I’ve been at loose ends for a while now, really since last May. Sort of floating along. I’ve been consistent with strength training for almost 8 months, which is great! I don’t have any goals for 2017. I was planning to set my year around Wildflower, but Wildflower isn’t going to happen so I have been needing to give my self something to build my fitness year around.
One thing I haven’t focused really ever is getting faster as a runner. I used to believe I was “slow.” Now I know that I’m as fast as I work to be and I could get faster if I put in work.
I still have not broken 30 minutes for a 5k, so that is going down this year. I can do push ups (go me!) so I want to increase those and work on pull ups. The overarching goal is consistency. To stick with it and not sorry too much about outcomes.
The plan is as follows:
One Long Run, One Tempo Run, One Interval Day, two full-body weight days and one yoga day. I should be able to separate all runs and strength sessions by minimum 8 hours and generally 24 hours.
I may add in easy runs or some cycling and swimming at a recovery level but only if I do not have excessive fatigue. When in doubt, leave it out.
Tracking mood and energy levels with nutrition. I am not trying to lose weight, I’m weight stable and have been for four years and my focus for the last year has been getting adequate protein – 100g per day.
I need to keep a good handle on sleep hygiene. No caffeine after lunch, get to bed at a consistent time, solid bed time routine.
Schedule baseline testing and retests. For me this will include racing with a focus on 5ks. I did a 5k on New Year’s Day and I’m planning to do the same race next year to see my progress.
It was full to bursting! Groceries, library, workout, gardening, marathon volunteering, workout, make quiche with a three year old, work out more, put three year old to bed, collapse.
I prefer the busy weekends. I hate getting to Sunday night and feeling like nothing happened. I don’t want to be well rested, which is what I tell myself I will be if I do as little as possible. I want to feel like I lived my weekend. Most of us spend most of the week working. If we do that, when are we living the lives we want? If you do nothing, or close to, on the weekend, when are you actually _doing_ what you want to do?
I was taking Sundays off in the last phase of my training. This phase is over! Now weekends are for beating my ass. The fantastic news is that all this training is totally working. I am not just feeling stronger and faster, I AM stronger and faster.
This weekend’s case in point: the swim. I couldn’t get to masters’ because of the Oakland Marathon. I manned a water stop for three hours with the Oakland Triathlon Club. Super fun by the way. Even if you have no intention of ever participating in an athletic activity, I encourage you to volunteer. You get to see a lot of the race and a very tangible feeling of helping the racers. Races don’t happen without volunteers. I always thank them when I race and I try to volunteer a couple of times a year.
I went swimming Sunday, midday at Mills College. Forgot my suit the first time I drove there but I got it right eventually and jumped in. Trefethen Aquatic Center has a very nice pool. The lap section is consistently eight feet deep. It has low chlorination, is very clean, 25 yards (I think), and un-crowded. I had to share my lane for the warm up but not for my main set.
A couple of months ago I was swimming at masters’ and I had to do 100 yards on an interval, e.g. I had to leave the wall after a set period of time. The 100 yards took me about 2:30 and I left every 3 minutes. So each 100 I took 30 seconds of rest. That’s a lot of rest. Those 2:30 100s were tough for me, I was working very hard to make that interval. I think I did about three of them before I was worn out.
On Sunday I did 4 * 100 on 2:25 with 10 seconds rest. Twice. I swam 100 yards in 2:15 (that’s 15 seconds faster than before) and then rested 10 seconds (20 seconds less rest) and then did another 100. Instead of three intervals of 100 yards, I did eight. I could not only go faster, I went faster with less effort, on significantly less recovery time. Each of those eight 100 yard segments was the same time. Every time I came up at the end it had been 2:15, from the first to the last. I’m a sucker for consistency, I could not have been more happy with my results.
Between the two sets of 4 * 100 I did 200 yards of backstroke. In November, when I started masters’, I couldn’t go in a straight line during backstroke to save my life. On Sunday, with something to spot, I did just fine and was able to relax and swim effectively on my back.
The cherry on top of the already fulfilling workout (did I mention I swam almost a half-iron distance worth of yards in 55 minutes? My longest swim workout since I got back in the pool after a three year break?) was that I did two lengths of butterfly, for FUN. Easy butterfly, just cuz I felt like it, as a cool down.
I have lost my ever loving mind or maybe just shed my non-swimmer self just about completely.
…which is either a massive over or understatement, depending on how you look at it.
I completed the Tour of Sufferlandria, which I had not planned into my training calendar. It came up and I went for it. It was super fun but it threw me off my rhythm.
I spent a week recovering and then I was planning on being in Irvine for the Zot Trot as a training day to get the feel for a triathlon without the pressure of an “A” race, i.e. I was gonna take it easy and have fun. I did not get down to Irvine. My husbeast’s band had a really important show scheduled for that weekend, which we figured out nine days before race day. So the Zot Trot got cancelled and I do not do very well with unfulfilled expectations.
That was two weeks ago. Right after the aborted triathlon we jumped right into preschool applications. This shit is crazy. We are applying to a handful of co-operative preschools which are cheaper in dollars and more expensive in time than a conventional school. Given that we have a bit more money than time, this seems good.
Apparently the time commitment starts before your kid is even accepted. Each school requires that we attend a tour during the school day. Every school’s tour times are overlapping, so we can’t do more than one a day, and they are all during the work day, so I have to take a half day at work for each one of them. We can take our kid to some of them but not to others. Some of them require an application to be mailed, some need an application fee, some need us to write about what we are hoping to get from the cooperative experience.
When I get to work late I don’t take a lunch. If I don’t take a lunch I’m not getting a lunchtime work out in. My energy levels are really low, I’m not eating well (e.g. not getting enough protein, or frankly enough calories, full stop), and I just feel spaced out and crappy.
I have been getting some runs in and I got out for an actual long bike ride on my road bike with my fancy clipless pedals. I totally fell on my bike ride because it had been more than three years since I had ridden outdoors on my clipless. Thus I totally forgot to clip out at a red light. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and the rest of the ride was quite easy. My runs, well, my runs have been amazing.
I am coming out of the base training or “off” season. Lots of slow running. I have been feeling very questionable about my fitness after these disruptions to my training. Then I looked at the stats. I don’t look at my heart rate while I’m running. I’m trying to learn to gauge my effort zones by putting in the efforts as I run and then checking afterwards if I was in the zone I was aiming for.
My runs lately have all been in Zone 1-2 e.g. “Slow, hella slow.” But that’s what the plan called for so that’s what I was doing.
Last October a 30 minute easy run was just over two miles. 13:36/mile
Today an easy 30 minute run was 2.7 miles. 11:16/mile
Same level of effort, similar average heart rate, more than half a mile farther. That’s awesome. For an even more stark comparison, in 2009, in my first triathlon season I did a timed mile as fast I could go. It took me more than 12:30, for one mile, and I was cooked. I can now jog a minute faster per mile than that at a low level of effort.
It’s very nice to have some stats to show that consistent training is yielding promising results.
Starting next week I’m out of Base training and into something a bit different…
Training is peaking this week. Five miles at lunch on Tuesday, a 45 minute tempo run today, and 12 miles on Sunday. I feel great. The heart rate monitor is helping me target my training to the correct zones. As I suspected, before I was using it my fast runs were too slow and my slow runs were too fast.
I’m not sure I’m ever going to understand what “comfortably hard” means but I’m getting to grips with “embarrassingly slow” for my recovery days. I think I’ll label them “unashamedly slow,” I’m never going to be embarrassed that I’m getting out there and getting it done, no matter the speed (or lack there of).
It’s always a bonus when you can feel your increased fitness. Yesterday I was riding my bike up the hill and I got out of the saddle a lot. It was easy! Just up and out and booking it to survive a 1.75 mile bike commute through East-ish Oakland. I never used to get out of the saddle. Even short jumps left me completely out of breath. Getting out of the saddle was reserved for going downhill and relieving some pressure in my back.
I don’t ride a long way, but I get on my bike twice a day, five days a week. Mornings down the hill, evenings back up. My gearing choice in the evening depends on what my workout was the day before. In the mornings, down the hill, I rarely shift out of the hardest chainring/cassette combo. As an experiment, I stayed in my biggest chainring going up the hill last week, in the evening. It was doable, not super easy, but it didn’t exhaust me to buckle down and get up the hill that much faster.
My new thing when it comes to fitness is settling down. I saw Tim O’Donnell speak a couple of weeks ago and his parting wisdom to the crowd was that the consistency was key. I’m aiming for that. I’ve been dedicated to my yoga practice for almost a year and that has garnered great results. I’m adding in sustainable amounts of training. I’m up to running four days a week, consistently. Thursdays are a double header with a maintenance run at lunch and yoga in the evening.
Today I am wrecked, in a good way. My legs are tired but I feel a springiness in them. I could absolutely see going for a 15-20 minute easy run to just get the blood pumping. BUT this is a rest day and I’m respecting that, and the toddler was up at about four in the morning and never really went back to sleep. So it’s coffee at 5 in the evening and no work out today.