It has now been 7 weeks since I ran the Santa Barbara Marathon and I'm still in kind of limbo mode, still running, but without any particular goals.
Some friends are urging me to train for the L.A. Marathon, but that's only 7 weeks away and I don't have enough time to train sufficiently for that.
I had planned to run the 25th Anniversary Great Race of Agoura Hills' Cheseboro Half Marathon on March 27th, but I already have several other commitments that day.
When there's a race paid for and committed to and calendarized, I train harder. There are other races out there I could pick, but I think I'm procrastinating because a) deep down inside I'm feeling like I don't have the desire to train "hard" right now and b) I'm enjoying just getting out there and running without any particularly urgencies, goals and pressures.
We had a lot of rain the other week and somehow I managed to stay dry all but one day that week. I LOVE running in light rain and in between storms, when the air is clean and cool.
The only thing I don't like about the rain is that it muddies up the trails that I usually run in. So I'm relegated to the roads when it rains. But I don't mind.
This time off from running hard and racing is good for my body and brain. But I'm still doing about 35 miles per week, so it's not like I'm completely slacking off.
And as I start to feel stronger and gradually build up the mileage, what I've been doing once or twice a week is "fartlek" (yes, I know, I reacted the same way when I first heard that term, and in fact still do). Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play" - a training system where fast burst of running are interspersed with slower running.
The beauty of fartlek, other than its cool name, is that you can do it anytime in any workout. What I like to do is run a long road with cross streets, running one block fast, one block slow, one block fast, one block slow, alternating to get a little speed workout in without the inconvenience of driving to the track.
By introducing a bit of this fartlek training into some of my everyday runs, I ease my way back into the mindset of training hard and picking a new race to conquer!