Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts on "resolvers"

I have seen a lot of blog posts, Facebook posts, blog entries and tweets talking about the "resolvers" - folks that make New Years resolutions to get in shape.  These folks pack the gym for the month of January, and as one Facebook commenter said, "most are gone by President's day".  I had a response to that post, which I thought I would expand into a blog post of my own.

EVERYONE, and I don't care who you are, how fast you run, whether you are a Boston Qualifier, Marathon Maniac, 50 Stater or Ironman - all of you started SOMEWHERE.  You had a "first run".  Maybe your story isn't like mine, but mine started with a New Years Resolution, around 50 lbs of excess weight and a desire to improve my life.  My running journey [still a work in progress] has brought me weight loss, countless half marathons, 5 marathons and the satisfaction of chasing down and earning PR's as I go along.  I accomplished these things with a lot of sweat, hard work and commitment - but also relied heavily on the encouragement, cameraderie and support I received from countless "running friends".  We are training partners, we travel to races together, we entertain each other on long runs, and serve as "accountabilibuddies" for those early morning runs when it's dark and cold outside.

Next time you [and I'm guilty of this too] go to the gym and get pissed at the "resolvers" because they grabbed all of the treadmills and you have intervals/tempo/long runs to do, think about doing what you can to encourage the resolvers.  You never know, the fat guy on the treadmill this morning may wind up BQ'ing with you some day.

To tri or not to try?

As a lead in to the "off season", I have experimented with a few cross-training workouts, in an effort to take some time away from running.  I have done some cycling (which I haven't done in a LONG time) and some swimming (which I haven't done much of since pre-marathon training this summer). 

I realized that I like these workouts, and am thinking about making the jump to multisport - but it's a very difficult decision to make.  Here's what I have come up with so far:

PRO:
  • Triathletes tend to injure themselves less than runners do, as you are doing a wider variety of workouts and not stressing the same muscles and joints over and over again.
  • Keeping it interesting.  Part of me believes that if I have a number of different workouts to do, I'm less likely to get focused on just one of them, and lose interest, as happened with running after my two marathons.
  • Winter training: I hate treadmill running (even in the winter), but can stomach the spin bike or the pool a little bit better.  I have learned to accept treadmill running as a necessary evil (due to my longer commute, and the availability of a gym at work) but don't love it.

CON:

  • Cost.  I own a mountain bike, which I hardly ever use - but would need a road bike if I got serious about cycling.  
  • Time:  I am currently balancing a demanding job, a long commute and the demands of a family with a spouse that works and 2 small children.  Is this really something I have the bandwidth to take on now?
  • Focused improvement.  I've heard it said that with triathlon you tend to get proficient at a number of sports, but your level of proficiency doesn't dramatically increase with any one of them.  I feel like my running still has a lot of room to improve, and I have a number of goals that are still on the table from last year (like my sub 4 hour marathon).  I don't know that I'm ready to give up on my running just yet
Would love to hear some thoughts and perspectives from runners and multisport athletes out there!