Colfax Training Week 13: Not the best week

Well… not all weeks are great and that’s ok! And this week was super NOT great. I was tired, I struggled to hit my paces and mileages, and I was just feeling a little over trained. So, I did what you do when your body is saying “I’ve had enough”. I backed off. I cut my mileage and intensity back and tried to give my body a much needed rest. I am learning that in order to make it to the starting line of a marathon HEALTHY, sometimes you need to back off and not hit your weekly goals. Unfortunately, I am still feeling a little over trained. I don’t know how to explain it, but I am sore… even on rest days and even after rest days. I just feel… off and my legs hurt like all the time. So, I’ve decided to do what the elites do… I am getting a sports massage. I made the appointment for Thursday and after talking to a few local runners, it sounds like it is going to help me a lot. Right now I am just in maintenance mode and hoping to not loose any fitness heading into the marathon. Despite the fact that I am in the highest mileage weeks I’ve ever run, I am going to take it easy, sleep more, eat better and hope to make it to the starting line in one piece.

Last Week

Monday: Went out for 9 – did 3 – easy pace

Tuesday: Went out for 8 – did 6 – easy pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 8 miles Goal MP Tempo (actually went fast)

Friday: 7 miles easy pace on trail

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Went out for 16 – did 11 – LSD

Total: 35 miles …Ugh!

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Friday was just a beautiful day for a trail run.

What a poopy week. I felt great for my tempo runs (tempo runs are always my favorite), but everything else just felt off. I took things slow and tried so hard to hit my mileages. I just couldn’t. Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be due to anemia, but I can’t make it to the doctor this week, so I’ll have to wait to get a confirmation. In the mean time, I’ve been eating lots of spinach, iron and vitamin C supplements, and (gross) tomatoes to up my iron and vitamin C with non-animal sources. Unfortunately, iron deficiency isn’t going to just go away in a day, so I’ll have to keep at it to make it to the starting line feeling fresh.

That’s basically it… I’m desperately trying to make myself feel normal again, not weak, achy and tired. If you have any suggestions, feel free to shout them out. I am 5 weeks out from Colfax and just two more weeks until the taper begins. I am so close that I can feel it. I just need to keep my body healthy and ready to run on May 15th.

This Saturday I do have a trail half marathon. It will be the furthest I’ve ever run on trail and should be a ton of fun. I’m going to take it easy and chill. My goal for this race is to have a personal worst in the half marathon. Weird goal, right? Well, all of my halves have been on road, which is always MUCH easier than trail. If I push myself to get below a 2 hour half, I think I will pay for it heading into my peak week. So the goal is to have fun and run the slowest half I’ve ever run! I think it’s a great goal!

Here’s a pic of Elly sleeping:

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She is the most beautiful creature on this planet.

Have you ever dealt with Anemia? How do you keep your iron levels normal? Have you ever dabbled in vegetarianism?

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21 thoughts on “Colfax Training Week 13: Not the best week

  1. I just had my first sports massage — it helped, but I definitely think I need some more before my half because I do have a few little issues going on!

    I don’t have any advice for anemia, unfortunately. I hope you can get that taken care of soon — not fun & not good for a marathon! Although 35 miles is nothing to sneeze at and taking care of your body is a first priority.

    I love your goal to have a personal worst in your half. 🙂 You never know, you just might surprise yourself!

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    • Yeah, taking care of your body should ALWAYS be #1. This is my first marathon, so honestly, if I go there a little undertrained or with a few missed workouts, that’s fine. My only goal is to finish with healthy legs. I’m super excited for the sports massage. I’ll feel like I’m Kara Goucher in there or something. 🙂

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      • I’m ready for my next sports massage, too.

        Just finishing uninjured is good thing, for sure! It’s part of why I haven’t attempted a full — I can get injured just training for halfs.

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  2. I love your “set a personal worst” goal! I think that’s fun!

    I’m really sorry you had a crummy week, and I know it’s cliche to say this, but it really does happen to all of us. You’re pushing your body to limits it has never seen before with mileage and it’s natural to get a little bit of push back. You had been doing a lot of killer workouts and high mileage recently, maybe this was just your body’s way of saying “I need a cutback week!” I don’t have any advice on the anemia/medical stuff but I really hope you find some answers and start feeling better.

    You’ve already done so much great work, including a 20 miler – you can run a marathon. Really, you can. Your training is there. So maybe just take it slightly easier for a while until you feel better, whether that means cutting a couple miles or easing up on the tempos or whatever. Sometimes even cutting just a few miles or slowing down just a little bit can make a HUGE difference. Keep going. You have two more weeks until taper. You WILL get there!!!

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    • I’ll take walk breaks if I have to, to slow that half marathon down. I know that if I got out there trying to set a time goal, I will be wrecked in my peak week of training. This is really just a long run with a shirt and medal at the end.

      I worry that I peaked too soon. I felt like two weeks ago I could run a marathon, but now I’m not so sure. I really hope that I start feeling normal again cause I would love to walk to the Colfax starting line feeling strong and ready. To be completely honest, getting more mileage in will help my mind more than my legs. It’s just hard sometimes to remember that.

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      • You will feel ready at Colfax. Do not underestimate the power of the taper! You’re afraid you won’t feel ready because you are tired now, but taper is a powerful thing. Last year after my peak week, it took me like 10 days of taper before I felt like myself again and I was getting super worried that I would still feel tired at the race, but come race day, I was more than ready to go. I know it’s hard but you really just have to trust in the process, and that involves doing the right thing now (listening to your body, respecting the taper, etc) knowing it will pay off later. I know you mentioned earlier that your yoga has fallen off lately – maybe getting back into that will also help?

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  3. I’m training for the Colfax Half! I am not an expert, especially since I’ve never run a full 26.2 (yet!), but it does sound like you’re overtraining. I really don’t think you should underestimate the shorter/faster runs during the week (3-5 miles) leaving just the long run on the weekends. Also, any excuse to go for a massage sounds like a dynamite choice. Happy training, and I hope things feel much better soon!

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    • Oh that’s awesome that you are running Colfax! It should be such a fun race. I really can’t wait! I think it’s really a combination of overtraining and not sleeping enough. I’m just hoping things feel better really fast!

      Good luck on your training!! 🙂

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    • Yeah, I started cutting back my mileage because feeling like this got me scared that I’m about to get injured. I’m really hoping that after some sleep, some good food, and a sports massage that I will be feeling normal again.

      Good luck with the rest of your training! 🙂

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  4. First of all, while you might not have felt great – I think you actually had a fantastic week. Maybe you didn’t hit the mileage you wanted but your Monday, Tuesday and Sunday show just how dedicated you are and how in tune with your body you are. You went out and started the run – you did at least 3 miles. This shows that you were not stopping due to laziness – you wanted to be out there but you just didn’t feel good. Honestly, if you are not feeling good running and find your legs dead and heart rate elevated, why keep going? It is not benefiting you to push through – it will only make you more tired and overtrained. I think that you recognized that you needed rest and you did the right thing. I believe that this will help you tremendously in your race – more than running more miles on an overtrained body.

    Sleep, nutrition and hydration will be your best friends to get through this. Aim to get at least 1-2 hours more each night than you regularly do, and do this for several nights. It’s a common misconception that you can catch up on sleep in just one night. Sometimes, one poor night’s sleep can take weeks to “make up” for. Aim to drink a gallon of water per day, and add some electrolytes to it (like a nuun tablet). If you take vitamins, do you take iron? Many runners are iron deficient and that can absolutely deplete you and leave you feeling this way. I take an iron supplement in the morning with my first round of vitamins (I have a calcium deficiency so I take like four rounds of vitamins each day, so annoying). Eat lots of colorful foods, like kale and sweet potatoes and try to get some extra protein in your diet. This too shall pass, you are doing GREAT!

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    • Thanks so much! These are all great suggestions. I’ve been taking an iron supplement before bed with a glass of orange juice for the vitamin C. If I were to be completely honest, I have not felt right since Questival. I think staying up all night has wrecked me for a few weeks now. I remember in college I would bounce back from all nighters in like 2 days, but not anymore. If it is a sleep debt, I should be able to fix that soon. I usually get about 9 hours, and I sleep really well. That would be much easier to fix than an iron deficiancy.

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  5. A cutback week sounds like the right decision if you’re feeling achy even after rest days. My mantra is if I’m just tired/lazy I need to make myself run but if something legit hurts or doesn’t feel right there is no shame in taking more time off. I read a quote once that said “it’s better to be undertrained and healthy than overtrained and injured.” Not that you are undertrained at all, but you get what I mean :).

    I think sports massages feel absolutely killer during the first few minutes but after that they are amazing and you’ll definitely leave feeling rejuvenated.

    I had anemia way back in the day and a B12 shot helped a lot!

    Elly is too cute!!!

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    • I think Sage Canaday said that in one of his training talks. I have to remind myself of that pretty often. I’m hoping to get to the doctor soon, but even if something is up, I don’t know if they will fix it by the race. Maybe I’ll just feel 100% after that sports massage. Haha! I’ll probably actually feel like a cripple.

      Elly is too cute… and she knows it too! 🙂

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  6. I love your half marathon goal! 🙂 All my trail halves take me well over 2 hours! Elly is beautiful, I just want to rub her head. I am sorry your week was poopy! When you have anemia, is it just something that pops up from time to time? Or is it like you always HAVE it, but just sometimes your iron levels are good so there are no side effects?

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    • Haha! It’s kind of great to go run a race without the pressure of a serious time goal. Personal worst, man! Some race has gotta be it… why not this one?

      I’m not sure. If I am anemic, I probably have always been. I’ve been vegetarian my entire life and I am mostly vegan, now. I assume when you don’t eat any red meat, it’s kind of easy to end up anemic. Maybe it’s just a matter of me needing to be more diligent about what I eat.

      Yes, Elly is beautiful. She is the perfect cat. 🙂

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  7. Slightly undertrained and healthy is way better than overtrained and injured. You listened to your body and cut back when needed, it’s not like you just skipped the run completely because you don’t care about your training. Don’t let this week get into your head, you are going to rock Colfax!

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and even with an admittedly poor diet at times I haven’t had any issues with iron deficiency. I actually had it tested last year because I went through a really rough period where I was so exhausted I was sleeping like 9+ hours at night and taking hour long naps almost every day. I think it was just my body struggling to adapt to a higher training load. After a few weeks things went back to normal on their own. I’d say it is more likely that Questival and your higher training load are catching up with you than an iron deficiency (though certainly there is no harm in having your levels checked just in case). I read somewhere once that for every mile/week that you run, you should add a minute of sleep per night to you regular sleeping habits. So if you are running a 50 mile week, your body will need its normal amount of sleep (8 hours) plus an additional 50 minutes every night. I’m not sure how accurate that really is, but I love sleeping so I go with it.

    Oh and I wanted to add, I do try to boost my iron intake during training seasons. My iron levels are on the low end of the healthy range. Which is a fine level for non-runners, but could affect performance for athletes. In addition to things like spinach, lentils, beans, I cheat a bit and grab foods with added iron, like Luna bars or certain cereals.

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  8. Hi Elly! She is gorgeous! I agree with everyone that it’s smart to back off when you feel like you need to. It sounds like you’re doing everything right, and I’ve heard that sports massages really do help! Everyone here gave such great advice. My only advice that’s helped me get through tough training weeks is to take it one day at a time and only think about your next run. Sometimes just thinking about all the miles in the week adds stress!

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