15 total miles for the week and running 4 days per week. A few weeks into training we started introducing structured speed workouts, tempo runs, etc. In all my years this is something I've never pushed myself to do. Why? I was uncomfortable. I didn't really understand it all and I especially didn't understand the benefits so I just didn't do it. I'm not comfortable doing things I don't fully understand. I think we're all guilty of this in some form or fashion right? Over the last 9 weeks I have learned to be fully OK with being uncomfortable. Every Monday I wake up, load my workout onto my Garmin and head out the door to tackle a speed workout. These workouts have ranged from 200's repeats to 1200's repeats but the one thing they all have in common: they all kick my ass. Speed was something I kind of dismissed as "not for me". Over the years yes, I have gradually gotten faster but it was nothing I ever focused on because I simply had accepted the notion that I was ok being a mid-pack runner. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, I repeat, NOTHING wrong with it. I just didn't think I, Lindsay - little ol' me, could be any faster. Low and behold though I have learned to LOVE my speed sessions. They are such a huge challenge for me and admittedly the first couple I was terrified. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to even finish it or that I wouldn't be able to hit the paces coach assigned. As we entered week 10 of training I tackled what was undoubtedly my hardest workout to date, a 1200's workout. After eating and drinking whatever I wanted over the 4th of July holiday it was pure punishment. (80 degree temp and 88% humidity doesn't help either) In fact, I almost puked twice but I slowed the pace to a walk on my 400 recovery and kept on pushing during those 1200's. Not only did I finish this workout, but I nailed my paces assigned to me! Major victory for me physically but more importantly mentally.
In addition to weekly speed work, my mileage has reached a level it never has before. In June I finished the month with 110 miles logged, which I know is a record for me. Weekly mileage during week 1 was 15 miles, and last week (week 9) I ended that week at 33 miles logged.
Let me put this into perspective, 30+ miles used to be my PEAK weeks for marathon training. And by week(s) I mean I only had two maybe three that hit that level. So here we are, not even halfway through training and every single week is now 30+. Over the weekend coach emailed me my training calendar for the next two weeks and said "You're going to start feeling some fatigue now". LOL. Now?!? I got a good laugh out of that. Ok bub, I'm a little ahead of schedule on that fatigue thing but thanks for the heads up. July is on schedule to have me enter 40+ mile weeks. I've never gone over 40 before and in my previous marathons, I only had one week at 40 miles each time. So uh, I'm about to start getting really uncomfortable! Bring. It. On.
It has been tiring, stressful at times, and painful. I spend quality time with my foam roller each and every day and take my Nighttime Recovery every night. Those two things are what I'm convinced have helped me to keep trucking forward. Focusing on my recovery has been a HUGE area of focus this time around. Yes, it adds even more time to my morning and nighttime routine but it's critical. Three things I am really focusing on in the weeks ahead:
1) Nutrition - all of these miles means I need to eat more which is actually harder to do than it seems.
2) Form - I have started to work on lifting my knees just a tad extra (like an inch) during my runs to keep from over-extending my knees. So far so good!
3) Recovery - I've dedicated a ton of time to this so far, and more is going to be needed in the weeks ahead.
I entered week 10 with a lot more confidence and desire to keep pushing. Over the last 9 weeks I have learned what it's like to push myself beyond what I thought I could ever do. I have overcome hurdle and after hurdle both mentally and physically and it hasn't been easy. Becoming uncomfortable has become the new norm!
This post is simply to say and hopefully encourage you to get out of your own damn way! You can do anything you want to and the only thing holding you back, is you. Great things really do happen once you step outside your comfort zone - I fully believe it now.