While recovering and now as I prepare to get back to training, I have been listening to a several interesting fitness podcasts. The Natural Running Network podcast by Richard Diaz, the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast and the Obstacle Order podcast. I am reading Ben’s Beyond Training book as well. What I have been trying to figure out is how to get back to training and how to train smartly so I don’t hurt myself, yet again. I really think staying healthy is a worthy goal.
A couple of days ago, I got a notification letting me know a new article was published on one of my favorite running blogs Relentless Forward Commotion. The post was about the value of heart rate zone training. As I read the post, I kept saying a few of things to myself:
- I know that;
- That makes sense;
- Why can’t I do what is best for me?
- Should I try to change my way of training?
While reading and pondering, all of the things that have been swirling in my mind for the past 5 weeks came into focus. It was crystal clear, even though I know and understand the need to balance high and low intensity efforts, the value of heart rate training and how to plan a season, I am horrible at doing any of that. What makes things even worse is since switching to obstacle racing and incorporating strength training into my workouts, my ability to moderate workouts and allow my to rest and recover has become virtually non-existent. And the icing on the cake for all of this is that I am paying for a training plan from Yancy Camp that I refused to follow. If I followed his intensity guidelines and the recommendations for scaling workouts, all of this would be more than manageable.
In my plan as Yancy writes them, I SHOULD HAVE a couple of days where I focus on nice easy aerobic runs or cross training and mix in 2 or 3 additional workouts per week which combine aerobic paced running and strength and and obstacle work with strategically placed intervals of higher intensity threshold and AT work.
But my normal training week looked something like this.
- 3 Obstacle Racing focused workouts done at levels which are way to intense;
- Why scale a workout? More is better – isn’t it?
- One relatively long run day – at threshold pace rather than at aerobic pace.
- Why slow down? Won’t I need to run fast on race days?
- One interval focused cross training day on a stair climber, Jacob’s Ladder or Arc trainer – performed at AT level or above.
- Since I don’t live near a mountain and will be racing at Palmerton, West Virginia and Killington, how else will I get in my climbing work?
- Two days doing nothing and wondering why I feel so tired.
All of this was on top on by normal day job and family commitments.
As I looked back on my training logs, that was my training routine for the past two years. After seeing this, it’s no wonder that I am consistently hurting myself. Of my 10-12 hour training weeks, nearly 50% of my time was at threshold level or above. This is way too intense for my 54 year old body to handle. Ultimately there was only so much I could take before I break. And I broke each of the past two years.
So as I get ready to swing back into training, I am fully committing to following a well structure training routine. It won’t be so structured that it takes away all of the fun, but if I follow it, it should keep me from getting hurt again.
Starting with my off-season, I will have 3 main areas of focus:
Focus 1 – Reduced training Intensity – Once I get through an easy November (virtually all easy aerobic work) as I make sure my injured foot has healed, this is what I have on the agenda. Based on a 12 hour training week it would look like this:
- 75% Zone 3 – 9 hours
- 20% Zone 4 – 2 1/2 hours
- 5% or less Zone 5 – 30 minutes
Focus 2 – Prioritize recovery
- Look for lots of posts from me on @RestDayBrags on Twitter
- Remember that I get stronger when I recover from the hard days.
- More is not better
Focus 3 – Listen to my body
- Recognize when my body needs a break.
- Aches are OK – pain is not.
- It is better to take a couple of days to let a minor injury heal instead of having it progress to a season ending one.
As some wise person said:
No plans to fail . . . but many people fail to plan.
I am planning for a smarter future.