Last week I began taking my rest and recovery much more seriously, aiming to go to bed a bit earlier, but I still found myself a little sluggish on my midweek workouts and really tired by the end of the week. I wasn’t sure if this was a training issue, a nutrition issue or a work-related issue, so this week took steps to work on all three (mainly by going to bed early and adding extra snacks to my day!). I’m now feeling MUCH better, although I am no closer to knowing which of the issues was at the root of the problem – perhaps a bit of all three! There’s still quite a lot going on at work, but I’m taking care to manage it a bit better.
This week was another example of being flexible with a training plan. When Steve writes my plans we account for any “knowns” i.e. any commitments that would get in the way of a workout. We knew that in February I would have two parents’ evenings which completely rule out a workout, and this week I had the first of those two evenings. Other than that, my plan was as standard:
Monday – swim
Tuesday – bike intervals at the gym
Wednesday – no workout due to parents’ evening
Thursday – PT session + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun + Hatha yoga
Sunday – long run
Monday’s swim felt pretty good after the previous day’s long run. I had my usual poor first handful of lengths and then it all clicked into place and I felt comfortable going up and down the pool. I also got my working week off to a good start by heading to bed at 9:30pm!
On Tuesday I headed to the gym for my bike reps. This was one of the workouts I found tough last week, but this week a very interesting thing happened which may shed some light on that. I think I was on the same bike and as I started my warmup I once more thought it seemed a little harder than I would like – better than last week, but still not quite right. I had 18 reps to do, but on the sixth the bike stopped responding to me changing the resistance. I tried one more rep, this time trying to change the resistance on the screen rather than the button on the side, but again no change so I had to stop the bike and move to another. Because of the break, I spent a minute just pedalling at a low resistance before starting my new rep, but as soon as I got to the resistance I wanted I noticed how much easier it felt than on the previous bike and it continued that way for the rest of the workout. I now think that the calibration on the bikes is the problem, with the first bike probably working at a higher resistance than the second at the same setting. If that calibration is too high, then that would explain my difficulties last week. I’ll be interested to see how this feels in the week ahead if I make a point of using a completely different bike.
After being able to do little more than ensure I got my 10,000 steps on Wednesday, getting back to it on Thursday was welcome. My PT sessions are still focusing on work on knee drive, hip strength/mobility and upper back mobility. This week I spent time using both of the core momentum trainers (not at the same time, although Steve might have ideas now!) and at one point the workout spilled out into the corridor!
Then it was my Ashtanga yoga class which is always a highlight of my week. I love stretching my body, settling my mind and it being a Thursday makes me feel like the weekend has almost arrived. I’m still loving my new yoga mat, but must find some time to leave it unrolled so that it will sit a little flatter.
Compared to last week, Friday felt much better. Granted I was a bit later in bed on Wednesday night thanks to the parents’ evening, but the rest of the week I was in bed at 9:30pm to maximise my sleep. I also made some nutritional tweaks which have made me feel much better. This meant that I was quite productive when I got home on Friday so I caught up on laundry, blogged and had a chance to relax before heading out with Steve to eat. This week I was able to enjoy my meal rather than mechanically eating it to get the energy in and as a treat we tried this limited edition gin afterwards:
There had been some snow on Friday morning which made for a very “interesting” drive to work, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on Saturday morning for parkrun. A peek out the window revealed that the snow had melted but while the actual temperature was above freezing (just!) the air felt bitter so it seemed colder. I looked out some warm kit and opted for my new Salomons again as I anticipated a lot of mud.
I was very aware that I hadn’t run since last weekend and that both of my runs last weekend were slower paced so my legs hadn’t turned over quickly for about a week and a half. That meant that while I felt refreshed, it was a bit harder to move as quickly as I would like. Still, given the very muddy conditions I was pleased to finish in 24:21. I was running a bit quicker than that a month ago, but the underfoot conditions were much better then so I’m not too worried about it.
It was the last Hatha yoga class in the block (we start again in a couple of weeks) and I really enjoyed it. My body really liked the poses we did and my mind benefited from beginning the class in savasana to settle down after my run.
For the remainder of Saturday my focus was on resting and recharging my body ahead of my Sunday long run, which this week was 14 miles. I had felt the last couple of miles to be a bit more challenging over my 12 mile run last week, so decided to tackle near enough the same route this week, but with an extra loop added in early on to make up the additional 2 miles. This seemed a good way to chart my progress and compare with last week.
Just like Saturday, the temperature was above freezing but the air was likely to feel colder, so after suffering really sore fingertips when I took my gloves off at the end of the run last week, I planned ahead, packing an additional pair of gloves and a pack of hand warmers (a tip I pinched from Hungry Runner Girl – thanks Janae!).
Although chilly, I enjoyed my Sunday run. I felt much better than last week, ran a faster average pace (but still within the limits of my self-declared ideal long run pace – just!) and was still feeling strong in the closing stages – I even had to make an effort to slow down. As for my hands, I decided to stop for my gel at mile 10 and change my gloves. I also put my hand warmers inside my gloves so my hands felt nice and toasty by the time I got home. Perfect!
Although I missed out on a run this week, overall it was a pleasing week with things feeling like they’re coming together. It’s still early days and there’s a long way to go until I’m on that start line in April, but right now I feel strong and ready to keep on training. Bring it on!
What makes you feel strong?
Any issues to overcome in your training?