If there has been a theme to my current training cycle, it is this: I just feel like running.
In the middle of January, I froze my gym membership while I was contending with the residual lower back pain that plagued me for a few weeks after throwing out my back just before New Year’s. I had tried to go to the gym a few times, but found that the elliptical and weights were causing too much stress on my lower back.
I was working with a physical therapist at that point, and placed my gym membership on a one month medical freeze.
You may wonder why I chose half-marathon training season as an optimal time to freeze my gym membership. But for me, it was an obvious choice.
Running doesn’t bother my back and I prefer to run outdoors rather than on a treadmill.
I’ve been using Pilates and yoga as a way of strengthening my back and building my flexibility. At this point, I am pretty seasoned practitioner and don’t need to go to a class to come up with a fun workout. Sometimes I can be pretty happy on my mat at home.
My gym membership resumed this week and I went back to the gym last night.
When I was in Florida last week, I went to a yoga studio that I like for a few classes. I took two Hot Flow classes and a Vinyasa class. It was a nice change from self practice, as I had the opportunity to explore a few poses that I wouldn’t necessarily practice on my own. I felt strong enough to return to regular yoga classes, so that is what I did at the gym last night.
I took a Power Vinyasa class. And that is all. I just went home.
On Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to take a complimentary TRX class at a new gym in my neighborhood. Ordinarily, this is the sort of thing that I would have been all over. But this time, I decided to opt out.
My focus is on running.
I only want to engage in activities that will supplement my running in a positive way.
After the three weeks that I took off in January to nurse my back injury, I don’t want to risk another injury. Running feels good. Yoga and Pilates feel good. So I’m sticking with those things for right now.
I feel really confident in my decision.
My fear of injury has less to do with the thought of pain and more to do with the loss of control. I don’t want to contend with things like forced rest. It is depressing and isolating.
I want to be able to stay on top of my training — on top of my routine.
Last year, when I was training for the 2012 NYC Half and the More/Fitness Half, I did it all. I ran four times each week, took barre classes, lifted weights and cross trained on the elliptical, stair climber and rower. It worked for me that time around.
When I was in pain last month, all I could think about was my training. I just felt like running. So I’m taking a cue from Forrest for a change.
This time around, my focus is on running.
The number of hours that I log in the gym has reduced substantially. But I am in better shape.
I work harder on my training runs and focus more during my yoga practice.
At night, I go to bed thinking about the run I’ll run in the morning or the run I’ve run that day.
And I savor my rest days with an extra few minutes in bed, which can sometimes be just as invigorating.