Hi there! Another week in the books and one closer to my deadline. Sunday capped off four weeks of building run volume and getting me safely and slowly back to my optimal running mileage. I recorded some more physiological progress on both the strength and speed aspects of my goal, but my proudest achievement was mental. Read on for the details.
I am so glad to have you joining along as I work to break a personal best of mine that has now stood for over 10 years.
Each week I’m posting updates on my progress, insights I learn along the way and sharing the training strategies I’m depending on to reach my goal.
If you want the full back story you can read about it in another post.
The quick and dirty is that recently I got stuck sick in bed for almost a week. This could have been an excuse to bail on my goal, but instead I doubled down and am now documenting my final training weeks leading up to my goal deadline of June 2,2017.
It is my intent that by posting the details of my experiences learned along the way I will better help you as you work on your own improvements. Maybe it can even be some motivation to challenge yourself to consider taking on a fresh fitness goal of your own.
Not to mention it is some extra accountability for me.
Disclaimer: 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 5:00.0 is run at a true mile road race the previous record will be beat and my goal accomplished.
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. These are long standing personal limits for me. If I can eclipse them I will arguably be at my fastest and strongest!
Not to mention my oldest 😉
TRAINING WEEK: APRIL 24 TO 30
The previous week was mainly about tracking progress since getting sick. For more on the full run down here is a link to last week’s report.
The short version is that I have improved by running a 5:13 for 1600m on the track last week. My strength sessions in the gym have also been regular and keeping me feeling strong, but still light on my feet. The end of last week’s report also includes more on my lifting strategy for this challenge.
Something that was not highlighted much was that while I did do a 1600 meter TT last week I also continued to build my weekly run volume. I did not taper, but rather trained through not wanting to waste precious days left to achieve my self induced deadline.
There is a very powerful effect from having a goal that you are fully committed to. You do the work. You find the time to make it happen and you get the work done.
For full transparency you will find an image from my personal training log for this week.
Generally I keep my training under 10 hours a week as more than that tends to leave me feeling drained the following week. In this case the overage was strategically planned.
(Click for bigger view)
Like I mentioned in the intro I was able to identify more positive changes this week. On the physical side I maintained a thirty plus mile week with three high intensity sessions and still pulled off a major result at the end of the week.
I high-fived myself for Saturday’s workouts as I woke up on the tired side of the bed, but followed through on completing the planned sessions.
One thing currently weighing on my confidence in running a five minute mile is my final kick. In years past I was able to depend on an ability to dig deep and grit out a blistering, for me, final lap. Lately I have been leading into my fourth lap with increasingly heavy and sluggish legs.
To counter this Doug and I have pumped up the tempo miles and both seen increases in our abilities to buffer lactic acid build up. But to have a truly inspiring turbo charge at the end of a race requires the mind as well. You have to be hungry for it.
Expecting it to be difficult and excited and eager for the challenge to welcome it.
That is what VO2 max intervals are for. At least in my mind. Jack Daniels uses them heavily in the fourth phase of his training periodization to make physical improvements, but more importantly build mental hardship.
VO2 max intervals are done at a pace you could maintain for 10 to 15 minutes. While not all out, this pace combined with an active recovery keeps the heart rate elevated getting you back into quality high intensity work quickly. While you are in this high intensity zone your body is producing more lactic acid than it can process. You feel the burn as lactic acid builds up in your system during an interval. You have to learn to run through its effects. Motivate yourself and maintain coordination of your movements as best possible.
Lots to manage right?
These VO2 workouts are great learning experiences as they will shine a light on things you did not know about yourself. Good and limiting.
In my Saturday session I took on a 4x 1200 track workout. I was shooting for 4:09 on my intervals with four minutes active recovery. The hard earned pat on the back came after a lap and a half into the final interval. During the previous intervals I had only allowed myself to think “No judgement. Just smooth and extend.”
I literally repeated this mantra in my head to remind me I was out to let my body do what I trained it to do. Not let my mind judge how I was feeling and allow it to attach an outcome to that feeling. I knew if I kept my running smoothly it would be efficient and fast.
The “extend” part came was a reminder ono form changes I was trying to make after watching last week’s video of the TT. I need to extend through my trailing leg and set my lead foot down underneath myself.
Coming up on the 800 mark my mind let a gremlin in.
It told me I had already logged plenty of quality miles that week. It reminded me I had started the workout tired. That little nasty voice debated that since the last time I did this workout I only completed three intervals, so I already proved I have progressed. That gremlin told me I was hurting, tired, and I could stop at the 800.
Then came the back slapping, high five moment. When I found my mantra: No judgement, just smooth and extend.
I let go of my judgments of what my body could do and held onto the mental state that would get it done. Last interval hit 4:09 on the dot. All four completed. Finishing the full workout out was just awesome. I had done what I said I was going to and won a key battle against limiting self talk. That experience was going in my personal treasure chest to draw on later.
Not only did I have big performance on the track I went straight to the gym and knocked out three sets of deadlift at two hundred and seventy five pounds. Completing number three on last week’s Next Steps.
Quick note: I do not normally recommend lifting straight after a track session. This is risky and I did so only after plenty of stretching and with the intention of walking away should I feel any muscular failure or extreme tightness. To also minimize risk of injury I was only lifting to about knee level. Then dropping the weight. This skips much of the eccentric loading that happens when lowering the weight.
The weekly volume blew past ten hours with Sunday’s cycling. This was expected and planned for with next week being a recovery and absorption week. Hollie, my wife, partook in a local relay race called the Seneca 7. Teams of seven run rotating legs around Seneca lake to complete a total of 77.7 miles as a group. Her team not only ran their individual legs they each biked between their running segments.
Even adventuresome women can use a little help so I was brought along bike with a trailer carrying extra food and gear. While the cycling pace is not blistering, towing the equivalent of a small child from dawn to dusk is a challenge in its own right. We have done this event in the past and had the pleasure of intense headwinds combined with continuous climbs for the second half of the ride.
This year turned out as close to perfect as possible with the weather cooperating and everyone enjoying a great day around the lake.
It was a happy moment as we drove home at the end of the day. The sun low in the sky throwing warm rays across her smiling, beautiful face. Tired, but content she said “I’m so glad we get to do things like this together.”
Where the mind leads the body follows.
I am a coach and trainer. I help others ask more of themselves and better themselves. This week is an oh so important reminder that the most important improvements we can make are not always with our bodies.
The brain is a muscle. It succumbs to the “Use it or Lose it” rule.
Whether that is memorizing facts for tests in grade school, or solving dilemmas at work, or prioritizing energy and focus at home. You can teach the brain to make small goals and achieve those goals building up to bigger ones you might have not even thought possible.
If you listen to your gremlin it might tell you you have never done that before and list the reasons why you should not even try. You have the option to take the road less taken. You can choose to go where you do not have to judge yourself based on past experience.
Rather you can set the goal. Set your mind right and get in the habit of proving you can can keep promises to yourself. Making this a habit you do regularly will then allow you to be effected by another proven rule: “The more you do something the easier it becomes.”
This week I proved I have set my mind and kept my promise to ask for more.
With five weeks to deadline I need to keep building on my greatest strengths. Many people get fixated on fixing weaknesses, but most outliers are fantastic at leveraging their natural abilities.
So what are my strengths? Right now I’d have to say consistently training. Achieving smaller short term goals that are leading me towards my main focus. This has kept me focused, motivated and driven without being overwhelmed or taking major risks.
It might sound boring but the next step is to absorb the work I have done and continue doing what I have been doing.
Recovery week, decrease weekly stress on the body to allow it to absorb the last three weeks
Continue Tempo or VO2 max running in shorter, less taxing, portions
That wraps up this week’s report. Stop by next week to see what happens next. If you want to get update notices about this experiment and other great training opportunities coming out of TGB go ahead and submit your email below.
If you have taken on your own PR chase I’d love to hear about it. Drop a line in the comments below, and let me know what your go to workout is.