The snowball effect. (26M)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the snowball effect of a runner's training. For most of us, our plans are designed in such a way that we will run our best for a specific race distance on a specific date - not every weekend all year long! :)

You see, if I were to put $1 in a jar every single day, by the end of the year, I would have a very nice sized amount of fun money to treat myself to new clothes or get out for a weekend getaway with my husband. On the contrary, $7 at the end of the week doesn't get you much... a cheap fast food meal at best, right? I believe our training is very much the same. We need to give our bodies time to soak in the benefits of the work we do. Getting in mileage, strides, aerobic running, strength work, etc on a consistent day to day basis will have an exponential effect on our fitness if we let it be (AKA, not force things too early!). If you constantly use up what you build, you're not going to make as significant of improvements as you would if you see the full training cycle through. In saying that, I think tune-up and benchmark weekend races are still a great avenue to mix up a training routine and stay motivated; it's important to remember how to compete and what it feels like to toe the line. The trick is remembering why you are racing, what your training has been like going into the race, what you plan to do in the coming weeks, and what your ultimate goal is.

This weekend I ran my second 5k since coming back from injury. I went into the race without crazy nerves or feeling as though I needed to win because I knew my fitness level, I knew where I wanted to be at this point in my season, and I knew I had 17 weeks left to get stronger and faster before my goal race. Fortunately, I ran exactly what I had expected - 5:59 pace. Granted, I did it the hard way by running too fast at the start and crashing towards the end, but this is a perfect time to be reminded of the fine line between competing and racing wisely. In the past, losing a race or running such a "slow" time would have bothered me and made me question my training, but I finally understand the concept of the snowball effect! I still have a baby snowball, as I should, and I don't want to use it all up now. My goal right now is to keep adding to fitness on a daily basis so that when November arrives my snowball is giant!! :) Don't get me wrong - I definitely raced this weekend and I could not have run much faster if I had to, but I also did not feel the need to panic or fumble for excuses afterwards. Maturity is a wonderful thing in this sport! :)

Sunday, July 8th
14 bike ride with the guys at White Rock Lake + weights in the evening

Monday, July 9th
56' run on the grass track + 8 x 20" strides
COMMENTS: I have mixed feelings about this run... I felt absolutely amazing muscularly, but I was a wreck structurally. After taking the first 10 to 15 minutes easy, I settled into a solid pace on the grass track at DBU. I had planned to run loops through our neighborhood, but battling some intense ankle/ lower shin pain for the first loop I reevaluated and ran to the grass track for the bulk of my time. I finished things up with 8 x 20" strides by our house and felt so much better for doing them! I really want to get back in the habit of doing strength, strides, and core on a consistent basis!

Tuesday, July 10th
4M + 2M of 200/200
Forced rest day. Went to the trainer for strong pain in on the inside of my ankle and he thinks it's a tendon strain. Resting until Thursday evening and hoping to get back into the swing of things that night.

Wednesday, July 11th
Weights workout + 30' bike with 20 x 20" surge, 40" recovery

Thursday, July 12th
10' core work + 45' bike in the morning
9M 30' test run at Kiest Park with Jake in the afternoon
COMMENTS: I waited until the afternoon to run and went out to the park with Jake. No major pain at all! Definitely a good sign! :) Glad to have Jake to push the pace a bit since I was going so short!

Friday, July 13th
6M in 44:00 (7:20 AP) at Kiest Park + 10 x 20" stride, 40" rest
COMMENTS: Day two of running was a success! No major pains at all and I'm confident in returning to full training now! I want to start picking up the pace on my daily runs so that they're 7:30 or faster most days (unless I need a recovery one, of course), so today's three 2M loops were progressively faster in 15:35, 14:40, and 13:45 for a 7:20 total run average. I kept the strides nice and relaxed so nothing too exciting there.

Saturday, July 14th
9M in 1:07:30 (7:31 AP) on the Trinity Park trails
COMMENTS: Still feeling good and healthy so I'm really enjoying my runs again! I wanted start easy and naturally progress during the run; this is my longest run since coming back from my fracture so I wanted to have a good balance of adding time on my feet and still getting in a little quality (had to skip two of my workouts this week). I ended up having good company from Katie, Hanna, and Jake so I didn't progress like I wanted, but it was still a great run! Mile splits were 8:25, 7:38, 7:40, 7:25, 7:26, 7:20 (followed by quick bathroom break), 7:34, 7:09, 6:50. Looking forward to next week's run... I love it out there!

Total weekly mileage: 26

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