This past week was my first week back to school, but it was just Monday-Thursday and only the teachers went back. My days were full of in-service meetings and classroom preparations. Every four weeks, I have a “recovery week”. My last one was in week 4, and it was perfectly timed that my next recovery week would coincide with my first week back to work. Last week I hit 67 miles (my highest yet), so I cut down by about 25% to 50 miles. Mostly, I swapped recovery runs for cross training. I kept the key workouts – a tempo run, a mid-week medium long run, and a long run. I’d been running 6-7 days per week, so I also made sure to reduce the number of days I was running to give my muscles a chance to repair themselves.
I’m usually terrible at recovery weeks when I’m in charge of my own training. Normally, I schedule a recovery week and end up going running more than I’d planned. This time, I made myself stick to it. It’s the one thing I told my former coach I needed to learn how to do. I still never really learned how to do it since I spent much of last year injured. When I started from scratch after not running the way I’d hoped at Grandma’s, recovery needed to be a focus of this training block. Last time a recovery week was in the plans (four weeks ago), it worked out that I had a wedding, a summer cold, serious blisters from Quadzilla, and a severe case of poison oak. I really had no choice but to cut back that week regardless, simply based on my level of discomfort. So since I began this round of training, I’ve had two successful recovery weeks scheduled and completed. With recovery in mind, my goals for the week were:
- Pacing: Hit the tempo run and the long run hard, relax for the recovery run and mid-week medium long run.
- Terrain: Varied. Flatter for the tempo and the mid week medium long run, but anything goes for the recovery and long run.
- Cross-Training: I wanted at least one swim and bike in there, and pole classes as often as possible since once the real school days hit, it won’t be easy to get there. Strength 1-2 times, yoga and core everyday if possible.
Monday, 8/24 – 5 Mile Recovery Run + Core/Yin Yoga+ Pole Fit
Mostly a day of “meh” here. I felt okay running (certainly not great) , though it was the day after my first 20 miler so it makes sense. I didn’t have to be at work until 8:30am, so I got in my run, core, and a quick 20 minute yin session that isn’t worth mentioning (tried a new video, didn’t love it). It was also rough times at pole class, which was a few hours after my work day ended. I think it was just a cumulative fatigue thing. My body was tired from the long run the day before and from being at work for the first time in months! I did do a few fun poses that I never did before. These two look much harder than they actually are. On the left is “Bow and Arrow” and the right is “Fang”:
Tuesday, 8/25 – Core/Yin Yoga + 10 Mile Tempo Run w/5 Miles @ 15K- Half Marathon Pace
I had great intentions of waking up and doing this run at 5am. The problem was that I don’t live on the best road for more than about a 5-6 mile run. It’s a busy road. I had an appointment after school with my sister-in-law (she’s a stylist, had to at least make an attempt to get myself looking presentable for when the kiddos return) and I wasn’t sure how long it would take. I got up, it was dark and I wasn’t feeling running on the trail in the dark (and thank God because there were several bear sightings near that trail all week long!). I resolved that no matter the time, I would go after my appointment. I did some core and a new yin video – the instructor is a little annoying but I loved the postures (I just muted her and had some music playing instead).
After work, I ended up at my sister in laws until 645pm. Eeeeeeek. I headed to the trail where I like to do my tempo runs and realized I didn’t have my headlamp. Double eeeek. Almost turned around and went home but it was SO gorgeous out. I decided to start the run and see how far I could get before it seemed like I should turn back. I’m so glad I did! I had an excellent run, even though the last two miles were in almost complete darkness. I knew as I neared the turn around at the halfway point that the run back would be pretty dark.
I had trouble seeing and couldn’t get my backlight to stay on my Garmin (and I wasn’t willing to stop and risk losing precious daylight just for that), so I was one second off of negative splitting my tempo miles. First tempo mile was a bit conservative because I was a little concerned about holding that pace for five miles, but once I got moving it felt as good as a tempo run could really feel. I warmed up for four miles, ran five at tempo, and cooled down for one. I felt like I could keep going at the end of the run and really was happy I did it, even in the dark! I held 7:50s for the first five miles and my cool down mile, and my five tempo miles were 6:56, 6:51, 6:47, 6:41, 6:42. Overall pace, 7:21!
Wednesday, 8/26 – 2100 Meter Swim + Core + Pole Fitness
Didn’t have to be at work until 8 am so I hit the pool at my gym around 5 am for a short, easy 2100 meter swim to loosen up my legs. I had enough time to squeeze in a core workout before having to get ready and go to work. After work, I went to pole class with my sister in laws. I learned a new pose called Dragon Tail, which was pretty tough:
And then I somehow ended up getting the pose I started working on last week, the Ayesha! It’s super tough and still a work in progress. It definitely needs some work before I can say I’ve mastered it, but I got off the pole and into the right position – it’s super scary!
Thursday, 8/27 – Yin Yoga + 15 Mile Medium Long Run w/10×100 meter sprints
Woke up early and did a nice yin practice before having to be at work by 7am. We had to be in at our normal contract time but had the day to spend in our classrooms getting ourselves ready. I went with one of my tried and true videos:
And that’s where my nice day ended. I went to work and finished the day at normal time (2:35) and headed to the Saucon Trail. I was debating whether I should run flat or on roads. Thank GOD I chose the trail – my reasoning was that I had the successful tempo on Tuesday and a long run scheduled for the weekend, and I should take it easy on my legs since this is technically a recovery week. I felt good all day long, but the second I began running, it was like my legs didn’t get the memo that we were doing this today. It was a huge shit show from start to finish. It felt like I never ran a day in my life and I was riding the struggle bus right out of the gates.
In the first mile, I was still pretty close to my car and really wanted to quit. I made myself keep going to see if I just needed to warm up. Around mile three, I began my intervals – I decided I’d do one per mile over 10 miles and then take the last few miles easy. Ha. I did each interval, but who knows what kind of pace I was holding for the “sprint”. It felt like I was running through mud the entire time – I just felt so off. My stomach felt TERRIBLE by the third mile, so the entire 15 mile run was spent debating which was worse: feeling like shit in general, or feeling like I might shit my pants at any moment. Yeah, it was that good.
I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. While I was running, I was worried that I was coming down with something. All week at work, one of my coworkers was really sick with a nasty cold and she kept hanging around me! I love her, but I HATE that. The last thing I want is to catch a cold before the first day of school, and before my upcoming races. Another possibility was that until this week, I haven’t run in the afternoon since the spring. Here I was working a whole day and then going for a 15 mile run. But my tempo run was good earlier this week, so who knows. I came home, showered and sat on my couch for a good two hours before I could even eat anything.
I thought back to my nutrition for the day and I think that could have been a problem. I ate a homemade coconut flour waffle for breakfast, and I had a nectarine and one of those yogurt tubes (like for little kids, except it’s the Siggis brand so it’s healthy!) for a snack. I had a Chicken Cobb Avocado salad with no cheese from Panera for lunch, and a Quest bar as a snack pre run. I did drink water, but probably not enough. I brought no fuel on the run, but that isn’t too out of the ordinary – I usually only fuel on my Saturday long run. So it could have been the week catching up with me, the nutrition, or a combination. Either way, it was tough. My pace was still good – I averaged 8:13 for the run – so that’s in my general aerobic/long run zone. Either way, just doing the run is a win because it was a mental struggle the whole time, and those are the runs that make you tough.
Little side note – there was a bear spotted off of Flint Hill Road, which intersects with the trail I was running on and someone on Facebook snapped a picture:
That was taken on Tuesday, when I was on the trail for the tempo run. Our local news station said he was spotted on Thursday in Lower Saucon Township (also near the trail) and he ate a goat! He’s big! Apparently he ran out on the golf course that the trail also runs through. I didn’t see him myself…this time…
Friday, 8/28– Pole Fitness + Power Abs
Since the kids don’t start until Monday, I was off and had one more day to enjoy the summer (really, I was just running around doing all of the things I said I would do all summer long!). I knew I had a long run on tap for Saturday and had a bad run the day before, so I slept in, and went to pole class. My friend and I also stayed for the one hour power abs class after pole fitness.
Saturday, 8/29 – 20 Mile Long Run
I was terrified of this run because of how badly I felt on Thursday. Even though I took it easy on Friday, I was really tired all day and worried about the run. To add stress to the situation, I was planning to meet and run with Kathy. She texted me later in the day on Friday and told me that Chris G., one of the speediest local runners in our area, wanted to join us. I think he ran Boston in 2:49 or something this past year. I wanted to go with them and run, but after the run I had on Thursday, I wasn’t sure what I should do. I was in bed early and up at the crack of dawn. I ate some breakfast and headed out to meet the crew, even though I wasn’t so sure how good of an idea it was. Chris had to be done pretty early and had started already, and had four miles in the bank. We began running, and I felt decent. We chatted and ran all over hilly Bethlehem, including parts of the Runner’s World Half Marathon course since both of them are running the race this year. Before I knew it, we were halfway through the run and I was feeling great. The only thing that was off was my stomach – that was a bit upset (wtf??? That was part of my problem on Thursday!), but I was really enjoying the run. We overshot the distance a little so poor Chris, who banked four miles, ended up running over 21 miles, oops! We dropped him at his car and Kathy and I ran out the last 2.7 miles on the towpath. The whole run was so even paced, with just a few weird splits here and there:
Overall pace, 7:22. I was ecstatic! My stomach was really jacked up after and I spent a good amount of time on my couch that day and then running errands. I had good intentions of stretching and doing abs, but I felt gross. I’m not complaining. Kids are back on Monday so I don’t mind some extra relaxing!
Sunday, 8/30 – 23 Mile Bike Ride + Core/Strength/PT
I didn’t have a run on the schedule so I didn’t have to worry about waking up early to beat the heat so I didn’t set an alarm. It was wonderful. When I finally got moving, I could pick between a swim and a bike ride and decided on the bike ride. I don’t ride as much once fall hits, and I hadn’t been on my bike since the Steelman Tri a few weeks ago. It was the right choice. It took me a really long time to warm up and I never really pushed the pace, but it felt so nice to be out. I headed to the gym and did just over an hour of strength/PT/core. I spent the rest of the day having a marathon cooking session in my kitchen. When school is in session, I like to spend some time on the weekend prepping my food for the week so I can spend less time doing it during the week and still eat healthy. I prepped my lunch (just plain chicken and plain sweet potatoes – boring but hopefully easy on my stomach for afternoon running), and made three dinners for the week: a Paleo Shepard Pie, Paleo Stuffed Peppers, and a Spinach/Mushroom Lasagna (definitely not Paleo), and coconut flour waffles for breakfast. If all else fails, I won’t go hungry this week!
Swim: 2100 meters ♥ Bike: 23 miles ♥ Run: 50 miles
How was your week? Do you prepare meals in advance to make your life easier during the work week? What are your favorite go-to, easy meals? Give me some ideas for the next few weeks!