I started 2018 with the same goal that I have given myself every year since 2015; get back running regularly, and lose at least 50 of the 70+ pounds I have gained since June 2014. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to continue in my set habits for the first three months of the year. My total monthly mileage and average pace per mile for January, February, and March looked like this…
- January – 7.2 miles / 15:41 average pace
- February – 12 miles / 14:04 average pace
- March – 22.9 miles / 14:23 average pace
Needless to say, I was discouraged by these numbers. My family and I were planning to spend the last weekend of March in southern Utah visiting her family. So, the night before we headed south, I humbled myself and asked for some help. I sent a text message to my cousin’s husband and asked him if he would be willing to run 3 miles with me on Saturday. He responded that he would be happy to and that he had the perfect 5 mile course for us to run. I thanked him for his willingness and told him that 3 miles is about all I could handle.
My wife’s cousin picked me up at 7am on Saturday morning and drove us over to the start of the run he had planned for us. Immediately after we turned on our Garmin’s, he smiled and said, “we are going 5 miles”. I told him that 3 was going to be enough for me. He just smiled and told me that not matter how slow we end up going, we are going 5 miles. I relented and told him I would do my best.
I was uncomfortable for the first mile of our run, but it was mostly due to me psyching myself out; however, once we started talking, I got caught up in the conversation, and my body took over, falling into a rusty, yet familiar, rhythm. We ended up running 5.1 miles at a 11:45 pace.
This run was exactly the shot of confidence that I needed. In addition to the confidence this run provided, it reminded me of some of the main reasons I love running. I got to spend timecatching up with a good friend while spending some time enjoying being outdoors.
Instead of pushing this new wave of confidence and motivation to my next bout of discouragement and burn out, I decided to hold myself to the same structured training build up that I would counsel anybody that is just starting out in distance running to do. I used my Garmin Fenix 5 to map out a 5k course to use as my new benchmark run. I was sure to make note of my average pace and my maximum heart rate. Armed with these numbers, I committed myself to not increase my total weekly mileage my more than 10-15% a week, and to ignore my average pace and focus in on my average heart rate.
The last two and a half months of my training have looked like this…
- April – 29.17 miles / 13:00 average pace – Just happy to be running
- May – 81.65 miles / 11:40 average pace – Including my first Saturday long run
- June – 80.50 miles / 10:29 average pace (As of June 25th) – Including my first two half marathon races in two years
The Utah Valley Half Marathon on June 9th – Finishing time of 2:08:02
The American Fork Half Marathon on June 23rd – Finishing time of 1:59:04
I have intentionally not focused on losing weight over the last 12 weeks. My efforts have been focused on consistency and not becoming a slave to the expectations my mind places on me regarding how fast or far I should be running. There are days where I catch myself falling into the trap of comparing my current fitness with where my fitness has been in the past, but, I am quick to redirect my thoughts to my current goals of consistency and simply enjoying being back out on the road running. Within the next two weeks, I am going to map out my running and weight loss goals for the rest of the year. I have no idea what those goals will be right now, but I do know that they will stay centered around consistency and not letting comparison to my prior running achievements strip me of the joy of being back out doing what I love.