Run – Maintaining or Losing Fitness

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I haven’t done a lot of talking about running around here since the race in February, but don’t worry. It is happening. It’s just been hard. I’ve done some unexpected traveling, had sick kids, and had company, to name a few things the last couple of months have thrown at me. I have fit in the odd run at the gym when I can, and when I can’t, I’ve been using exercise routines from my Can You 24 DVD.

I also have a hard time staying motivated when I don’t have a race on the calendar or a specific goal in mind. I so desperately wish I hadn’t taken the good weather and races that were available practically year round for granted while I lived in Louisiana. Here in small town North Dakota, races are few and far between. Most of the year, it’s just too cold and treacherous outdoors.

I’ve been worried about losing running fitness. I’ve read some statistics that scare me. According to Jeff Galloway, you lose 10% of your running fitness in just 7 days. It only takes 35 days to lose 100%. What?! Of course, this is if you are doing absolutely nothing. No alternative form of exercise. Nada. I was hopeful that I hadn’t lost everything I’d trained so hard to achieve.

Last Friday, I tackled my longest run since February. All this stuff I’ve been reading had me scared, so I was shooting for just 7 miles. I was able to start out running on the track at our gym, but just after I finished my sixth mile, the track was closed for testing. I moved to the treadmill. I ended up running four more miles on the treadmill for a grand total of 10. What was in my head? Part of it was that I didn’t want to look like – to the handful of people in the cardio room – I could only hack 10 minutes on the treadmill. Part of it was that both kids were at school, and I had time, for once. I was feeling good and still had half a package of sport beans and plenty of water with me, so I decided to go for it.

I’m so glad that I did. I was incredibly relieved that I had not completely bungled my ability to run distance in 6 weeks’ time. The really, super crazy thing? I wasn’t sore afterward. Not a bit. That in itself is a miracle. With that run as reassurance, I think I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing – running when I can, cross-training in the interim, and throw an odd long run in when I have the time. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep running long distances without burning myself out.

I have a bit more traveling coming up in a couple of months, and I’ve already started finding and registering for races to run while I’m on the road. I am most excited about a 10-mile race in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. It’s part of the RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival. My brother and sister-in-law are going to run with me. I haven’t talked to my sister-in-law about how she plans to train, but my brother is doing something that’s either totally awesome or completely nuts. He won’t actually be running much, but he’s going to amp up his other workouts. You can check out the ideas behind his approach here. I can’t wait to see/hear how it works for him. Maybe I can talk him into a guest post. Has anyone else tried this?

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2 thoughts on “Run – Maintaining or Losing Fitness

  1. Candy says:

    I’ve too been wondering since my half in March how to maintain…I won’t be doing another 1/2 until Dec, so I really have no idea. I don’t really want to do long runs every weekend, but maybe I should…Who knows. 🙂 Sounds like you are doing awesome!

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