You know I love an Instagram Story Q&A! I did one yesterday and got so many great questions, but they disappear after 24 hours! Hooray for screenshots, though: Here are the answers to some of the questions I didn’t get to, all about running.
(Click here to read the answers to all the Annie-related questions I received.)
Talk to me about Orangetheory! How has it made you a better runner?
I miss Orangetheory so much! I was going regularly for a few years, including during and after pregnancy, but it’s been almost a year since I last stepped foot inside an OTF studio. (My last class was March 11, 2020. Talk about a #TBT.) Orangetheory definitely made me a stronger all-around runner. I attribute a lot of that to actually doing strength training, which is part of every class. (Something I am never motivated enough to do on my own, even though I really enjoy it!) I worked every muscle in my body throughout the week, including parts I would definitely have neglected on my own (ahem, lower body everything…). Plus, the workouts were all really intentional and always had a purpose. I was never there running “junk miles” (which have a place in your training plan! not always a bad thing!), but was instead focused on the goal of the day, whether it was hills, sprints, or progression runs.
What is your take on going back to in-person races? It’s a tough subject.
Super tough. And while I see a lot of animosity aimed at runners who are racing right now, I’m at a point (personally) of not faulting them. I think so much of what we’ve seen over the past year of this pandemic comes down to a lack of leadership on both the national and state level. (Yes, of course there are exceptions here, but as a blanket statement, this feels accurate to me.)
In New Hampshire, races are allowed to happen with a ton of safety precautions being put in place. I’ve attended these races in two different capacities: as both a runner and an announcer. And I can honestly say they are being done exceptionally well. While I know there’s really no such thing as a fully “safe” event right now, I would categorize them as fairly low-risk. (Outdoors, social distancing enforced, masks required, time-trial starts so there are no mass starts or crowds, no lingering at the finish, no real fanfare.)
So it’s tough. I want everyone to stay safe, and I want these race companies and race directors to be able to stay in business. I applaud the ones who have gotten creative and found ways to hold events, whether virtual or otherwise, in order to stay afloat during the past year.
And of course, my fingers are crossed for a timely and safe return to mass races, because I know we all miss those! I have no idea what the fall will look like, but I am, as the Boston Marathon organizers said, remaining “cautiously optimistic.”
When did running start to feel “natural” again postpartum?
I don’t remember an exact time, but I would say a few months? I ran a half marathon (for fun, not with a time goal) at five months postpartum and felt really good. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, which I think played a major part in that. And, reminder as always, everyone is so different! (I’m always hesitant to share any type of postpartum timeline because I don’t want my experience to be seen as me offering advice!) Do you! And if running isn’t feel good or great, consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you get to those good and great runs!
Favorite speed workout?
I used to love doing a speedy 12 x 400 workout on the track. But these days, more realistically, I just like throwing in a few strides at the end of my run. Does that count?
I’m burned out since running a marathon in October! Advice to get back my motivation to run?
First I would ask you a question: Did you take time to really, truly recover (physically and mentally) after the training cycle and marathon? If you jumped back into running fairly quickly, I would say you need to take that break, and you can totally take it now! Breaks are really important to regroup mentally and for your body to recover and start to rebuild. Marathons are no joke and take a massive toll in every way imaginable! And whenever someone brings up motivation, I always think of what Dr. Nicole Detling talks about, which is the difference between motivation and commitment. What are you committed to? Focus on that, not on trying to find external motivation! (If that doesn’t make sense, listen to her thoughts here!)
Tips on starting a running blog!
Be authentic. Be you. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. And don’t be afraid to share it and promote it!
How do you deal with your Crohn’s symptoms while also keeping up with running?
A lot of patience! And planning my running route around potential bathroom stops. It’s not pretty and it’s not glamorous, but it works for me.
Will you be announcing at any more Millennium races?
Yup! I’m an official Millennium Running announcer now (the company’s first-ever female announcer!), so I’ll be at as many as I can — including Sunday’s Super Bowl race!
I’m training for my first marathon this year! What are your top tips?
Keep it fun. Don’t obsess over your time. Try not to even have a goal time on race day. That’s for marathon #2! For your first time, focus on the build, and appreciate all the lessons along the way. Cheesy, but I stand by it! And good luck!