Although I didn't get to run the marathon I trained for, the training cycle didn't go completely to waste. In the days after making the decision not to run it (which I do not regret), I did a lot of reflecting about what I could have done better. The list was long but there were 4 main takeaways that I am going to focus on moving forward.
1. Strength Training
Over the past 4 years I've gotten to know my body pretty well and I've learned that Strength Training is a necessity for me. My body falls a part when I don't do it consistently. I spent a lot of time reviewing my journals and found 2 interesting things over the past 6 months.
a. In December and January I did A LOT of strength training, 2-4 times per week. And then in early February I achieved a PR in the half-marathon.
b. In March, April and May I did barely any strength training and injured my leg. I also felt "weak and mushy" a lot (as written in my journal).
So I'm going to get back to doing more Strength Training which is what I primarily did this past week. I actually tried to do a simple 30-minute Circuit Set 2 days after the Portland race and was sore for the following 3 days. It was lame and embarrassing.
I have also been incapable of doing any Strength Training without Trainer Dave present. It's not for a lack of knowledge because I've been training with him for 7 1/2 years and I know what to do. He also trains me in my home so I have all the equipment surrounding me all. the. time. In fact, I sometimes prop my feet on a weight while I'm sitting on my couch watching TV. But I just have not been able to motivate myself to Strength Train without him counting my reps. I'm going to try to make more of an effort to do so on my own this summer. I'll still have my once, sometimes twice, a week sessions with him but since I want to Strength Train at least 3 times a week so I'm going to have to learn how to put myself through a workout.
2. Long Distances
I am of the belief that it takes the body time to adjust to long distances. After 19 half marathons I am at the point where my body is adjusted to 13.1 miles. Beyond that, it's simply not. I've only taken up running distances longer than that for the past 2 years, which isn't very long at all. Sure I can gut out the longer distances but I'm at the point where I want them to be stronger, better.
Given that I'm still dealing with my leg issues, I haven't been able to start working on this yet, but it's one of the things I plan on focusing on this summer and without the stress or pressure of pace. I just want to build the endurance to run more quality long runs.
After the Ogden Marathon was over, I realized that it was the first time in 2 1/2 years that I wasn't registered for a marathon. And in the past 3 1/2 years I've run over 30 races. It's no wonder this training cycle didn't go well for me, I was burnt out. I took 6 complete days of rest after Portland and 13 days of not running. I finally ran for the first time yesterday and it felt so refreshing.
There are a lot of races this summer that I'd like to run, but I'm only going to run the 2H of the San Francisco Marathon. I will be running a Fall Marathon, but it will be a different experience (more on this later).
In reviewing my journal I also noticed that since January I gained 7 lbs. And this was while marathon training. I've gained weight marathon training before, but not this much. Oddly enough, my clothes don't feel tighter but I also know it's not all muscle gain (see #1).
It's a bit frustrating because I can't possibly workout more than I already do and I don't eat "bad foods." I have always thought I had portion control problems but after reading Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, I'm realizing that I'm probably deficient in some of the essential nutrients.
I printed out how many grams of each nutrient I would need and I've started using my Fit Bit and My Fitness Pal again to keep track of my diet - not just to keep check of the calories intaken in, but also to make sure I'm eating enough of the right nutrients to balance out the calories I'm burning. After a week of doing this I've learned that I did get enough protein and iron last week so it's something I'm focusing on adding to my menu this week.
Trainer Dave also suggested that I adopt a gluten-free diet. At first I had an adverse response to this because I don't have Celiac's Disease, but I decided to read up on it and was quite surprised by what I learned. I've decided to give it a try, starting today, and see what kind of effect it has on me. It's a harmless experiment, and hopefully will turn out to be a beneficial one. I'll share more of this later as well.
To recap last week's workout:
Week 22 of 2012, May 27 - June 2 (almost half way through the year!):
Sun, 5/27: Rest Mon, 5/28: Rest Tues, 5/29: 30-min on the Bike Trainer / 90-minutes Bikram Yoga Class Wed, 5/30: 55-min on the Stair mill / 45-min Vinyasa Yoga Class Thurs, 5/31: 1-hr Spin Class / 1-hr Strength Training with Trainer Dave Fri, 6/1: 90-min Bikram Yoga Class Sat, 6/2: 4-mile Run -- first run since Portland! It went well. Knee was still bothersome a few hours later, but no worse than it was before. Sun, 6/3: 40-min on the Stair mill / 1-hr Spin Class