Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Finding my Spring

I've decided not to run a spring marathon and it's due to the fact that I have been feeling fatigued. Back in January, I would sleep 7 hours at night and wake up in the morning feeling exhausted and not refreshed. I attribute this feeling to the 70+ weeks I was running in December and January without adding in extra sleep. Eventually all of this running on relatively little sleep caught up with me and my runs were flat, and my lungs and legs weren't responding as I would have liked. Non-stop, injury-free running has created a new nemesis: My own ability to run more and more without any painful checks and balances on my tendons/joints. Instead what checked my running was fatigue. I've found out that all of those Runner's World tips that stress getting enough sleep/rest that I've been ignoring, actually have some merit!

So, I've cut my mileage down to around 40 mpw and I've really slowed down my training runs. My weekly training pace has traditionally been around 7:45/mile. Since February 1st that pace is now 8:30/mile with the first couple of miles of most runs near 10:00/mile pace. The book "80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower" which I read last month advises running 80% of your runs super slow. This new plan seems to have helped me recover a bit and I am feeling a lot better/fresher, although not faster.

So, I won't be running a spring marathon, but I have signed up for two spring races so far:
1) Shamrock Shuffle 8k
2) The Ravenswood Run 5k

I am likely going to run the Indy Mini Half Marathon in May, although I haven't registered for it yet.

Ideally, I'd like to PR one of these races, but I am getting to the point where I would be happy with a "2nd best PR", since I don't have the "spring in my step" that I would need to run super super fast. However, I still have a month for the Shamrock and two months for the Ravenswood Run, so maybe I'll find my spring soon enough!

Ice formation along the Lakefront Trail on my 13 miler Sunday

14 comments:

  1. I think there's a lot to training slow - that's what I've been doing all along! ;) But seriously, fatigue will always catch up with you (even at a sub-7:00 pace) so it's good that you're slowing down now rather than let it keep wearing you down.

    I have PRs from both of those races, so I imagine you have a good shot :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, yes, I should have been following your lead all along! Yes, the funny thing with over-training is that you feel fatigued, but then you run and the endorphins kinda mask the fatigue, so you think you're fine - until it's time to wake up the following morning. Coincidentally, those two races are the home of my 5k and 8k PRs as well!

      Delete
  2. I love the shuffle! I really hope that you have nice weather for it that lends itself well to PR or almost-PR performances. :) and YES, sleep is so important. I seriously think that sleep is probably the most under-appreciated aspect to marathon/endurance training. Good for you for listening to your body (finally!) :) and scaling things back a bit until everything is back in tip-top shape. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the Shuffle is super fun. After all these years, I am just learning the value of sleep now! Better late than never, right? :)

      Delete
  3. That sounds like a really interesting book. When I was really pushing hard to train for Boston, by Thursday or Friday I'd be SO darn tired and I was running nowhere near the mileage you are. But I'm an old hag so there's that. Some fun races in your future! Once again I'm out of town for the Shuffle. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was pretty much useless by Friday, but I still didn't sleep enough on weekends. Go figure. Too bad you're out of town for the Shuffle, hope you are going somewhere fun!

      Delete
  4. I'm happy you realized you needed to step back a bit on the mileage before it got to full blown overtraining! You're a smart runner and I fully believe you still have that pep in your step to get you to another PR! I'm really interested in hearing more about the 80/20 and how it works for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right now, I am actually running 73/27 which isn't perfect, but for me it is quite a change. I always would push at least my last mile fast, but for example if I'm only running 3 miles and I run the last mile fast my ratio drops to 67/33. That's not what the plan calls for (obviously). So I'm trying to run 100% slow miles on M, W, F and save the speedy final miles for quality runs. My first test of the 80/20 training will be the Shuffle, so we shall see! :)

      Delete
  5. Good for you for stepping back and slowing down and feeling better! That is really encouraging to hear. In fact, I think you're one of the few people I read who is actually training smart. I bet you will get one of those PRs if you keep getting enough sleep and training right! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I hope I'm at least training a little bit smarter than I have in the past!

      Delete
  6. It definitely sounds like you've made the right decision to hold off on a spring marathon. Overtraining and chronic fatigue are the worst, and it's such a terrible feeling for the legs to always be feeling like lead. I've heard a lot of running experts talk about the benefits of doing most training runs very slowly. I do have to say that it makes achieving the mileage goals so much easier when run slowly! Whenever the miles feel long, I remind myself of Hal Higdon's words, which are "What matters is that you cover the prescribed distance. How fast you cover it doesn't matter."

    Can't wait for Shamrock!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Hal is very wise and running slowly does make mileage goals easier. I have to wonder why I was always killing myself on my "easy days" running sub 8 minute miles when 9 to 10 minute miles would have gotten me the same (or more) benefit. I also probably was increasing my likelihood of injury by not allowing my legs to recover from hard workouts. Yes, the Shamrock can't get here fast enough! :)

      Delete
  7. I'm running the Shamrock Shuffle too! Oh, and yes sleep is so important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool. Maybe I'll see you there! :)

      Delete