Saturday, February 26, 2011

Imitating the Olympians

I am learning that if I want to truly imitate how Olympians live and train, it is not enough to just embody their attitude and passion of the sport. It is not even enough to focus on the running, but the other ancillary things:
  • Rest. I am a full-time graduate student with 2 jobs. So sometimes, it is easy for rest to be the thing that gets ignored with training. During the week, the alarm goes off between 5 and 6. So I try to not set an alarm at least one day on the weekend, at least to catch up a bit. Yesterday afternoon, a nap happened, and I had a full night's sleep (Deena Kastor would be proud). Based on how today's tempo went, I think it made a major difference.
  • Strength and core training: My IT band stretches fall into this category, and doing them 2x a day every day has certainly made my legs a lot stronger. But I try to get in weights/core work twice a week too.
  • Nutrition. I have been gluten free for almost 7 weeks now, and I do think it is making a difference. I can't necessarily feel it in my stomach, but I think knocking out gluten has made me able to start tolerating harder workouts much easier, and subsequently recover from them. Pamela's Products and Udi's have each been kind enough to send me some products to try, so expect some reviews soon.
I really worked hard this week with training:
Monday: 2000 yard swim, 1 hour elliptical, weights.
Tuesday: Track workout (10.25 miles)
Wednesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical, 4800 meter erg
Thursday: easy 6
Friday: 1 hour elliptical, 45 minutes erg (7500 meters), weights/core work
Saturday: 10 mile run with 6 mile tempo (average 7:29 pace)
Sunday: 17 miles (8:39 pace)
Total miles for the week: 43.25 miles
Total miles for February: 161 miles - highest in 4 months

Friday's workout was tough. I had really enjoyed my rowing experience on Wednesday and thought I would give it a go again. Apparently, the machine has activated muscles in my forearms that I never use - this is definitely a total body workout. But I pushed through, found my rhythm, and added almost 3000 meters (and 15 minutes) as compared with Wednesday. Then I taught (Gregory the Great as a missionary), and then lifted. It ended up being about 135 minutes (2.25 hours) of training for one day. And that is why I believe that intense XT is good - that is a lot of time to train, especially when you think about how much ground you would cover running for that long. There was a reason why I needed that nap at the end of the day!

And I did not set my alarm for yesterday. I busted out a great tempo run - averaged 7:29 pace for 6 miles on a very hilly course. Amazing what a full night's sleep can do! I was worried that Friday's XT would've beaten me up more, but I don't think it negatively affected my run. And I felt strong the whole time, and that I could've gone faster.

And then today I ran 17 miles. That is the longest I've gone since Halloween at MCM. I decided to bring along 2 GUs - to take one at each hour. It was amazing how much 100 calories/caffeine/carbs can help. Just when I felt my energy flagging, an hour had passed. Within 10 minutes of having one, I felt my energy come back. There were a ton of hills: the course didn't exactly mimic Boston, but included lots of up and downhills, including the last few miles. I definitely felt a little tired from yesterday, but kept at it. Averaged 8:39 pace for 17 miles and was pleased about that. I got about 7 hours of sleep last night and I think that helped too. I felt fairly focused during the run, but still relaxed enough to enjoy the process. Most of my thoughts were daydreams about Boston and thinking about training.

Does anyone use visualization during training? I think that it can have a positive impact during runs, and even to think about it throughout the day: on the train, at the store, running errands, etc. This is a really cool video about Billy Mills and his preparation for the 1964 Olympics (he won the gold in the 10k). Obviously, it worked for him. It has also motivated me to be better about keeping a training notebook, in order to record how I felt during various workouts. I don't think I will be an Olympian, but it certainly can't hurt to think like one!

1 comment:

  1. I visualize while I run, it helps me not think about the distance or how much further I want to go...not that I am as crazy good a runner as you- but I find I cover more ground faster and easier when I can distract my mind