Summer Basebuilding: Week 3

sum09-base-02Note: There was no week 2 in this basebuilding effort. I took the entire week off in an attempt to hasten recovery.

I’m somewhat reluctant to honor this week with the label of “basebuilding” lest I tempt fate. But, what the hey. I’ll be an optimist.

Basebuilding? No, not really. More like continued recovery from whatever ails me. But it was a good week from that perspective. I’ve not run “by time” (as opposed to “by miles”) since my first foray into jogging 10 years ago. And, like back then, I ran with no gadgetry to quantify the effort.

Monday through Saturday I ran with a plain vanilla watch and when I hit the halfway point of the prescribed time, turned around and headed home. I’ve noted approximate distances anyway because, well, I’m anal retentive and can’t stop myself from doing so. I’ve run my route a few thousand times, so those guesstimates are good within a few meters. But I didn’t pay attention to distance while actually running, which is what was important.

Running without constant feedback on HR, pace and distance was a challenge to get used to. But after the first run I found it liberating. I will probably go gadgetless for most of next week as well.

The two days of note were Friday and today (Sunday). Friday was notable because despite high humidity, I felt really good on my run. Good as in “I haven’t felt this good since April” good. It occured to me that this feeling is what I should have experienced during my taper, but didn’t. I’m trying not to read too much into it. I know I’m still crawling out of whatever mysterious performance hole I’ve fallen into. So I won’t get overly enthused. I am trying to remain patient, which is not my strong point.

Today’s run featured a bout of faster running, but only for the purposes of gathering some data to help give clues as to how my recovery is coming along (and to use as a comparison in the coming weeks). For a mile I ran varying paces, most of them in the 8:30 range, but I tacked on some fast running for the last .2 just to see what I could get myself down to. I managed to hit 5:46 for a few seconds. This is good news, as I struggled to get down to 6:30 during a race warmup a couple weeks back.

Whatever the issue is — overtraining, iron deficiency, vitamin deficiency, or simply the lack of a proper recovery — it’s abating slowly but surely. This makes me happy. It also helps me remain patient. Progress is exciting to see, but it’s also a reminder that I trashed myself before and it would be easy to do so again in short order, while I’m still groping my way along during this nascent state of training readiness.

On another encouraging note, the compulsive napping dropped off early in the week. Unfortunately, mild insomnia has moved into its place. But my gut tells me that it’s temporary.

So patient I will be. Next week looks a lot like this one: all running for time, 99% of it recovery pace, with a little faster running thrown in to have some data to look at. We’re building up the mileage again, probably by about 25% or so. But that’s discretionary; if I feel tired or otherwise overstretched, I’ll back off.

11 Responses

  1. I am so glad I came across your blog. Although you are way faster than me. I am experience much of the same things you are for no apparent reason like you I’ve been experiencing with different reasons. My race times are the worst ever I wasn’t even as bad when I first started racing and I just can’t seem to pick it up during training runs. Honestly I kept thinking I was going thru the big (M). I’m working a hard at getting back to where I was. So hard to tell people what is going on so all I say is I’m not having a a very bad year. I’ve move from a middle packer to a way back of the packer. I will not give in to this and I know this will pass.

    • It’s just not normal (or logical) that one would go from having a certain fitness to “losing” that fitness over time despite continued training. Unless there’s an underlying issue that doesn’t have to do with fitness.

      I hope you get back on track soon. Thanks for reading.

  2. WOW Julie!!!, happy to read this blog and i think you understand what is happend.
    This is better and you have fun and listend to your feelings when you run.
    And when you run timeless(tijdloos in dutch) you wil see that you run whit a lot of fun, you try…
    Try to run 1 houre whit no watch and see if you have that feeling of time to run 1 houre….
    Have a nice training week .
    PS. i have a sort training for you , the next time i wil post it on your blog if you want?.

    • Rinus, that would be an interesting experiment. I could probably estimate an hour, but mostly because I know my running route so well. That would be cheating. 🙂

      Sure, post away!

  3. I’ve been paying much less attention to “the gadgetry” lately too. I keep the Garmin with me, but just have it on the stop watch display so I don’t see my pace or anything until I get back home. Like you, I have trouble totally discarding the data because I’m anal retentive about that sort of stuff, but it has been nice to pace myself based on how I’m feeling rather than by following numbers.

  4. You seem to be getting back into a good place.

  5. Great! Sounds like you’ll soon be ready to roll again and with a fresh perspective, to boot. Happy liver to you.

  6. Julie, “but mostly because I know my running route so well. That would be cheating.”
    Than you must blindfold running ;-).
    I post the next time a training said “Climax run”
    maybe you now it?.

  7. Julie, good to see you’re back into it. I’d call that a base-building week. Funny, your post reminds me of when I ran for time one year (because a training partner did)… I ended up going back and estimating distances for the times because all my previous diaries were in kilometres.

    Thanks for the link to the HRV device. That could be an option (and save me a few toasters).

  8. Mmm, iron. On the bounce back from a really horrible 36-hour flu, I had triple-iron salad for lunch today: skirt steak with mushrooms on spinach/arugula.

    Yum, meat and veggies. Julie, you’re a meat-eater, correct?

    Even before my flu I was craving (!) liver, so I knew I was on the brink of some seriously low iron. Calves’ is best for mild flavor, if you go that route.

    • Glad you’re over the flu. I’ll always take the short and intense bouts over mild and lingering.

      I am indeed a meat eater, although in the run up to my recent issues I’d cut back on red meat quite a bit. Not deliberately — I just sort of forgot about eating steak.

      Now it’s beef 1-2x per week, chicken liver and lots of dark poultry.

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