It’s a bad idea to sit down to write about your recent training when you’ve hit your afternoon wall, right? Oh well, here we go anyway. I blame today’s heat and humidity for my lethargy, though have vowed never to complain about weather extremes again. Usually the complaint goes something like “I would much rather it were 5 degrees right now instead of 90!” (This is never true. I never want it to be either 5 degrees or 90 degrees during a run – we all know better.) Instead, I shall dream of those in-between stages (spring and fall) that are neither too hot nor too cold. Besides, both the 5 degrees and the 90 degrees only make me a more robust, resilient runner, and there are some serious perks to both. If it weren’t blistering hot I wouldn’t know what it feels like to drip my way to the kitchen, desperately grab an orange out of the fridge, sprinkling in with salt and the subsequent joy in finding it to be the most satisfying thing to ever hit my lips (seriously, ever). Conversely, those cold winter mornings make it a-okay to throw on my yoga pants, wool socks, and then to sit around watching movies under a blanket at 10AM in the name of recovery. Win, win.
Now that we’ve got my rationale for not complaining about the heat out of the way, I’ve been feeling a little sluggish this week. I had two speed workouts last week that didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, the last of which was a 12+ mile run on Sunday with 6 mile repeats in the middle (goal 7:20 pace with 1 min. recoveries in between). I ran these 6 miles back and forth in a neighborhood that seemed flatish, only to find that when tasked with speed work on this route, it wasn’t so flat after all. Instead, I was running a 1.5 mile up/down grade. In the beginning the down grade felt pretty forgiving and easy, the upgrade proved to be a real grind. Towards the end of those 6 miles it felt like I was running entirely uphill, which was impossible, sure, but it didn’t prevent me from slowing down. The first 5 miles were anywhere between 7:20 and 7:27 (uphill), the last mile was a tough 7:30. I know these miles weren’t that far off my goal, and I’m sure if I adjusted my expectations to the terrain I would have been on point. I suppose it’s just that they felt tougher than I wanted them to, but I still powered it out. Since Sunday I’ve done some longer easy runs – 6, 9, and another 6 this morning, with some more speed work on tap for tomorrow morning. I’ve also been focusing on doing regular strength exercises for my feet and ankles, and am happy to report that I’m feeling stronger.
While having a coach is proving to be invaluable and taken all the mystery out of the how and what that’s going into my training, I’ve been finding myself wanting to do some of my own nuts and bolts learning lately and blew threw two books this week – Beyond Training (Ben Greenfield) and Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life (Jordan Metzl). I suppose you now know where the motivation to do those foot and ankle exercises was born! I’ll be honest, some of the content in Beyond Training was a little too much for me, a little too scientific, and Ben largely addresses triathletes, though I didn’t feel like his advice was lost on me as a runner. Some of his recommended hacks didn’t seem plausible for the average weekend warrior, unless everyone else but me has access to an infared sauna and cheap stem cell therapy, but there was a lot of good food for thought as to not over doing training, and exactly what constitutes over doing. I gleaned enough good information from the book to make it worth plowing through, and if anything was inapplicable to me as a runner I just skipped over it.
Running Strong, on the other hand, is a really great resource book, and one I’m sure I’ll be referring to frequently. I’m not quite finished with this one yet, but I like that he addressed specific issues from the perspective of someone who wants to heal and, well, get back to training as soon as it is possible. I do like the do-it-yourself approach to the book, which ISN’T to suggest you should just pick up this book to address a bona fide injury, but I like having a go-to resource to (hopefully) address any nagging issues and prevent those bona fide problems. I did pick up a foam roller this week, and while my calves are feeling less tight, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I was imagining something more like a gentle self-massage, but this was much more intense, and wince-producing. You’ve been warned. But hey, no pain, no gain.
I hope you’re staying cool this week! Any favorite books or resources of your own? I’m looking forward to adding to my growing collection!
Keep on kickin’,