My Opinion on Running During Contest Prep Has Changed

It’s amazing how much opinions can change over time.

It’s crazy to think how much our bodies can change with time.

Sometimes I’ll read through an old post of mine, and it will take me back to that very moment when I first wrote it. So determined and so set in my beliefs at the time. I can still feel it as if it were yesterday.

But with time comes new experiences – many of which have slowly changed many of my views.

One of which is running while training for a competition.

Right now I am in the middle of my training program for Boston. It hasn’t been as easy as it used to be. This time is by far than any other marathon I’ve trained for – that’s including my training for Boston back in 2011. My body is tight, but not in the right way. πŸ˜‰ It’s tired and beat down, and already it’s ready for a break. I continue to remind myself I’m almost there; I just need to hold on for a little while longer.

While I have my marathon this spring, my Fall has opened up. I transferred my New York City marathon registration to next year, so that will be 2014 for me.

While I could and I still might leave this Fall open, there is a growing part of me who wants to compete again this Fall. Mind you I haven’t been on stage since May of 2010. That feels like forever ago. It’s been a long time. Yet, one of my goals was to be on stage when in turned 40. However that year I was too busy training for Boston for the first time and then found I was on the beginning end of some health issues, so I let that “other” goal of mine be put on the back burner.

Here I am, 42, and I am again thinking of competing. Should I do it will it Β be my last one? I don’t know. Could be. But maybe not; it’s too early to tell.

But as I’ve been playing with the idea of competing again, I’ve also been thinking of all the things I will do differently this time. It will be a completely different experience. I don’t ever want to be as striated, stringy, and as flat as I was the last time I was on the stage. At the time I didn’t see it, but now looking back on pictures and remembering how I felt, I know that’s now how I want to look. I remember last time my goal was to get my abs as tight as possible. They are always the most difficult for me. I was able to come in with a night tight tummy but along with it came an overly lean competitor. I did not look the way I should have.

Evaluating what I did back then I’ve arrived at a few conclusions. First and formost my diet will have to change from what it was last time. That’s a no-brainer. I never starved myself, and at the time I felt my diet was well balanced, but it definitely wasn’t enough for my body. That will change. I could write an entire blog entry on that alone.

But one of the other most obvious changes I’ll be making is running – or should I say “not running.” I’ve always felt you need to do what you enjoy most. If you enjoy running, run. If you enjoy lifting, lift. If you enjoy doing both while competing, then by all means do both. I still do feel that way to a degree, but that’s only if you are willing to admit up front that you are selling yourself short with both by doing both at the same time.

I remember against the will of my trainer(s) dozens of mile Β each week during contest prep. Did it feel good and refreshing to run? Most definitely. It was my solace and my time to get out. I didn’t really do it with the thought to lose weight. I did it because I truly loved it and it came so easy to me.

But by running did I hinder my potential with muscle gain and ultimately on stage? Without a doubt.

I don’t think I ever had the potential to really take figure to the next level, but I do believe had I not included so much cardio in the years before when I was competing, I would have stood a much better chance holding on to muscle and delivering a fuller more proportionate me on stage.

So now as I am looking at my end game – possibly this Fall – I’ve already decided this time will be different. I still haven’t decided who I’ll work with to help bring me in for the show. (I’m open to suggestions). I want to go in to this season eating substantially more healthy food so I have a higher threshold to work with before cutting, and I will follow his/her advice to a tee when it comes to cardio. I fullly expect not to run for several months, and I’m okay with that.

Should I compete I hope to bring this 42 year old body of mine to the stage in its best shape ever. I want to look MY best. I could care less about my competition. I simply want to redeem myself.

And that will likely include no running.

XO – Momma

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7 Responses to My Opinion on Running During Contest Prep Has Changed

  1. Melissa Slayton February 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi Jen, I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know I really enjoy your website and blog. It is awfully nice to post your recipes for free! I have recently had some health problems and am getting close to making my “comeback” and you for sure inspiring me to write a blog about it! Thank you so much! I am looking forward to reading about your competition prep!


  2. Dana February 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    First off, I want to thank you for all your hard work. You inspire and teach me so many things. I often think about competing just to see what my body will and can do, however the big scary world of supplementation holds me back. I am also a runner (the 1/2 is my bread and butter), and seeing your posts about your runs makes me light up inside. Bar none, I love your brutal honesty. Keep up your incredible hard work both for yourself and all of us that follow you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart! <3

  3. Monica Gallagher February 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Hi Jen,

    I competed with you in the 2009 and 2010 Emerald Cup. I remember you were back stage and the girl who was smiling non-stop the entire time. Me, being sick w/bronchitis for the 2010 Ecup was NOT smiling. haha Anyway, just wanted to say hi and tell you I’m happy to “meet” you. We didn’t meet at the show. I saw you looking my way but wondered why…Did I know you? Nope! Then I realized much later…maybe in 2011…that you are the “gal.” πŸ™‚ So THATS who you are and why you’re always smiling! AHA! One successful gal right here.

    Hey, good luck in your next competition. (It’s addicting, I’m pretty sure you aren’t finished, right?!)

    I hope you come out here to Washington to compete again. Best wishes to you. And I completely agree 100% about the running for you. Not that you want opinions. Oh wait…maybe you did say, “suggestions?” You have a beautiful spirit inside and out. Maybe one day I will compete again too and we can meet up at a show. (I’m a Utah native) πŸ˜‰

    • Jen March 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      Oh my gosh really? That is awesome! I most definitely will come back up your way. It’s my way too! I graduated from Arlington and try to get back up to see friends at least once a year. The Emerald Cup will always be near and dear to my heart because that’s one of the shows my mom did in the late 80s. πŸ™‚

  4. Carla Smith March 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Thank you. I am a runner who wants to compete as well! It’s been a dream of mine since high school.

  5. Christy Abrams March 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Hi Jen,

    I just stumbled across this page today when I was googling “hypothyroidism and leaning out”, lol, 2 things that tend not to go together! I too am a marathoner and a figure competitor and do NOT run, other than sprints, during contest prep. I had a coach I was interviewing tell me not to do all the steady state cardio for reasons you mentioned. As a a stubborn “do it all” personality I didn’t want to listen so I took it to my nutritionist and he said “Well, do you want to be a runner or a figure competitor?”, that about wrapped it up for me! At 44 I have plenty of years to run races but my days on stage are numbered πŸ™‚ This is my 3rd season and because I won my pro card last year (yeah!) I’m doing my first Pro show in late June. I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in 04 and had it removed obviously. For the most part I don’t have any struggles with keeping my levels good, thank God, but right now I know that I am running low based on how I feel and the fact that I’ve been in contest prep for 2 weeks and actually have MORE fat. It’s frustrating because I cannot workout more or eat cleaner than I already do! After reading your article about your thyroid I’m also wondering if I should go ahead and have my other hormones checked…(I think I have a Gyno appt in May anyway). I own my own business of nutrition consulting and personal training, have 2 teenagers and teach a class in addition to all the other “mom” stuff. Some days I wonder about adrenal fatigue. Getting blood work done today for my thyroid levels so we’ll see… Would love to friend you on facebook. I’ll look to see if you have a page. Otherwise feel free to friend me πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to checking out your recipes as well, egg whites and oatmeal can only be made in so many ways so I’d love fresh ideas!!

    • Jen March 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Christy, thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you friended me. I’ll be here as a sounded board as you go through contest prep this time around. I think when we have thyroid challenges it makes everything different and just because one thing might have worked one season doesn’t mean it will work another, you know? Anyway, I’m here. Congrats on your pro card!! That is awesome!!! πŸ™‚

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