Tagged: speedwork

I Forgot About Those Other Muscles: First Core Workout in a Really, Really Long Time

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.

Reassessing the Training Plan

This summer truly beat us all down with the extreme temperatures.  Since running in the heat is my Achilles heel, I feel kind of proud that I managed to run as much as I did.  It was certainly a challenge, and it definitely has had an impact on my training.

Last weekend I decided to reassess my training plan. I realized it was too ambitious, considering the challenges. My planned weekly mileage was too high and was causing me to need two days of recovery between some runs, where normally I would only need one.  This meant some weeks I was only getting in three runs a week, which isn’t enough for a marathon–especially when I’m not doing any cross-training (which is a whole other issue in itself).

Over the years I’ve discovered that four days a week of running works best for me, especially at my age.  When I trained for Boston I ran five days, but the soreness never went away.  A few days out from the race I felt overtrained and not well-rested, and wound up getting sick the day I arrived in Boston.  It was a high price to pay for all that work, and in a race that meant so much to me.

I’ve known people who run only three days a week and swear by it.  Most of them do some type of cross-training, though, and that’s always been another weakness of mine.  At the start of this training plan I tried to do yoga a few times a week in addition to my running, but it made my muscles so sore that it really affected my running.  After this next marathon I’m definitely going to pick up the yoga again and shoot for doing it at least twice a week.  Even “just” walking everyday would help.

I knew when I first made my training plan that trying to do two midweek 8-10 milers, in addition to a Saturday long run, was unrealistic.  Now that I’m 10 weeks out, I need to tweak the plan to make it more realistic.  This is, after all, not my first rodeo.

After checking all my marathon books and comparing the various training plans, I decided to plug my numbers in to the Smart Coach program on the Runner’s World website.  It was actually a decent plan, and it told me exactly what I wanted to hear, namely that I can do two 4 mile easy runs, a 6-10 mile midweek run (either tempo, hills, or track), and a long run, and be ready for the race.  This is essentially the plan I’ve followed for every other marathon I’ve run, and it’s worked.  I’ve decided to stick to the tried and true.

I know I should be doing more speedwork, but it’s honestly my least favorite type of workout.  The bottom line is, at the moment I’m just not as concerned with my speed as I used to be.  I’d rather do hills than trackwork any day and in the past running hills has always made me faster and stronger.  Tempo runs I can also live with, but track–ugh.

I think I’m a true long distance runner.  I don’t really hit my stride until after five or six miles, then I’m good to go.  5K’s are torture for me.  Running flat out until I want to puke is not my idea of fun.  I guess I’d rather prolong the torture over 26.2 miles, and at a slower pace.