Ehh…. I have probably used this entry name before. It’s just too hard to resist the wordplay.
Wednesday was our first track workout since January 14! We kept getting mid-week snow days, canceling our Wednesday track workouts.
The canceled track workouts are what resulted to my two snowy fartlek adventures. It was the first time that we all met on the track (there are about 150 people on the training team) so it was crowded. The group does a great job managing the different groups though; the inside lanes were for the faster groups, the outside lanes were for the slower groups (with cones to mark accurate distances), and the middle lanes for recovery and passing.
I am happy to report there were no collisions!
Our workout was 3x800m + 3x600m w/ 200m active recovery. My goal for the 800′s were 3:00 and my goal for the 600′s were 2:05. The paces are based on McMillan’s running calculator for a 38:00 10k.
I was pretty happy with this workout. The 800′s were tough because there are so many people in our group aiming for the same time so our pack was really crowded. Even though I felt good on them, I couldn’t open it up because I was boxed in and my stride length was often choppy.
During the 600′s, though, there was a miscommunication and half our team went to one starting line and the other half went to another. This actually worked out in our favor because it decongested our group. I was able to really open up on those 600′s and was happy with the finish. The workout felt really short since it was easy to break it down into 2 parts and both distances are pretty manageable, mentally.
I am finally beginning to feel like I have my legs back under me. The endurance is not there (BLEH long runs.) but the 10k training team has provided a lot more structure and consistency to my training. Those things are pretty important, I guess…
I can’t believe it has been two weeks since surgery. When you’re laying around on bed rest, the thought of feeling better seems really far off. Not that I was being pessimistic, but when you have all day to just think about how bad you feel, it doesn’t seem like good days will come. Recovery has been going really well and I feel about 85% back to normal. This past week I have been able to walk around a little bit more and even went out to eat a few times. That’s a 100% increase on what I was able to do the week before.
I lucked out a little bit before going back to work for the first time. We had another snow day (yes, day #3 for the 3 inches we got on Sunday, snow day #11 for the school year) but teachers had to come in two hours late. I had a post-opp appointment scheduled for the afternoon, though, so I only worked for a few hours. Those few hours allowed me to test out how I would feel being up for an extended amount of time and acclimated back to the classroom.
The most surprising news of all came when the doctor said I can start running next week! That’s a much sooner recommendation from the original six weeks prescribed! I don’t know if I will start up next week because I am still nervous that something will go wrong (that’s normal, right?) despite assurance from the doc but I will probably increase my walking intensity (can walking and intense be used in the same sentence?!).
Okay, okay. Not trying to bust on walking. Just bitter and want to feel 100% to run again. 🙂
It’s almost April so that means.. it should be starting to get warm…soon? That’s what I’ve heard so let’s hope Mother Nature steps up her game.
Am planning on “jogging” this week and start getting for again. Excited but not looking forward to the pain of the first few runs post 6 weeks off..
Enjoy your Monday! Go on an adventure and start your week off right.
Coaching cross country and track has taught me many things in the past few years and I am constantly surprised by new questions and comments I hear every day in practice or at meets. Because I have been a runner for my entire life, I take for granted what people already know about the sport and probably overlook some important details that could be very valuable, especially to new runners.
One of the things I never thought about until last week was the difference between running and racing. One of my new athletes ran nearly 3 minutes faster from their first race on a Wednesday to their second race on that Saturday (remember high school racing schedules?). I asked her how she dropped so much time in just one week and she simply said, “I realized there was a difference between running and racing.”
It seems like a simple concept but for an athlete who is new to long distance running, where “speed” is not how fast you can sprint 100 yards, I see where this may get tricky.
As a coach, I feel that I failed to communicate with my new runners that these races are a time to compete, a time to put together all the pieces of the miles and workouts they have been doing the past few months. So how can I explain to runners the difference between when they go out for a tempo run or do a workout and when they put on their spikes and jerseys?
- Tapering: We taper and rest for races to feel as strong and fresh as possible, so the hard work we have been doing the past few months can payoff without feeling tired, heavy, or burnted out. Workouts are when we want to learn to push through pain and fatigue and do not need to be rested.
- Adrenaline: There is something to be said for the nerves that carry you through the race on race day. You can easily hit splits during a race, consecutively, that seemed like a struggle during workouts.
- Crowd Support: Going off adrenaline, crowds at races always add to the excitement of race day. No matter where the crowds are cheering, I can’t say too many runners would complain about hearing words of encouragement. Crowds can also help carry runners to a fantastic finish.
- Preparation: Race day is where you put together every single ounce of sweat you put into the season. Every long run, every tempo run, the corework–>it all has a purpose and that is to feel as strong and as fast as possible on race day.
- Strategy: Racing requires more strategy than workouts. Typically in workouts you are trying to achieve a certain goal (certain splits, fast finishes, etc) and can afford to take some risks in pushing the pace. Race day is when you want everything to go as smoothly as possible and, to be frank, beat other runners. With experience, you learn to pace better, to run in a pack, to learn how to sit and kick, and learn when to take the lead.
Comfort Zone: Racing requires getting out of your comfort zone….waaaaay out of your comfort zone. Workouts are designed to not only get you stronger but to mentally and physically prepare you for the pain you will experience during a race. You need to learn how to shut off those little voices in your heard and push through the **temporary** pain!
- Teammates/Support: After high school, not too many of us can enjoy the luxuries of training with and running for a team. It is such a unique experience and I hope I can provide an experience for my athletes that was just as good as my own. Teammates are so supportive during a race because they know what your exact goals are and the fear of disappointing them was always a strong motivator for me. As we get older, we find different support systems for our goals that our just as important, including club members, spouses, and our children.
I love all the new things I learn from my athletes and coaching continues to teach me new things about a sport I thought I knew so much about.
Last week, I wrote a blog post about the difference between running and racing and the factors that contribute to why you perform better on race day. The adrenaline, the cheering, the taper, the racing gear—it all has an effect and it is important to recognize race day is the time to put all the work you have done into play and show off what you have been working so hard for. These goals can vary from taking home the gold, running a personal best, or simply finishing a certain race distance.
To piggyback off of that blog post, it is important to recognize how much putting in such a hard effort has on you AFTER the race. One of my athletes has had a breakthrough lately and the week following a tremendous personal best, she has been plagued with fatigue, aches and pains, and not her best workouts. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and you can tell she was frustrated to come off such a high from running a PR with a series of lows.
I reminded her that she is going to be tired from running so hard. Your body can’t handle putting a 110% effort, day in and day out. She is tired because she worked hard, because she truly gave it everything she had and that is exactly what you need to do on race day.
After running a good race, I think it is really easy to be motivated and want to go longer on your runs and want to go faster in your workouts because you got a taste of what all the hard work has been for but you really need to manage the highs and lows running has and listen to your body. Coming off a good race, you need to remember your body does need rest, you do need to take the time to cool-down and stretch after, and you do need to stay on top of taking care of yourself and doing the same things that you did that led up to you feeling your best (sleep, nutrition, focus). If you have done the work, taking a few days easier will not hurt your fitness and allow you to come back the next race fresh.