Sunday, September 27, 2015

Training log - Week ending 9/27/15

This week was 73 miles of running, 14 "miles" of pool-running and 1000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Race recovery/digging myself out of a hole week.  I was pretty trashed from Sunday's race on Monday, and only slightly better on Tuesday.  By Wednesday my running felt a bit better, and Thursday felt great, running-wise.  I just felt horrible the rest of the time.

To explain in more detail, I sometimes get into an insomniac "funk" for lack of a better word.  When I get into this funk, I have a lot of difficulty falling asleep, and nothing OTC or prescription in my medicine cabinet helps (no, I haven't tried Ambien).  I also get tense and simply CAN'T relax, I struggle with concentration, and my resting HR gets elevated.  And the more sleep-deprived I get, the harder it is for me to fall asleep - it's a really frustrating cycle.  At the beginning of this cycle, I can run OK, but the further I get into it, the more I struggle.

What causes this funk?  Well, a lot of things.  I've learned that running in the evening, or any other moderate to hard exertion after about 2 pm, can trigger a bout of insomnia that is very hard to end.  Training too hard also causes this, as does a lot of life stress.

And....looking at my past few days, I had:
a) a half-marathon that was very hard on my body, combined with
b) the stress of preparing to move next week (and oh yes, that's a LOT of work), combined with
c) some evening pool-running that probably wasn't the best choice, given a) and b).

Once I get into this funk, it's a downward spiral, since the less I sleep, the harder it is for me to sleep.  Since I'm not sleeping well, I don't recover, and so I can't absorb my workouts - all I gain is more fatigue and possible injury.

And when I get into this funk, there's only one way to fix it.  Rest.  For as long as it takes.  Which is the last thing I want to do in marathon training.

By Friday morning, I was deep into my funk, with several days of lousy or non-existent sleep.  After discussing with my coach on Friday morning, I decided to skip that morning's workout.  I also reviewed my work calendar, noted that there was nothing urgent scheduled, and took off work as well.   Instead, I spent my day either watching DVDs on the couch or packing boxes, followed by a nice dinner out with my boyfriend.  And sure enough, I actually fell asleep like a normal person on Friday night and felt like I had been rebooted on Saturday morning.

This was just in time for Sunday, and the  "4-3-2-1 workout" - a long run with segments of 4, 3, 2, and 1 miles at marathon pace, with an easy mile inserted between each.  In the past, I've used my Garmin to check pace as I ran this workout.   This time I decided to run it with my watch face blanked - I programmed my Garmin with the workout, so I'd know when each segment ended and also could review the splits post-workout.

I did this for a few reasons:
1) I race with my watch face blanked, so why not do the MP workout that way?
2) I've been worried that I have been running this workout too hard in the past, chasing paces rather than effort - running "blind" would help me with that;
3) if I was still fried/in a funk then running by effort would hopefully keep me from digging a deeper hole.

As it turned out, I averaged the paces I've been targeting all along.  Quite a confidence booster, that.

Two lessons for the week: running by effort can be a huge confidence booster.  And sometimes an unscheduled rest day is absolutely the best thing you can do for your training.


Monday:   Yoga and 6.5 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; sports massage at night.

Tuesday:  5 miles very easy to yoga (9:37) and yoga.  Later, another 9 miles very easy (9:03).  2 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 7 miles very easy (9:21) to yoga, followed by yoga.  Later did another 8 miles very easy (9:07), followed by drills, and two strides.   3.5 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday:   4 miles very easy to yoga (9:12), followed by yoga.  Later did another 6 miles (8:38 pace), followed by drills and two strides, and then some upper body weights work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  3.5 miles very easy (10:11) plus drills and strides, then decided to bail on the workout due to sleep deprivation; foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  12 miles very easy in the morning (9:44).  Later did 2 "miles" recovery pool-running, some upperbody weights, and foam rolling.

Sunday:  18.5 miles as a "4-3-2-1" workout - segments of 4, 3, 2, and 1 mile at marathon pace, each separated by one mile easy (ran this by effort on a slightly rolling route). Splits were:

4 mile: 28:25 (7:12/7:08/7:07/6:55) ~ 7:06 pace
3 mile: 20:45 (6:54/6:55/6:56) ~ 6:55 pace
2 mile: 13:58 (6:59 pace - 6:58/7:00) ~6:59 pace
1 mile: 6:54 

Followed with some injury prevention work.  1000 yards recovery swimming and foam rolling in the afternoon.


  1. Someday I'm going to run this workout. Someday.

    1. It's a good one. A bit intimidating at the start, but just think of it as 4 miles at slower than tempo pace. Then each interval after that is shorter.

  2. I, too, suffer from the runaway insomnia. I did finally get a prescription for medication to take if it plagues me for more than a week at a time (not Ambien, better targeted for the nervous system overload that causes the insomnia for me). It is extremely frustrating to go through, because you just get more and more tired and less and less able to sleep with each passing day. Glad you were able to get it under control with a hit of the reset button.