Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Figuring out a Workout Schedule

I feel like I have neglected mentioning my workouts recently.  (I have been tasting a lot of good food recently though and had to share!)  I haven't really been training for any upcoming races.  Instead I am working on keeping a regular workout routine and trying to maintain my running fitness.  I wasn't sure how good I would be at just working out without a set schedule or big race to train for.  
When I started running, about a year ago, I had a weekly plan of how long I was supposed to run and on which days.  Once I finished that I signed up for the Disney Half Marathon and used a training plan from Marathoning for Mortals for the following fourteen weeks.  And shortly after that I signed up for my second half, the Iron Girl in Clearwater.  With the move to Chicago I decided it was probably best to take a short break, but I didn't want to lose the endurance and strength I had gained. 
From my previous training plans I found that three days of running and two or three days of cross training has worked for me.  I pretty much stick to that every week, but I am flexible and if I feel like changing it up I do.  I wasn't sure I would keep up with the schedule without a big goal, but I really like exercising now, so why skip something that makes me feel good?  
I have also been logging my workouts in this nifty free training log we got from Runner's World.  I track the miles I ran or workout I did and how it went.  My Garmin tracks my runs as well, but the I like to write it out too.  Plus it is nice for cross training.  It is useful to have something to look back at to see if I have improved or what worked for me in the past.  

The whole process of figuring out this schedule was pretty much trial and error.  For running I aim for an easy run, a speed workout, and a long run.  My speed workouts are usually in the middle of the week because they coincide with the Chick's Night runs.  I have found that running with other people makes me push myself more so I usually end up with a faster run.  If for some reason I can't make it to Fleet Feet, I go out by myself.  My long runs right now are usually five or six miles.  I take this time on the weekends to explore new areas of Chicago.  With my CTA pass I can run any direction and when I hit a good distance just take a train or bus back to the apartment, it is super convenient!  That way I don't have to do a loop or out and back course.  My easy runs are usually after the weekend and I try to make this a fun and comfortable workout.  

Cross training has been a little different since moving.  At home I had access to a bike, the gym, a pool, and tons of workouts on Exercise TV.  I don't have that anymore.  I have a couple Jillian Michaels' DVDs that I use and more recently I have been doing my own circuit workout with free weights and a mat.  I was quite lucky to have all of those things and now having access to them now is hard.  I really miss going for a bike ride or swim in the pool.  

I feel good with the routine I have set for now.  One of the great things though about making your own schedule is you can switch it up whenever you want, to adjust for vacation time or upcoming races.  
And speaking of races...for the last month or so I have been eyeing the Fleet Feet Sports Women's 5K & 10K presented by New Balance race.  Now that I finally have a job I thought why not go for it, so I am planned to run the 10K this weekend!  Since I have been considering the race I have made sure to get in some good training runs, just in case I decided to sign up.  I am really excited!  This will be my first race in Chicago and out of the state of Florida.

Do you have workout schedule or plan you stick to?  What does it look like?