I have to say that 2012 was a bit of a different year for me. I usually go into a year with an entire year plan so i know how to cycle my training and peak at the right times - the proper way to do it. This year, i was so focused on getting a PR at the NJ Marathon in May that i did not want to plan anything after as i didn't want to lose my focus for what i wanted the first half of the year. Bad idea? maybe, really depends on how you look at it. If you read my blog about the NJ Marathon you already know i not only PRed, i PRed by almost 10 minutes. And it was one of the best emotional and physical experiences i have had to date. I used the beginning of winter as good rest and then started out my training and progressed from there to peak at the right time. The focus on that one event really kept me directed and on target as i wasn't worried about what i needed to be doing to help me with events that occured after.
The rest of the year, unlike years past, i did not have a plan. And so i jumped into any event that was thrown at me. Jen you want to do this - sure. Jen you want to do that - sure!!! It was what made my year different. I experienced new levels. But i never had a peak again. And that was just fine for me, as that was the route i took. I had such a fun year with lots of learning experiences. And the high i got in my PR marathon was enough to last the entire year. Again, it all depends on how you look at it.
I did 2 half ironmans and my first ever full Ironman and another marathon. None of these HUGE long distance events i went into with the best training but certainly was trained enough to know i would finish, and that was all i cared about this time around..
Because of these and training to allow me to finish these, starting only a few days after the Marathon - I just was never rested...until now. I finished my May marathon, completely beat up after - in a good way, and although i really didn't run much after, i started biking within the week to get ready for a half ironman only 4 weeks later. I had not been on the bike yet so i figured i better get that going while i rest my legs from the marathon, by not running. HA. Anyone that has worked with me knows i know 100% that this is not the way to recover and that quantity will not make quality. But this is where i wanted to go. I had my PR, I didn't have that next PR goal as i normally would to keep my focus or any time goal for that matter..... so why not. After a marathon you should spend a good 2-4 weeks doing light running and/or cross training. Not pushing hills or jacking up miles on the bike over a 1 week period. So needless to say the rest of the year stayed in this routine. 4 weeks after my best marathon ever, still sore and achy from it, I finished the half iron, then 2 week later said sure i will bike a 100 miler up 13000 feet of elevation, why not, something new and different. Then 6 weeks later jumped into a full ironman - capable of finishing for sure just not as prepared as most would be going into it but all i needed to do was finish and that is what i did, then only 5 weeks later another half iron that has crazy body crushing hills then 4 weeks later another marathon that was more of a walk run fun event for me at almost 2 hours slower than normal. So, needless to say, i never did peak again, i never recovered my legs from May and i never took my training that way to get me to a peak (if i did i would not have entered all these crazy events), and since i did not create that focus i never really wanted to go there anyway, another PR that is.
So,Yes, my year was different after May. First part of the year was normal - i got my PR half and marathon but then my body and mind choose to do quantity over quality. And we all know how that goes. And that is ok - you just have to make that decision and i know there are reasons for doing it myself the rest of the year. As that is how i went into the year to begin with - a pure focus on the spring and whatever for after. My mind was obviously putting 110% into that marathon and wanted the rest of the year to play. The rest of the year may have been a lot on the body but the mind was out of it and completely chilled. Yes, i never could peak again to have exceptional race results, at least not on paper, but finishing these crazy events were exceptional results enough for me and those that know me and i had such new experiences with them that i feel was the deep internal reason my body and mind took me this route for the rest of the year, experiences that will make me a better coach and athlete and person - they made me smarter as a coach by experiencing things i have not before to better guide an athlete when they come to me for help with such events, they gave me a stronger mind as a long distance athlete which is needed, i am more grounded as to making a plan going into 2013 and physically- i feel really strong, not fast, but strong. There is a difference. And the fast will come at the right timing this year combined with this new strong. Could be a very good thing. It is up to you to find where you want to be - some choose quantity some choose quality. But you can't have both. Not at the same time at least. I run for Saucony Shoes. I love their product and what they stand for. Their slogan- "find your strong" has taken new meanings to me and i hope to continue to help others find them as well.
This year, i want that fast back and then some. 2012 may have been a great plan for what i will be in store for 2013. We'll see. I guess i will write about that a year from now.
This year i am making a full year plan - not just a half plan. I want to peak in the spring and in the fall in the marathon. And i will base my training and racing around that. No more crazy long events each month. Its time to get back to quality for 2013! And i hope to be writing all about it as i go through the year.
Happy New Year Everyone!
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