Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Clamoring back on the wagon....

In a way, the timing of my ill-fated 5K was good. My taper happened to coincide with some busy weeks at work, and the week after when I couldn't run because of my messed up calf, I was traveling for a kind of intense workshop with K-12 math teachers. I usually stop lifting the week or two before a race, which worked out well since there was no time for it anyway, and I didn't feel the need to jump right back into it the week after.

But now I'm back home, and not traveling for more than a day or two at a time (that I know of) for a good while, and work is a bit calmer, so it is time now to clamor my way back up onto the srsbzns training wagon and get my shit at least in the same general vicinity as together.

How the wagon feels sometimes

(Also, I ran just a few easy miles on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since the 5K and my leg feels back to normal, so hopefully it won't revolt again!)

I know that sometimes people lament their inability to do something consistently, day in and day out, but honestly, I've come to realize over the years that that's just life. It's impossible to train hard core day in and day out, to eat like a lean mean machine year round, to get in the strength work and stretching and rolling and whatnot come hell or high water. You just can't. Nor should you!

And that doesn't just apply to we humble age groupers. Even most professional and elite athletes make a real point of taking breaks and letting their bodies and minds fully recover before launching into another super intense training cycle (and the internet is littered with the cautionary tales of those have tried to go hard week after week and year after year and suffered physical setbacks, mental burnout, or both). So I don't feel bad about having had a few easy weeks and one completely off before I for-realsies put that 1:35 half marathon in the crosshairs & prepare to take a big ol' fatty swing at it come October.

While training for CIM last year, I kind of threw the time goal out the window & instead focused on process goals, which worked out pretty darn well, so that's what I'm trying to do this time around as well. (I mean; I still have 1:35 in the back of my mind, but on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, I'm going to not worry about the numbers on the clock & instead concentrate on the process.)

So. Here are the goals:

Process Goal #1: Sleep more.

Honestly, I truly believe that this is the crux of everything, the lynch pin that will probably make or break my plans to train the crap out of the next three months and destroy 13.1 miles on October 8. If I can nail this one, I've got a chance. If I can't, then there's almost no point. If you read this blog you are probably well aware of the relationship between athletic improvement and getting lots and lots of sleep, but if not, here's a couple of links you can check out.

Sadly, getting enough sleep has *always* been my Achilles hill, and I've tried so, so many times to address it with only temporary or limited success. So I'm going to try getting a bit more aggressive about it:

  • See someone new to try to deal with my recurring insomnia issues. I've already started doing this, so hopefully throwing a little $$ at a professional will help as long as my insurance isn't completely decimated in the coming months. (THANKS SOOOO MUCH CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS YOU ARE THE BEST.)
  • Set an alarm at 9pm to remind me to start getting ready for bed. Generally if I can be in bed with the lights off by 10 (and not staring at the ceiling with insomnia), I'm golden. But, the way this usually plays out in practice is that at 9:45 I'm like, "Well, time to get ready for bed," and then it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to actually accomplish this, or alternatively, "Well, I guess I should get ready for bed SHIT when did it become 11:00/11:30/midnight???" We'll see how this plays out, particularly on karate nights when we don't even leave Berkeley until 9:15pm at best & are generally eating dinner at 10pm.
  • No more mindless after-dinner wine. Let's be real, I am not ever giving up wine with dinner. But, I need to have a glass or two with food & call it good, not sit there sipping it mindlessly just because it's there & I'm there & ????. I'm going to try the old "Pour out the amount I can have with dinner & immediately put the rest away" trick & see how that works.
  • Seriously, no more mindless after-dinner computer time. It's the same thing as with the wine. Work & dinner are over, I'm tired, it's there, I'm there, so ????. (There might have to be occasional exceptions for actually important things that have to get done, but this is definitely NOT the reason I'm usually staring at my computer screen after dinner.)
  • No phone once in bed. Honestly, I don't know why I even do this. There is literally no reason.

Process Goal #2: Strength work 3x / week.

Totally me in the gym.

By far the easiest way to get this done is to get up early Monday, Wednesday, & Friday & go to the gym by my office before work. And, I know it's completely realistic. I did it basically all last summer with very few exceptions, & even most of the time through the fall. The #1 main culprit that keeps me from doing it? You guessed it! Not getting enough sleep the night before. When I go to bed late, I either 1) drag myself to the gym anyway & hate my life all day, or 2) skip it in favor of more sleep. Realistically, getting the extra sleep probably is the right choice, but my goal is not to have to make that choice and to get to sleep early enough that getting up early isn't a problem. If I can take care of #1, I think this will take care of itself.

Process Goal #3: Do nutrition.

I don't know if you know this but women find salad HILARIOUS. I definitely
recommend googling the subject or, better yet, visiting the definitive tumblr.

I mean, I'm never going to be perfect 100% of the time. (I actually tried for a while and it made me want to cry every time I opened My Fitness Pal, which is how I discovered that My Fitness Pal is in fact the stuff of my personal nightmares.) But in the past few weeks there's been a lot more eating out, a lot more finishing the bottle of wine, and a lot more I-am-a-grown-up-and-I-can-eat-the-pint-of-ice-cream-instead-of-the-salad-if-I-want-to (to say nothing of the many, many brownies & donut holes I consumed during my workshop last week). So no, I'm not trying to be a monk, here, but there are some basic habits I want to get back into.

  • Plan the meals & buy the groceries. I'm generally pretty good at this but with all the travel & weekends out of town lately, it hasn't been happening as often. Generally if we can eat stuff we cooked at home 5x / week, I'm happy. (Though....we are about to lose our kitchen for the renovations, and have already lost our oven, so I'm not totally sure how practical it's going to be. Lots of crock potting, perhaps?)
  • Especially buy the breakfast stuff & get it to the right places. If I can get a piece of fruit & some milk or whey protein before I leave for work, a little more protein & carbs post-lifting on strength days, & then a little more once I get to work, I'm set up pretty well for the rest of the day. But again, things have been kind of crazy & I haven't been getting OR transporting the breakfast appropriately, which has resulted mostly in just going hungry all morning, and that's never good.
  • Keep the afternoon snacks on hand. If there's something balanced and healthy to eat (ie, I like a few Triscuits with Greek yogurt), I'll usually eat it. If not, GOD HELP US. This is how I end up eating a pint of ice cream or half a bag of kettle corn at 4pm. Combine this with still being in a calorie deficit because I didn't breakfast appropriately &, well, that ship is going down.
  • Banish the mindless post-dinner wine drinking. (See above)

And that seems like plenty to be getting on with.

So simple, yet so fraught!

Throngs of readers, please provide me with all your best additional tips.

1 comment:

  1. I can't help on the sleep front, as I keep awful hours and am a habitual biphasic sleeper (like I'll fall asleep 8.30-11pm and then am up till 2 and sleep 2-6), but on the eating: logistics, logistics, logistics.

    On Friday I look at the weather forecast (seriously) which helps me decide if I want to use the oven on any given day.
    Then I plan all the meals for the upcoming weekdays (four vaguely healthy things, and then one takeout/ pizza/ grill/ something else really easy). Then we grocery shop, and sometimes I'll prep ingredients on the weekend. I won't actually prep meals and portion them about, because I like to make things fresh and I don't want the size of my meal to be dictated by the size of my Tupperware, but some people do.

    And on the snacks, I have only two words: Trader Joe's! They have all manner of mostly healthy snacky things (nuts, trail mix, single serving yogurts, crackers of all persuasions) and there is most assuredly one by you...