre n9ne, but I’m really digging my yoga 🙂

    1. Thank you! I do always take at least one rest day a week, I totally agree with you. Our bodies need it and crave it sometimes too! I haven’t tried compression gear, does it help? I am clueless in that department! I am stretching a lot more and SHOULD go to yoga, I KNOW, but I can never get into it!

      1. Yes, the compression socks help. They’re kinda funny and retro because they go all the way up to your knees, but it’s all for a good cause! LOL You can get them at any running/sports store. They also make sleeves, so you could still wear the socks you’re used to. Try hot yoga…they play more upbeat music and it’s hot so you sweat more and feel like you’re really getting a workout!

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