Friday, April 26, 2013
Doing What's Right for You in the Rest Cycle
I'm making gradual progress toward recovery. I was super sore after North Coast, but in my upper body, not my legs. I'm guessing it was from fighting the wind. My shoulders, neck, and low back were sore. At some point in the race Andy Lovy told me I was leaning forward too much. I tried to pay attention but then in a video I saw of myself at a point late in the race, I was leaning forward, my butt sticking out too far. My butt and hips were sore, more on the left side than the right.
Now everything is slowly working itself out, I spent some time soaking in the hot tub Wednesday and yesterday, and stretched while I was in there. I've walked the girls each day, but nothing else. Today the weather looks more promising and I plan to get out on the bike, at least for an easy spin. I work the entire weekend so that will keep me out of trouble. Next week I'll get on the bike more than my feet.
My recovery plan includes at least 3 weeks of primarily NOT running. I'm looking at the Houska Houska 5K as my first "race" of the summer season, and breaking in my Pearl Izumi M3s. I never took any quality recovery time last fall after Oklahoma and I was feeling it by this spring. It's always worked well for me to take a break about every six months and do no running for a week or so before I slowly get back to it. Usually I take a whole month to avoid "training", which means I'll go for runs but nothing long or hard, just easy jogging. I'll ride the bike and sometimes rack up the miles there, but no intensity.
Some people like to get right back into running after they race their last race of the season, but I've always felt it's important to get completely rested, both mind and body. Taking the focus off of the grind of the daily workout is as important as giving your muscles and soft tissue a rest. I can find myself getting mentally burned out toward the end of training, and the rest period helps this. I can tell I'm in a good place mentally, because I already can't wait to get started again.
I'd love to run out the door and go over to the track to hammer out some miles or 400s as soon as the soreness goes away, but that will have to wait until June. The break will build up a hunger to work hard when the time comes. Letting go of the fear of losing fitness is an important lesson that runners need to learn. If you lose anything at all, which is doubtful, it will be quickly made up in the first few weeks of training again, and your body will respond better as a result of the rest cycle.
That's what works for me. Everyone finds what works for them, but I think there are a lot of people who push themselves too hard for too long and then get stale and have mediocre results. That's what I was experiencing myself this spring, but my goal has been to build up strength for later in the year. When I keep myself focused on the long term plan, what happens in the short term is all about strength, mental focus, learning, and experience. It requires patience and believing in one's training.
Last night I went over to Runners' Roost and Scott Jurek was there making an appearance because he was in town to speak on a vegan panel at CSU. He went for a short run with the Wednesday night running group and then signed copies of his book before he left. I took a lot of pictures on other people's cameras of them with Scott. I spoke with Scott's wife, Jenny, about races, while people were lined up getting his autograph. Scott seemed like a very personable guy, even though I didn't actually talk to him, there were too many people lined up waiting.
There was a good turnout and I wish there was that big of a turnout for the Wednesday night runs all the time. I haven't attended many myself, half the time I work Wednesdays and then many of the other Wednesdays I was running my tempo runs. I couldn't help taking the above picture of that t-shirt. I love it.
I saw Cat last night, she was lamenting the fact that all the trails are still full of snow. We were trying to figure out how long it might take for it to melt. It's supposed to be in the 70s this weekend, we'll have plenty of mud to dry up first. Judging from the dog poop in our backyard that was in the snow, the trails aren't dry yet. The poop is still too soft to pick up. The true test: When the dog poop gets solid enough to pick up without falling apart, the trails will be dry enough to run on. Or something to that effect...
Spring seems to be back. We still have a pile of snow in the front yard over the flower garden. All of the flowers that came up before the blizzard are trashed, but the wildflowers will probably do great in a few weeks. I saw in the paper that the snowstorm helped our snow pack so much that the city is considering partially lifting water restrictions. I think that's pretty dumb, City of Fort Collins, considering that we are still in a major drought. As soon as they lift the restrictions, we won't get any more rain and we'll dry up like last year. We should have been on watering restrictions for years.
The other night I officially signed up for 24 The Hard Way in October. I am totally psyched for that race. Plus I know a lot of people who will be there, it will be fun, intense, and there will be tons of competitive support among the runners.
I also started looking at tuneup races in August and September. I think I found one, the Badgerland Striders in Wisconsin have a 12 hour event at the end of Auugust, on Labor Day weekend. I looked at the map and costs, it looks like it would be a fairly reasonable trip to fly to Milwaukee or Chicago. I have to work Labor Day, so it will have to be a quick trip.
It's time for me to get off my ass and start moving this morning, I'm getting the Buffalo staredown. It's sunny and almost 50 degrees, and purple flowers are popping out in the wildflower garden. I'll need to find my sunglasses, in case I look down at my white legs. Happy running, walking, hot tubbing, or whatever you're doing to get off your own ass this weekend!