6 Weeks to Bay Breeze 10K
11 Weeks to Oakland Half Marathon
First weekly training journal of 2012! One week down, fifty-one to go.
And holy base training, Batman. What a week it's been. Not in terms of mileage, or eventful-ness; just in terms of what I was expecting after not running a single mile for a month.
During the last three weeks before CIM, I suffered from some serious training burn-out. It was a good thing I was tapering because forcing myself to run five and six times a week had by then become a serious psychological battle. On December 5, I told myself, "Kudos to you for hanging in there. For the rest of the month, no running unless you really, truly want to. No schedules. No 'have to.' You worked really hard for the last few months, and you deserve a good, long break."
So I didn't run. For a month. I just never felt the urge (which I figured was just as well, given that I had a few niggling aches & pains that probably needed a chance to completely heal). But on January 2nd, I set up my Garmin a la ultra-RoadBunner (distance only), laced up my running shoes, and set off on my usual six-mile loop.
Let me tell you. For the first time, I think I really, truly empathize with not-so-active folks just starting to take up running. That run sucked ass. ASS, I tell you. I was not above slowing down a little as I approached the corner so as to catch the red light. Oh no no no.
My friend Teresa (who also ran CIM last month) has apparently been feeling the same way:
(Jessica & I ran track together back in the day. Her first marathon was last April.)
I knew that four weeks of no running would take its toll and I would have some fitness to make up. However, I had no *idea* it would be this dramatic, that I would be counting down tenths of miles on 4 & 6 mile runs and at a 9:00+ pace to boot. (I went ~3 months without running at the end of 2010 because of my hip, but I started back so slowly & gradually that I never really noticed the effect on my fitness.) Had I known, "You deserve a month off" would have become "NO ONE deserves to feel this bad on an 'easy' training run." I would have forced myself out the door for a short jog *at least* a couple of times per week, and gladly.
Monday: Strength work + 6 miles "easy." By which I mean ass-hard, in spite of the fact that I was running at a pace that, four weeks ago, I would have called leisurely. I can't be sure, but I think the last half-mile was actually harder than the last two or three miles of CIM. The level of soreness the next day was somewhat awe-inspiring. And GAWD did my feet hurt (!??).
Tuesday: Strength work + 4 miles "easy," with hills. I stopped and rested at the top of each one. Which meant every couple of blocks. Feet still hurting weirdly.
Wednesday: No running; karate + strength work.
Thursday: 6 miles easy. I kind of thought this run might have felt a little easier than the previous two. Or it could have just been that I'd been expecting it to suck, and bad things always seem a little less bad when you know they're coming.
Friday: Strength work + 4 miles easy. Still feeling like a 200 pound walrus with emphysema, but getting it done. Enough foot pain after this one to cause a little limping (?).
Saturday: No running; strength work.
Sunday: 6 miles easy + strength work. On Sunday it was hot as balls, by which I mean it was almost 70. (Hey, it's January.) I think this run was maybe very slightly less hellish than the previous ones. On the other hand, six miles feels really hard right now. To the extent that I find myself using all the same mental tricks as I did on my long runs during marathon training.
Grand Total: 26 miles
I didn't really set an "official" goal for this first week, just because I wasn't sure how I was going to feel, but in the back of my mind I'd been kind of hoping for 20-30 miles, so not too shabby. It's been hard to force the rest days, since there's a part of me that thinks I should be running any time that I'm physically capable of it in order to get past this unpleasantness as quickly as possible. Fortunately, the rational part of me knows that less-than-peak fitness + not enough rest = injury-ville. For the next few weeks, I'm hoping to increase my mileage by ~3-5 miles per week, which seems pretty reasonable.
By Sunday, the bizarre foot pain was mostly gone. Other positives this week include no shin splints and no PT tendon pain (I've gone AirCast-free 3 runs out of 5), and as of Sunday evening I feel great. I'm still having some tightness in my chest during the runs; it's not really full fledged asthma, but I'm clearly not quite back to normal yet, either.
By the by, I'm experimenting with tracking mileage online. I've never done it before, so (as you can see on the sidebar there) I'm trying out both DailyMile and RunningAhead. At some point I expect one of them will speak to me (or just amuse me) more & I'll give up the other, but for now everything is in both.
Happy first week of 2012! :)