One of my big goals this week was to slow down all of my fast running. More specifically, my coach and I agreed that I've been running my track workouts a bit too fast, and going anaerobic too much. This is most problematic on Friday mornings for tempos - tempos by definition should stay aerobic, but I find it hard to resist jumping the line into anaerobic. And to be honest, running circles on a track with someone calling splits really tempts one to try to make each split just a bit faster. Even if you're not racing the tempo, you can still be running it too fast.
So...I need to not do that. Especially since (as I've always known) anaerobic stuff fries me very easily. So one of my big goals this week (and for the future) was to keep the brakes on. For both workouts, but especially the tempo.
On that note, Tuesday's interval workout was a fun surprise. The announced workout was 1600 moderate, and then 2x800 and 4x400 fairly hard, to get some leg turnover. However, after I ran the first two 800s, my coach threw me a curve ball. I was to skip the 400s and do two more 800s, but slower.
It was surprisingly challenging - my habit in workouts is always to dial down the pace slightly with each repeat, with my last one the fastest. I can upshift better than I downshift - once I've gone anaerobic, it's really hard for me to back off that slight bit back to aerobic - essentially slowing slightly while still running fast. But, I put the brakes on and ran two more 800s, at 3:09 and 3:05. Though each was 5 seconds slower per lap, they felt harder than the faster ones, since they had been preceded by the faster ones. But I think they were also a lot better for me.
I also kept the brakes on Friday, running my slowest set of cruise intervals in a while. And again, they were harder than they would have been at a faster pace, I think. I sometimes feel like I have several different running "engines", and running the tempo too fast allows me to cheat and use the wrong engine. I need to work on using the right one.
The other news of the week was that I've modified my use of asthma meds slightly. I had been using Dulera (long acting inhaled asthma medication that reduces lung inflammation) only for races and the occasional workout. Why? Because Dulera has some nasty side effects, including bone density concerns, and I like to use as little meds as possible. Plus, I thought by skipping it on easy days I was altitude training :)
But I've struggled a lot this spring with my breathing, and also with feeling tired all the time. So after some tracking of my daily peak flow (a measure of how obstructed my airways are) and consulting with the pulmonologist, I shifted to taking it every 12 hours. I'm now using it as a full-time preventative drug, which how it's normally prescribed. And so far, I've been pretty happy with this.
Just in the past few days, I've noted a lot of really cool things. For one thing, I'm sleeping much more soundly, and feeling more rested in the morning. I'm also concentrating better at work, and my mood has been a bit perkier.
And all of this makes sense, when you think about it. If my breathing's been slightly restricted, then I'm getting slightly less oxygen in my daily life - which could lead to stuff like lousy sleep, concentration problems, grouchiness, and slower recovery from workouts.
And the bonus - I haven't been tempted once in the past few days to use my rescue inhaler. That's noteworthy, since the past few days have been tough breathing conditions. Friday's tempo was in extremely thick and humid air, while the pollen levels on Saturday and Sunday were fairly high.
Usually, in conditions like this, I'd take a puff of Dulera an hour before the morning workout, and then still have to use the rescue inhaler at sometime before or even during the run. But not this weekend. While I definitely noticed the humidity on Friday and the weekend pollen, there was no sensation of things closing off or binding in my chest. Never any fear that I couldn't get enough air. And it was amazing how quickly I caught my breath after each interval.
It was wonderful. And also made sense, in retrospect. By only using the Dulera on certain days, I've allowed my lungs to get irritated, and to stay that way. When I then puff the drugs before a race or hard workout, they have to undo that broncho-constriction and inflammation. By using it regularly, I'm preventing the issue in the first place, so there's less to fix, and no need for the rescue inhaler. Yay.