More working on slowing down this week. My coach wrote several weeks back:
"I realize that it is counterintuitive to think that training slower will make you faster on race day, but it is true that most distance runners consistently overtrain which leaves them unable to perform at their best on race day."
Consistent with this point, I've noted that the best runners in my training group seem to run their workouts slower relative to their race performances then I do. Plus, my best racing has come when I've made an effort to back off of the workouts. I've noted a consistent pattern in my running - when I train very hard in my workouts, I see advances for a few weeks, maybe a PR or two, and then plateau. When I back off, to the point where I get insecure and feel I didn't work hard enough in my workouts, I see steady continuous gains.
All of that adds up to one clear conclusion - discipline myself and back off now to run faster in the future. Much easier said than done, but that's what I'm working on. Plus, I definitely don't want to be running my best races now. That's what the fall is for.
In other news, a bit of a bummer this week. I got formally diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine. (t-score of 2.7, for those of you know the numbers). Not a big surprise - this has been where my bone density has been trending for the past 10 years (I get a DEXA scan every 18 months). But still unfortunate. I've been trying to combat with consistent upper body and core strengthwork, but obviously it didn't stop it.
What does this mean for my running? Honestly, not much. Running is one of the best things I can do for my bones - it would be really stupid to cut back the mileage. And my bone density in my hips and femoral neck is acceptable and consistently improving (which also indicates that I'm doing the right thing nutritionally). If I was still riding, I'd have to give some consideration as to whether to dial back or exercise more discretion in the beasties I got on. But that's not the case.
My asthma inhaler does include a corticosteroid, which can negatively affect bone density. But, my 3-4 puffs a week are substantially less than the dosage associated with significant bone loss. And there's also the point that I really need my inhaler in order to run hard, especially when it's humid or high pollen. My doctors are agreed that I need to stay on the inhaler, but just be mindful of only using it for workouts and races.
So, basically I'm staying consistent with my running, my inhaler, my calcium/Vit. D. intake, and my strengthwork. The two changes I'm making are 1) implementing more back raises and other exercises that elongate the spine, and 2) avoiding spinal flexion (no more plow pose or crunches). No Fosamax or Boniva for now - we'll take another scan in a year and determine then if I need to go on the meds.