Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Summer is Killing My Training

A few days ago I came across the August Healthy Living / Fitness Blogger Writing Challenge put on by The Fitness Cheerleader.  The premise, simple: write up a blog posting every day in August based on the topics she proposes. Always a sucker for challenges - and really digging the idea of having someone else come up with topics for me - I have decided to take up this challenge.  (I also thought this might help me meet my own personal goal of writing every day for a month, something I have been meaning to try for a while but never seem to get around to.)

You'll notice that today is August 2, which means that technically I have already blown it since I didn't post anything yesterday to the topic of music playlists.  Since I already posted a music post a while back  (read about it here), I don't feel too bad.  Besides, if I fall off the wagon here or there, I am okay with that.  (Apropos of that, wondering how I did in the July Abs Challenge I posted about last month?  I stank.  I basically didn't do anything with it.  I blame the injury.  After all, you can't exercise your abs when your butt hurts, right?  Okay, poor excuse.  I am hoping to do better on this one, though.)

So, today's topic?

Do you work out in the morning?  At night?  Why?

This one is kind of tricky for me to answer, because I am pretty fluid when it comes to workouts.  Overwhelmingly, I prefer to work out in the morning, simply because I like to get things done early and know that they are done for the day.  The longer the day drags on, the more likely it is that I will find some excuse not to do it.  That being said, summer has really messed with my head training-wise.  My schedule has been completely blown out of the water with the kids no longer in school, and my consistency has disintegrated.  All that to say, I have been reduced to taking what I can get for the time being.

Normally, my workouts consist of some combination of running, rowing, elliptical and yoga.  During the school year, I had a nice little routine going, where I would exercise while E. and LG were in school.  During these summer months, that has really fallen apart, and I have struggled with finding time to exercise.

Elliptical and yoga have completely fallen off of the schedule, because they require that I leave the house and actually go somewhere.  The kids are four and seven years old, which means they are too young to leave somewhere to play on their own, and E. is too old for the Y's drop-in program.  So, these past two months - when I should be doing the heavy mileage and cross-training workouts in anticipation of my September marathon - I am instead dropping mileage and what I used to consider key cross-training workouts.  I am still managing to fit in those main running workouts that make up the core framework of my training, but when I fit them in has become wildly varied based on a plethora of different factors: can the kids hang out with my parents that day, do they have a class they are attending, what else is on the schedule?  There has been a lot of picking and choosing going on.

About once a week, the kids will spend the night with the GPs.  This is typically when I can fit in my one group run of the week.  My other mid-week run, on the other hand, has to be accomplished in the early morning hours before Hubby goes to work.  So, that means I am rolling out of bed at 5 a.m. to squeeze in anywhere from four to six miles before coffee and breakfast.  This has worked ... okay.  The one downside is that on this particular day of the week, I really should be running hills or a longer tempo run.  Unfortunately, there are NO hills near my house, and given the time constraints with Hubby, I can't fit in anything longer than six miles.  I suppose if I would move my runs to the treadmill, I could accomplish hills or a longer run.  The problem with that, though, is that I really hate running on the treadmill.  If I can get outside, I will choose that every time - even at the expense of what I really should be doing apparently.

My long runs on the weekend are much more consistent, but they too are never the same twice in a row it seems.  One week, I will run on Saturday; another week on Sunday.  Sometimes on roads; sometimes on trails. With people; without.  Early; later. You get the picture. Basically, it is whatever fits in.  One of my favorite things to do, though, is the ol' switcheroo with Hubby, where one of us runs trails early and then the other brings the kids for a snack and playtime and then the other will run after.  

As far as rowing goes, that just gets squeezed into the morning schedule wherever it will fit.  That is one thing that I can say has improved marginally since the advent of summer.  LG used to HATE it when I would get on the rower.  With E. now home from school, however, he could care less.

Now I don't mean to sound like I am whining; I love having the kids home from school.  However, I am starting to look forward to the routine of the school year.  Additionally, I am beginning to think that I shouldn't plan for big goals in the fall.  My summer training the past few years has really looked skimpy compared to what I can accomplish over the fall and winter.  I guess it's a good thing that my next marathon after September is scheduled for January.  I am looking forward to those cold, snowy training runs.  Go figure.

So, how do you fit in your workouts?  Inquiring minds want to know...


  1. YES to cold, snowy training runs. This is the point in summer when I start longing for my routine again. And praying for school to start. And everyone starts getting on everyone's nerves. Consequently, this is when I start running more in the evenings (as soon as my hubs gets home from work) mostly because I've had enough.

    In all seriousness though, I've found the humidity in the evening much easier for me to manage physically...

    1. Agreed! I am fond of saying that too much of a good thing is still too much, and I think we are kind of there, too. Love the freedom of summer, but after a while some limitations don't seem too bad. :)

  2. Can I borrow your kids' GPs? WOW! Great job with your workouts!

    1. I keep telling my mom she should hire herself out. She's really great! :) I have even started hatching a plan for a hill running group that involves my mom watching moms' kids while they (and I) run hills. At the mention of that, though, her eyes kind of glazed over with a deer in the headlights type look. I think the answer was no way. :)