Today is the first day of my week 4 half-marathon training. It's a stretch and strength day, which was great because my knees and lower back are sore and they definitely need a break from the impact. I'm still getting used to running so frequently, and sometimes my body can really feel it. It's getting better every week though. So today I walked 2 miles and will do my strength when I go to the gym tomorrow morning. I really need to remember to get toning in more often.
As the weeks progress, the miles will stack up until the long runs are just shy of the half-marathon distance.
This worries me. I travel a lot for work and have a pretty busy fall conference schedule ahead. It's actually already starting next week when I leave for San Diego for 12 days!
Usually when I am away on business, I excuse myself from any real exercise routine. I go down to the hotel fitness center and get in a little run here and there when I don't have to be at the conference until later in the morning. If I am scheduled to be at the conference bright and early, I don't bother to exercise at all.
My 3.5-mile runs are hardly an hour. From door to door, including a walking cool down, the whole exercise takes close to an hour. The little 2-milers are quick and easy. Not a problem, really, for home or away.
Now, my 4- and 5-mile runs take a little longer, of course. But those have been the long runs, which are run on the weekends. Again, not a problem. I used to run 10 K every Saturday and Sunday last year. Eventually, however, the program will call for 5 and 6 miles throughout the week and upwards of 7, 8, 9, and 10 miles for long runs. Running 5 or 6 miles during the weekdays will be a challenge for me, especially if I'm away for work and living out of a hotel/airport. Some hotels have terribly outdated fitness centers, or they are off in some creepy, dark area of the hotel. My job doesn't provide me with a rental car, so I'm stuck with what's within walking distance. If you know about government per diems, then you know that, depending on the city and how much per diem you get, sometimes these hotels are anything but 4 star or in close proximity to anything very interesting, much less a gym (Although the opposite can also be true, again, depending on a lot of factors. I've stayed anywhere from Hyatts, Hiltons, and Embassy Suites to Days Inns and the like.)
I WILL make the time while I'm at home. That's not an option. But what about running while traveling?
I'm going to visit Brian in Wisconsin this weekend. I'm leaving here on Thursday, which I will count as my rest day. We will be in Madison, WI, on Friday and will be heading up to Wisconsin Dells for the rest of the weekend. I'm praying that the hotels where we're staying have decent fitness centers. According to their Web sites, they do have them. But I've been to hotels that claim to have fitness centers only to find that it's a closet with a broke-down treadmill and a stationary bike (but I've also been to some awesome hotel fitness centers, to be fair). I have to run 3.5 miles on Friday. Brian has to work that day while I hang out and wait for him. I've never been to Madison, WI. If the fitness center sucks, it just might have to be an opportunity to tour Madison on the run and try not to get lost!
At the Dells, I will have to run 5 miles for my long run (unless I try to get it knocked off in Madison). Brian doesn't like to run, and I hate to waste what precious little time we have together running for an hour and focusing on just myself and training. That will be hard. It'll be hard to choose how to spend that very precious hour or so of my visit.
Did I mention that Wisconsin is a delicious state? I mean, I don't think I've eaten anything there that didn't taste out of this world. So that's yet another challenge!
But if I committed myself to running a half-marathon, then I'd better find a way to incorporate my running program into my life, no matter where I am and no matter what comes up that could distract me from training. I need to be versatile and focused and not make excuses to hit the lobby lounge instead of the fitness room or to go out to a decadent dinner at the local hotspot rather than go workout at the end of the day.
I have to MAKE TIME for fitness, if I want it. After all, achievements aren't just handed to us. We have to commit to the work it takes to make those achievements ours.
Tomorrow, I'm going to get up early and run my 3.5 miles at the gym and get some toning in, too, since I didn't get a chance to do it today.