The past couple of weeks have been the most difficult yet for me, both physically and mentally, and as we approach the race with less than four weeks to go, I can't help but feel it weigh on me pretty heavily. Needless to say, this isn't exactly where I was hoping to be at this point in my training, and it can be hard to reconcile the reality with what I had envisioned.
If there's one thing I've learned throughout this process of training for the 15k, it's that there are significant ups and downs from one week to the next, and mostly importantly, you need to listen to your body. I've been experiencing pain in my right hip and knee off and on since I began running again back in January, which I'm pretty sure stems from ongoing back issues, and in the past few weeks it's become increasingly consistent. I forced myself to take about a week off of running, with last Monday's Rainbow Run Club run being my first night back into it. It's incredibly frustrating when your body and mind are out of sync, and I found myself focusing on the negative and having a hard time coming to terms with it. As I've shared my journey training for the 15k, there's been a consistent theme of overcoming the challenges placed in front of me and pushing myself to go farther and faster. Taking time away from training went against my natural instinct to push through it, and as I'm trying to increase my distances as we near the 15k, I feel like I've fallen significantly behind, which is frustrating. Other than the pain in my hip and knee, which I'm never quite sure how to gauge going into a run, I can feel myself becoming a stronger runner overall and am finding it easier with every run.
I've been focusing on fewer runs each week, listening to my body and what it needs, but adding in strength training and taking care of myself in other ways as well. I seem to be able to handle longer distances at slower paces, which is a bit of a compromise, but I've finally reached the point where 8k feels quite manageable, and that in itself is an accomplishment. I picked up a foam roller a few weeks ago after multiple people suggesting it, and that's become part of my daily routine, and though it can be a little on the painful side, it seriously works wonders. I've also been taking full advantage of my Classpass membership, and have found it to be the perfect option right now. Depending on what my body seems to need on any given day, I have a variety of classes at my disposal, and at the height of my pain, I've been adding more yoga and restorative classes into my schedule.
Trying to take a more holistic approach, I've also been paying special attention to nutrition, hydration and getting enough sleep, and trying to really take care of myself in every way possible. At last week's RRC, we were treated to a talk by nutritionist Miranda Malisani, who provided a lot of valuable information to our group about eating well as we train for the 15k, including a number of healthy recipes, a meal plan and grocery shopping list, and I've been taking a lot of her tips to heart and implementing them in my daily routine.
I spent a bit of time working up north last week, which meant a change to my usual workout routine, but it was so nice to switch it up a little bit, running in the woods instead of the city streets, and doing an NTC workout on the dock, a completely different experience. There's also something so therapeutic about getting away for a little while, even when there's still work involved, and being in touch with nature and disconnected to a certain extent. No cell reception, a not-so-great internet connection that doesn't really lend itself well to mindless time spent online. It allows you to focus on resetting a little bit, and I definitely came back feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle these final few weeks.