Week One of spring training is done.
There’s a quote from Dorothy Beal that I tend to use a lot on here, but until there’s anything truer that applies to running, I’m going to keep repeating it. Paraphrased: when she (Dorothy) runs regularly, she wants to run. When she doesn’t run regularly, then she doesn’t. In other words, once you get back into the groove of running, that’s almost all you want to do.
I schedule my weeks from Monday to Sunday, since that’s what is already in my runner’s journal. The first few weeks of January were productive, but physical activity in general had taken a backseat. I wanted to crank out some apartment projects that have been years in the making, as well as decompress after the emotional holidays before jumping into spring training.
It also doesn’t help that I’m one of those always-cold people no matter what time of year it is, so the thought of going outside on an early morning run in January just wasn’t doing it for me. But Marina got to be the center of attention more than she usually is, so at least one of us has been enjoying the time in.
I decided this past week had to be Week One of spring training, just to build my mileage back up. In all honesty, I didn’t have much of a plan beyond telling myself, “You need to run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.” So I did.
Monday – Rest day. The night before I figured I would be able to squeeze in a cross-training session on the elliptical. However, I also had my dental cleaning and eye exam scheduled, with some errands I wanted to run between the two. I get up pretty early but am ridiculously slow-moving in the morning. Once Marina decided I’d spent enough time snuggling with her in the living room, it would have been a crunch to run to the gym, then get home, shower and get out on time for the dentist. So I decided Day One was a rest day.
Tuesday – Four miles on the treadmill. I know there’s gatekeepers in the running community who refuse to believe anything other than outside running “counts,” but hey – if you’re on a schedule and it works for you, then the treadmill is a more than sufficient option. The other reason I’m starting on the treadmill is to make myself remain at a consistent pace. I have a bad habit of starting too fast and petering out, which is something I’m trying to break. Setting the treadmill to one speed for three or four miles helps me with that quirk. My treadmill run wasn’t difficult, but it served as a reminder that I’ve got some work to do before my races in April and May.
Wednesday – Rest day. DayJob has a hybrid work schedule with Wednesday being the in-office day, and since I have to try and beat traffic (it never works), I usually spend my Wednesday morning in, getting up early enough to snuggle Marina in the living room and then take the big shower. The big shower is only distinguished by the fact I wash my hair, then have to blow dry and style it. Unfortunately the hair falls flat as soon as I leave my place, so the blowout part never really turns out like I think it would. Why I’m still surprised after 31 years of having fine hair I genuinely do not know.
Thursday – Three treadmill miles. While Tuesday wasn’t too bad – or maybe the endorphins were blinding me to the reality of the treadmill – I definitely felt it in my calves on Thursday. I’ve heard some runners talk about the first run back being the hardest, since your body has to get reacquainted with the activity if it’s been a while and the subsequent runs get better. I’m the opposite – Run #1 is amazing and cathartic and look-at-what-I-can-do, and then Run #2 reminds me that calf aches are a thing. As is plantar fasciitis, mild nausea (chugging energy drink on an empty stomach), and various cramps that pop up and have to run their course. Thankfully I didn’t have any of the issues I listed, but I definitely felt like it was the “second run.” I was both elated and exhausted once I got home to the point where I even made coffee and drank it after breakfast, which seldom happens anymore. But then over the course of the day I felt better and energetic, which carried me into Friday.
Friday – Three treadmill miles. Fridays during regular training cycles are either cross-training days or rest days if I have a log run on Saturday or 15 miles or more. However, I still had that energy burst and I figured a short run couldn’t hurt me. The three big spring races have hills, and since it’s not light enough yet for me to comfortably run the bike path near my apartment complex, I decided to play with the incline on the treadmill. Running at my previous pace or trying to surpass it wasn’t my focus of Friday, and I discovered that a mild incline wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. I had the time and energy after my incline session to do a half hour cool down on the elliptical, so I finished off my training that way.
Saturday – Five miles – yep, you guessed it, still on the treadmill. I decided to go to the gym at my workplace since it’s larger and I was planning to hop on the StepMill after my run. My run was my strongest of the week and I had a ball. Then it was time for the StepMill. While effective, I absolutely hate that thing. But, part of why I’m following up treadmill sessions with a half hour of cardio on another machine is to help with recovery and to prevent muscle stiffness. I have no idea if there’s any science to back it up, but I will say that comparing a run without follow-up cross-training to a run where I did follow it up with something else, I feel way better after the latter. My lower body isn’t sore at all and my upper body doesn’t have any stiffness. And I sleep like a rock once it’s bedtime. You can never go wrong with sleep whether you’re training for something or not.
Sunday – Rest day. I’m not doing squat and I’m looking forward to it.
Week One total: 15
I’m pretty happy with my total and I’m also happy with how I broke the runs up. It’s been a long time since I ran on consecutive days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and typically I wouldn’t do it, since it’s possible to injure yourself from running too many miles too frequently. But I figured with a low mileage and listening to my body, I’d be alright and I was.
I expected Week One to be a little clunky, and to my pleasant surprise, the transition back to running went better. It was calmer and felt natural. I’m optimistic the ease of it all is a good sign that I’ll be more than alright once April is here.
So with all that said, I hope you all have a great night and enjoy yourselves. Thanks for stopping by my part of the Internet world, Reader-Friends.
Yours in running, writing and life,