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The Space and Time of Balance

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I talk a lot about finding balance here on my blog.  I’m always striving to find the right work/life balance, the perfect balance between running and yoga, spending enough time pursuing my passions and hobbies but also staying present in my relationships and friendships and that balance between being a type A but striving to be more type B.  It’s not always easy to find that balance but it’s always worth it as I like to say.

Lately I feel like I’ve really found just the right balance in my life.  It feels so good and as a result I feel less stressed and overwhelmed than I have in the past.  So what I have been doing to find that balance?  Letting go, taking the pressure off and just being.  For me that means being flexible with workouts, using the weekends as a chance to relax and have fun rather than worrying about cleaning our house and all the “to-dos”, getting plenty of rest, and focusing on relationships and the people who matter most and blogging a bit less.

Balance

I think for me the most noticeable part of this balance I’m feeling is all the things it DOES NOT include.  It does not include my crazy type A personality and to-do lists just to do.  I’ve always struggled to accept the “art of living” in our house.  All of shoes by the door, the pile of mail on the table, the open gym bag on the floor, or the laundry basket filled with clean folded clothes…all the things that make a house feel like a home have always driven me crazy.  I’ve always had to put them away and deal with them before I felt I could relax.  Now I’m not saying I’ve completely given up on picking things up but I’ve learned to not let it stress me out when I want to relax or take a few minutes for myself.  In fact, I’m kind of loving the flip-flops by the door and the life and meaning of our things.

As a result of letting go I’m finding myself feeling like I have more time.   I feel like I have more time to run, to read, to hit the yoga mat, to soak in the summer sun and to just be.  It feels good to find a slower, more manageable pace in my life and to feel like I’m nourishing my body and mind with it what it needs.  It feels like the right balance of work, fun and relaxation right now and I’m just rolling with it.  Life is full of ebbs and flows and before I know I’ll be busy and trying to find balance once again.

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How are you working to find balance in your life? What do you need to let go to find space and time in your life?

Fall Half-Marathon Training Plan Update

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Today marks phase 2 of my fall half-marathon training plan.  Back in June I committed to running the Maine Half- Marathon on October 6th.  I’m hoping, and planning, to run the BAA half-marathon the following week and I’m *this* close to committing to run a third on November 16th.  I’m hesitant about the third because we have a pretty full fall and I’m not sure I want another commitment but I could be convinced and am heavily leaning towards running it.  We’ll see.

Once I signed up for Maine I knew I needed to get down to business and that meant building a base.  I pretty much only ran 3 or 4 miles at a time over the winter with a couple 6 milers in March and April.  My plan was to tackle 5 and 6  mile runs.  I wanted to feel strong and comfortable with the distance before I started my full training plan.  Pace wasn’t important to me but I knew if I was running enough miles it should naturally drop down.

A strict training plan never works for me.  Life is too busy and too unpredictable for me to commit to a certain number of runs or miles per week.  Instead I always have goals in mind and find ways to realistically meet them.  Here’s what my workouts for June and July looked like…

June Training

June Training

July Training

July Training

My training definitely wasn’t the perfect plan but it worked for me.  One of the biggest challenges was adapting to not only the high mileage but also the heat and humidity.  I managed to get a 5.5 or 6 mile run in each week with the exception of the 4th of July week when I got in a 6 mile walk/hike.  The final week was the best, with two 5 mile runs and a 7.5 mile run to round out the base building cycle.

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I knew I managed to build a strong base when 5 mile runs started to feel quick and easy.  I love when I can get in 5 miles by 6:15am and it feels effortless.  My longest training run of 7.5 miles was one of the best.  I felt great and my run felt effortless.  The best part was the over the last few weeks my pace started dropping.  On Friday my last two miles of the run were my fastest this summer.  I LOVE that! It was the perfect way to end my base building cycle.

Moving forward I’ll stick with 3 to 4 runs per week.  One day will be an easy 5 or 6 miles, there will be a speed day made up of a combination of hills, fartleks, tempo runs and track workouts, and long runs.  The 4th day will be an optional recovery day of about 3 miles.  Each week will have 2 yoga sessions.  As always there may be a few extra cross training workouts like golf, walks or more yoga or a couple of rest days.  I’m excited to start increasing my long run distance and have a few 13 and 14 mile runs in my plan.  I’m also looking forward to getting back to tempo runs, even though I hate them while I’m doing them!

I’ll be back with another update at the end of the month of you can see how my first couple weeks of half-marathon training went! For now I’m off for an easy 5 miler!  Happy Running Friends!

Where are you at with your fall half-marathon training plans?  What races are you training for?