Training Purgatory Weeks 4&5

Well well well, just when you thought I’d already quit blogging, I make a comeback! Ok, you probably didn’t even notice I missed a week, but I won’t hold it against you.

Since I procrastinated so long on writing up the week of May 21-27, I figured I would just embrace the laziness and lump the last two weeks together. This is actually a decent moment to remember that training doesn’t happen in a vacuum. While we often tend to think only in terms of weekly mileage, it’s the larger picture that gets us to our running goals. The months on months and years on years of training are more important than any one long run or big week. In fact, someone asked me what I’d done to have recently gotten so much better from my previously lackluster results, and my response was that I finally started taking training seriously…in 2014. Yup, my breakthrough in the half marathon earlier this year was built on the consistent mileage and workouts I began running three years ago (and certainly even the sporadic training before then helped a little). That said, there’s still lots of running to do, and here’s what the last couple of base building weeks looked like:

Sun 5/21: 0 miles! I hadn’t had a day off in about a month, the weather was awful, and I planned this as a down week anyway.

Mon 5/22: 13 miles…hmm, I feel refreshed from the off day, so perhaps this week won’t be as down as I expected?

Tue 5/23: 10 miles with a relaxed fartlek on the back half.

Wed 5/24: 10 miles again, but easy peasy this time.

Thu 5/25: 18 miles. Errr, in my defense, the weather was absolutely beautiful with cool temps and lots of clouds. I couldn’t resist! I was extra naughty and even wore my GPS watch and looked at my pace. I kept it slower at 8:30ish on the first half. I may have gotten a little excited on the second half, but I felt good and didn’t go under 7:00s at least?

Fri 5/26: 10 SLOW. I actually felt fine from yesterday, but I knew I needed to slow my roll.

Sat 5/27: 8 only! It was hot, this was technically a down week, and I felt lazy.

Total: 69 miles. This balances out that odd 81 mile week two.

 

Sun 5/28: 13 miles. Time to crank it back up!

Mon 5/29: 12 miles. Oh yeah, I also lifted and did some drills. I have actually been doing a couple of days of weights these last two weeks, even though I forgot to mention​ it.

Tue 5/30: 13 miles total. Did 3 on my own, then met up with Hannah and we did another 10 with a little trip to the Greenville High track! We decided to do 12×200 with 200 jog. No timing the intervals allowed, but it was nice to open up the legs and move fast-ish.

Wed 5/31: 12 slow miles. I’m embarrassingly sore from squats on Monday combined with sprints on Tuesday. So maybe I haven’t been as consistent with the weights as I thought… My monthly ​total for May was 342 miles. Not bad!

Thu 6/1: 18 miles. It got a little toasty in the last couple of miles when I lost cloud and tree cover, but it wasn’t too bad. I resisted the urge to use my watch for this week’s long run, and I’m glad I did.

Fri 6/2: 10 miles. Felt decent, but of course I waited until it was stupid hot out to get going, but I survived.

Sat 6/3: 12 miles with a few pickups scattered in. Got out slightly earlier, mostly in an effort to avoid all the “weekend people” who descend upon my city. It’s not that bad, usually, but I’m so used to having Greenville mostly to myself during the week that it just grates on me. Plus there’s a whole rant about trail etiquette in me, but I’m preaching to the choir here, so I’ll refrain.

Total: 90!! In singles! I’m really not feeling too beat down, which is good because I’m planning on another big one next week. I do think I’ve hit my threshold for mileage in singles though. I aim to experiment with a few doubles next week and maybe get into triple digits, but I’m also conscious of the dangers in spiking mileage just for the sake of it. I feel like I got in a decent amount of quality for a base phase week and I’d much prefer to have 5-7 more weeks like this one rather than one huge mileage week that I have to come way down from to recover from. So we’ll see. Mostly I’m just pleased with how good I feel, which means I’m doing the right things as far as food/water/sleep goes and I’m excited to tackle another week!

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Training Purgatory Week 3: Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

And don’t count on timely blog posts from me, ever.

This week, that metaphor became literal as one of our hen’s hard work of sitting on a clutch of eggs was rewarded. We don’t have a rooster, so when the bird turned broody (for the un-chickened, that just means every now and then a hen will decide it’s time to incubate some eggs and be a mama) we quickly swapped out her unfertilized eggs with five fertilized eggs from my sister’s flock. Of the five eggs however, only three hatched out. Unfortunately, the last chick to hatch was obviously unwell and didn’t make it past the first day. That’s just the nature of…well, nature. We now have two healthy baby chicks running around as an adorable addition to the chicken party happening in our backyard. I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting outside and just watching them all run around and do chicken things. Not even a little sorry, because it’s so damn cute and funny!

Anyway, now that I’ve bored you with poultry-talk, let’s get to last week’s running, shall we? In actuality, the running stuff was significantly more boring than the chicks hatching, but that’s what you’re here for, so…

 

Sun  5/14: 10 miles. Like last week.

Mon 5/15: 13 miles. Also, like last week…are you sensing a theme here yet?

Tue  5/16: 10 miles with 2 sets of 8xhill repeats in Cleveland Park with Hannah. Then we went to trivia after and WON! Okay, fine, it was entirely due to the fact that my husband came with us and knew the final question to double our points. But still.

Wed 5/17: 13 miles.

Thu 5/18: 10 miles. I genuinely don’t remember a thing about these two days of running at all. I think that’s a good thing, actually. If I remembered too much about all these miles I’d probably realize how insane I am.

Fri 5/19: 16 miles. This run was a lot warmer than last week’s, but I still felt pretty decent. I’m not sure when I want to start stretching out my long runs, but I guess it’ll be about the same time I find the motivation to wake up early enough to not be out running in 88°F with 88% humidity. So, it might be a few more weeks.

Sat 5/20: 8 miles. Oh hey! The struggle bus! I wondered when it was going to come by. I was expecting some fatigue to catch up to me this week, as the third week of higher miles and hotter weather, so even though I mentally wanted to get in a few more miles to bump my weekly total I could tell I was pushing the limit a bit physically.

Total: 80 miles. One less than last week, and about four less than I was aiming for, but I can’t be mad at an 80 mile week, y’know? And I am happy to report that I lifted weights TWO times and did core work THREE times! It is almost enough!

Looking ahead to next week, methinks that my grand delusion of continuing to add miles indefinitely might not work. Turns out, my body does need a bit of a rest every now and then, despite my best recovery methods and trying to tell myself “it’s mostly slow miles anyway, it’s not that taxing”. Thus, I’m allowing for a bit of a cutback week, but just a little bit! The weather is getting more brutal (because duh, South Carolina in the summer), so I know I’m going to have to be more vigilant about hydration and continue my streak of paying zero attention to pace at all right now. All in all, I’m feeling good, healthy, motivated, and excited about the fitness gains, so that’s where I’ll leave you this week!

Happy Running!

Training Purgatory Week 2: One is the Loneliest Number

This week featured far too much “me-time” for this extrovert, an odd number of miles, and a fail. Let’s just get right to it, shall we?

Sun  5/7: 10 miles. Nothing fancy.

Mon 5/8: 13 miles. Trying to step up a few mid-week runs right now. My husband left for a couple of days to work in Columbia which isn’t my favorite. I’ve grown accustomed to [his] face, to paraphrase Prof. Higgins.

Tue  5/9: 10 miles with 10xhill repeats in Cleveland Park. Not enough repeats if I’m honest, and definitely not fast enough. All my training partners have abandoned me this week because they have lives and things to do like actual adult humans, so I was feeling very lonely.

Wed 5/10: 12 miles. It finally started to feel a bit like summer! Today, those extra two miles more than my “usual” 10 seemed extra long. I also got word today that the summer course I was scheduled to teach didn’t have enough enrollment so it was cancelled. This isn’t too surprising as summer enrollment is always low, but that does leave me without a guaranteed paycheck this summer and needing to be somewhere with human interaction. Super.

Thu 5/11: 10 miles super slow. I tested out a new pair of shoes (the Brooks Asteria–should I do some shoe reviews? what do the people want?) which may not have been a fair shake in the middle of a long mileage stretch, but I liked them well enough.

Fri 5/12: 16 miles out-and-back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. For those of you local, from my house 8 miles out puts me a little bit past Furman Univ, but not quite to Travelers Rest. It’s a nice flat run which is great when I need to hit specific times, but means I probably ran too fast today (I didn’t time it; I know my exact turn around spot because I use the trail markers, and I’ve been trying to run by feel for the most part). I felt unexpectedly excellent and the weather was quite cool, so I rolled with it anyway.

Sat 5/13: 10 miles. SLOW. Unsurprisingly, I felt less-than-spry for today’s run. I wore the Brooks Asteria again though, and they felt even better today, so they are getting a permanent spot in the rotation.

Total: 81 miles. That extra (or missing, depending on your perspective) mile[s] to make this week odd is annoying! As you may have noticed, I didn’t mention any weight-training…because I failed. I did do some core work on Tuesday, but that hardly counts. I recognize the irony in saying that I was lazy during an 80-mile week, but that’s the truth of it. I have the time, I know I need to do it, but it’s so easy to just let the day slip by without going near the weights. I’m determined to do better next week!

Speaking of next week, aside from actually lifting weights and doing core, my goal is to keep the mileage in the 80s and stick to single runs for now. I’m not sure what else the week will bring, but I know I’m likely to be more fatigued from the mileage accumulation, so I am going to attempt to be more diligent about best recovery practices and hydration/nutrition. I’ll probably just end up eating another entire box of Cheez-its like I did this week, though.