In my last post, I was very “woe-is-me.” I had some race plans squished by work and almost squished by other things.

But we worked something out — I have another half marathon to train for. This one is a few weeks after the one I originally wanted to do. The course is flat and it’s being held at a place my family really enjoys.

So yippee!! Training is still on!

This year, I’m doing things differently. In the past, I relied mostly on running with some plyometrics mixed in to get me through a training plan. I also made up the plan myself. I had a hard time sticking to my own plan and just … yeah … things didn’t go as well as they could have.

The official artwork by Andy welcoming me as a Silver Fox athlete.

This year, I have a coach and I am now adding stuff to my plan in an effort to balance the cardio out. In the past, certain parts of my body gave out before my legs did. Toward the end of longer races, I was a hunched over mess. My legs felt OK, but my upper body, in particular my back, was just worn out.

So, this year, I’ve added a regular yoga class and tai chi and meditation classes as my schedule permits. This week, I started to incorporate some strength training into the mix.

Strengthening and stretching muscles is one of the best ways to keep injury free. I found that it also helps my form and other aspects of my athleticism. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have guns … arms with some definition in them to match your running legs.

I love my Honey Stinger socks, but they aren’t for yoga.

As for a routine, I don’t have one set routine that works. My yoga class is mostly hip-opener moves with some balance and inversions. I’m pretty decent at a tripod now (which I learned a month ago) and hope to get into a headstand soon. If you followed my blog, you’d know that one of my goals for a while has been to do a head/handstand. Actually doing it will be pretty sweet.

My tai chi class is basically a lesson in slowing down. Like meditation, you have to be present mentally so you can force your body to slowly go through the movements. At the moment, it’s helping me focus on my breathing when running and my ability to run a mental checklist when I’m struggling through a run.

Tai chi class in the summer.

Tai chi and meditation classes are helping me keep my anger in check a little better too, which is definitely a plus in my household.

Right now, I use strength conditioning mostly for my upper body on the two days that I run low mileage. I haven’t incorporated strength conditioning for my legs, but hope to do so soon.

As to the running, my training plan has been adjusted to my long run is now set at the right distance, down from 7 to 5 miles.

Slowly but surely, things are coming together. It feels pretty awesome.

How is your training going? Do you have a race coming up? Let a note in the comments.