Following my collegiate basketball career, I pondered how I would stay in shape without the daily practices, “optional” workouts, pickup games, weight-training, pre-season and post-season workouts and summer training. It was really the only workout life I had known. I had always been training for something and at the end of the season it was a weird feeling to not have another season to train for and knowing I was never going to be tested again.
It has been 2 months since the end of the season and I have learned to adapt to a different pace because as my life changes and different things fill my time I need to accept the fact that any workout, no matter how long counts. In season we would train for hours, be on the court for two hours a day or just play pickup because we could. But in the real world, with everything life has to offer you don’t need to train for hours on end to stay healthy. Even a half an hour workout is better than nothing.
But lately I have started picking up a new habit, one I never saw coming. Something my friends and family would never have believed if I had said it before. I am becoming a runner. I used to despise running. The thought of even doing a mile made me cringe. But what I have learned that with not having someone breathing down my neck, counting down the seconds before I have to run it again, there is something peaceful about working out for yourself. I love waking up and starting my day with a workout. The sense of accomplishment before your day has really started is awesome.
Now I am no marathon runner….yet…but I am enjoying running further each week. I have found something that allows me to forget about the stress of the world and just be alone with my thoughts. Running to a playlist of country music allows me to get lost in the stories of others for a little while. My next goal will be to build up my mileage to run a half-marathon in under two-hours which is about a 9 minute mile on average. Who knows, maybe someday I will work my way up to a full-marathon.
YES, I want to run a half marathon – you heard it here, I have set my next goal and something to work for. I am planning on signing up for one at the end of August in Buffalo in the next few weeks.
Today I ran 4.38 miles which is a really nice loop. That was the distance that I had a goal for on the day and in my head that was as much as my body was going to do. Building my mileage slowly will allow me to prevent injuries. I also have to build up my mental strength. I do not think physically the distance would be as bad; however, for me mentally finding the strength to keep going is going to be the challenge. My head tends to be my own worst enemy but I know if I work on it that I can build up the ability to run the distance without my brain shutting me down. I have already seen a difference in my mental capacity because a 2 mile run is now a short run for me and a year ago I would never have said that!
I love the freedom that running allows. The challenge and the ability to see how far you have gone. There is something to be said about the fact that you are always moving forward in a run.
I am not following a program now but doing what feels comfortable to me and making sure that I am pushing myself farther each week. I am pushing my speed on my mile and a half and making sure that I add in the strength training each week; as well as cross-training on bikes and ellipticals.
I think after college has wrapped up, graduation has happened and I go on my CRUISE (yes, thanks to the boyfriend) I will start a 12 week program to officially train my body for the half-marathon. I think that will help me stay on track and make sure I build up my mileage in the right way.
Life after collegiate athletics is definitely different but if you are a true athlete, athletics and competition will never fully leave you. The thrill of the challenge will always be with you – it is just a little different in stye.