Find Your Balance

With marathon training in full swing, I’m starting to notice a pattern: it’s all about balance! If I work too hard one day, I set myself back for 3. Read on!

So Week 3 started off a little slow: my rest day Monday turned into rest day Tuesday too because my knees were dying from the beating they took on the treadmill Sunday. 7 miles on the mill was a nice accomplishment, but DAMN. So Wednesday I hit the speedwork hard (on the treadmill too, will I ever learn?) and found the extra day of rest really paid off: I was coasting through 2 minute intervals that beat my usual 11-12 minute per mile pace by almost 4 full minutes! After a warm up jog I did 2 rounds of 2 minute sprints at 9:30, 8:57, and 8:34 (!!) broken up by 90 seconds of fast walk breaks. And I could have kept on going if it weren’t for that pesky “work” thing!

Feeling good, I opted to plow straight through the weekend with activity every day to make up for that missing day. So I kicked off my 4 day weekend Thursday with a full hour of cross training: HIIT with Jillian and the Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout DVD.

photowhile listening to old school hip hop instead of Jillian’s voice.

After my workout, I was all set to enjoy a “me” day like a real housewife of NJ and I ended up wandering around a mall for 3 hours, touching everything and buying nothing. My legs started to get that post-workout weakness in the afternoon, so I refueled at Panera and ran (walked?) some more errands and made it home by about 5, logging around 4 miles of walking throughout the day. And that’s where the wheels kinda fell off the wagon.

Friday morning, I felt like rusty metal. I was supposed to do 3 miles, but I opted instead for a shakeout mile to get things flowing again and surprised myself with a 10:00 mile, even. The skies opened up for the next 7 hours so after a day of BBQ’ing, I walked the other 2 miles that night at the park after the rain cleared for our local fireworks show and made my 3 miles.

Come 8:30AM Saturday, I was raring to go (hey, it turns out resting really does work!) so I brought the bike down the park with the hubby. It was one of those “let’s see how far I get” days, and when I found I was able to ride on my old waterfront running path now that it was all fixed up post-Hurricane Sandy, I just couldn’t help myself and did a full 10K on the bike in 38 minutes!

photo 3I didn’t have enough hands for the .2 so just use your imagination.

But the 20-30mph wind gusts ended up shredding my legs and Sunday’s long run was NOT happening when my alarm went off at 7:30am. I got .12 miles in before the heat and the intense pains coming from my good knee scared the hell out of me, and I opted to try again later that night when it was cooler and my legs had a true rest. So I did nothing for the rest of the day except nap on the couch and visit the farmer’s market for some fresh avocados. After some yummy Amy’s Organic tamales for dinner (with my patent pending homemade guacamole!), I hit the pavement at around 8:30 and truly enjoyed my 5 miler around town! It was cooler and quiet, traffic was calm, and I coasted through all 5 miles! I did end up sprinting through the last mile, partially because my route took me next to my church which is super creepy at night.

photo 2like, Scooby-Doo level creepy

After some stretching and foam rolling, I hit the hay and week 3 was complete! It wasn’t very pretty, but it got done. I realize I need to re-integrate that extra day of running in the middle of the week – the cross training is great, but I don’t want my speed and endurance to suffer for it. It’s all about balance though, and I need to make sure that I keep the extra work in there but in smaller doses.

How is your training going? Are you noticing any patterns in your workouts? Any lessons to be learned outside of your usual fitness-based goals? Share with me in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Find Your Balance

  1. I have the opposite problem–I’m not consistent enough with any of my workouts, so I’m not seeing a lot of improvement. I need to get back on the wagon and start sticking to my schedule!

  2. Congrats on getting it all done! You’re a beast and you have the perfect training attitude!

    I actually have a suggestion for you. Have you considered doing your long run on Saturdays and biking on Sunday? You said you felt fresh on Saturday and then your legs were wiped out on Sunday morning. If you were to switch it around, the long run becomes your main focus of the weekend and then you can strengthen your legs the next day and rest on Monday to let those muscles recover πŸ™‚ You might not do as well on the bike the next day, but that’s not your primary goal in training for the marathon. I’ve found that it’s best not to do anything too focused on strength the day before a long run because it takes a day or two for the muscles to recover from that.

    Happy running!

    • You nailed it, Charissa! I’m actually doing my long run Sunday this week and taking tomorrow off as my rest day. I’m learning that my legs need to be totally fresh to get me through those long runs, no matter how good they may feel when I wake up on that rest day! πŸ˜‰ I’m also excited to incorporate pool running into the non-running or recovery run days, just got a swimsuit for my local YMCA & it’s going to be a great week!
      Thank you SO much for your advice, too – It’s reassuring to know I’m on the right track! πŸ™‚

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