I wonder how it will be this time around. One thing is different. This will be my very first time using a set training program. In training for all my previous races (including the marathon and the triathlon) I ran when I felt like it and cross-trained when I felt like doing that, without any more guidance than listening to my body and knowing I needed to put miles in my legs. I'm hoping that following a set training program will keep me on track, help me use my time efficiently and take all the guesswork out of the equation.
To be honest, the reason why I feel it's not enough to listen to my body this time around, is because I haven't liked what's it's been telling me lately. Ever since I started my exercise journey 2,5 years ago, I've steadily been progressing. First came gym-membership, followed by weight-loss and it all culminated in a marathon last December. But since December other things have been occupying my life and priorities. I haven't even thought much about exercise. The half-marathon I ran in May was more symbolic and held other meanings than a good finishing time. Now when things are starting to settle back into a new normal, I'm just relieved to know I haven't gained too much weight.
So, after 6 months, I'm returning to regular exercise. And it's amazing how much speed and strength I've lost. Actually, amazing is the wrong word, depressing is more like it. I know it was expected and I know I will eventually get it back, but it's still very frustrating. Especially when I think about how hard I worked to get there in the first place! I hope everything I've heard about muscle memory is true...
But, I'm equally as frustrated with my attitude as I am with my weaker and slower physical being. I spent 28 years ignoring my body and about 15 of those actively abusing it before I finally started taking care of things. And when I did, my body responded to everything I asked of it, it even surprised me at times and ultimately showed me things beyond my wildest dreams.
And now, all of a sudden, I'm frustrated with it for not having retained all my abilities while I sat around and did nothing? This hardly seems fair. I'm upset because I now run 11 min/miles instead of 10 min/miles. I beat myself up for using 12 lbs dumbbells when doing bicep curls instead of 15 lbs ones. Do I really have reasons to be upset, or am I just a cranky baby?
I can think of very few things that symbolize "if I scratch your back, you scratch mine" better than the relationship between body and mind. So, maybe, instead of mentally beating my body into submission, I should try to nurture and encourage it back to the strong and capable being I know, for a fact, it can be.