Despite the stress of life lately, my running has been going really well. Perhaps because it is one of the ways I process my thoughts and find clarity. Sometimes when I take the first few steps of a run, I imagine all my stress and responsibilities falling off my shoulders and tumbling to the ground behind me. I leave them there in the driveway and when I come back I only pick up the thoughts and cares and responsibilities that really matter.
Lately I’ve felt that my running is poised to teach me something new. So often we go from season to season wanting continually forward progress: gains in fitness without any loss in fitness. So we stick to the same plan. We do the same workouts. We measure present success with by past outcomes-often to a fault.
This year I’m starting from a completely different and unfamiliar place and heading into a completely different and unfamiliar place. I’ve put my trust in my coach, Chris Dunn and have faith that if do the work I’ll be within striking distance of my goals.
Lately that work has been enjoyable and challenging. The current cycle that my coach created for me includes a lot of climbing on the treadmill, speed work on the road and long trail runs on the weekend. I’ve enjoyed the variety, especially getting out on the trails last weekend, but the speed work has been challenging both from physically and mentally. On the track and on the roads I’m not as “fit” as I was at this time last year. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different. But I’ve had to wrestle with “different,” because different isn’t comfortable and I like comfortable and predictable.
I’ve been avoiding the temptation to look at past training journals and compare times…I mean, I don’t even really need to look at past training journals because I remember my times from this point last year. But still. When they say comparison is the thief of joy, they aren’t just talking about comparison with others. Comparing with our past self can also steal your joy.
So I’ve been focusing on the effort in the moment what I have and can give NOW. It’s a good lesson to be learning.
Here’s what my training looked like last week:
Planned: 30 min recovery run
Actual: 3.30 miles in 30:51 @ 9:21 min/mi avg
My legs were super sore from the Sleepy Hollow Mountain race (you can find my brief recap on Instagram HERE.) So I took this slow and easy.
Planned: Road Workout 1 mile up, 2 miles @6:30, 1 mile down
Actual: Rest from running (I just didn’t think I could make my quads go that fast. They were still trashed from the downhills.)
45 minutes of strength
Left leg bridge
Single leg bridge
plank wi leg extension
tri kick backs
side step with band
single leg running man
Planned: Treadmill Hill Workout
Actual: 4.0 miles in 39:40 @9:55 min/mi avg
With my quads feeling a little better I managed the hill workout without any problems. Here’s the workout:
1 mile up @ 3-4%; 1 mile @ 5%; 1 mile @ 6%; 1 mile down @ 3-4%
It wasn’t fast but it got done.
Planned: 45 min downhill technique and 45 minutes strength.
Actual: 4.98 in 45:07 @ 9:03
There was no way I was going to make my quads go downhill. So I opted for an easy run to and from the gym instead.
Row @70 3×5
Side plank with arm raise 3×10
Cable cross pull 3×15
Back lunge on bosu 3×20
Push-ups on bosu 3×5
Actual: 1 mile up, 2 miles @ 6:30 min/mi (6:37, 6:41), 1 mile down
4.08 in 31:03 @ 7:37 min/mi
By Thursday night my quads were feeling recovered and I was eager to tackle Tuesday’s workout. I knew it would be a challenge, but felt like I wanted to at least give it a go. Sometimes it feels like there’s a headwind at the beach no matter what direction you run in and that was how it felt on this run. The wind was blowing out to sea, so it was a cross wind, but seriously felt like a headwind after my turn around point. My goal was to stay as smooth and steady as possible on the run and though I wavered a bit in the second mile, I recovered and felt like I finished pretty strong.
Planned: 8 miles with two big climbs and descents.
Actual: 8.15 miles on trails in 1:28:24 @ 10:51 min/mi avg on trails with 1333 ft in elevation gain
It was a foggy, drizzly cold morning but I was eager to get on the trails and be alone. My hubby has been working weekends (and late nights) so running is the only time I’ve had to myself for the last month or so. If there’s anything that motivates me, it’s the promise of solitude.
The trails were a sloppy wet mess and in many places the trail had turned into a stream, but I embraced the fact that I was going to be wet and just enjoyed looping around Mt. Agamenticus. I got in two ascents up to the summit: one from the road and one from the back side of the trail. I also incorporated four smaller ascents from the ring trail to get in a pretty good run. I drove home tired and wet, but feeling satisfied.
Planned: 45 min recovery run
Actual: 5.55 in 48:18 @ 8:42 min/mi avg
This run felt relaxed although my piriformis was a bit cranky and I was really tired. I would have preferred to sleep in and do this run later, but you know working hubby, so up with the sun to #runanddone.
What is running teaching you lately?
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Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com