Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Balancing Act

Getting to the next level in running often means getting a little uncomfortable. To improve, you need to push yourself harder so you can reach peak fitness. Pay the price during tough workouts and you'll reap the rewards on race day.


But you also have to be careful to avoid overpaying - aka overtraining. Based on my training journal entries for the past few weeks, I can tell I am skating a fine line. Not so much with running - fortunately I have Coach Matt who tells me how long and how fast I need to run - but with balancing running and additional workouts. 

I have a tendency to get a little too ambitious and last week I paid the price. Without getting into it too much, I'll just say a near blackout Wednesday morning led me to the conclusion that days I've been considering "easy" have actually been too hard. 

 These delicious Honey Stinger chews saved me Wednesday morning!

Coach Matt lays everything out for me - easy run days, challenge workout days, long run days, recovery run days. Everything is balanced so I can nail my hard workouts, recover properly and still run enough miles every week. But in addition to running, I sneak in my own extra workouts - mainly classes at the Y and strength training. This wouldn't be a bad thing except I tend to work too hard during these sessions. The result is the easy days in my plan are no longer easy and I'm left feeling more fatigued than I should.

I'm not sure what the solution is - I won't give up my favorite classes anytime soon and strength training is necessary for running strong. But I need to find a way to scale back somehow. It might be as simple as running slower for the lap portions during certain classes. All I know is that I need to do something or else I'll end up having paid too high a price - with nothing to show for it.

So this week I'm scaling back on the additional workouts just a bit (no Y-Blitz, no additional strength training), mainly because I'm racing this weekend. Finally, the relay race is less than one week away! Here's this week's plan:

Monday: 5 mile run w/strides + Y-Kettle Bell Intervals
Tuesday: 7 mile workout
Wednesday: 5 mile recovery run + Y-Fuse + Y-Core
Thursday: 6 mile run w/strides + Y-Kettle Bell Intervals
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Fleet Feet Sports Marathon Relay!
Sunday: 5 mile recovery run

Total: 38 miles

Ha, it's pretty funny when you look at a race week as a recovery week. But that's what I'm doing. This week's goals: Train smart, avoid excessive fatigue and have fun at the marathon relay :)

Tell me: How do you balance running with other types of exercise?

- ST

14 comments:

  1. I change it up day to day - or at least I try to - I'm a big believer in running getting stronger when you're not running ;)

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    1. Jamie, that's pretty true - gotta take that recovery time to get stronger!

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  2. The more I read your blog, the more I consider hiring a coach. I could definitely use the extra help during this training cycle. I used to overtrain and I know that I was doing it, so I've been trying to scale back, but it's hard. It might be easier if I had someone to tell me to stop it. :)

    Currently I run 4 days a week, rest 1 and cross train in various ways for 2. So far it's okay, but I will be reevaluating as my mileage ramps up.

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    1. I think having a coach is fantastic and something all runners could benefit from. I don't always trust myself to make the best decisions, so it's definitely helpful to have someone like Coach Matt to tell me to cut it out if I start getting carried away. Or that it's okay to take an extra recovery if I'm feeling extra fatigued/borderline injured. Now I just have to start listening about the cross training portion :)

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  3. It is a balancing act! A hard one at that. I have a hard time during the times I have to juggle running with my athletes with my own training. Sometimes I have to shorten my run in the morning so that I'm able to run with them all while not upping my mileage like crazy. I also try to remind myself to take my easy days easy despite how good I'm feeling because if I don't it may come back to bite me later :).

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    1. I have that same problem with the easy days at times. I think those types of runs are even harder than speedwork - holding back when your legs just want to go!

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  4. I used to do this when I had an unlimited membership to Barre3 - I would equate going more times with saving money (the more you go the cheaper it is per class right?) and I loved being there so I would go 4 times a week while also running 4 times a week. I didn't get an injury but I was definitely tired! Good luck with finding that balance!

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    1. Ha, I would totes use that same reasoning! Sounds like you were able to find a good balance with both running and the classes. Maybe fatigue is just part of the game :)

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  5. ack - take care of yourself and don't push too hard. listen to your coach - and enjoy the relay this weekend!

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    1. Thanks Courtney! It should be a fun race :)

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  6. You made a great point, and it is something that a lot of runners make the mistake of. Over training can happen to anyone, but if done correctly you can train the body to take a considerable amount of training. For me the key pretty much like it sounds like you do, or your coach has you do. Build up to it, listen to the body and when you hit the point of over doing it back off a bit and then get back into it and teach your body what you want it to do to keep moving to the next levels.
    Good luck and have fun in your race this weekend!

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    1. You're so right - our bodies can do remarkable things and handle a lot of training - as long as we're smart about how we build up to those levels!

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  7. Wow, I have only blacked out once but that was when I thought it was a good idea to go try bull riding with the boys in high school! Glad you're ok!

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    1. Bull riding?? Yikes - sounds scary but also fun :)

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