Training ebs and flows like other aspects of life. It has its own peaks and valleys. This week was a lesson in moving past the valleys. It was also a good reminder that recovery has its challenges as well. Read on to see what I took away from my not so easy week and what needs to happen to stay on track over the next four weeks.
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 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 a bit of motivation to challenge yourself to consider taking on a fresh fitness goal of your own.
It is also 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: MAY 1 to 7
The last week in April finished three weeks of building volume. I was racking up small wins week after week, able to document regular progress. This build in volume finished with me supporting my wife at the Seneca Seven relay event. This is a race in which a team of seven women (Hollie’s team was all women) alternate running sections of a 77.7 mile course around Seneca Lake in upstate New York. Each team member ends up running about 11 miles and in between runs they bike to their next starting point.
I helped out by spending the day towing a baby trailer full of team food and gear to help make their biking portions easier. This is a great event and we had an awesome day. The team even finished 3rd overall in the women’s cycling category. A great result for the wifey, other team members, and a good long resistance workout on the bike for me leading into this week’s recovery days.
For full transparency below is an image from my personal training log for this week.
(Click for bigger view)
The goal of the week was recovery. I had strategically been pushing the envelope the last couple weeks with increasing volume and now it was time to absorb that work. The plan was to reduce stress on the body enough to let the legs get back to 100% and loosen up to go into another heavy three weeks of workouts.
The reality ended up being a week of tight legs and workouts that were too intense. As a coach it is often my job to remind others they are going too hard on their easy days. I could have used a dose of my own advice.
My body was tight and sore the beginning of the week, so I took the first two days completely off. It was really Thursdays’ run that got me off track. This was a tempo-long-tempo workout. The whole thing ended up being about an hour and a half and jacked plenty of stress back onto the body during what was supposed to be a rebuilding week.
I rationalized putting this run on the schedule as it was later in the week. I thought I would be pretty much recovered by Thursday and able to complete the workout AND still finish off the week fully primed. Another motivator was that I knew my training partner Doug needed more tempo work to stay on track for his goal.
We both floundered late in this workout turning out disappointing performances. The pacing issues were most likely due to another mistake of not taking in adequate nutrition, but in the bigger picture my body was in recovery mode and this run jarred it with a shocking dose of stress.
The result was closing out the rest of the week feeling run down, tight and slow.
I had also really wanted to sneak in another 1600TT. The weather cooperated on Saturday and I went for it despite knowing something was off during my warm up. While there were no disastrous injuries the trial produced a less than desirable result. The splits were way off my goal pace of 5:05 for the workout.
In fact I threw in the towel at the twelve hundred. This cut me deep as I had vowed to finish the mile effort no matter what. I knew from last week’s 4x 1200 workout I could pull out a big effort even when it felt like I was spent.This week I did not believe. My head was not in it.
While cutting this TT short was disappointing I did still pull a gem from the wreckage.
Where the mind leads the body follows.
This was last week’s takeaway and here it is again. I did not have the confidence to finish that last lap. My judgement had already ruled that the tempo run had drained me and there was no way I had it in me to perform as intended at the TT.
I gave up on myself mid-run, lost faith and drained my confidence. In place of supportive traits fear filled in. Fear of injury, not achieving my goal of the day or the bigger goal further down the road. So what was salvageable from this wreckage sunk by fear?
Realizing fear does not have to last and rule me.
It was a moment of weakness not a definition of what I am capable of. I was not as strong or fast as I wanted to be. That does not mean I am worth less as a person or should beat myself up over a result that did not meet my expectations. I tried and failed, but at least I tried.
What did it get me?
The reminder that I can be my own worst enemy so be good to myself. Build myself.
What led to my giving up?
Not hitting my early splits and feeling worn down going into the last lap.
How can I counteract this fear?
Build confidence in my ability to run at, or faster than, goal pace.
Get back to speed work.
While working more tempo into the week and trying to increase my body’s ability to flush lactic acid I have not logged much top end speed work. Time to shift back.
One workout a week needs to be focused purely on race pace or faster. This workout will be between two and three miles of work intervals to build confidence in holding race pace for more than the goal distance of one mile.
This does not mean Doug and I have to give up the tempo.In fact we can tack on fast 200s at the end of our tempo runs. This is a training programming trick I picked up from Jack Daniels. Adding rep paced work at the end of tempo sessions make sure the legs do not forget what top speed feels like and also builds muscular endurance.
Speedwork at 5:00 pace or faster
Continued tempo session
Regular post run stretching to keep problem areas loose
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.