Hey there and thanks for joining along on my comeback tour as I put in the work to break a decade old personal best.
Each week I’m posting updates on my progress, lessons learned along the way and sharing the workouts and exercises I’m depending on to reach my goal.
This has been a journey with plenty of bumps in the road, more about that in another post. Recently I got stuck sick in bed for about a week. This could have been an excuse to bail, but instead I doubled down and am now documenting the final training weeks leading up to my target event. Hopefully my lessons learned along the way can better some of you as you work for your own improvements.
Note: Sometimes I use “mile” and “1600 meters” interchangeably. I do know these distances differ by 9.34 meters. My previous PR was completed on a standard 400m track thus if 5:00 is run at a true mile road race the previous record will be beat and my goal accomplished.
WEEKLY COMEBACK REPORT: April 3 to April 9
The goal is simple break my personal records for the Deadlift and 1600 meter run within a week of each other. For me that is lifting 300 pounds and running sub five minutes. If I can accomplish that I will arguably be at my fastest and strongest!
This is the first update since being sick so much of last week was about resting up, getting lots of fluids and eating well. I did try a gym session the end of last week. My strength was limited but it felt good to be active again. The next day I felt up for a run and actually posted a surprising tempo effort knocking out two 3 mile efforts at 6:40 and then 6:05 averages.
With my training partner Doug focused on a 1:23:00 half marathon peaking early summer I agreed to the local Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon as an early fitness gauge. It just so happens the Skunk was held the end of this week. Still not feeling one hundred percent, so this week was about getting to race day ready to push Doug.
We did an easy 8 miles on Tuesday finishing at the track with 4x 200 and I got an nice surprise coming in on 33 seconds and feeling super smooth with little effort. The whole set felt perfect, like everything was working together just as it should. Clean, precise, flowing movements.
I was also good about using my Muse this week. For those not familiar Muse is an electronic headband you wear while meditating that pairs with your phone. It can evaluate your brain activity and give you instant feedback on how well you are keeping your mind quiet. I have had mine for a couple years now and became a beta tester for them in 2016.
Meditation has been a part of my routine in some form and varying degrees since high school. My college rowing coach even integrated regular meditation and visualizations into our practices. With my meditation habits oscillating over the years I can say I have noticeably more control over how I feel about pain, hard efforts, and staying focused when meditating daily.
There are also plenty of high performers acknowledging the benefits of training your mind. Tim Ferriss being one such performance addict experimenting with and touting the benefits of meditation in various forms.
So this week I was feeling better, getting a little taste of the peak form I was chasing and then we raced a hilly 13.1 miles.
The Skunk is a challenging course and our race strategy was to negative split it, or run faster in the second half. We would stay comfortable for the first half and make sustained efforts the second. True to our plans we dropped about seven seconds a mile for the second half finishing together at 1:30:25.
Not earth shattering, and more than seven minutes off Doug’s goal time but a good result non the less. I have only run over ten miles a handful of times in the last year. A lingering knee pain has regularly plagued me at eight miles. I know what it is and have been making progress. The race proved this as I made it the full 13.1 without pulling up lame.
Speed is not lost. Those 200’s earlier in the week were quick and smooth. Being sick did not totally wipe the slate clean.
There IS a way to turn that ship named progress back around.
The last miles of the race were downhill but I could not find another gear to take advantage of the change in grade. This stands out as a lack of muscular endurance and points to me needing some regular tempo work for some late stage oomph.
The race was also a good confidence builder. Not in that we were still about seven and a half minutes off Doug’s NYC qualifying time, but that we ran OUR race and did what we said we were going to.
When you do what you pledge, especially for yourself, you build integrity. The more you do something the easier it becomes.
This week’s biggest win was laying out the path and walking it.
NEXT COMEBACK STEPS:
- Mile re-tesing. My last 1600M trial was back on March 2nd. That resulted with a 5:30 in heavy wind. After some decent weeks of training plus the unplanned sick time it is time for another TT to gauge progress towards my goal and identify best training practices to focus on in the coming month
Daily meditations for continued mental focus and pain control. As little as 3 minutes counts though I would like to be up to 7-10 minutes. More meditation will mean better control in welcoming, and moving past, the uncomfortable points in the mile.
That’s all for this week. If you want to make sure you get update notifications about this experiment and other great training opportunities coming out of TGB be sure to submit your email below.