Where is the catch?

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If you couldn’t tell from last post… I was feeling myself. 🤣 Workouts have been going well, and that is especially satisfying because the opposite situation is still fresh in my mind. But whenever there are a few good weeks in a row, an uneasy question creeps in; when is something going to break?

Maybe that’s just my slightly anxious disposition, though I like to think of it as an awareness brought by years of training. ⠀ ⠀
The purpose of training is to push your edge. That’s how improvement happens. But always riding the edge is risky… it’s not hard to take a few wrong steps and fall over. (That could mean injury, illness, or just extreme fatigue). And there’s never more uncertainty than when you’re doing things you’ve never done before. How much is enough? How much is too much?

The signs that you’re getting out of range are not always straightforward. One I’ve learned to watch in myself is when I start neglecting close friends and family. Not that I have to be the social butterfly, but if I go AWOL, to the point where my mom is calling my sister to see if I’m alive, that might mean something (Thanks mom 😉). And that’s happened with a few people recently. ⠀ ⠀
So. If I’ve made a jump in fitness, the initial reaction might be, “this is great, let’s keep pushing.” But instead, I try to make sure other inputs remain the same as I’m used to (example: mileage, physio work, sleep, food). I’ll go to bed extra early and take recovery runs at an easier pace if I see signs of excessive fatigue.

The more I view this as a long game, the more confidence I have in those decisions. Improvements maybe happen in spurts, but the real progress comes when you’re able to maintain those spurts over years of healthy training. Nothing is perfect, but whatever method gets close to that goal is one I can live with.

Photo by Jordan Beckett

Find the rhythm

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🐥🏃🏻‍♀️💆🏻‍♀️

I love the rhythm and timing of training cycles. 6-8 weeks is enough of a chunk to make gains, but not so long that the work seems endless. And I like the optimism of beginning again. It’s a time to evaluate habits, and try new ones if something isn’t serving (Not just something for New Year’s resolutions!). ⠀ ⠀
After getting over the initial inertia and fear of returning to workouts last week, it’s been nice to get into a routine.
This period is a mini base phase, meaning I’m running more miles per week, a weekly long run of 14-16 miles, and workouts are more strength-based (less rest between intervals…). You’re never meant to feel super sharp, because races are still a ways out.

Consistency is a goal. For me, a perpetual “new cycle” resolution is keeping consistent with my PT and prehab, so my body can handle the workload. Base training is for nothing if you get injured during the phase.

So far, workouts have been manageable. That’s a big difference from last fall. But also makes me wonder if I should be pushing harder. I think that’s a bit of the art of training (and coaching) … knowing where the edge lies. One thing I do know is as the weeks accumulate, so will the fatigue. And workouts will continue to get harder. I’m waiting a bit for that switch to flip, and just want to be as strong and ready as possible when it does. 💪🏼

Photo by David Bracetty

Waiting game

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It was the second week of no workouts, and I wasn’t too upset when I heard that. It’s a chance to get miles up, get all runs and core/lifting in, and hopefully feel strong and healthy and ready for the higher intensity efforts.
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I’ve been watching my heart rate on runs and trying to keep it in lower zones, avoid many big spikes. I want this time to really be about recovery and building, not getting in a hole. My easy runs (measured by HR) have gotten quicker throughout the week. That’s a good sign. And I’m getting antsy for workouts. Also a good sign; I was a bit worried last week when that wasn’t the case. More than anything, I’m tired of podcasts and remixes and I miss run friends… ready to start meeting the group!! (well, i hope i’m ready😬).

Photo by David Bracetty

You win some, you lose some

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You really lose some…

I ran at @usatf indoor champs yesterday. Suffice to say it wasn’t an ideal race. I’m not reading too much into one result, but I am using it as the starting point for a weekly training update. I’ll post a progress update on my IG each week on Sundays (or Monday if it’s a holiday weekend 😊). There have been a lot of changes over the past 4 months and I don’t want to make people text me or wait for race interviews to hear how it’s going. Also, I’m learning a lot and want to share things. ⠀ ⠀

To begin… Lessons from last week:
– You can never fully control getting sick, but I could use a self-evaluation on hygiene and nutrition, to make sure I am doing everything in my power to stay healthy.
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– And this is just another reminder that adaptive planning is usually better than stubborn adherence to numbers. Whenever I hold too tightly to mileage counting it bites me in the bum. Last week even though I missed a workout, I kept up high mileage through a fever. I was trying to maintain fitness with an eye toward World Champs. But in retrospect, slogging through slow miles does nothing in the week before a major race. And it’s a pointless use of energy that could be going toward getting healthy.
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Of course I can never know if that would have made a difference. But I’m going to say this is my reminder for any future unforeseen circumstances this year… when something throws you off your plan for the week, in most situations, it’s better to re-adjust the plan. Cramming miles at the end of the week puts unneeded stress on the body that doesn’t know the difference between 67 and 70 anyway.
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And in vein of practicing gratitude, I’m grateful that I was given this lesson (again!!😑) with only a bruised ego, not injured body. ⠀ ⠀
To end on a positive note, it’s inspiring seeing @shelbo800 and @steeple_squigs crush their events at US indoors. I hate not being there yet, but it reminds me to trust the process. It’s been great getting to know them and @mariellehalll better over the past week in ABQ. Now, it’s back to Portland and sea level. 🙃

Photo by Jess Barnard

My Workout Bag – Tools

This might not all be in my daily bag, but if I go to a month-long training camp, here is what I bring. (I got this idea from Matt Mullenweg “What’s in my Bag” posts).

(For Nike Recommendations, see this post!)

  1. Looped Strap – for assisted stretching. I like this one especially because the sewn loops allow you to anchor it down, or have options for hand/foot holds
  2. Bands – I don’t know if these are specifically the Theraband brand. I think I was given them by a PT.
  3. Loop Bands – same here.
  4. Ball – This thing is gold! It has such heft. Something about the weight and firmness makes it my favorite tool for rolling. The only issue: it always seems to set off TSA alerts. (I take it out of my carry-on preemptively now, and that seems to solve the problem).
  5. Small Spiky Ball – This is another one that is just perfect for it’s purpose. It’s small enough to get in between the metatarsals and under the ball of the foot. And I prefer the spikes to the flat surface of a golfball.
  6. Foot Roller – To be honest, I use the small spiky more. Sometimes I like this one for stretching my toes, or rolling my plantar.
  7. Tape– I don’t use KT Tape religiously, but I do like a stripe under my foot and up the inside of my calf if that flares up at the start of track work.
  8. Cups – These are the best thing I’ve found for self-treatment if I’m away from a Physio for a while. You put lotion on the problem area, then suction yourself up. I find them most effective when I move around with the cup on there (stretch out the muscle).
    • I’m told this is forcing the fascia to move more fluidly around the muscle. I have no idea if that’s true, or what the science is behind the mechanism. Fascia seems like this magical organ that is at the root of so many body problems. I just know that releasing fascia is my best found method of keeping injury-free… and this is the easiest way to do it by myself.
  9. Gua Sha – Graston and Astym tools are expensive. One of these is less than $10 on Amazon. The back of a butter knife or spoon from your kitchen is free…
  10. HR Monitor* – I am currently using the Apple Watch for heart rate variability, but I’m still figuring it out.
*These are products that I have been provided by Nike and other product sponsors. I’m not required to post about them, and I try to only go after sponsors for products I like!
Links to Amazon use Amazon Associates, so if it all works correctly, I would get a very small commission if you click on the link and buy from the window that opens.