It’s official. I’m entered in the Downers Grove Five Miler next month, and it will be my first race of 2014. I haven’t run this race before, but I chose it because I’ll know the course, and it is a distance I can be ready for in six weeks. Ready for competitively. If I’m gonna race, I’m gonna race.
I raced most of last year on the fly. I didn’t take my training all that seriously, and it included a lot of junk miles, sun and booze. There’s nothing wrong with that! C’mon now! I WON a half marathon after laying in the sun all day drinking margaritas and jumping off cliffs!
I know, I know. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut.
For realsies, though, I’m taking this season seriously. I’m getting into it a bit late, and I’m changing pretty much everything to not only get my fitness back, but increase my speed while not aggravating my injury. When you’re injured you can’t just wing it.
I needed to sit down and get a plan together for training, recovery, and nutrition. Here are the challenges I’m facing:
Time is an issue. I’m a morning person, and running in the middle or at the end of the day is the living worst for me. I also have to get the most bang for my buck when I do work out.
The injury is bad. I’m on that precipice where if I push too hard, it’s going to be a freaking disaster.
I’m motivated, but I’m in a space mentally where my ego and emotions might torpedo me a bit. I tend to be obsessive about everything, and get frustrated when things don’t go well. I’m one of those runners that stare at my watch incessantly and play mind games with myself. I need to let go and trust that things are going to work out. I’m also going to be exhausted and would rather couch surf with a glass of wine than go pound pavement.
So the workouts are going to be pretty easy on the mileage to start averaging about 20-25 miles a week. But they’re going to be work. Speed workouts, hills, fartleks, tempos, and a sorta-long run, it’s going to be a tough 25 miles a week. Supplementing those workouts are going to be core, plyo, yoga and strength work to build better stability and strength to help prevent any further injury. A lot of recovery is built into this plan, too. If you’re dealing with a chronic injury or health issue and want to keep going, you have to be kind to yourself. There’s no point in pushing, because you’re only going to push yourself right onto the couch.
Nutrition is probably the biggest component of this. The food budget isn’t the Whole Foods bonanza it used to be, but it’s important to get back to eating clean, and getting the supplements I need to help all of this along. And like, not making my hydration needs met via wine, and things like that. I’m also a volume eater, meaning I like to EAT. Ain’t no small meals happening up in heeeeuh. Three meals, two snacks…simple stuff. Fish, veggies, green drank, greek yogurt, the usual. Up my water intake, and save the wine for the occasional toast. I know…I’m crying too. It’ll only hurt for a few days…then I’ll wonder how I even found an Egg McMuffin appealing in the first place. It’s also important to keep your weight down when you’re running on a chronic injury, because you want as little stress on your body as possible.
So that’s the plan, man. Finishing up the second day, I feel pretty not-bad. Right now the biggest struggle is mental, because I expect the speed to magically be there, and it just isn’t yet. I’m trying to make all of this a lesson in patience.