Week 03 Summary

Week 03 was tricky. I feel like I didn’t do as much as I should have, even though I got all my runs in and they went really, really well.

  • mon: rest
  • tues: 4.8 miles of Speedwork
  • wed: weights, upper body and abs
  • thurs: rest
  • fri: rest
  • sat: 75 min / 6.3 mile LSR
  • sun: rest

Total Week #03 mileage: 11.1, although it will be a bloc of 14.1 after tomorrow (I’m moving today’s easy run to tomorrow because I had to bump the LSR to Saturday; it just depends on when you start your bookkeeping.)
(week 02: 12.5 mi)

Days weightlifting: 1 day only

And in terms of eating, because health isn’t all about working out:

  • Weekly calorie balance: 2469 calories under maintenance for the week, ~350/day below maintenance target
  • Macronutrients: 42/25/32 carb/fat/protein (week 02: 42/27/31 week 01: 45/27/28) (goal: 45/20/35)

So, week 3 in review.

My neck/shoulder condition has been a clincher this week. I only felt comfortable doing one day of weights and I probably shouldn’t have even done that. The runs were good, although the tabulating is off because I had to bump everything down by one day. This week’s actual mileage will be 14.1. Either way running feels a lot better, so I’m pleased with that.

My macronutrient balance is slowly moving in the direction I want, towards more protein and less carb and fat. It’s hard though. It looks like I’m already at a “balance” point that works for me, since it hasn’t changed very much in three weeks. If I really want to change it up more it’s going to take some effort.

I’ve been under on calories – significantly – for 3 weeks running, actually 4 or more (although my bookkeeping wasn’t quite as anal until I started this blog). According to the math I should have dropped 3 pounds over the last 4 weeks. During week 04 when I’m resting I’ll “weigh in” every morning so that I can take an average over the days and see whether my weight is trending as it should. 3 pounds is not really significant though; I can gain or lose 3 pounds just by drinking coffee and taking a trip to the bathroom. Nevertheless, I should be able to see something.

For week 04:

Week 04 marks a rest week. This is important. I also have a personal trip this weekend (see how I did that?) so I won’t have time for as much anyway.

  • I won’t be lifting weights or doing BodyRock at all, in the hopes that my neck/shoulder bit will recover.
  • Weekly mileage will be 9-10 miles, in increments no longer than 4 miles, as best as I can fit them in. They’ll all be slow.
  • won’t be tracking calories over my weekend.

I have some posts lined up this week to keep things interesting while I’m resting. 🙂

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Week 03: schedule change up and Worrying Important Thoughts

Two things to talk about today.

First: I ended up having to go to work today. Today’s supposed to be my day off. But a meeting was scheduled for the afternoon, there was no warning and no other time to re-schedule it, and I didn’t really have a choice. So instead of spending the morning painting in the basement and the afternoon relaxing and doing my long run, I spent the morning painting and the afternoon at work. It was a bad meeting with bad news: a really stressful discussion that left me feeling super angry and upset, very personally frustrated and stressed, and also overall exhausted.

It was already late in the day, I was upset, and I’d completely thrown off my eating schedule: so I decided to skip my LSR. Instead, I’ll get up and do 75 minutes of running tomorrow morning. There’s a birthday party tomorrow night, so I could probably use the extra calorie burn tomorrow (I know it’s all the same; just saying mentally).

So. That sucks. But one of the biggest things standing in the way of consistency for workouts with my is my job, and it always has been. Some days work just robs me of the will to do anything that isn’t “watch stupid shows on TV” or “play PS3”. That’s my life. I need to learn to deal with it. Not necessarily by forcing myself to run – by doing an honest survey of my state and deciding at to do instead.

(today’s answer was a double gin and tonic.)

The second thing on my mind is just as bad.

So I have some sort of pinched nerve / muscle strain in my neck/shoulder area. I’ve had it for three or four years now, but it has always been intermittent: it shows up, starts to hurt, I put a hot pad on it and treat it really well, and it goes away. Maybe a couple days at the most. If I don’t start babying it – hot pad, ice, Advil – it gets to the point where it quite literally feels like someone is jabbing a red hot knitting needle directly into the space between my neck and shoulders. I can’t even turn my neck (therefore can’t drive a car, cant get to work). It always eventually goes away – usually the stiff sharp pain only lasts a day.

I’ve currently been fighting the pain for about four weeks now.

It hasn’t gone away.

I can still function, so I’ve been – not ignoring it, but sidelining it. I’ve been using my hot pad almost daily; I get neck rubs from friends whenever I can; I even went out and bought a new $60 pillow for extra support to try to help it. But it isn’t going away. In fact, it’s gradually getting worse. It’s driving me to the point of constant stress and almost tears. I can’t sleep. I can barely sit comfortably.

About, say, 5 weeks ago, I started seriously adding heavy weight lifting and Body Rock to my workout regime. Both of which are heavily upper body related.

I don’t believe it took me this long to put it together. I think somehow in my head I was thinking, working out will make it stronger! I’ll get better! or some kind of similar logic. Like, strengthening the muscles around it would obviously help put back into place whatever is so fucked up, help settle whatever the problem is, help balance out the obvious imbalance.

Maybe I’m fucking causing it.

Because it has never stuck around this long without any relief. Ever. In five years. And while I’ve done upper body workouts before, sure, this is my first time in a really long time consistently lifting hard, doing compound weight lifts like squats, deadlifts, etc, and combining it with pushups and planks and all that. And of course now it’s all that I can think of.

So. As of right now I’m taking a week off of weights and BodyRock. Next week is a rest week in my running training plan, so I’m going to make it a rest week overall: no lifting, no body weight exercises, nothing but easy runs.

It might do nothing; in which case, obviously, I need to go to a doctor. But it might get better. In which case I should probably also go see a doctor, but at least I will know.

It’s a big derailment, but I’m trying to be okay with it. I have to do it: the pain is getting to the point of unbearable. If I watch my diet and continue to run, I shouldn’t set myself back too much.

Week 03: Weds, Thurs

Yesterday I wasn’t feeling so great: allergies. I did get to the weight room, but I didn’t tack on anything that would have required exertion (like elliptical or BodyRock).

I stuck to solid lifts: pushups / seated row (90lb), alternating sets of 10 reps x 3 times, then shoulder press (30lb) / lat pull down (90lb), alternating sets of 10 reps x 3 times. I did the ab chair of doom in between.

Today’s a rest day. Which is good; I’m supposed to do a 75 min run tomorrow, and not only am I helping a friend paint in the morning but now I have to come in to work in the afternoon. Ugh.

Week 03: Tuesday Summary

Well, I should know this by now, but the best way to beat the workout-health-emo-doldrums is to work out.

Today’s run was great. It felt great – which is something I can’t often say for running; I’m a chronically injured asthmatic, so most of my runs feel like something passed through a meat grinder – and I’m happy with my performance.

The goal was 4-5 mi of speedwork. I decided to do what I like to call a Mile Dial Down (sounds cool when you say it!): run a mile at a medium tempo pace, and then step down – 1, 0.75, 0.5, 0.25, and 0.1 – getting faster for every interval. They’re separated by a recovery jog (which for me today was a recovery walk) just to recover breath and heart rate; I did 0.2 mi jogging or walking in between.

Here’s my run.

The overall average speed is slow, sure, but each leg gets significantly faster (it’s easier to see the progression looking at the splits; the overall averages are a little wonked because of the treadmill’s slow response to speed changes), and the average is weighted down by warmup and cool down respectively.

AND – important – my heart rate actually came down during my rest/off intervals. I’ve had problems not taking my rest intervals seriously enough in the past, and it’s ruined runs before, whether from asthma or exhaustion. Surprise – taking your running a little easier makes it more enjoyable. WHO KNEW

I’m pleased with this run. 4.8 miles, with some speedwork, and it felt good. Maybe I’m ready to put more speedwork back into this plan; maybe the last two weeks have been good for me and I’m ready to step it up.

Week #02 Summary

There’s my week #02! I took off Wednesday because I ended up resting instead. I didn’t modify today — I did 3 miles of recovery run instead of 2. I was feeling a little bit extra.

Total Week #02 mileage: 12.5 mi

Days weightlifting: 1 day only

And in terms of eating, because health isn’t all about working out:

  • Weekly calorie balance: 1759 calories under maintenance for the week, ~250/day below maintenance target
  • Macronutrients: 42/27/31 carb/fat/protein (week 01: 45/27/28) (goal: 45/20/35)

So, week 2 in review.

This week was harder because of the trip in the middle — I ate more/worse and skipped a workout. I don’t have a lot of choices for food when I am on a plant trip – you eat what they bring in for lunch; you go where they take you for dinner – so all I could really do was try to stay reasonable overall. And I was exhausted, so the scheduled BR workout just didn’t happen.

However, health is about maintenance, and I still managed to net a deficit on the week in calories, plus I did all of my miles (running is the priority right now). So it’s not too bad. This can be a bad point for me: week 2, just getting into habits, and the first roadblock hits, and I decide this isn’t a reasonable feasible maintainable plan and I toss it all out. I’m staying away from that attitude.

Plus, please note that even though my calorie total is higher, I had more protein this week than last week. Yeah!

For week #03:

There shouldn’t be any major upsets this week, except that I’m helping a friend repaint their basement on an admittedly tight schedule, so things may get shifted a night or two — but overall this is another week I should be able to execute.

  • Mon: BR or rest
  • Tues: 4-5 mi easy/tempo/easy run
  • Wed: weights (upper body), BR
  • Thurs: rest
  • Fri: 75 min long slow run
  • Sat: BR/yoga
  • Sun: 3 mi easy run + weights

Listing the LSR on Fridays as a time limit instead of a mile limit makes me feel better when I’m doing it — it doesn’t matter how slow I’m going, that way, I just have to go for a time. Here we go. 🙂

Week #02 Update

Well, as might be evidenced by the lack of posting, I wasn’t really able to work out while traveling.

I could beat myself up over it, or I could just acknowledge it and move on. I’ll count it as a rest period — in fact, I was asleep by 9:15 each night — and get back on track. Business trips are just a rough time, and I won’t always have the time or energy to stay on things.

But today – Friday – I did run for 65-70 minutes (some walking breaks for crossing streets and stuff, plus a Garmin/GPS bobble or two). About 5.5 miles – I’m not sure which tracker to trust, but it’s the time that matters on the long run. It was easier to do after two days of rest; maybe I need to be more careful planning rest days into this plan anyway. Maybe I did need it.

Week 02 Tuesday: 4 mi run

Today I had a 5 mile speedwork run on the books. Since I am still easing back into consistent running (after a very long period of no-more-than-10-mile weeks! whoooooooops), I decided to eliminate the speedwork portion of it and just go out for 5 miles. My goal was to do a very gradual pyramid-type run – slow, medium, hard, medium, slow – but scaling even that down a bit, so that it would be more like slow – medium easy – medium – medium easy – slow. My ankle is still bothering me and I am trying really hard to be really careful here.

However, I also ended up having a disagreement with my GPS on my phone, so the run was closer to 4 mi than 5 mi. I could have kept going, but the route I chose ended up having a major hill in it, so I decided that 4mi with a huge incline was a pretty suitable workout. Also it’s still hot here.

I want to do a post on running equipment in the future, but for right now: I run with two trackers. I have a Garmin FR-60 with a footpod and a heart rate monitor, and I have GPS on my phone which I track through runtastic. Usually they agree within 1-5%, which is good enough for me (clearly I am a professional). It’s a good combo pack for me – the Garmin is really accurate, records my HR, and can also track treadmill runs for me, and the GPS/runtastic will keep track of inclines and actual route, and does fun stuff like record the temperature and conditions (from local weather).

Usually when I run I use runtastic to keep track of miles/laps and any intervals/paces/tempos/distances I might be keeping track of. I have it set to a nice British lady who tells me, “One mile complete”, over whatever terrible Pandora channel I’m listening to at the time. The Garmin does a lot of that as well, but when I have music on it’s hard to hear the beep of the watch, is all.

This is kind of what happened last night; I had intended to use the GPS to control most of the pyramid run and just use the Garmin for backup and HR monitoring. So I was listening to the GPS/runtastic tell me how far I’d gone. It wasn’t until I heard it tell me I was running a 7-min mile that I started to go, really??  The GPS signal was just flickering on and off and eventually I turned it off completely and started paying attention to my Garmin watch for distance. I’d been confused by it and turned around at the 2-mi point (which I thought was 2.5-mi) and at that point, screw it, I’ll just be done at 4 mi. No big deal.

Running slow is depressingly hard for me right now. It’s difficult when I remember that over a year ago I ran a half marathon at a 10:00/mi pace, and under a year ago I ran my 8 mile leg at a 9:00/mi pace, and here I am shuffling through the local neighborhoods clocking 11:00, 11:30, 12:00/mile and having ankle pains. This is part of why I’m trying to write about training plans so much right now, because I know this is the way you get back in shape, and I know I’m doing this all smartly. But even if you know it there’s still that little part of you going, you are so slow. you are really slow. for real and being sad and angry about it.

Oh well. That’s what my LTA posts are about right now: not just sharing what I know, but reminding myself of what I know.

I leave this afternoon on my business trip. I’m hoping to get some kind of workout in tonight at the hotel; here’s hoping I manage.