The weather is terrible and I can't train outdoors: First, let me share that I honestly feel that sometimes the statement that you can't train outdoors in bad weather is an opinion and not a fact. Sure, there are going to be times when training outdoors would not be safe (lightning, incredibly high or low temperatures, etc.), but I think that maybe we need to change our attitude about what constitutes truly bad weather. My absolute favorite running experience was when I went running in foot deep snow while I was visiting my sister-in-law for Christmas in Indiana. I was training for a half-marathon, and my choice was to run around an indoor track at Rose Hullman University or brave the cold on a maintained trail that had not yet been cleared. Luckily, I have an adventurous soul and a husband who doesn't mind trying new things--we chose to run in the snow. I don't even know if I can accurately explain why I love running in the snow so much, but I will try. First, the snow (granted it was new snow) really cushions your step, so it feels like you are running on marshmallows. Also, it makes the most calming noise as your feet go in and out of the snow, "Koosh, koosh, koosh." And the air is fresh and crisp like breathing in the most pure oxygen on earth. If I had chosen to let the weather decide I needed to train indoors, I would have missed this incredible experience.
And I actually enjoy running in the rain, if it is not the torrential version. I find if I try and find joy in the weather, my positive attitude makes it a positive experience. I love when the soft raindrops hit my face, and I am one who dislikes getting overheated when I run, so the rain cools me down. In fact, I think the only weather that would drive me indoors to a treadmill would be extreme heat, and I can even avoid that by running in the early morning hours before it gets hot.
I train too early in the morning, and there is not enough light to safely train outdoors: This is really an issue for me. I have made a commitment to attempt to train early in the morning, so I do not lose as much time with my husband and children. That means I am often up before 4 am to hit the road or the gym to train. So, on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday I am often in the gym pool before 4:30, so I can also fit in long bike rides (spin or stationary bike). That way I can still be home by around 7:00 to see my daughter off to school and get my son ready for his day. And on Thursdays I have to bike before I meet my running friends for our 5:45 am run, so I hook my bike to a trainer and ride indoors. Riding on a trainer or working out in the gym can be very tedious unless you find some strategies to entertain yourself.
To make the time pass more quickly, I often make sure I train with my friends. This is not always possible, so my next strategy is to use television or movies to make the time pass. When I am on my trainer, I have been getting caught up on Season 3 of Downton Abby. I only allow myself to watch this show when I am biking on my trainer, so while this could be an incredibly dull hour for me, I actually look forward to my time riding indoors. Last week I finished my hour of Downton on a cliffhanger, and I can't wait until Thursday to find out what is going to happen. Once I am done with this series, I will just find another series or maybe even a movie to make the time pass quickly.
I have also discovered that they make good light sources for both running and biking. Emily bought me a headlamp, so when we run in the dark I can see any obstacles on the road and cars can see me. On my bike I have a red flashing light at the back and a white one at the front so I can see where I am going. And nothing is more beautiful than running or biking into the sunrise.
I use music to ease the pain of the hours spent training. I rarely run or bike without my iTunes music, and I have even found a music player (SwimP3) to wear in the pool while I do my long swim yards. Now I know during the Ironman I will need to do it all without music, but for now I am just going to spend my time running, biking, and swimming with Pink, Oingo Boingo, and the Black Eyed Peas.
Emily shared this link with me that some of you might find interesting: 4 Tips to Survive Triathlon Training. Active has some very interesting articles, so you might want to subscribe to their site so you get their tips coming your way on a regular basis.
My husband Sean has found a different way to make his exercise fun for him--competition. He has been following a bike blog called Chasing Mailboxes. The author of this blog posts small challenges for readers to encourage them to find time to fit in more biking miles. Last month the challenge called Errandonnee, tasked bikers to complete twelve bike errands in twelve days and ride a total of 30 miles while doing so. The other challenge included only being able to count the same errand twice. There were 11 categories you could choose from including dinner, coffee or dessert, grocery store, library, etc. You had to complete errands in at least seven of the eleven categories, and two of the rides had to be done in the dark. Sean and I had so much fun creating reasons to ride our bikes to different places around Murrieta--early morning coffee at Terry's Coffee Trader in Old Town Murrieta, sushi dinner at Sushi Hama, and riding our bike to Lowe's to look at plants for our front yard. So when we mix some fun rides in among our long training rides, it is less likely the boredom will set in.
I've completely lost my motivation to train: Going back to my original reason for writing this blog this week, what can you do to avoid loosing your passion for training? This is actually one of my deepest fears--that I stop loving what I do, and I gain all my weight back. So, I have tried to mix up my races by doing short and long course running, trail and mud runs, biking and triathlons, and by having these races on my schedule I am motivated to keep training.
One thing I have tried to be very careful of is to not focus too much on my race times. Don't get me wrong, I do strive to improve, and I am always happy with a personal record (PR). I just find that if I focus my energy on that, I forget to have fun. I have two friends that focused so much on a specific marathon finishing time, that when they were unable to achieve that time, they actually lost their passion for running. In contrast, my main goal for the Carlsbad marathon was just to complete it and do so in a reasonable time. So I think because I didn't have the pressure to meet some challenging time, I was able to finish well under any time I would have wished for. I thought I could reasonably finish under five and a half hours, and I did it in under five. I had fun, and I still love running!
I never want my training to become a chore, so even in the midst of this crazy Ironman training schedule, I still try to keep finding ways to keep my training interesting and fun. I think as long as I do this, I will continue forward on the road to a more flabulous me. There is no looking back for this girl!