I’m reminded of how I do best when I have structure and a schedule of weekly targets to reach. I’ve now finished week 2 of my Endure Strong coaching and I’m really pleased with my progress in the program so far. My plan calls for 6 days of running, 3 of which are easy days, 2 speed-work days, and then my long run. My plan itself doesn’t have a taper until the very end of the training, though the intensity of the speed work seems to fluctuate and I like the variance between weekly routines.
This week I had to do a tempo run… my first time, and I was a little intimidated by the numbers. The pace I had to achieve for that run was lofty; possibly something I could do at my peak, but I’m definitely not there at the moment. I was tempted to get discouraged, but I told myself to just push as much as I could for this workout, and work harder on my other speedwork days to make up the difference. I’m also more aware of the fact that I am just not at my peak energy level when I do morning workouts. I love to get a workout done at the start of the day, but my runs are always the slowest, and I seem to just drag a bit. Not necessarily the case on race day when I have adrenaline to help, but during training runs, this is definitely a pattern for me. Given our weather is warming up steadily, I may just need to live with this fact for now and embrace that my race is in a less humid place in July, but if anything, I just need to factor it into my plan and make sure I don’t get too discouraged. I definitely see an improvement in my pace when I run in the later afternoon or evening, but that’s just not always feasible with my schedule.
This week, we also had a coaching call with Jared. We currently have those bi-weekly but this was my first call since really being in the weeds of the program. It was really encouraging hearing people voice some of the questions I had in my head (What if I can’t meet the pace of my tempo run? What if I have to move around some workouts? Etc.) and it helped my mindset for the remaining runs I had scheduled during the week.
Another benefit from being in this format program is that not only am I tracking my workouts, including cross training and strength training, but it’s really made me hone in on my nutrition. What’s the point of all of this hard work if I’m fueling my body with junk? I’ve been concentrating on tracking my food and macros, making sure I’m getting enough carbs, protein, etc. and trying to plan my meals ahead of time so I’m able to prepare foods instead of eating out and going to processed goods. It’s not 100%, but definitely better than I’ve been doing. Following a routine really does help keep me accountable at the end of the day.
We went camping this weekend, which meant that our schedule was a bit different than usual. But I packed my running shoes and gear, and got in a few miles while we were out there. With camping, I also got a lot of activity in from playing in the lake with the kids, setting up and packing up, etc., and immediately came home to gardening work that needed to be seen to before the forecasted rain started. What this all comes down to was that by the time I got to my long run, I was exhausted. My legs felt heavy and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it without ending up more drained than I should be at that effort. But thanks to the coaching call, I didn’t have guilt over it. I hit reset on my mind, finished the run (with a 5k instead of the planned 6 miles), and went home and did some strength training. After that, it was off to Mother’s Day celebrations with the family, and some downtime after a busy weekend. I still hit my weekly miles; exceeded them as a matter of fact. I also know next weekend shouldn’t be quite so hard. I plan on getting in a decent long run then, making up for this Sunday’s shortened attempt.
On to week 3! Things I’m looking forward to this week? I have a 4 mile run broken out into 2 miles each at 10k pace, and then more strides later in the week. I’m not teaching as much this week… James was supposed to be traveling for work but now is staying home but will be on a crazy schedule. So I’ll be doing more coordination of the boys schedules. The good part being that I won’t have to get up for early morning runs (because I can’t leave and need to manage the morning routines), but I should be able to get in some evening workouts instead. I did load my workouts into my Garmin Forerunning 235 manually, but I’m excited for some of these speed drills to now have my watch prompting me for them. I used this feature once before, but as I wasn’t following a formal plan, so it just didn’t seem important. I think it’s really going to come in handy this time around with all of the varied routines.
Also, I don’t want to forget to mention that it’s the end of week 2 of the BibRave Strava Run Streak! We are 12 days in and I’ve managed to stay on it even while camping. It was actually nice to get out and explore other parts of the camp ground and trails than I’m used to. I’m not usually ‘forced’ to do my runs on trails, but as it makes me happy to do them, I don’t mind one bit!