Sunday, March 29, 2009

0 Weekly Update: Two Treadmill Workouts & A Run on The Trails


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Here's a recap of this week's workouts:

The track wasn't available for use on Tuesday, so quite understandably, I wasn't very inspired to do our group run on the road in the dark. Plus, after last Sunday's 16.37 mile run, my legs frankly needed a bit more time to recuperate, so I ended up postponing this workout until Thursday night, doing my 6.92 mi of speedwork on the treadmill, which worked out quite nicely.

The following evening (i.e., Friday), I went out for a 7.37 mi run outside in beautiful & wonderfully pleasant weather! After this run, the knees were feeling a bit sore, (probably as a result) so instead of doing the usual group run on Saturday, I ended up doing 14.37 mi on the treadmill tonight (Sunday).

This weekly mileage total = 28.66 mi.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

0 Weekly Update: Some New Milestones


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Hi Everybody,

This week has been interesting week of workouts, to say the least.

It started out with Tuesday's track practice, a gruelling 5 x 1600 workout at interval pace, interspersed with 400 recovery laps after each 1600, & bookended by the usual mile of easy running on both ends (for warm-up/cool-down). This has definitely been the most challenging speed work we've done thus far.

Then Friday was a short but fast 3.35 mile run. According to my Nike+iPod, I supposedly ran a sub 9 mile (8:56 pace) at around 2.43 miles, but since the algorithms for this gadget are usually way off base when it comes to individual mile splits & partial mile splits, I tend to ignore this data. ;-) Even so, my average pace was 9:33, which is definitely an overall improvement for this distance. I'm pretty confident that I can go much faster than this, but the reason I didn't go all out was because I knew I was supposed to race a 10K the next day. Of course, as many of you already know, that didn't end up happening, due to reasons already explained in a previous post. As a result, I fully intended to do my long run later that same day, but unintentionally fell asleep on the couch (yes, again!) & napped through several hours of prime running time. By the time I woke up it was dark, & so that was that.

However, I made up for it for the next day (i.e., today), topping off the week with a 16.37 mile run, the longest distance I've run thus far.

So even though this week has been a bit unusual in terms of my running schedule, it's nonetheless been a week of milestones.

Also, just wanted to say thank you to all of you who left comments recently. I plan to respond to yesterday's commenters very soon (I promise!), but right now, desperately need some R&R after today's run! Those of you who've experienced that post-run feeling after setting new distance milestones will certainly appreciate this. ;-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

6 Oops....


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Was supposed to run a race today, but fell asleep on the couch last night & ....well you can guess the rest. :)

It doesn't help that my sleep schedule has been royally screwed up lately. I couldn't fall asleep last night until 2 am. Was kinda wired. Maybe it was due to running much later in the evening that I normally do (I ran on the treadmill at 8 pm!), or maybe it was because I was all keyed up after our group Skype session (which lasted until about 10:30 pm!). Not sure.

At any rate, after being on the computer for a bit, I then tried to unwind a bit by going into the family room & watching some TV. Actually, I was on my way to bed, & had fully intended to go there, but saw that the charge on my mobile phone was low.

So, since my mobile also doubles as my alarm clock, I went into the main family room area & thought to myself, "OK, I'll just wait here on the couch & watch TV for a bit while my mobile charges."

Watching a few minutes of TV would be harmless enough, right? Er, apparently not. ;-)

After a few minutes, I went to check on the mobile again. Nope, still not fully charged. However, when I returned to the couch to continue waiting, it wasn't long before my original sitting position somehow morphed into a reclining one, & the eyes started to close. It happened so gently, so gradually that I hardly realized it was happening at all until somehow I was fast asleep on the couch. Zzzzzzz.

When the eyes did open again, I was staring at the stereo clock, which read "8:26 am." I think my first thought was something like "Ah, @#$%&!!!!! Not AGAIN!"

I briefly tried to calculate whether or not it'd be humanly possible to still make the race, & then after remembering the last experience, decided that I frankly feel like racing around just to get to the race, which in fact, starts shortly at 9:15 am. (It's now 9:04 am as type this.) I did that once or twice before & frankly have had enough with doing that!

That's OK. Truth be told I didn't really feel like racing today, & am much more in the mood to do a long run. It'll probably be somewhere between 14 & 16 miles.

Since I missed my long run last week, it'll feel good to get in a long, slow run like this. Plus, it's Saturday & weekly mileage is not where it should be. At only 10.6 miles thus far, I haven't exactly been racking up the miles this week. ;-) So, it'll be a good opportunity to play catch up.

After the last spate of posts, it probably won't be surprising or shocking if I were to reveal that my motivation has been exceptionally low lately, & it's been a struggle to get out the door. I suspect it's the overtraining "voodoo" still at work. :)

It's not so much about the actual doing of the running, which I seem to be able to do. I just don't seem to want to keep to the external schedule that's been "assigned" to me. The regimentation is frankly something I've been subconsciously fighting with every fiber of my being. :)

Again, I'm an adult & thought I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the running clinic. However, maybe I forgot to factor in that I haven't run in a structured group program quite like this before, ever. Yes, I've done track & field (in high school!), have taken various other athletic classes before, & have also met people after work to run or play basketball games on a semi-regular schedule, & -- blah blah, blah -- but it's frankly been a while that I've had to show up for "practice" of any sort. ;-)

In my heart of hearts, I'm more of a "go with the flow, do your own thing" kind of person, so having to meet up with a group three times a week at specific times is a maybe a bit more imposed external structure than I honestly really want to take on right now.

Now I know that many people like or need this sort of thing to ensure that their runs get done. But that's actually not the case for me: At this point, I'm conditioned to run versus not run, & am pretty sure that I'll do the runs. I just don't always want to do them at a particular time that's been predetermined by a hard-&-fast, external schedule. When this happens, it's usually not long before I start getting resentful, & then it's all downhill from there, baby. ;-)

Let's just say that, basely solely on the "non-conformance" factor, that I probably wouldn't have made a good candidate for the military. OK, let's not mince words here: I flat-out despise regimentation & imposed schedules. Some structure is certainly necessary, but I guess that I like to be the one setting the structure. ;-) It probably comes from being an artist & an entrepreneur & liking to be in the driver's seat. I'm very independent-minded. :)

I suspect that if I weren't feeling this external pressure in combination with the mental & physical side effects of overtraining, I wouldn't be fighting the schedule with every fiber of my being. :)

Yeah, yeah, I know it's already been a few weeks that I've been yammering on about overtraining, but nonetheless, there it is.

What I'm experiencing right now is frankly very hard to put into words at the moment. It's like I'm pushing an exceptionally large & heavy rock up a hill & every pore of me is screaming, "Nooooooooo!"

Yes, I'm running more weekly mileage right now for this program than I've ever done before. (OK, not exactly, literally, right now, right this week, but I mean overall!!!!) And yes, I'm doing more speed work than I have done, ever.

However, it's not simply the challenge itself. I love challenges. However, I just feel so resistant & that's just not like me. That's how I know something is not quite right.

At any rate, don't count me out just yet. When it comes right down to it, I'm a tough little bugger. I might not be known for doing things the way that other people want or expect me to do them, but trust me, I will nonetheless get them done. It's just the way I'm built. From an early age, I've been wired to "never give up."

So I'm still going to see this program through. In total, I've only missed 2 workouts so far -- I've shown up for every track practice thus far except for one, & have only missed one long run, so I think that still says "dedication." :)

There's about a month left of this clinic, & I fully intend to show up for track practice every week & for the majority of organized, group weekend long runs. Please note, this doesn't mean that I plan to skip any of the workouts; on the contrary, I think that, for my own sanity, I'm going to put less pressure on the number of group runs I do per week. However, I will still being doing all of the runs, just maybe not all of them with the group. That way, I can have some much-needed space to relax & have some alone time -- a little corner of peace & quiet -- and also not feel like there's so much overly rigid structure pounding down on me like a 200 pound gorilla.

When the pressure comes on, it's sometimes best to open up a release valve & let off some steam. It's certainly better than bursting. ;-)

And furthermore, & most importantly, this approach will keep me still moving toward, versus away from (!), my goals. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Time to "Part-ay" 21-st Century Style: 1st Official Runner Skype-Up at 9 PM EST Tonight!


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FYI, I'll be hosting a "Runner Skype-Up" tonight at 9 PM EST. If you'd like to join in the discussion, please contact me via email or Twitter DM (i.e., direct message) with your Skype ID & indicate that you'll be joining us, so I can add you in advance to the conversation group I've just created in Skype. Otherwise, you won't be able to conference in with us. (For privacy purposes, I've got Skype configured so that only people in my approved contacts list can contact me. Please note that I reserve the right to disallow or block people in Skype, whether for conduct or security reasons.)

IMPORTANT: People contacting me via Twitter, take note. Please do NOT contact me to request an invitation to join the discussion using the @reply feature, or there's a good chance I'll miss your tweet. ;-) If you can't DM me for whatever reason, then just send me an email instead.

REQUEST DEADLINE: In order to participate, your request to join the group conference call must be received before 8:30 pm EST (tonight). Otherwise, it'll be too much of a scramble to add lots of last-minute requests. ;-)

Since this is our first official virtual runner "tweep-up," it's just going to be an unstructured session with a fun, party-like atmosphere. A few of us have to race the next morning, so I'll personally only be able to hang around until about 10 pm, but you are welcome to continue the fun for as long as you like. :)

I may host future sessions which have more of a Q&A type feel to them, or possibly take on a moderator role for topical discussions. Not sure where this is going to lead yet, but it's an exciting concept.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 Hmmm, Interesting: Blogging is A Two-Way Mirror


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I am noticing something very interesting happening here on my blog. People are sometimes interpreting my posts in unintended ways. Now, there's nothing wrong with this, as I'm enjoying seeing how the meaning is being filtered through the lens of people's personal perspectives & experiences. This can be insightful, & a lot can be learned through an exchange like this. It's not just a lesson in personal communication styles; the exchange also reveals new information & is an interesting study on how minds work. Often, people's comments are more of a reflection of themselves than of what I wrote, which is not really that surprising. And honestly, I'm pretty OK with that too.

Some of the "lost in translation" nebulae of intended meaning is probably happening because of my writing style. I tend to write in one of two ways: Either I hit people over the head with obvious direct statements that don't have any hidden, secondary meaning, or I write in subtle prose with double-meanings which barely hint at the underlying points just beneath the surface. Maybe you could blame it on my Gemini twins; they make me one fickle writer. :)

Either way, I'm finding that these approaches are having mixed results when it comes to comments. :) Sometimes people take what I say far too literally, & need to factor some much-intended irony into the equation, & other times they are reading far much more into the article than I originally intended &/or finding meaning other than what I intended to express. Either way, that probably means that there's a good chance I'm potentially bewildering & confusing several people at any one time. ;-) (Insert subtle wit here. :) )

Again, what's interpreted is completely dependent upon who's doing the interpreting & possibly what kind of mindset or mood they're in when they're reading these posts. ;-) People who are approaching these articles in a more literal-minded way are getting one thing out of these posts, while those with a more Wildean sense of wit are seeing double & triple layers of meaning in everything I say, whether I intended them or not. :)

Again, it's all cool & I'm not judging anyone; it's just an observation. It's kind of like poetry or music or art; each person sees or discovers something different in what you created. :)

Now of course I can't expect everyone to read my mind or instantly know exactly what I'm thinking, but sometimes it's nice to be "known" without having to try so hard. And so, yes, sometimes I don't feel like explaining the obvious, & would rather focus on the subtle.

And then there are other times where I'm into complete directness & "over-explaining" because apparently, when I don't do this, there are people who are confused by my meaning. But after a while, I tire of having to do this, & go back to my earlier strategy of being indirect & subtle. :)

Sometimes, it makes me question my writing skills (Am I being specific enough or providing unnecessary clarification?), & other times it makes me question my connection to other people.

I think that is part of why I am writing this blog. I am trying to connect with like minds, in terms of finding a common understanding & a common bond -- that goes beyond just the surface bond of running.

Maybe when I switch from irony to obvious modes & back again, I should include little asides, which will act in much the same way as road signs one sees along the highway: "OK, I'm being literal here." "Nope, that was intended as connotation, not denotation." "Warning: Watch out for overly subtle metaphor here." "Don't trip over the rather large & virtually unmissable, dripping pool of irony in that last paragraph."

OK, then again, maybe not. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3 Stepping Into the Ring: What, You Talking to Me?! Taking On the Rapid Weight-Loss Industry & Related Mentalities


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Hey you, weight-loss industry. Yes, I'm talking to you, you big overgrown behemoth that's tried to pull the wool over people's eyes for far too long. :) You are no longer going to cow people into submission with your passive-aggressive tactics & your guilt-inducing mechanisms. No way. You are not going to induce people with your unrealistic TV ads that float around in the nebulous fairyland of late-night TV, preying on those who, more than likely, have been plastered to their couch after 5 consecutive hours of TV-watching & have just gorged themselves on one too many Little Debbies, 7-foot-long something-or-other subs, or whatever the heck sounded good to quell the "munchies" at 4 am in the morning. :)

Yes, you've just entered the "Twilight Zone" of late-night snacking. Key up scary music here. Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo. :) This is the zone of the guilt-ridden, post-apocalyptic haze of ... daaaaaa-dummmmmm -- Oh, no! It's the late-night food coma!!!!!!

Haha. OK, that's being a little bit overdramatic to prove a point.

But seriously, how can people actually believe those silly late-night testimonials spouted off by an overly muscular caricature of person (a modern-day Charles or "Charlotte" Atlas!) in an itty-bitty, teensy-weensy swimsuit & a spray-on tan, who very obviously aren't representative of the market who would resort to using these very unsound & unsavory products in the first place?! I can't help laughing when I see those ads. Suuuuurrrrrrre, you lost half your body in a day. Yeah, right. Whatever. If it sounds too good to be true......

Yes, we've all seen these over-hyped, too-good-to-be-true ads, whether in print (usually in the back of a magazine), on the internet, or on late-night TV. What I want to know is why do people keep falling for it?!

Isn't it time that people just say "NO!" to all this silliness, already?

The "snake-oil salesman" has been around a long, long time, & in this uncertain economy, where some really greedy bastards have gotten away with far too much for far too long, shouldn't this loud & resounding "NO!" also extend to the weight-loss industry as well?

I think we've all had enough with short-term, short-sighted ideas in every respect.

No more borrowing on a dream. It's time to get wise. Time to get back to basics. Time to focus on sound principles which make sense. Instead of hanging our star on an unrealistic fantasy that takes us further away from where we really want to be, it's time to move closer to actions which bring us real happiness in our lives. Let's get back to the things that make sense.

So on that note, why not throw your support behind products & people who promote medically-sound exercise & nutrition principles? Entities that promote the concept of a long-term, gradual approach to exercise & healthy eating.

Instead of supporting the rapid weight-loss industry, how about supporting the health & wellness industry instead? People & products who focus on sound medically/scientifically backed-principles, longevity, health, & preventative medicine, gradual change, moderation, & balance. Good health is something essential to everyone; quite literally, we cannot live without it.

The more people who vote with their dollars for truly health-focused products & initiatives, the more the business world will sit up & take notice. In order for businesses to survive, they've got to adapt to demand, & not the other way around. The primary goal of a business, other than making money, is to keep their business moving forward by fulfilling a need (or in some cases, create a "need" we never knew we even had. ;-) ) They've got to adapt to us, & not the other way around. :)

So why not put our dollars behind products & people we really believe are working in our best interests. Positive, forward-thinking people & products who want to improve the world we live in & genuinely care about the people in this world.

That way, businesses will create more products which support the kind of infrastructure & energies that we actually want to be a part of, instead of creating unsustainable products that we either don't use or really don't need.

Even though many of us are tightening our belts, there's a silver lining to this cloud of economic uncertainty: We are waking up to our real priorities, returning to what matters, listening to our gut instincts, finding the courage to take the road less travelled, & making the dollars that we do spend count towards something meaningful.

It's in times of adversity & struggle that we learn most quickly who we really are. Most of us who play sports already know this lesson. We accept this as part of the natural growth cycle. It's how we get better, faster, more adept. It's not just about improving as an athlete; it's about improving overall as a person, as a human being. This is the concept of sportsmanship taken to the highest level.

It's through engaging in the process -- the doing part! -- that we find our true depth of character in the challenges that lie before us. We reveal our natures through our striving & struggling. Such are the profound lessons of running & athletics, & of life in general.

The display doesn't have to be dramatic, public, or even visibly apparent to others; sometimes our efforts are manifested in small, barely-detectable movements, & accomplished in quiet ways.

In an interview for a profile piece entitled "The Artist's Reward," which appeared in the New Yorker (on November 30, 1929), Dorothy Parker once asked Ernest Hemingway, "Exactly what do you mean by 'guts'?" To which Hemingway replied: "I mean, grace under pressure."

And that, my friends, says it all right there. :)

0 Weekend Update: Some Unintentional R&R


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The reason you haven't seen an update for this weekend's long run is that I didn't run this weekend, due to me not feeling that great. It's not due to injury nor would I call it out-&-out illness: Mostly, it's been continuous, intensely painful headaches (i.e., the kind where a person has to lie down & put the covers over their head -- no light, no sound) which still haven't relented, & over the weekend, I've also had a lot of nausea & stomach pain. (Don't worry; thankfully, there aren't any gory details from which you'd need to be spared. ;-) )

The latter issues have receded; now, it's just the headaches, which've come & gone for several days now without explanation.

It doesn't appear to be allergy-related, since cross-the-fingers, I'm not getting the other symptoms.

I often seem to get horrible migraine-like headaches at the same time there's been significant air pressure changes & the weather is rainy. I've noticed that it seems to mostly happen during the change from winter to spring, & sometimes also during the change from fall to winter. Yes, I know it might sound odd to some of you, but that's the honest truth.

Anyhow, the ibuprofen appears to temporarily alleviate some of the pain, but I'm hoping that it just goes away altogether.

The good news is that the headache pain has lessened considerably from this weekend.

Tonight is track practice. I can't not keep running; that's just not an option. So I'm just going to take some more ibuprofen, suck it up, & hope for the best.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

0 9 Miles In Da Bank! Ka-Ching!


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Before I get into a discussion of tonight's workout, I just want to say that I am determined this time around to get my mileage in in a much more steady fashion than I have been doing previously over the course of our running clinic.

So, on that note -- even though the legs could've used a rest tonight after yesterday's challenging track workout -- I decided that this time I wasn't going to wuss out & let the old pampered attitude of "must take-a-day-off-in-between-workouts" get the best of me. Sure, that oh-so-gentle attitude was fine for when I'd restarted my running on 7/21/07, after a several-month hiatus from the sport (& from practically a zero fitness level!). But that was almost 1 year & 8 months ago, & I've "come along way, baby" from those first few days of Couch to 5K.

With improved fitness comes increased expectations. :)

Plus, with a 10-mile race in the beginning of April & a half-marathon in the beginning of May, the time for taking a casual attitude towards my training is through. Yes, it's still important that running remain a fun activity, but there's an added level of focus & dedication needed in order to adequately prepare for distances of 10M & longer!

Not to mention, there is the issue of scheduling & time-tables: After the running clinic finishes that gives me an additional 7 months to be ready for the Philly Marathon. I'll already be doing some decent mileage by the end of April, but not enough for marathon-training. So, it'll be time to up the mileage, restart the strength-training, & be conscious of making all of those activities count as quality workouts!

And in my usual fashion, I'll probably obsess a little bit about being prepared for my very first marathon, which means that I'll feel the need to be super-prepared. Yep, that's my little safety blanket: Preparation. And if that means a bit of over-preparation for my first marathon, so be it. Better to be over-ready than under-ready. ;-)

Of course, that doesn't mean overtraining. It just means reading everything in site about marathon-training, talking with marathon veterans & asking them for lots of advice, & making sure I've got enough 16-20+ mile training runs in there & properly tapering before the event. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: There are probably a few more things I could add to that list as well. ;-)

OK, enough blabbing about the future. And now about that workout. You can read the details about tonight's 9 miler here. Enjoy & have a great night!

-C

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

0 Track Workout: 7 Miles of As-Fast-As-You-Possibly-Can-Go!


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I'm going to keep this entry short, because I've got a lot to do tonight:

To read about tonight's track workout, please visit this link.

Just a few additional comments: It was really nice to see my pal @runningrambling tonight at track practice. We hadn't seen each other for a while & keep missing each other at various practices due to differing schedules (& more recently, due to my absence/break from this week's group practices). He was in good spirits & we were joking around a lot. Although we only get to run together on his recovery laps (which are actually my speed work laps! LOL!), I really enjoy his company, & am glad he signed up for our club's running clinic. :)

Another pal of mine wasn't feeling too well but showed up for practice tonight anyhow. She made it through most of the workout, but was obviously was looking & feeling very tired from being sick. Since she isn't yet a published web personality (at least not to my knowledge anyhow!), I won't mention her name here to respect her privacy (she knows who she is!), but wanted to extend my heartfelt get-well wishes to her. Hope you rest up & feel better soon!

Monday, March 9, 2009

0 Weekend Road-Running Warrior!


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The week in review:

Here's what's been going on with my training. To curb the effects of overtraining I've been experiencing over the last few weeks, I decided to take a few days off this week from running. Originally, it was only going to be a 3-day break, but somehow turned into 6. ;-) (Really needed the time off, so it was no big deal.) I ended up not running at all Monday-Friday, & instead running 6.85 mi on Saturday & 14.2 miles on Sunday. Not a typical schedule that I'd normally recommend to others, but at least I managed to get in two out of the three workouts for this week, & 21.05 miles total. This week's totals were supposed to be more along the lines of 30-35 mpw, but I'm not too concerned.

While I've got a 10-mile race coming up on April 5th (i.e., the Cherry Blossom) & a half-marathon on May 3rd, my attitude is that it's better to take precautions now & nip the overtraining issues in the bud now than to have it snowball into something more serious (like illness or injury).

Frankly, I felt like my training schedule had been bearing down on me like 200 ton-bricks of lead, & the internal pressure I was feeling to comply & follow every single workout exactly as planned by the schedule -- even when done with the best of intentions (i.e., having been carried out with real dedication & determination!), was ironically seriously undermining not only my resolve & but also the larger picture/long-range goals.

The whole "gung-ho" mentality that I've been trying so hard to avoid this time around had somehow sneaked up on me again in the disguise of something very innocuous, our training schedule. ;-) I'm not actually blaming the training schedule itself you see, but rather was making observations about how my attitude was starting to get a bit rigid with regarding to my steadfast compliance with it. ;-) The real irony is that, in almost everything else in life, I am staunchly opposed to rigidity of any form, but sometimes my ambition to achieve gets the best of me & I want so badly to do well & succeed as a runner that I lose focus on the larger picture.

Thank goodness I caught this trend & nipped it in the bud before it was too late.

Once again, this is a lesson I learned the hard way in the past, & I'm determined not to repeat such past mistakes. It's so important to keep growing & moving forward! Moreover, as I've said before, the point is to take the longer-range view of running, & to ensure that it'll be something that I can & will also want to do in the future. ;-)

Sometimes you just got to do what feels right & say to heck with pressure, whether it be external or internal.

Monday, March 2, 2009

0 Racing Calendar Updates


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Some brief updates:

Due to some changes in my general calendar/schedule & to avoid compounding the overtraining issue, I've decided to make some changes in my racing calendar:
--I've decided to drop the PVTC Easter Classic 5K. Frankly, I'm already doing enough races in April!
--For various reasons, I've decided to do the Potomac River Run Half instead of the Frederick Half. Both are on the same day (i.e., 5/3/09). I fly out to Europe the very next day after the race, so logistics (& the very inane "no race day packet pickup" at Frederick) had a lot to do with my decision. :)

4 Some Thoughts on Overtraining


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I am SO happy not to be running today. While I certainly love to run, I was starting to exhibit the classic signs of overtraining, as mentioned previously. This has probably been happening for about 2 weeks now. I was wondering why I was so unusually grumpy & moody, because the moods didn't seem to have any logical explanation. That is, not until now. ;-)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the symptoms of overtraining, here's an extensive list, plus an honest accounting of which signs I was starting to exhibit:

  • Apathy (Check!)
  • Reduced concentration (Check!)
  • Disturbance in sleep patterns - insomnia &/or troubled sleep (Check!)
  • Chronic fatigue (Does taking long naps count? Or does that fall under the "sleep disturbance category? ;-) I wasn't sleeping at night & then taking long naps after runs to compensate.)
  • Irritability/disturbed mood states (Ding, ding, ding, ding! ;-) Yep, that exactly sums up my mood(s) last week. Just take a look at some of my tweets. ;-) )
  • Depression (No, haven't been depressed. Just really moody & irritable lately! ;-) )
  • "Intolerance" to training (Um, honestly, check! I've been rather grumpy & resistant, even though I've ended up doing all the workouts.)
  • Delayed recovery from training (Not sure about this one. Probably, considering some of the soreness & "slower-than-usual" performance on track workouts.)
  • Decreased/suppressed athletic performance (That's definitely been happening lately on Tuesday's track practice days!)
  • Elevated morning resting pulse. (Nope, not that I've noticed at least.)
  • Changes in resting heart rate. (My heart rate was a bit higher than it should've been while climbing the stairs the other day. I was talking to my mother on the mobile while climbing them & she made a comment that I really shouldn't have been out of breath climbing stairs at this point. She's totally right about that! It's got to be a result of overtraining, because I'm typically not out of breath at all when climbing stairs. Very strange. Thankfully, this has only happened once so far.)
  • Increase in injuries (Oooh, that's scary! Don't want that!)
  • Frequent minor infections (Fingers crossed. So far, so good.)
  • Chronic muscle soreness (Maybe not chronic for me, but had an extended week of soreness last week. Uh-oh. Better nip that one in the bud, & quick.)
  • Weight loss (Nope, that's definitely not happening. ;-) Speaking of which, while I don't need to lose any weight, I wouldn't mind exchanging a few percentage points of body fat for muscle, & redistributing a bit. ;-) I'm finding that this actually gets harder to do as one increases their mileage, especially given my recent hiatus from strength training. It appears that long distance training is becoming a delicate balance between eating enough to fuel for runs & fighting one's raging hunger while training. And of course, this in turn, can affect one's body fat, depending on what & how much is eating. ;-) One's nutritional plan has a major effect on one's body fat percentage, & in many cases, even more so than one's exercise regimen. Just ask any sports nutritionist about this!)
  • Appetite loss (As you can see from the above, nope, I am not experiencing that one either. In fact, I still probably have the appetite of Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun after one of their major conquests. LOL.)
  • Decreased enthusiasm for training (Definitely! On top of that, I was feeling rather resentful towards my workout schedule.)
  • Increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections. (This one was starting to happen earlier in the week, but with the restorative powers of sleep/rest, vitamins, & lots of hot liquids, has hopefully since been nipped in the bud.)
So, it appears that, in order to avoid a complete overtraining meltdown, I might have to make some minor adjustments. First of which is changing up my schedule. Here are some possible solutions: It's probably more advisable to get in a day of easy running on Wednesday instead of trying to get in the "missed mileage" on Friday or Sunday. Either that, or just suck it up & do a longer run on Thursday. Mentally speaking, I do like having a day off in between workouts, especially hard workouts. However, for preparing the body overall, it might be better to keep to a 4x/week schedule of running. For one, it seems to help make Saturday's long run a heck of a lot easier!

For this week & the next, my training plan calls for 30-35 miles per week, & as is, I'm just barely scraping the bottom of that requirement. But that's fine by me. Any more mileage right now, & I think there'll be a major revolt staged by both my body & my brain. ;-) Thankfully, the following week there's a bit of a taper back to 25-30. And there's a few more hills & valleys like this until the end of the training program. Not going to even think about that yet. Will cross that bridge when I come to it.....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

0 Weekly Workout Update: Or, What's Been Happening Since The Last Blog Post. ;-)


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Yes, it's been a bit busy & so I'm a bit behind on posting my workouts here. I typically post all workouts on DailyMile.com anyhow these days, so in future, am thinking about possibly just putting links to those entries in blog posts, instead of regurgitating here what I wrote there.

For now, here's a brief summary of completed workouts from the remainder of the week:

--Completed a total of 30.35 miles this week. Notice as the mileage goes up the other types of workouts have virtually disappeared (i.e., sit-ups, push-ups, etc.). Oops. ;-0 Got to rectify that, but first still have to get used to the increase in mileage. ;-) (I've been previously doing between 24-26 miles. An increase of four extra miles per week might not sound like a whole lot, but those extra 4 miles are quality miles, so it is a big deal. And to my body, it also feels like a big deal too. ;-P)

--Since I knew we were going to the Caps game on Thursday night, a night which is typically reserved for informal group runs with our running clinic, I instead ran a bit earlier in the day & only did 3.35 miles. I was originally going to do the full workout, but due to a late start & time constraints was only able to fit in about half of the mileage. (The temperature was supposed to hit 60°F that day, & I think I waited a bit too long for it to reach an "optimally warm" temperature outside. ;-) ) If you want to read the details of that workout, please visit this link (on DailyMile.com).

--Saturday's 12 mile run with our running clinic was great fun. Felt great. Stretched afterward & probably as a direct result, didn't have any post-run soreness. Either that, or my muscles are just getting used to the distance. ;-) Also, didn't feel as tired as I usually did immediately after the run, which was also a good sign. You can read more about that workout here.

--Sunday (i.e., today!), I was originally supposed to run a 5K road race, but instead ended up attending the race directors' meeting afterward. (Even though I don't yet have enough volunteering experience right now to become a race director or even an assistant race director, I wanted to attend the meeting to see what was involved with the process, for future reference. I figured it also would probably make me a better, more useful volunteer to know the experiences & vantage points of the RD & ARDs! ;-) )

In my heart of hearts, I just really did not want to race today. It wasn't due to physical fatigue, however. Frankly, it was all mental. ;-) I just needed a little break from continually pushing myself! Plus, I was starting to exhibit some of the classic warning signs of overtraining & didn't want to get caught up in that web.

Oh yeah, & about that workout. ;-) While I didn't race today, I ran 8.25 miles at a sub 10-minute pace. Not bad. I didn't start to tire until after mile 5, & then the remaining 3 miles were honestly a bit of a struggle to keep up the pace. OK, I should add that, very uncharacteristically, I stopped a few times -- once at around 5 miles, another brief one at around 6 miles, & another time around 7 miles -- to stretch out the muscles & paused my stopwatch during the stretches, so maybe in reality, if one factors in the minor stops, I was probably closer to a 10-minute mile pace. ;-) To read more about that workout, please go here.

OK, that's a wrap, people. Later!

-C

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