Thursday, January 30, 2014

Glad to see you go, go, go, go, goodbye...January - Update on the Training

What a month. Blah! I am so happy to see January go! Although it is a time of resolutions and new beginnings for many, for me it was just a bad month. You see I really have a strong dislike of winter to begin with. I have always had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to some degree...more like the "winter blues" but this year it has been at an all-time high. Some days it is hard to pull myself out of bed only to go out into the bitter cold (some days as cold as -30 degrees with the windchill) not to mention the feet of snow we have had several times in the Northeast. Really all I want to do is eat and sleep yet I have somehow managed to keep training. Us Clevelanders are tough people. We just keep going.

With the winter training being more difficult than I can recall in many years I have been relegated to running a lot of my mileage this winter on the treadmill. I'm not even a treadmill hater anymore but I am just sick of it and so is my cranky IT band! In fact I've spent the month with hamstring/IT band issues with the left leg. Taping up with KT tape, foam rolling, Normatec, stretching and more stretching. Next week I'm headed in to a sports chiro to see if they can nip this in the butt before the season really starts. 

Frozen after our N. Chagrin yetti trail run!
Next weekend I am scheduled to run the dirty love trail 10K at North Chagrin Reservation. It is a fun race. A group of us did the preview run last weekend and it was extremely cold and snowy and took about twice the amount of time it would in nice weather. So we will see how the week goes and I will decide if I am racing or not. It would sure be nice to get out there but my goals this year are too important to compromise so if I have to sit things out at times this year I am prepared to do so.

And in other news Steve and I booked a short all-inclusive trip to Cozumel, Mexico in early March. I really cannot wait to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and toes in the sand. I am hoping to be running healthy for the trip so we can enjoy some warm runs! Looking forward to the vacation and daylight savings time and spring coming up too! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Importance of Using a Training Plan For Your Running or Triathlon Races

Even if you are an experienced athlete it is important to have a solid training plan as you enter the 2014 running or triathlon season. Training plans can be found or developed in a variety of ways:

  • Find an "off-the-shelf" plan that meets your expectations about your goal. This can usually be done by searching online, reading some of the popular running and triathlon magazines or visiting your local library or book shop.
  • Use a plan that you have successfully used in the past if your goals are similar for an upcoming race - you can always tweak the time goals and workouts a little if you're looking to PR.
  • Ask a friend with more experience than you what kind of plan that he or she uses. Sometimes they might be able to suggest a plan source that will work for you.
  • Work with a coach to develop a plan that is more specific to you and your goals. This often goes just beyond training and delves into things like nutrition and emotional support.

Once you have selected or developed your plan it is important to TRY and stick as much to the plan as possible. There will inevitably be days or even weeks where something goes wrong such as sickness, injury or a work project...but it is important to remain committed to your plan and move towards your goal. The following strategies may help you to stay on plan:
  • Schedule your workouts if not scheduled for you by a coach - add them to your daily calendar, post them somewhere where you can quickly access your schedule if need be. 
  • Log your workouts in some fashion. Some people are oldschool about it and keep written training logs while others use tools like Training Peaks, Garmin Connect, Strava, etc to save workout information. If you work with a coach he or she may have a preference for what application you use to record your training. 
  • If you miss a workout don't try to overload yourself on another day. This can lead to fatigue, injury and even burnout from the training workload.
  • If you don't have a coach be sure to have a good support system in place that understands your goals and expectations. Family and friends often make terrific support teams. 
  • It helps to have friends that can serve as training partners but be careful not to adjust your needed workout pace too much on a key workout to accommodate the training friend's pace.
Find your plan, work your plan and make 2014 a great season! And feel free to share any input on plans that have worked for you or someone you know in the comments. It might help someone else to succeed!