Two weeks ago I was in pretty incredible despair. Unmotivated, fatigued, sick, and hadn’t run in 1 week (with another to go). I even went so far as to take a sick day from work just to live out my day as a lifeless blob hidden under a gazillion blankets and snotty tissues. Then I got called in to work on my day off (otherwise known as sick-day payback) for the most bat-shit crazy day in restaurant history, and to blow off steam between shifts, I went to the gym and ran. Four miles. And I LIKED IT.
The very next day, I pulled off an easy 7-miler with hill strides and felt electrified (albeit also sore).
Here’s where my motivation came from:
*yes my mind is so jello right now that “thing” is the only word I can come up with.
The #PowerStation called for hill reps mid-run, so … given the warm sunshine outside and my relative friskiness at having finally run again the previous day, I set out to tackle LF’s challenge.
And with that, I felt ready to jump back in the game.
While I was on hiatus, I did some soul-searching (a tad dramatic), mostly by way of reading the Oiselle blog and stumbling upon some words of inspiration from runners who have accomplished much more than I – after all, higher highs equal lower lows.
As runners we are guilty of crumbling in the face of adversity. We are so addicted to plans that when they go awry we collapse, and go hide in that dark place where no one can get through to us. It’s not just the training stimulus we miss it’s the ability to dream and make plans for the future. When we’re healthy we give ourselves permission to make goals, visualize ourselves crushing it, and dream big. Yet in the dark days of an injury or setback we shut off the dreaming and hoping mechanism. – Steph Bruce
YES A MILLION TIMES YES.
I was feeling so increasingly miserable about missing the first two measly weeks of a months-long-life-long plan and ultimately I had to get myself to believe that IT DOESN’T MATTER. Are my plans to go to Boston and run a huge PR blown to bits now? NO! But I thought so, on several occasions.
What I took away from Steph’s post is that injuries and setbacks will happen. It doesn’t mean plan for them or dread their not-necessarily-inevitable appearance. It just means that when they happen, ride them out and then keep moving. Don’t dwell. Be patient. And return stronger.
Here are the three (!!) workouts I completed this week:
Tuesday: 2×200, 2×400, 2×200 @ Rep pace w/ double recovery
It was unseasonably warm (I’m talking like 60) and sunshine-y, so I whipped through these. I was aiming for about 41/200m and 84/400m, and I actually hit the second 400m in 80. And no, I did not pat myself on the back for that; I scolded myself. Running any faster than you have to is more deleterious than beneficial. I know better. But when I take my eyes off my watch and just go with it… that is usually what happens.
Wednesday: LF’s #SwitchBlade
She called for a modified 6-mile tempo run. Now… I don’t tempo for 6 miles (or at all??) nor was anything like that in my training plan after 2-weeks-off-still-coughing-phlegm. Plus this was a down week, say, if hypothetically I were adhering to the Plan.
So I modified even further, and instead of the lactate threshold 1000m reps I had penciled in, I went for 2x2k with her directions. The first 1k = slower than LT and the second 1k = faster than LT. Repeat.
My tempo/LT pace comes out to about 4:00-4:04/1k right now (maybe even a little slower), so I opted for 4:08-4:11 for my “slow” 1000 and 3:51-3:53 for my “fast” 1000.
Nailed the first set (4:10 and 3:50). Took generous rest (more than LF called for, but like I said I’ve been sick and I’m not pushing that fatigue button up here at 7000+ ft).
Overshot the second set (4:01 and 3:52). Just too fast on that 3rd 1000. I was overcompensating for the wind pretty hard. And that last 1000… HOLY FUCK that is what VO2max workouts are made of. That fucker burned from the get-go and I had to force myself to complete it.
Now that’s a solid workout. Here it is on Strava, lots of circles n’ all.
Saturday: 4×400, 2×600 @ VO2max pace, shorter recoveries
On the schedule it was my day off, but I got written in for a few hours because of the basketball game (damn college sports towns). Instead of doing my workout in the morning (I was a veritable sloth this a.m…. it’s the weekend after all), I decided I would do it immediately after my shift ended.
Which worked out because by the late afternoon the sun was shining (but the wind GUSTING) and the shift was lighter than anticipated so I wasn’t burnt out.
Odds of that happening again: zero. Just do the damn workouts first and get them the hell over with!
My VO2max pace has been 90sec/400m since college. And up here at this altitude, it won’t improve much, if at all. I hit all my splits metronomically. High five!
With a “traditional” VO2max workout, optimal at distances that require 3-5 minutes to complete at that given pace, equal recovery is standard. But I learned from Jack Daniels that you can practice VO2max pace reps that are shorter – or take less than 3 minutes to complete – but in such a case it is best to shorten the recoveries as well to really sustain that lactic burn. I did a minute rest for the 400s and two minutes between the 600s. And yep, I felt the burn start creepin’ sometime during 400 #3.
On the schedule tomorrow is an easy 7.5 mile “long run” to round out my week at 24 miles. Then I intend to bump right back up to 30 mile weeks (fortunately next week is only 2 workouts).
Things I did differently this week:
Slept. In. Like a champ. But only as long as necessary. I don’t like rushing, ya know??
Was lazy. Only did 2 core sessions, and skipped yoga (errmmm I didn’t really mean to, but I think it will pay off). Didn’t do my weights (see previous parenthetical defense). Did do two 30-min aqua jogging sessions. And slowed my easy run down significantly. Less stress. Less pain. Running is supposed to be relaxing right?
This week: I want to reboot my schedule just a tad. I don’t mean 5x wake up early and 6x core-glute-yoga-pump-iron. Rather, I am imagining one early yoga session, two core sessions spread out across the week, and regular lifting during one of my cross-training gym visits. That’s not too demanding. Not compared to my schedule earlier this month.
Let’s do it! Registration for the Boston 5k opens this week, and I have already put in my time off request for a 4-miler down in Colorado next month.
Go fast, take chances. But have the discipline to recover, step back, and slow down when the pace gets out of control. It’s a hell of a balancing act.