why i eliminated mileage goals and stopped racing

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September 17, 2015 by Ellen V

One of my demons is running. I know, that sounds like the Humble Brag, but for much of my life, I have forced folks around me to accommodate my training goals, and it hasn’t always been pretty.

When we moved to Virginia over a year ago, I was 30 weeks pregnant, and I vowed to make running something that took a backseat to more important things. Like, you know, my kids and stuff.

The best way I’ve found to maintain health and some level of fitness (which are both still very important to me) while making running less of a priority is to switch from mileage goals (I will run x miles this week) to time goals (I will exercise for x minutes this week). This adjustment allows me to make goals that increase over time (180 minutes this week, 200 minutes next week) while still being flexible within the week (I wanted to run 4 days this week, but will only get to run 3. Instead, I’ll take a 15 minute walk before work a few days, get up early and do arms/abs, etc).

This all has its drawbacks, of course, and to be honest, I’d still rather be running 30 miles a week in 5-6 days, getting a longer effort in there somewhere. Maybe when we live somewhere with a sidewalk I’ll even get to do it again. I also am about 5 pounds up from my pre pregnancy weight, and now that Sid’s over a year old, it’s hard to admit that they will probably be staying with me for a while. Running in the 10-15 mile range most weeks means that I’m not wanting to race with any consistency (and racing kind of defeats the purpose of the whole Put Your Family First thing, since we’re talking about Saturday morning commitments).

Let’s also take a moment to say that a great many parents who are far better people than I am have managed to use parenthood as a springboard for achieving more than they had before rather than less. My own beloved started running right around the time I got pregnant with Jane, and now Eric runs with great consistency, has finished a half marathon, and truly enjoys the effort. I know stellar athletes that have continued to succeed in their field and seem to have little problem continuing to train and race. And there are lots and lots of parents who manage to at least maintain their effort with support from their spouses and children (often a jogging stroller is involved here).

But those people are not me.

My time goals are so satisfying for this season of my life, and have truly been the best way I have come up with to satiate my desire to workout while still being reasonable about the whole thing. I guess I’ll just get to know these five pounds for a while. It’s fine. They’re okay neighbors. As long as they’re just renting.

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