One thing I am really struggling with is a training plan. I am a total Type A planning, organized, overwhelming type personality who can and likes following a training plan like no one’s business. I am not very good with “go with the flow”. I plan my workouts. I plan my running routes. I am an over planner! My running and fitness has a very mental side to it that can make or break me at any point. Establishing a training plan based on my goals is the only way I know how to get it done. Some of issue is that it gives me something to be accountable for and another part of it is that it gets in my brain and reassures me that I am prepared and on track. As I am on a self imposed race hiatus and a lot of my workouts have had to be modified until after our baby boy makes his arrival, I am struggling to create and stick to a plan that works for me. My workouts are unorganized and all over the place!

I have made training plans for numerous reasons.  I have done it to accomplish a new race distance, such as when I ran my first half marathon last May. I have done it to improve my mile times in relay races. I have set up training plans to tone certain areas before bikini season. I have had specific plans to drop weight and others to get stronger. I took whatever was my specific goal and organized the cardio and strength training I thought would get me to my goal. I usually follow these almost religiously. I occasional switch out a day or two, but more often than not, I am doing exactly what I planned on any specific day. Sometimes the plans worked, sometimes they didn’t, but it always helped me feel like I did everything I could to try and accomplish whatever goal I was chasing. Well, pregnancy has thrown me a major loop! I can’t define such a strict regimen if I can’t specifically define my goal. I can’t concentrate on getting faster, taking on a new race distance, shrinking my waist or thighs, or really even pushing myself with weights. I now have to listen to, feel, and absorb the changes my body is going through. I am chasing fitness and health is a more abstract way than I am comfortable with. I can’t tell myself to quit being a whiner and push through a workout, even if it hurts so bad (or good!). I have to track my heart rate rather than my times. I have to remember that stopping before it hurts is better right now.  I have to remember that even if I plan a workout for today and even if I didn’t work out yesterday, my body might be tired and need an extra day of rest. It might not be up to doing everything I want it to do today. To say this is frustrating is an understatement. It is brutal for someone with my personality.

The good thing about this is that it is finally getting me to listen to my body. The human body is amazing and will give you tons of signs when something is wrong. I never liked to listen before. I just relied on the fact that I made it through my training plan last week so pushing through it this week and pushing harder was always the right thing to do. This method has gotten me to reach many goals but it has also let me down sometimes. It has prepared me for races physically but let me down in how to understand my body and adjust to things outside of my control, such as weather and out last minute changes. It has added more unnecessary pressure on me which has sometimes taken the fun out of a race or event.

For right now, I’m going to keep moving forward without a strict plan.  I am committed to a couple of workouts a week because I feel it is important but I am slowly and painfully learning flexibility in my training. On days I feel like doing a spin class, I sign up. I try to get a day of upper body strength moves in the mix and don’t freak out if I am using the lightest weights in the gym. I try to keep to 2-3 days of running a week and know that if I don’t feel it that specific day, then it is ok to walk or to jump on the elliptical or the stair master. Sometimes it is even ok to go home and jump in the recliner and put my feet up if I need an extra rest day!

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