One glance at the weekly recap below and it becomes painfully obvious that I am now firmly entrenched in a weekly routine that appears stupendously boring to the outside observer. Since racing the StumpJump 50km in Tennessee in early October, I’ve definitely dialed down the training to a load that my body has been able to handle. At times, its felt like I’ve regained my pep, but at other times I’ve felt flatter than a pancake. Throughout this 6-week break from training I’ve maintained my daily running streak, which now stands at 329 consecutive days. Although once burdensome, the streak has now become a major motivator with regards to my daily fitness, health, and wellness.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been in serious ‘planning-mode’ for the winter training cycle and the summer race season beyond. I’ve sketched out a yearly training plan, dialed in a detailed monthly training calendar for December, and have meticulously created three different race schedules (depending on how the various lotteries go down) for 2013. I’ve developed a plan which addresses the major areas that need work in my running fitness, and I’ve also addressed the parts in my nutritional approach that need improvement. I love these periods of reflection, planning, and goal setting; and now all that’s left to do is actually follow my own prescription. That’s the easy part, right? Yeah right. Here’s a snapshot from this past week of training:
Monday – 11/12/12
AM: 1 hour run on the Contour Trail. Felt great to be out early on this COLD morning. The temperature was -1 degree Fahrenheit when I started. That’s right, NEGATIVE 1 degree. I really love running in the cold weather. Beautiful morning. Felt a little bit stiff, but for the most part felt peppy, snappy, and quick. 1 hour running. 8 miles running. SU.
Tuesday – 11/13/12
AM: 45 minute town loop run. Felt very snappy and positive on this run. Body feels like it’s close to being ‘back’. I kept the run short because I was doing quite a bit of other work this morning and I was also planning on taking a spin-bike class in the afternoon. 45 minute run. 6 miles running. SU.
PM: 1 hour spin-bike class at the Escalante Fitness Center at WSCU. Felt good to sweat a ton and be forced to go through several sets of various intervals. Feels like I can ‘spin’ all day long, but once I have to push some big wattage, my legs become fried very quickly. 1 hour training. Good hard effort with substantial sweating.
Wednesday – 11/14/12
AM: 1 hour run on the Contour Trail again. Felt solid. Running time was a bit later than usual and that may have played a role in me feeling better. Great! Beautiful morning. Cold temperatures again. 1 hour running. 8 miles running. SU.
Thursday – 11/15/12
AM: 2 hour run on County Road #10 and Lost Canyon Road. Felt good to get in a ‘real’ run, but my legs were tired, energy was low, and calves were cramping. So, with all this, I ended up running pretty darn slowly. Beautiful morning and my mind kind of ‘came alive’ with purpose during this run. 2 hours running. 14 miles running. SU.
Friday – 11/16/12
AM: Town loop run. Quite the opposite compared to yesterday’s outing. Disengaged mentally and felt like I wanted to rush through this run so I could get some other work done. Ran around town on town loop and added on an extension as well. 1 hour running. 7 miles running. SU.
Saturday – 11/17/12
AM: In Billings, MT for the whole next week of spending great time with my parents! Headed out in the later afternoon for a 1 hour run through the city. Felt very good. Digestion and energy both felt clean and positive. Legs felt peppy. Breathing was super easy. Lower altitude feeling good!? 1 hour running. 8 miles running. SU.
Sunday – 11/18/12
AM: Headed out in the PM for a 1.5 hour run from my parents’ house in town to out past the landfill and back. 11 miles of running in total. Felt a little sluggish to start, but legs stayed springy for most of the run. Very good! Good to get out for a slightly longer outing. 1.5 hours running. 11 miles running. SU.
Week totals –
9 hours training. 8 hours running. 60 miles running. Sixth week away from ‘Training.’
Perhaps the one central element of training and racing that I love the most is the concept of ‘struggle.’ Those effortless days of training and the occasional race day that goes perfectly? I rarely have those days. More typical are the occasions that I show up feeling ‘off’, tired, sore, mentally disengaged, exhausted, distracted, weak, and horrible. I hate being the guy that shows up on the start line unprepared or significantly underprepared, BUT there is something uniquely powerful about showing up anyway and trying as hard as you can. Mental strength is furthered on days like this, whether during training or racing. Struggle is necessary for growth, and perhaps that is why this piece from NPR deeply resonated with me all week. I suggest taking a minute to read it and see if it strikes a chord with you as well. Give me growth. Give me resolve. Celebrate effort. Celebrate struggle. Never ever mock true effort. That’s all I want. Thanks for reading. Be well. Happy Thanksgiving. DC