Putting myself under... and digging myself out

My legs have struggled post-vacation.  Like, really struggled.  I think it was the combination of the following, in order:
1.  The run in Vegas with the group where I completely crossed "the line".  I ran the last 4 miles in without anything left in the legs, almost race-like in how depleted they were.  I know better than that; I am usually very good about having a plan for each workout and sticking to it.  This was NOT in the plan, and was definitely not what I needed to cap off my 3rd highest volume week.  Nate scolded me as well.  "You had nothing to prove!  They were the ones who wanted to prove something to you. You should be more confident to come to their practice and say, "This is what I need" & go out and do just that."  So true.  Lesson learned, believe me.
2.  Nutrition.  I scrounged for most of the time out there, especially in Vegas where Nate was in class and I lived off of the measly left-overs from our camp food (think remainder of a loaf of bread, finishing off the jam (pb was already gone), granola bars, etc.  Nate sometimes would bring up food from the class, which was really fun :).  Even while camping, my diet was not my norm, and I know I didn't eat much protein or iron those entire 10 days.  (Yes, I should have just gone out for meals... but I actually like "scrounging" (and not wasting food!)... I find it somewhat adventurous :))  Plus, unless I was to find a grocery store along the strip, I don't think I would have found much in the way of lean protein, green veggies, etc.
3.  Hydration.  There were some long, hot days in the sun, and the dry heat in Vegas didn't help.

Whatever the cause, my legs were completely trashed when I came back.  I tried a 10x800m workout the Tuesday after we returned.  I did the first 800m repeat in 2:59.  I literally laughed out loud.  I'm supposed to be doing them in 2:40!  My legs were oddly slow.  Not bound up and fatigued like I've felt before, but it was  more that they moved in slow motion, no power and no get-up-and-go.  Very curious.  I decided that doing the repeats in 3 minutes wasn't going to help me, so I packed it in.

I took Wednesday off (2 days in a week!  What?!?) and attempted the workout Thursday again.  It was moderately better (i.e. faster than 2:59!), but times ranged from 2:41 at the beginning to 2:49 on the 7th one... Craig had the brilliant idea to cut the 8th and 9th into 2 400m repeats with a very short rest in between to try to at least come closer to hitting the times.  The last one I did the entire 800 in 2:44.  So... better than Tuesday...

Saturday was a MP/Tempo workout that was, again, slower than the goal, but I purposely didn't look at my watch often.  If my legs are going to feel like this, there isn't anything I can do about it... other than focus on the workout ahead of me & put in a good solid effort.  So, that's what I did, and I'm proud I was able to mentally focus and power through the whole thing, most of which was done alone.

It gets you to thinking... oh crap... Grandma's is just 2 weeks away!  And my legs feel terrible!  I remember trying to race TC 10 last year on legs like this - they felt so dead that I wasn't even able to "race".  Ever had races like that?  How can I quickly get my legs back to how GREAT they were feeling during those high mileage weeks where I was firing on all cylinders?  Do I stick to the course or alter workouts?  Is there anything else I can be doing?  Diet?  Water?  I kept telling myself to shut up, stop worrying (knowing this is what Jerry would tell me).  But it's hard not to think about it a lot!  Really!!

BUT -- fast forward to today, Tuesday, and my legs are finally STARTING to turn the corner.  They still feel like they're moving in slow motion a little bit, but at least it's not deathly slow.  I ventured out in the early morning to beat the heat, met up with Craig (it is SO AWESOME to have someone in town willing to do these crazy workouts!!!), and we enjoyed 3x10 minutes worth of tempo work together.  Times were right around 5:55 or so.  That was my optimistic goal, given how terrible I've been feeling & running... so I can't complain.  Now, just need to get the legs 100% back so tempo effort is sub-5:50s... which I'm now very hopeful will come... right in time for my last tempo workout on Friday.  Perfectly timed?

Now, to down another glass of water :)

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

2 comments:

  1. I'm doing the half at Grandma's so am on the same schedule as you and I can relate to what you've been feeling! I have struggled with the same heavy-legged feeling this last week or so and haven't had a good explanation for it either. Like you, I've thought of all of the things that may be contributing but can't really nail it down. I had a horrible long tempo-ish workout last weekend where I struggled to maintain even 20 seconds per mile slower than what I wanted. My breathing felt easy but my legs just wouldn't go any faster! Hang in there and continue to believe in your training and the magic of the taper. You'll do great at Grandma's!

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  2. All I can say it to continue to have faith in your training. Look at all you've done this past year, that ability is still with you. With good training, we experience rough training. It seems as it's out of your system. Do your final week's marathon prep and believe too it's all perfectly timed. See you in Duluth!

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