Week of 10/20/14 – 10/26/14: #streakfor33, days 6-12

week of 10/20/14 to 10/26/14

Monday: 3.3 miles (11:14 avg pace)
Tuesday: 3.1 miles (11:57 avg pace)
Wednesday: 3.3 miles (11:41 avg pace)
Thursday: 3.3 miles (11:52 avg pace)
Friday: 1.3 miles (11:43 avg pace)
Saturday: Halloween Hunt 5 Miler (10:29 avg pace)
Sunday: 3.3 miles (12:04 avg pace)

I did better with slowing down this week. However, I may be starting to show the beginning signs of overtraining, so I probably need to cut my mileage and slow down further for the next week or so. My legs are super heavy; even climbing stairs is a chore, although I’m not sore at all. I’ve been a little irritable and anxious, which I don’t know is from my training or from not sleeping well (which could also be from overtraining).

It’s also the end of October, which means I’m experiencing the Halloween and birthday stress that always comes with this time of year. (Why did I decide to time this running streak during this period? The same thing happened last year without a streak!)

In short, you probably don’t want to be anywhere near me right now. Ha!

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Week of 2/24/14 – 3/2/14: Country Music Half Training, Week 7

Almost halfway through the training cycle (although only about a third of the mileage), and less than two months to go until the half marathon! Unfortunately, this wasn’t my best week.

week of 2/24/14 to 3/2/14

Tuesday

I was feeling a little discouraged after Sunday’s run, so I decided to forgo my strides and just do my easy three. This week’s intervals were 15 minutes running, 2 minutes walking. I completed this with no issues while watching “Lilo & Stitch” on my phone.

Afterwards, since I wasn’t doing strides, I did ten minutes on the recumbent bike. This is one good thing about going to the gym; I would have no other way to crosstrain without it. I don’t like this gym’s recumbent bikes nearly as much as my last gym’s. I slide off the seat a lot and it says I don’t go as far (like an entire mile less), even though I’m putting in the same effort (like it says my rotations per minute are the same). Weird. But I’m not concerned about mileage on the bike, just trying to give my legs something else to do. I could definitely feel it the next day!

Thursday

Back to tempo runs for a couple of weeks! I thought about buying the digital download of “Frozen” to watch while I did this run, but I really wanted to wait for the Blu-ray. I compromised by downloading “Let It Go” to add to my running playlist. Best running song ever.

I started out with a ten minute warmup, then started at 5.2 with the goal to speed up to 5.6 over the course of thirty minutes. Two minutes in I got a terrible side stitch. I took a sip of water and tried to control my breathing and push through it, but it only got worse. So five minutes after starting my tempo pace, I stopped the treadmill and took four minutes to try to massage it out and stretch.

I hit the lap button on my watch to signify that I was starting my 30 minutes over and started back at 5.2. I made it seven minutes this time before the side stitch made me stop again. Frustrated, I took a two minute walk break, drank some more water, and focused on my breathing. I can usually get rid of a side stitch by either: massaging it, making sure I’m hydrated, or timing my breathing so my exhales are on the opposite foot of the side of the pain. None of these things were working.

I switched my music over to play “Let It Go” to focus my mind on something. I managed to get through the song three times (nine minutes) before I had to walk again. After another two minute break, I gave up and decided I was not going to get in a solid thirty minutes of nonstop tempo pace, but I could at least do thirty minutes over intervals.

I wasn’t sure exactly how long I had ran so far, so I gave it my best estimate. I ended up doing about 32 minutes total of tempo pace, broken up into six different intervals.

I was really frustrated at myself and the stupid side stitch that refused to go away. But I have another thirty minute tempo next Thursday, so hopefully I can knock it out then.

Saturday

I was hopeful going into Saturday’s run that it would be better. It wasn’t. The side stitch decided to make a reappearance. I ended up taking a couple extra walking breaks during my intervals. The side stitch finally went away (mostly), but it was replaced by some fantastic stomach problems! So I cut the run short after three miles because I wasn’t really in the mood for throwing up in the middle of a public park.

Sunday

With three out of four of my last runs being less than stellar, I was really lacking motivation on Sunday. Oh yeah, and it was 33 degrees and pouring rain. And lightning. I ended up going to the gym. I knew I was not going to be able to pull out the planned 9.5 miles, but I hoped to make it through at least three.

My head was so not into this run. I took one extra walking break in the middle of both my first and second 15 minute intervals. After that, I told myself I was almost to three miles and could stop after that. That placated my head enough to make it through the third interval with no extra walk breaks. I had almost been running for an hour at that point, so I decided to make it a nice even 60 minute run. Except when 60 minutes came, I was less than a tenth of a mile from doing a nice even five miles, so I ended up doing that.

I’m debating on what I should do for the upcoming week. I’ve thought about cutting my mileage a little and seeing if that helps, since I’m scared of overtraining. (Maybe I should have taken some more days off after the 15k?) But what I think I’m going to do is drop my intervals down to 5:1 and see if that helps with the head games. If I still can’t make my mileage, I’ll consider cutting that down in the following week.

Why My First Half Marathon Training Failed

I’ve been doing a lot of analyzing of my half marathon training that I started last September, so that I can make sure I don’t make the same mistakes this time around. I want to feel really strong on this half and not finish feeling like you’d have to pay me to ever run again.

  1. I ran my easy runs too hard.
    I didn’t have any specific speed days in my training plan, so all of my runs should have been run at a relatively easy rate. But six out of my first seven runs were all run at 5k speed. In fact, two weeks after starting training, I was already questioning if I was burning out or overtraining. My notes on the day I got injured state, “I started out trying to do intervals of 1 mile running, 2 mins walking, but that was exhausting me way too fast.” This led to…
  2. I skipped workouts.
    I think this was the main component that led to everything else. According to my training plan, my weekly mileage for the first 7 weeks should have been this:

    Week 1: 12 miles
    Week 2: 12.5 miles
    Week 3: 13.5 miles
    Week 4: 12 miles (recovery week)
    Week 5: 14 miles
    Week 6: 15 miles
    Week 7: 17 miles

    Instead it was this:

    Week 1: 12.3 miles (started out well!)
    Week 2: 7.8 miles
    Week 3: 10 miles
    Week 4: 8.1 miles
    Week 5: 13.7 miles
    Week 6: 10 miles
    Week 7: 11.1 miles

    I skipped workouts because I ran too hard in the beginning and because I let life get in the way.

  3. I didn’t listen to my body.
    Week 8 should have been a recovery week. I had a small ankle twinge, but I decided to do eight miles that weekend. I have no idea why. So, that week, instead of doing the 13 miles I was supposed to do, I did 16 and ended up with an injury.

    Skipping the recovery week would have been okay, but the huge jump in weekly mileage was not. Also, I definitely should have rested that ankle when it started to hurt, not after I couldn’t walk.

  4. My weekly mileage was still too low after the injury.
    After I took two weeks off, I gingerly started back running. My goal was to start at doing 12 miles my first week and then adding 2 miles to my long run until the taper week, topping out at 20 miles at Week 15. Which is not a lot for half marathon training, but I knew I wasn’t going to run the whole thing. The problem is my weekly mileage looked like this after the injury:

    Week 11: 10.7 miles
    Week 12: 11.8 miles
    Week 13: 10.9 miles
    Week 14: 12.4 miles
    Week 15: 22.8 miles

    Notice that huge jump between the last two weeks. That is bad. The only reason that didn’t adversely affect me is because that 22.8 mile week is the one that included my 12+ mile hike, which wasn’t really a run.

So, how am I remedying this with my current training plan? First of all, I have only missed one run and that was a speed workout that I skipped because I was listening to my body and not doing a hard workout when it felt like an injury might be coming on.

I have been monitoring my pace to make sure that I’m staying within specific zones for each run. Easy runs should, obviously, be slower than my speed days.

I have a weekly mileage goal that I have to hit each week in order to make progress. I enter it into Strava every Monday morning. I calculate it by adding up the mileage in my plan (I don’t include the mileage from my Tuesday strides because I won’t always do those), subtract half a mile to make sure I’m not pushing myself when my body says to take it easy, and then round down to the nearest whole number.

I’m halfway through week 3 of this plan and so far staying strong!

Restructuring the training plan…

My ankle is feeling a lot better, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to run on it by the weekend! With this in mind, I went ahead and restructured the remaining 7.5 weeks of my training plan.

The first thing I did was cut down on the weekday runs. Previously I was running between 9-13 miles during the week. However, with the way my schedule kept falling, I kept missing them, and the weeks when I could do all of them meant that I was increasing my mileage too much and possibly overtraining. So now weekday runs are kept to two 30 minute runs a week (approximately 5-6 miles) and one 30 minute walk.

Next, since I haven’t been running, and I want to ease back into it to avoid reinjury, I had to cut the mileage on my long runs coming up and ramp them back up to an appropriate distance. This has me starting at 2 miles (if I feel I can run by this weekend) and upping the distance 2 miles until I hit a max of 12 miles. Then I get one recovery week before the half marathon.

Week 1st Run 2nd Run 3rd Run Walk Long Run
11.18-11.24 rest rest rest 30 mins 2 miles
11.25-12.01 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 4 miles
12.02-12.08 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 6 miles
12.09-12.15 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 8 miles
12.16-12.22 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 10 miles
12.23-12.29 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 12 miles
12.30-01.05 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 5 miles
01.06-01.12 30 mins 30 mins rest 30 mins 13.1 miles!

I always knew that I would be taking this half marathon pretty easy, so all the hardcore training didn’t really make any sense and was just making me burn out. The real half training will start after the Disney half, when I start training for the Country Music half, where my goal is to run the whole thing without walking. But for now, it doesn’t make any sense when I plan on doing some walking and stopping for photos along the course.

Am I overtraining?

Wikipedia says, “Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness.”

I mentioned last week that I was concerned I was getting burnt out and how I was needing to use counting meditations as a way to get through even what should be easy runs. Before I started half marathon training, I was running about 3-4 times a week, roughly around 10-12 miles per week. Starting training did not really change that. My first week of training I ran 4 times or 12.3 miles. I’ve slacked off a bit since then. Last week I ran 3 times, or 10 miles. So it’s hard for me to believe that I’m overtraining, when I haven’t been doing anything differently, and especially since my mileage hasn’t even started to climb.

Yet I never feel recovered on my runs anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to four concerts in the last week, all of which I spent several hours standing. Plus October is busy wedding season. All I know is that my legs feel tired. All. The. Time. When I got done with a two mile run yesterday (that I walked part of), I nearly collapsed because my legs ached so bad. Stretching and foam rolling helped some, but I really don’t think I’ll be ready to run again tomorrow.

My half training looks like this (though the days can vary depending on my schedule):
First run (typically Tuesdays): 3-5 miles [currently at 3.5 miles]
Second run (typically Wednesdays): 2-3 miles [currently at 2 miles]
Third run (typically Fridays): 3-5 miles [currently at 3.5 miles]
Long run (typically Sundays): 3-14 miles [currently at 4.5 miles]

The long run is the most important, obviously, because it’s what increases my endurance to be able to last for 13.1 miles. I’m thinking of turning the week’s short run (the second run) into speed work. Those two being my hard workouts of the week, that means the two medium runs between them should be recovery runs. My current thought process is those are the ones I should skip if I don’t feel totally recovered when it’s time to do them. And at any time in any run if I’m feeling as achy as I felt during yesterday’s run, giving myself permission to stop. Overtraining will only lead to injury, and I definitely don’t want to be there again.

Who else has had to combat overtraining?