Each of my Advanced Training Marathon (“AMT”) posts is work-in-progress throughout the week. I add to it after every run. Then, once the week is complete, I step back and reflect on the week as a whole before I upload it to my tiny little place in cyberspace.
I was hesitant to do this at first, thinking “Who really wants to read about my crazy training?,” but I’m beginning to like this whole journal thing. I’ve always used some type of computer program to track my miles, pace and HR, but this is the first time that I’ve kept a journal of how I felt overall throughout training. Thanks for indulging me! 🙂
Sunday (1/23) :: 16 miles in Zone 1 (a.k.a. easy pace). This was my longest run since the St. George Marathon. Overall, it was a great run. I love the new group that I’ve settled in with; their company and conversation made the miles go by fast. But, by mile 14, I could tell I was into new mileage — my hips were stiff at each water stop, and I was just plain tired. After refueling and caffeinating over breakfast, Brad and I loaded up the tandem for an afternoon ride. This may sound nuts, but I love getting in a ride after my long run whenever I can make the time because it flushes out any toxins that built up in my legs and keeps things moving so that I’m not too stiff by the end of the day.
Monday (1/24) :: Rest day. Someone recently asked me whether I actually take these. The answer is “Yes.”
Tuesday (1/25) :: 7 miles in Zone 1 in the morning. This was a perfectly non-eventful weekday run. Still building base with lots of easy miles. + 1-hour of core yoga in the evening. This yoga class reminded me of two things: (1) I hadn’t done this in a while. (2) I need to do this more. It melted away all the stress from my workday, and when I awoke the next morning, every teeny tiny muscle in my body hurt like hell.
Wednesday (1/26) :: 5 miles in Zone 1. This was going to be an 8-mile run on a killer hill course (as in hard, not awesome), but I’m happy to say that Brad’s ankle is still behaving, so we made up a 5-mile loop in the ‘hood. It was the perfect, easy recovery run, way below my Zone 1 max. Coach would be proud.
Thursday (1/27) :: 10 miles with 3 in Zone 1, 5 in Zone 2, & 2 in Zone 1. The run itself was virtually the same as last Thursday; fortunately, the weather and my performance were not! My pace was much better, and I stayed close to the group almost the entire time. I thought my HR was spot on, but when I checked the data afterward, I discovered that it crept into Zone 3 for a large part of the 5-mile interval. Must keep a closer eye on this next week!
Friday (1/28) :: 20-mile bike ride. This was going to be the week that I added an extra run day, but we went out Thursday night for a joint father-brother birthday dinner. Three delicious salads, pizzas, and bottles of wine later, and there was no way I was getting up early enough for a run Friday morning. Oops. Better luck next week. Apparently feeling guilty, and dying to enjoy the nice weather, I snuck in a 20-mile ride instead.
Saturday (1/29) :: 5 miles in Zone 1. In keeping with the Saturday tradition, Brad and I slept in (a little bit) and ran in the daylight. Also in keeping with the Saturday tradition, my HR was off the charts, and I had to keep slowing down to keep in check. It’s funny; every season, there’s one day that stands out as the “crappy run day.” This year, my body seems to have chosen Saturdays. So be it.
Total mileage :: 43 miles
Looking back, two things stand out about Week 4 . . .
First, I am really liking the increased mileage. My biggest fear about the advanced class was how early we increase the mileage — and stay there for most of training. This week, I ran only two miles less than where my mileage peaked for one week last Fall. Next week, we will run longer and more intensely. And, you guessed, next week we do the same. But, my body is responding to it surprisingly well. Plus, I feel like I’m getting my runner’s body back! I always feel a little, shall we say, “fluffy” after the holidays. Finally, as of this week, I noticed that my legs are firming up, my abs are coming back, and my clothes fit just the way I like. (See also my second point.)
Second, birthday celebrations aside, I am finally getting my nutrition right. When I was feeling sluggish and bloated most of last week, the first thing I looked at changing was my diet. (I’m confident stress is equally to blame, but frankly, my diet is much easier to change.) I started by re-checking my daily calorie consumption, and quickly identified the problem: I wasn’t eating enough. (Check out this calorie formula. It remains the best one I’ve seen.) For me, the first few weeks of training are always tricky because the increased exercise somehow suppresses my appetite so I can’t bring myself to eat the larger – and healthier – meals and snacks needed to maintain all those hours of running. Armed with my new number (2,000-2,250 in case you’re wondering), I made a serious effort at eating smarter. I remembered my recovery drink after every run; I ate every three hours, like clockwork, even if it led to some strange meal times; I increased my veggies; and I maintained a better balance of carbs to proteins to fat. Voila!
Hopefully, this optimism will continue into Week 5 as we pick up the mileage yet again to 48-53 and brace ourselves for a massive cold front that promise sub-freezing for at least three days straight.