Running is hard sometimes

Aloha!  Our A/C is on the fritz again, so I’m hibernating in the basement while I write this, since it’s not 100 degrees down here.  I think ice cream at work tonight will be a necessity.

Anyway.

You know those runs that just knock the life out of you?  I had one of those this morning.  After an off day from running yesterday (I did put in an hour in the pool and an hour-long yoga class), I woke up early today and drove out to the canal for a change of scenery.  I was so excited for a nice 7-mile maintenance run!  Alas…it was not to be.  My legs felt off from the beginning, and running just felt hard.   It felt like I was hammering, but apparently I was running my easy/maintenance pace (around 7:30 per mile).   I did a terrible job of listening to my body when I should have taken it easy, no matter what the “pace” said.

Afterwards, I just felt completely discombobulated.  Which resulted in me drinking coffee for the first time in eight days…on top of a white duvet…live life on the edge, you know? 😉  (PS: this summer has unexpectedly resulted in my coffee consumption diving down to almost zero!  Weird.)

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I’m not even really sure why this run felt so difficult- it was humid, yes, but not extremely hot, and I wasn’t that sleep-deprived.  I rarely use a GPS (actually broke my GPS watch), but I downloaded Strava for this run and was very surprised at the end when my average pace was like 7:35.  It had honestly felt like I was hammering the crap out of some sub-7-minute miles.

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Oh, well.  The good news is, I had a good swim yesterday!  50 minutes of laps followed by 10 minutes of easy aqua jogging.  Afterwards, I went to a yoga class.  Swimming has never been the most enjoyable thing for me, although I became a believer in the power of cross training this past semester.  But this week, I’ve actually looked forward to getting in the pool, and as such have done two cross training sessions in the water!  Some days, the laps just click by rhythmically.  I would love to do my swims in a lake or similar beautiful, natural setting, but the same old 25-meter stretch of warm chlorinated water will have to do for now 😉

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I have to go cross train and lift soon, so that’s about it for now.  Working tonight after my gym session, running twice tomorrow, working again tomorrow night…it’s the summertime grind 🙂  Craving a nice, cold peach!

Pool workout: benefits of cross training!

When you have no Friday classes but still wake up naturally at 6 am and do a 70 minute pool workout…

The workout:

12 lap warm-up (lap = down and back)
4 x [6 laps hard/steady, 2 laps easy]
6 x [sprint down, easy back]
2 laps easy
5 x [submarine* down, easy back]
13 lap cool down

Total: 70 laps (3500 meters)

*submarine means swim under the water for as long as you can without taking a breath.  If you can make it all the way down, congrats– you are my idol!  This part of the workout made me breathe so hard, I thought my heart was going to come out of my chest.

The workout took about 70 minutes, and then I sat in the sauna and stretched for a bit.  Afterwards, I ate my pre-packed breakfast (chocolate banana overnight oats with plain nonfat Greek yogurt and peanut butter) before heading to the training room to do STIM and ice.  My feet are feeling a lot better while walking around, but it’s important not to push the impact too much too soon! Now I’m chilling in my favorite campus coffee shop, drinking coffee with almond milk and blogging instead of reading my accounting textbook 😉

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Cross training picture from the summer

Anyway, I thought I’d talk about some benefits of cross training!  When you’re injured, or fighting off little setbacks, there’s no excuse to not put in the work even if you can’t run.  (On the other hand, if you’re sick or have a serious injury, it’s absolutely okay to take some time off and give your body the rest it needs).

My go-to forms of cross training include the stationary bike, aqua jogging (don’t use the belt!), and swimming.  Our coach doesn’t love the elliptical, so we tend not to use it.

A few benefits of cross training:

  1. Reduces impact on your feet/joints.  If you’re in the middle of a high-intensity training block and your feet are screaming at you to quit pounding out 10 miles on the sidewalks every day (hey, relatable!), getting in the pool or on the bike can help you get in some volume in without risking injury.  It puts less stress on the weaker or more vulnerable parts of your body that are worn down by the constant pounding from running.
  2. Increases endurance, efficiency, and power.  As I said, some parts of this morning’s pool workout made me breathe harder than track workouts!  Good cross training form in the pool and on the bike also leads to greater efficiency by strengthening knee drive, arm swing, etc.
  3. Prevents burnout.  I’ll be the first to admit it– there are some days where I wake up and dread the day’s run.  “I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I hate running.”  Even if you are the world’s biggest lover of running, you’re not going to have a positive attitude every day.  However, throwing in a few cross training sessions can refresh your mind and body and keep your love for running going strong.  You look forward to something different, and you also end up looking forward to the next run because you had a day away from it!

Those are the biggest benefits for me.  There are myriad others, but I don’t want to make this post into a novel, so I hope the few that I mentioned will be helpful!

Training recap (2/22-3/6)

I may have given myself mild hypothermia from my post-long run ice bath today.

Oops.

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Anyway, as I sit here drinking hot tea huddled in blankets with the heater going full blast, I’ll recap the past two weeks 😉

Finally, finally, finally after a rollercoaster month of inconsistent training, I’ve been able to complete two weeks of “normal” training.  My body is feeling it…but that’s a good thing.

Week of 2/22-2/28:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift
Tuesday: 20 minute warm-up, drills, strides, fartlek (8 x [2:00h, 1:00e, 1:00h, :30e]), 15 min cool down, lower body lift (Total = 10 miles)
Wednesday: 60 min stationary bike
Thursday: AM: 40 min elliptical.  PM: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift, yoga
Friday: drills, 10 min run, 33 min progression run, 10 min run, 4 x 400m w/ 200m jog, 15 min cool down (Total = 11 miles)
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 11 miles

Total: 47 miles, 100 min XT

Week of 2/29-3/6:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift
Tuesday: 20 min warm-up, drills, strides, [2 x 1200m 4:42, 4:38, 2 x 800m 2:53, 2:54, 6 x 400m 80, 80, 78, 77, 76, 74], 23 min cool down, lower body lift (Total = 10 miles)
Wednesday: 60 min XT pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog)
Thursday: AM: 40 min stationary bike.  PM: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift, yoga
Friday: 21 min warm-up, 4 mile pace run (6:35, 6:33, 6:22, 6:23), 24 min cool down, lower body lift (Total = 10 miles)
Saturday: 25 min stationary bike, core, push-ups
Sunday: 11 miles

Total: 43 miles, 125 min XT


Three cheers for real training!  Putting in the work makes me satiated like nothing else.  I was exhausted at the end of last week but less exhausted this week (although this morning’s long run is starting to hit me…)

Last week’s long run was actually horrible; I felt shitty right from the get-go but struggled through by myself while progressively feeling worse the whole run.  This week’s long run was a lot better: I ran a somewhat erratically paced 5 miles with a friend from high school and then 6 miles by myself.  My iPod died after 6 minutes by myself, though!

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I sped up once I was on my own…miles 7 and 8 were uber hilly

This week’s workouts were really solid.  Tuesday was my first full track workout in seven weeks, and even though I didn’t feel amazing, it was thrilling to be completely back on the track.  Friday’s workout was “on your own”, so my friend and I headed out at 7 am in the middle of a freezing rain storm.  Ice pellets were literally stinging our faces to the point where we couldn’t open our eyes during the warm-up, but the workout itself was not bad.  For the conditions, it was a strong effort.

Knock on wood, I’m feeling good about my fitness level.  My first outdoor race (the 3k) is in a little less than two weeks, and I want to be ready.  I’m still not sure if I’ll be focusing on the 1500-3k or 3k-5k this spring, but I am open to whatever my coaches want me to do.

One of the perks of being home is the farmer’s market right down the street, so of course I stopped by before the long run.  Stocked up on butternut squash, spaghetti squash, pink lady and goldrush apples, and kale!

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And for my post-long run lunch, I had Siggi’s blueberry yogurt, a piece of 80% dark chocolate, an apple with peanut butter, and the same quinoa and chili I had for lunch yesterday!

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The afternoon has been filled with more house moving related activities, and now it’s time for a nap.  In addition to training this week, I’ll hopefully be doing fun DC activities and road trip adventures!

Anterior tibial tendonitis

I went to the orthopedist yesterday, and after several examinations of my right foot, he determined that I had anterior tibial tendonitis exacerbated by the overpronation that happens when I run, walk, and even stand.

The anterior tibial tendon is in the front of your ankle and top of your foot, and its main task involves lifting the foot up.   Tendonitis in this area can occur from activities such as running and walking.  Go figure!!

The orthopedist told me that the estimated recovery is…not really anything specified.  It can be anywhere between one week and six weeks.  Therefore, my plan of action involves pool running until the pain is completely gone, then some elliptical, then the transition back into running.

I haven’t made a decision regarding regionals yet.  Regionals is next Thursday, and I haven’t done a track workout since the 2 x 1000 I did last Tuesday.  I’ve done some easy runs since then, but absolutely nothing strenuous.  I honestly don’t know what kind of shape I’m in right now, or what kind of shape I’ll be in in a week.

Yesterday, I did a nighttime pool workout meant to mimic the track workout my teammates were doing.  I did: 2 x [1:30 hard, 1:00 easy, 2:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 1:30 hard, 1:00 easy, :40 hard, 1:00 easy].  I wasn’t that tired at the end, so I tacked on another 1:30 hard, 1:00 easy, :40 hard, 1:00 easy.  It definitely got my heart rate up, and it was more work than I’d done in a week!

Today involves 30-40 minutes of pool running, and we’ll see what happens on Thursday and Friday.  If there’s zero pain between now and Friday, I might try a few 400s on the track.  That probably won’t happen, though.  I’m really trying to be careful, although I’m also worried about regionals.  It is not that big of a deal if we don’t make it to indoor states in the relay.  It’s better that we don’t make it than we do make it and I’m out for the rest of outdoor or something.

My big TOK essay is due tomorrow, so I’m going to spend the rest of the time between now and when the pool opens working on it (or pretending to work on it!)  The pool doesn’t open until 5:30, so I’ve had two and a half hours to kill.