Tag Archives: Training

Checking In 7/28/2021

Last night I ground out a full 60 minutes on the elliptical without pain, though once I climbed off my lower body felt heavier than excess baggage. I ate a rather large meal and Garmin reports I got some good deep sleep last night.

I woke up this morning with two changes from yesterday.

First, my hamstring while a bit stiff is feeling better. I don’t feel pain except a little bit every so often, depending on how I step or stride. This improves on yesterday where I pretty much felt it most of the time I walked.

Secondly, though, I now have some occasional pain in my left groin, where it meets the leg. This however feels more like soreness than a possible issue or injury, suggesting this part of my body simply overcompensated for the hamstring issue rather than got strained or injured.

I attempted a brief test jog this morning and running did feel a bit better and easier. I will at least attempt a work break jog in the morning, and unless that feels terrific I’ll probably shut down on running again for the day just to be safe. I’ll walk through remaining breaks and continue tonight with cross training (plus I’m due to strength train this evening).

The hope is that the morning break feels reasonably pain free, and the brief stimulus of running on my lower body plus this evening’s training further spurs recovery overnight and beyond.

I’ve been leaning on my Hammer supplements during the last few days since the issue arose, taking closer to the normal dosage each day (I normally take just one pill a day, way below the recommended dosage). I’d like to think they’re working but it’s hard to tell. Am I healing more quickly than would be normal? Am I healing normally and it’s having negligible effect?

I’m holding out hope for Saturday’s trip into altitude, and Friday by 6pm is the V1 date to decide on cancellation. Obviously if my condition worsens in any way before then I should shut down for the weekend and cancel.

But there’s a large gray area where I may be pain free (well aware of a possible relapse at any point) or may have lingering pain, and could run with it. Saturday being a scheduled rest day before Sunday morning’s scheduled long run is also a factor. Could a full afternoon and evening of relaxation with a night’s sleep improve the situation further?

Tonight I’ll return to the elliptical and chase it with a hopefully brisk effort on the spin bike, before strength training.

Even if this heals up and is just a blip, it’s also a welcome rest for the rest of my body after a few weeks of solid training.

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Checking In 7/21/2021

Every day I play my work break plans by ear depending on my energy levels, and decide whether I’m going to walk or run on work breaks. At my Master’s/fortysomething stage of life, that’s how you need to be.

Today it’s somewhat humid for Vegas (already 90°F, 45% humidity). Today, despite decent sleep, I’m feeling somewhat worn out. A work break run today would feel like a tired chore, and that’s my body telling me to just walk today, especially with plans for a workout tonight after work.

I already have a scheduled day off tomorrow, but that just means I can get some extra rest ahead of Friday’s and Saturday’s planned workouts. Plus, after a lot of activity the last couple weeks, including back to back weekend trips (I do plan to stay in town this weekend), this is a good time for a stepback week.

My schedule morphs like an amoeba, maintain a generally consistent form but often shapeshifting depending on how my needs evolve during training. I recognize the need to prioritize the long workouts, to make sure I strength train and get in one or two sessions of challenging running outside of the long runs.

I recognize the importance of general consistency, not necessarily following a training plan close to the letter, but making sure that every week I execute several workouts, that I run most days, stay meaningfully active every day and maintain a productive diet that facilitates my training and health.

I don’t need to get it exactly right all the time, so long as my body of work over time is a consistent collection of regular runs, workouts, training, and a consistent mix of volume plus recovery periods.

At this point, it’s clear to me that slow running in workouts isn’t helping me unless I’m warming up or cooling down, unless the workout is long and aerobic endurance is the objective, or the slow jogging is done in brief spurts during a walk or similar to help flush the bloodstream and kickstart recovery.

I want to adhere to the general 80/20 Endurance rule, but I always forget that my easy walks in a way are part of that easy 80%, even if they are rather easy, too easy to be an actual workout. This is in part because of the Vegas heat outside. I also like to keep in mind that my strength training is part of that hard 20%, even if these brief, hard bursts of effort aren’t an aerobic activity.

I charted a base template of a typical week’s workout plan, factoring in my weekday walking as easy minutes and my two weekly strength workouts as hard minutes. I wrote in two hard workouts, one speed rep workout and an hour long tempo/M-pace run, plus a 2.5 hour long run. The speed and tempo workouts include an easy 20 minute aerobic warmup (whether running or cross training).

It all added up to about 81% easy training and 19% hard training. If the long run is shortened to 2 hours flat the split is 79.8% easy, 20.2% hard.

So at least for the following week I’ll experiment with this approach, a sort of hybrid FIRST scheduule with three quality workouts (long run, tempo run, speed repeats) and just walking during the workweek, with strength training twice a week.

Monday: Work break walking, PM speed repeats
Tuesday: Work break walking, PM swolework
Wednesday: Work break walking, PM hour long tempo run
Thursday: Work break walking, PM swolework
Friday: Work break walking, no PM workout
Saturday: 2.0-2.5 hour long run
Sunday: Recovery day

If it feels good and I feel like I’m getting good workouts from it, I’ll risk my overall training to continue. I’ll likely add quality tempo segments to the long run as I progress, which will either require I add other aerobic work to stay at 80/20, or to downshift the tempo and speed sessions. I’ll probably also add cross training or other 45+ minute aerobic runs to the schedule if I feel it’s way too easy. I will also move scheduled workouts around to accomodate scheduled midweek rest days.

Let’s see how this goes.

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Antioxidants: Helpful or Not?

Antioxidants are a fundamental mixed bag. On the one hand, their ability to heal the body and combat inflammation helps the body recover quickly from exercise, not to mention help protect your everyday function and immune system.

On the other hand, researchers have in recent years discovered that this antioxidant influx also blunts the body’s adaption and supercompensation to training, that while you heal more quickly and completely you also interfere with the body’s ‘learning process’ in fighting the inflammation markers and growing to adapt to the stressor of your intense training.

Basically, because antioxidants are an external healer, your body is less likely to learn to adapt to the stress for future workouts.

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Building A Better Self: July 2021 Edition

I not only finished Friday with 34 miles this week, with this weekend and a long run workout still to come (after 36 miles last week), but I did so despite insomnia on Thursday night and my air conditioner problem messing with my sleep earlier this week.

While obviously tired, I didn’t feel burned out, and I had the energy in me to pump out 30-45 minute training workouts on the treadmill after work, AND run 1K-2K on all my work breaks (except only for Thursday afternoon, which I walked). I played everything by ear and was willing to bail on any of the above if I simply didn’t feel well enough to do it.

But I did all of the above. No stimulants (outside of the same 12 oz of coffee I have had every morning for years and years), no crutches, no supplements I hadn’t already been taking for a while. Even now, other than understandable general fatigue (and yes I got decent sleep last night), I feel okay.

How am I doing this? I haven’t taken a complete day off from training since June 23 (10 days ago)

There’s a few new things I’m consistently doing. Some regular readers already know about, but some things not as much:

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Checking in 6/24/2021

Yesterday’s scheduled rest day, while necessary, did highlight a personal fitness issue I had forgotten about.

I mentioned having recent sleep issues, and turns out last night I had the opposite issue from before, awaking before 3am even though I felt like I wanted to sleep a couple more hours. My body decided it was time to wake up.

This impact this morning’s hill repeat workout, as I felt creaky and sluggish warming up out to the spot. And while I could have pulled a Kenyan Runner and just cancelled the workout I decided it’d be better to at least do some of it. I knocked out 5 of the 12 scheduled 30-second repeats before I felt like that was enough and headed back to the ranch.

So what’s the fitness issue? One of my prior tendencies is that if I don’t put in much of a moderate or greater exercise effort on a given day, I tend not to sleep well that night.

I also made a point to stop using the spin bike, which means I’m not cross training on my rest days, aside from any walking.

So I think last night I could have used a better expenditure of energy, one I would have had if I had rode the bike or done some similar cross training yesterday. Because I didn’t, my body felt too “revved” to drift off and stay asleep. I did get to sleep around 10-11pm, much later than I’m used to, and then as mentioned I woke up before 3am.

Would I have slept better if I had cross trained that morning or evening? Perhaps. I realize I can’t be sure. But by not doing so, I think I set up another night of poor sleep. I had taken it easy thinking I needed the extra rest, but taking it easy yesterday might have held back my ability to get that rest.

(By the way, food intake couldn’t have been the issue, as I ate about 3000 calories yesterday and a sizable dinner. I also didn’t take in any caffeine beyond my usual 12oz morning coffee.)

I want the rest days to be easy, but it may be possible to do some very easy 45 minute cross training on something other than the spin bike, which as I mentioned I need to stop using for now. The ARC Trainer is a little too intense, and the elliptical may have the same issue. The rowing machine is very difficult to use for more than 20 minutes, and would not suit my needs. And, being a nominal rest day, I want to avoid strength training.

Plus, of course, I could just go ahead and jog provided the effort is easy enough. Before, I had avoided it because running at that point was still strenuous enough to not be a rest/recovery-day sort of activity. Having built up volume and comfort with easy running, I may be at the point now where it’s no big deal.

I’ll have to think about my options before tomorrow’s scheduled rest day.

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Checking in 6/23/2021

I ran another workout on the treadmill last night (40 minutes, Zone 2 aerobic effort). This was much more of a slog but I got it done as planned.

However, I once again struggled to get to sleep last night, though there were confounding factors:

I had a lighter dinner with chicken, and an avocado in lieu of carbohydrate. The small batch of avos I got were not that great anyway, so tossing them probably won’t be much of a loss. But what some tout as a good evening or bedtime food ended up not being that at all for me.

I also have had decent results supplement with an evening cup of tart cherry juice, which I had started drinking after reading that it may help with sleep. But last night I did forget to drink some. That might have been a factor, though I’m not sure.

Also, having now trained daily for about a week, and a scheduled rest day coming up today and Friday, I am probably trained out and due for some recovery. This can impact sleep regardless of training or diet habits.

So, though it could well be after all, I’m not convinced the evening training was a problem.

I’ll note yesterday’s turbo session was at a different gym and, while tolerable, was decidedly warmer than Monday’s session. So the Monday gym (which is not my primary gym, itself not the best at A/C) definitely has a better A/C situation than the others, and that definitely was a factor in how the treadmill workout felt.

Still, training for Indy remains on schedule. After fading a couple of workouts last week, I’m once again on track with little ill effect aside from expected fatigue and soreness. I still am doing work break runs (though I’ll walk instead on today’s rest day).

A key will be a planned 10 miler this weekend, and the current plan is to attempt this on the treadmill at my primary gym on Saturday morning in lieu of outside in the Vegas heat.

My Stryd/Garmin tracking means it won’t be a problem if the gym turbo has to stop after an hour and I need to reset it to continue, because I can continue accurately tracking distance and in-run pace. I also don’t currently have a problem with the break that will build into the long run.

Such a run is also, as avid treadmill users know well, good for developing mental strength. The monotony of a long treadmill run is tough to deal with as it highlights your in-run struggles more than the changing outdoors does.

For me, the bigger problem with running the turbo has always been the physical difficulties: Getting hot, no wind resistance, struggling with that and the natural fatigue of a run, setting a sustainable productive pace, etc.

Tuesday’s workout aside, I have substantially improved treadmill pacing thanks to the use of my Stryd, and this pacing adaption alone has made longer treadmill runs more do-able.

So I’ll see what happens Saturday morning. Based on that I can determine what needs to happen on future long run workouts, whether I pursue going out of town to cooler climates for those, or continue running these on the treadmill. The only other workout I have between now and then is a Thursday speed workout, and obviously I’ll be work break running later that day, so I should be ready to give it a full effort

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It’s Just Too Hot, Guys

Today, after a few easy and off days, I went out for some speed repeats. It’s excessively hot in Las Vegas right now, with high temperatures exceeding 115°F, and low temperatures barely reaching 90°F before going up again with the sunrise.

It was 91°F at about 5:45am when I started the first of what I planned to be five (5) 90 second hard repeats on a long stretch of trail. After two of these, I grabbed my water bottle from the stop point and decided to end the workout right there, heading back.

I wasn’t in serious distress, nor did I go too hard on the repeats. In fact, I probably accelerated into them better than I had been doing on repeats in a while. I ran them smart and my pace was solid. I didn’t feel sick or anything. But the combination of quick fatigue and the heat told me that what little I had done was for now enough. I walked back to the ranch.

I’ve stated before that one of my goals with this summer’s Indy Marathon training was to address training seriously in the heat. So far, as temps have risen this past month, I’ve handled what speed workouts I’ve done in the hotter weather fairly well.

The only workouts I don’t feel good about so far are my longer runs. I’m coming up on three weeks since my last true long run (though I have a 10 miler planned Saturday), and I have yet to exceed 10 miles. It is early and still base training, and the plan all along was to backload the longest/hardest running for after Labor Day when the temps drop back to human levels. But I’m still not able to get what I’m looking for out of current long runs.

All of this said, I have to be mindful not as much of my continuing adaption to the typically extreme vegas heat, but of these stretches where it’s very hot even for a Vegas summer. This is a true heat wave, with temps exceeding 115°F, the top end of what heat Vegas typically gets. Much of the Western United States is in this massive heat wave right now.

This is not the time to power through a workout if I find my body struggling or tiring more quickly in these conditions than expected. While sleep and nutrition can also be factors, I’ve actually done mostly well on both those fronts this week to where I can discount those being key contributors. If anything, I should have been more ready to go for this workout than typical given that and the extra recent recovery.

But extreme heat takes a lot out of you, prior heat adaptions or not. I had water with me but hydration had negligble effect on how it felt.

Sometimes it just makes more sense to cut a workout in those conditions short, and either run it out otherwise later (I can and may cross train after work) or just take a mulligan and move on to tomorrow.

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