Maintenance Miles... UGH!
So I can convince myself to swim all year round, but when it comes to running and biking, and especially running, I have a much harder time getting out of bed without a short term goal. So my boyfriend and I signed up to do an 8k in Charlotte, NC this weekend, and even that has barely inspired me to get my butt moving. I just keep thinking, "Eh, maintenance miles. I can run slowly."
There's a lot of great training advice out there that I've spent that last week or longer reading and researching. Most of it has to do with mixing up runs to make them more exciting or challenging in different ways. I even read one article that recommended running with dogs; duh! Layla and Finley crashing around the living room in a dingo dance are often my only motivation!
The Good News
As long as I'm swimming, I'm cross-training. Right? And if you've continued cross-training, like I have, your body will continue to process oxygen almost as well as it could before. The article "How Long Does It Take to Get Out of Shape?" from Competitor.com explains VO2, the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can uptake, and how it drops after periods of inactivity.
The Bad News
While my V02 may have been maintained through swimming, my running muscles have not been exercised so I've probably lost muscle mass and some endurance. That, and I've been running with the dogs which means my muscle probably only remember an 11-minute mile pace. I guess, I'll just have to keep slowly powering through painful mile two.
What Finally Worked for Me
This older article, "Maintaining Fitness When Life Gets in the Way," from The Running Times, discusses a "holding pattern" that has helpful suggestions for maximizing runs by mixing it up: tempo runs, fartleks and long runs.