Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Debate: to join running training group or not?

The other day I was at a friend's house dog sitting and happened to see this running newsletter. My friend I know is not a runner, so I guess it must have been her husband's. Anyway, I thumbed through it and noticed that a running training group will be starting for my area in January for an upcoming half and full marathon in the spring.

Wheels turn in my head, should I join or not?

Previously, I ran two marathons last year (that feels like sooo long ago) and ran up until this past May. Then, I took a break from running all together and have not run one iota since. This is a record for me since 2001 maybe? I have, however, been leisurely walking dogs almost everyday which has felt good.

Part of me really wants to join so I can meet some new people around here. The other part of me isn't sure I am ready to be training again. But then again, I was oh so close to qualifying for Boston at my last marathon. While it is true, training did help motivate me towards a goal and fuel myself better, I still had many days of falling into an obsessive route.

I like to think that maybe by joining a group, I might be able to keep a better balance of things, but we all know how easy it can be to lapse into an extra workout here or there, only to wind up having exercise take over a complete pie chart of your life.

So I don't know what to do. I have to decide soon. The informational meeting is tomorrow evening, but I don't think you actually have to confirm and pay until the first workout in January.

I ask you, should Tiptoe join the group and take a chance that she is healthy enough in recovery to keep herself stable? Or should Tiptoe not risk it at all and continue leisurely walking dogs and maybe adding a jog or two here or there? Maybe it's too much right now? Please vote in poll as well as commenting here.

Note: *Just to add, I'm not in any treatment at all right now. Several weeks ago, I actually called C. and told her to close my file since I had no clue when I'd be able to see her again, and it had already been a few months since I had an appt. I know I can reopen my file at anytime, but it is not likely since I am a further distance from her--driveable but difficult.


Zatar said...

I have been struggling with this dilemma too. I think that, ultimately, it's up to you, but I can tell you my decision (and thought process).

I picked up a flyer last weekend to train with a local group for another marathon. I made a pro and con list when I went home to help me decide if I really wanted to or not.

Some of the positives I had included:
*more structured - might help to reduce my tendency to overexercise
*socialization - I don't usually interact with others socially, especially when exercising
*personal satisfaction - it always feels good to achieve a goal through hard work and perseverance

Some of my negatives were:
*Pressure - I always feel like I have to be the best, no matter what
*Training rigidity - I have a tendency to do exactly what the plan says, rather than focusing on how my body feels
*Risk for relapse - I find running a very triggering sport for me (I feel fat with every step, but forget about the size of my body with other sports)

Anyway, I'm sure you may have other pros and cons, but thought I'd suggest mine to help you get started on your own list (if you choose to create one). If you do suggest to train for the marathon, I'd also highly suggest you find a way to maintain accountability. Ideally, this would be with your treatment team, but maybe even just checking in with a trusted friend or family member would work too...

Eating Alone said...

I think your may be thinking about this wrong. Keep in mind I live in south FL. It's cold down here today, 72, so running is done year round. We have fun groups down here that meet not to train for something but just to get together and do some running. That might be better for you. No real pressure but you get the socialization. I don't know if you have things like that where you are but maybe that would be better for you.

Just a thought.

Kim said...

I think it's really up to you, BUT the fact that you're asking us what we think tells me that you are not so sure what is healthy. It sounds like you're really enjoying the dog walking, and I think it's great that you have taken a break from running. Maybe it's too soon to get back to it so intensely. For myself, I know that I have to watch it with commitments like this. I'll be making some strides (pun intended) in recovery, then jump on a new obsession. Thankfully, I can't run. My knees do not cooperate. But, I've thrown myself into other things. I think if you felt 100% secure in exercising for fun, you would probably just go for it without asking. On some level, I think you sense that it may compromise the efforts you've made so far in letting go. Ultimately, it's up to you. If you do it and realize it's too much, there's nothing that says you HAVE to stick with it. If you continue your break, but get the urge to run at some point, there are always groups that do that. I don't think it has to be that concrete of a decision right now.

Maeve said...

Obviously this is 100% your decision, but it does sound like something of a concern. Since you asked for opinions, here are my thoughts on the subject.

I'd begin by asking yourself some questions.

Why did you stop running? Can you say with some certainty that the problem that caused you to stop (be it e.d. or otherwise) has gone away? If not, why do you believe it will be better this time?

What boundaries can you set in place to ensure that this is a social activity that doesn't become too much?

How comfortable are you with eating the extra calories required to maintain running? I find that it takes one mindset to eat a "normal" amount each day, and another to take in the extra nutrients required for reasons such as exercise. If you don't feel comfortable with eating more than you currently do, that seems like a red flag to me.

Finally, I would like to express some concern about running as a form of exercise (regardless of whether you have an e.d.). Like Kim, my knees are shot and running just isn't an option for me. Perhaps this has altered my opinions on running, but I do know a lot of doctors who worry about the long term damage of running. If any form of injury is why you stopped running I would strongly recommend seeing a doctor before you decide to start running again. The injury may be healed, but it may also be a sign that running is no longer right for you.

Good luck making your decision.

Telstaar said...

I haven't read all the comments but...

I guess I think that if you're hesitating then that is maybe a good reason to just hang back for a bit. I also really get the sense that you're really enjoying walking with your kiddies (dogs) and that this is a unpressured pleasurable and nurturing activity for you. I think you have sooo much that has been going on lately that it might be worth just letting yourself settle in more.

It IS tricky because of the desire to meet new people so it wouldn't be the end of the world if you went to the information evening and found out how serious they all are etc... but I don'tk now, to me, it just seems like you have a lot of hesitation around it.

That being said however, there is also nothing wrong with giving it a go and having some guidelines or indicators in place that are red flags for needing to pull out if you DO go for it and then don't manage so well... I think if you do decide to do it, you just need to give yourself permission to leave the group if you need/want to etc.

Keep us updated!

Thinking of you lovely

I Hate to Weight said...

i agree with most of the folks here -- if you're asking, maybe it's not quite the right time.

and it does sound like you really enjoy healthy walks with your dogs.

running is really hard on our bodies.

do what's best for you, but i always like the gentle way.

Tiptoe said...

Thanks for all your comments, I'll try to address them in the next update post.