This week was 30 "miles" of pool-running, and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.
[edit - yes, I'm having all sorts of formatting issues with Blogger, especially font size. I'm starting to get very irritated.]
First recovery week post-marathon. It's very unusual for me not to want to do anything, but I didn't on Tuesday, so I didn't. Part of that whole "listening to one's body" thing.
I always envision that conversation with my body, post marathon, as going something like the following.
Immediately after the marathon, my body is furious with me, and spouting profanity. That's when I give my body some space - I offer it junk food and lazy mornings in bed, and maybe a massage.
After some time has passed, I gently reach out: hey...just wanted to see how you're doing....how do you feel... I do that with yoga, and also some gentle pool-running.
Then I listen, and let my body take the lead on the conversation. Since running is what strained our relationship, I'm cautious in raising that topic - I won't run until I really miss it.
As of the date of this entry, I'm starting to miss running, but I don't miss it that much yet, so I'm going to wait a few more days.
At the beginning of this cycle, I decided to experiment with running all my marathon pace workouts entirely off of feel. (Watch-face was set to time of day - I took splits but never knew what they were until after the run.) Instead of targeting a goal pace for the marathon from the start, and hoping that pace would get easier as the cycle progressed, I targeted marathon pace effort, and hoped that would equal 6:50 or faster by race day.
I have to admit, it was a bit challenging to my ego at the very beginning to see that I was running my marathon pace workouts at 7:10 pace (at least 20 seconds slower than my goal pace for CIM). But it seems to have worked well - by the end of the cycle, 6:45 felt like a realistic marathon pace, and I averaged 6:47 pace on race day.
I think there are two reasons this worked for me - 1) I fry very easily, so it's very important that I avoid overreaching in my training; 2) since I race off of feel, I'm not emotionally dependent on the validation of training pace splits.
I can see how someone else would need a history of seeing "x" pace during workouts to instill confidence that they would see that same pace on race day. My race day confidence is grounded in running what feels "right" on that day, so I'm at ease training that way.
It's interesting to note that I never hit the prescribed target paces for a sub-3 marathon in any of my track workouts. My interval workouts were always significantly slower, by as much as 10 seconds a mile, and my tempos, though not quite as off, were controlled as well.
For both types of workouts (and honestly, this applied to all my runs), I ignored the splits I was "supposed" to run. Instead I a) confirmed the purpose of the workout (improving leg turnover, raising lactate threshold) and then b) made a point of only working as hard as was required to achieve the purpose of the workout, not one heart beat more. I referred to it as "half-assing" stuff.
[my coach was present for nearly all my workouts, BTW, and was totally fine with my flagrant disregard of pace targets.]
My half-assed track workouts were far from impressive, but they accomplished what I needed to do without incurring any more fatigue than was absolutely necessary - again, this was very important because I am so slow to recover.
It's so very easy to get wrapped up in the importance of a) fitting every single workout in and b) hitting the prescribed splits for each workout. While paying very little attention to how one is recovering, or to the spacing of one's workouts within a week, which I think is far more important than absolute mileage or pace.
You only benefit from workouts to the extent you absorb them - and so it's crucial to ensure that you do absorb the benefits of each workout and race. Otherwise, your hard work is just wasted effort.
For myself, if I'm struggling to squeeze all the workouts and long runs into my week, then the answer is to drop one, to make sure I've got adequate space after each hard effort. Again, recovering from and absorbing each hard workout is the priority, not fitting every single one in.
And if I'm fighting to hit specific splits, then I need to pull back and re-evaluate - fitness doesn't come when you force it, but only when you give it space and time. When you let it lead.
It's taken me a very long time to figure out that this works for me (others can tell you it, but we still each need to learn for ourselves). And the above might not apply to all equally - we are all individuals. Not everyone might benefit, as I do, from ignoring the watch completely or from half-assing the track.
But I do think the general concept applies to most runners - focus less on the numbers and the charts and the metrics, and more on the organic process of "poking" your body with a workout, and then giving your body the needed space and time to respond. Repeat until your season is concluded.
Monday: Nothing but travel back to DC.
Tuesday: Full rest.
Wednesday: Yoga in the morning; sports massage in afternoon.
Thursday: 7 "miles" of pool-running and some injury prevention work in the morning; foam rolling at night.
Friday: 7 "miles" of pool-running, 500 yards swimming, and some injury prevention work in the morning; yoga at noon and foam rolling at night.
Saturday: 12 "miles" of pool-running (yes....this was too long, but I got caught up in conversation) and upper body weights/core. Also foam rolling.
Sunday: 2500 yards of swimming and yoga. Later did 4 "miles" of social pool-running and some injury prevention work. Foam rolling at night.