Our first official week of ultra training is behind us. We’re off to a great start. I managed to run every single mile on the training plan, running 32 miles for the week, added two core/strength workouts to the plan, a little speedwork and some hills, and did five yoga sessions totaling two hours and twenty minutes.
I haven’t run 32 miles since last September 2011, so I’m pretty proud of myself. Most satisfying is that my legs feel great despite the mileage. I attribute this to yoga. After a hard run, or a lot of miles, 20-40 minutes of easy yoga does wonders.
My current favorite yoga DVD is A.M. Yoga for Your Week with Rodney Yee. It has five 20 minute sessions, each targeting a different area.
For post-run stretching, my favorite is the Forward Bends. It’s great for stretching the hamstrings, calves, and hips. The Hip Openers segment is also great for runners.
I can’t say enough great things about doing yoga, especially for runners.
The toughest run by far this week was Sunday’s 12 miler. Our plan calls for back-to-back runs on Saturday/Sunday, something I’m not used to doing.
Saturday’s 6 miler at 6:30am was very humid and warm, and everyone in the group struggled. My six miles felt like 20.
On Sunday we started at 6am, and the temperature was already 74 degrees with 88% humidity. It was 81 degrees when we finished.
The heat is one thing, but high humidity is the worst.
We took walk breaks, and at the halfway point stopped off at a grocery store to fill up our water bottles with ice-cold water. Even though we weren’t running on a dirt trail, we worked on slowing down and taking breaks when needed.
Nothing beats seeing the sun come up on a long run.
We sweated buckets. And because Hari was in charge of the route, there was a hill at the end.
It was all worth it, though, because I got to run with two amazing runners. And best of all, Hari’s wife, Nirisha, had breakfast waiting for us when we were done.
I’m excited to hit the trails soon!
Here are the stats for the week:
MON: Yoga – 20:00
TUE: Run – 4 mi/incl speedwork + core/strength workout
WED: Run – 6 mi easy, Yoga – 40:00
THU: Run – 4 mi/hills, Yoga – 20:00
FRI: Core/strength workout, Yoga – 20:00
SAT: Run – 6 mi (9:22), Yoga – 20:00
SUN: Run – 12 mi, Yoga – 40:00
They are buried somewhere very deeply in places I don’t think about when I run. Stomach. Arms. Butt. Shoulders.
My first core workout in years was painful. I do a lot of yoga, but this was a completely different ballgame. Heather from our running group came up with a 6:30 AM plan of torture:
Those poor, unused muscles involved in core work: they screamed out their presence very heartily during the workout. I felt invisible red arrows all around me, pointing directly at my butt, back, hips, and abs. Look, everyone! This is what happens when your forget about us!
I’ve always had puny arms, and managed maybe four push ups (honest). I was the original 90 Pound Weakling when I was in grade school, and failed miserably every year when we had to do the President’s Fitness Challenge. Remember the wooden rack of rungs against the gym wall where we had to do pull ups? My entire body would shake uncontrollably like a leaf in the wind every time I tried to pull myself up. You can imagine how the other kids reacted.
The core workout brought back memories of those dark days in the school gym. I was anything but athletic back then–but I could chase down any boy in the class (which is a great skill to have when you’re ten).
Speaking of speed, not only did we do core work, we also did speed work on the track. Ugh.
I like to run fast, but there is nothing fun about speed work. Other than the fact that it’s hard work, running around a track is just plain boring. I’d much rather run hills.
I only did two laps at 5K pace, and somehow Bill and I managed to run a 7:57 and a 7:56 average. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the 7’s.
When we were done, Theresa took a photo of the board listing our workout so she could show her husband. She said he wouldn’t believe her otherwise. Leslie cursed the 10 lb dumbbells she had brought, promising to leave them at home next time. I couldn’t talk Bill into doing just one more mile with me afterwards.
Leslie posted later that evening that DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), which usually happens the second day after a hard workout, had already set in. Misery loves company, and everyone agreed.
Even though the next morning (okay, the next few days) were rough, it was all good stuff. I won’t be forgetting those other muscles again anytime soon.
My friend Liz can’t run because of a sore ankle. It’s been sore for weeks. She even ran a marathon on her bum leg, after getting it checked out by a doctor to make sure it wasn’t a stress fracture.
Now she’s walking. Like most of my running friends, Liz is stubborn. She texted the other day that she had been walking to stay in shape, and that she had just walked seven miles. Seven miles! Like most of my running friends, she’s also an overachiever.
I asked if I could keep her company on one of her long walks at the lake. Even with an injury, I was pretty sure Liz would walk me into the ground.
I wasn’t wrong. The past two days have been extremely windy, and this morning it was overcast and humid. Despite the wind and humidity, she never let up. I secretly struggled to keep the pace.
I was so glad I was walking and not running. Running into a strong head wind is not one of my favorite things.
I love to walk. If I lived in the mountains or someplace more scenic than Dallas (and it doesn’t take much to be more scenic than Dallas), I might not even run anymore. I would take off into the hills and hike to my heart’s content.
This is a lie, of course. I’m pretty sure I’d still run, even if it meant switching to hilly trails.
In the meantime, we have White Rock Lake. Even though I’ve been partying and playing hookey (high school), driving, walking, and running around this same lake since I was a kid, it’s still one of the best parts of Dallas. Though we curse the monotony of the nine mile, flat, paved path that encircles it, it’s been a huge part of our training.
As runners, we tend to look down on walking and forget that it’s great cross training. We hate having to walk during a run or race. For many of us it’s a sign of weakness. But it has its place, and being injured or walking after a challenging run the day before, it can be a nice change from running.
Especially if you walk with Liz.