One year ago I was about about 8 pounds lighter and doing hard core workouts 5-6 days per week.  I ended up running a half marathon and the Austin marathon in the spring with a few 5ks and 10ks sprinkled in for good measure.  Running has always been a way of dealing with stress for me, and the last 2 years have been some of the most stressful in my life, mainly due to the passing of several friends and family members.  Now I’m finding that my legs feel heavy when I run, I’m often tired, and end up walking towards the end, regardless of the distance.  I’m sure it’s partly due to a bad allergy season, but I also know that it’s probably time to take a break from running.  I’m not particularly worried about gaining a few pounds (although I wouldn’t mind losing a few before my reunion in a couple of weeks), I’m still well below my high point of a few years ago, but I also know that the body needs a break from doing the same work outs all the time.
The basic gist of it all is, I need a change-up in my routine.  I’d still like to run the half marathon in January, but I’m definitely not doing the marathon and I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to run specific times or distances during my work-outs.  Exercise was a big help as I dealt with my initial grief, but now it’s time to ease up on my body and focus more on my mind.
Today I was able to get out to the lake and do 50 minutes of stand-up paddle board.  It was definitely a nice break in the routine, and I hope to be able to get out there once or twice a week, as weather permits.  I’m also going to fix up my bike and do some road cycling during the week.  I’ll probably continue to run 3 days a week, since it’s still my favorite sport, but I think it’s time to join a running group to keep me motivated and distracted during my runs.  I’m also planning to get down to the track and do some sprints and short runs, which I actually enjoy 🙂
Just like my writing (see my recent  Inside Higher Ed column) I know that my workouts occasionally need a reboot, and a change of pace/scenery does me a lot of good. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m ready for a new approach to staying healthy.