grumpy hip flexors and reality checks…

I realize this training go-round that I’ve not really delved much into my actual training plan. Many people go about training differently. Having had previous success with using a training program for my previous two 70.3s, I decided to stick with a 24-week long Ironman plan from one of Matt Fitzgerald’s books. In addition, I have a lot of resources and individuals with whom I’ve consulted as to what kind of training plan they used and how they would recommend we go about doing this. In general the plan calls for 9 workouts a week – 3 swimming, 3 biking and 3 running – with brick workouts a couple times a month. The first 70.3 I did, I got pretty darn close to hitting every workout . Last year, I was a lot more realistic about whether that was entirely necessary considering my goal was not to win the whole race, just to finish.

This year, I figured that I’d be pretty happy with 6-8 quality workouts and on weeks where time was especially tight, I’m making sure to hit the long runs, rides and swims, the interval training, the hill workouts, etc. and dropping the foundation workouts if necessary (what could arguably be considered “junk” miles).

I’ve been trucking right along, (scheduled to clock in about 4 hours of running, 6 hours of biking and 3 hours of swimming alone in Week 13) but what’s been clearly missing in all 3 years is any dedicated time for strength training and any time for stretching. They are the “assumed workouts” – the ones we all know we should do but are so often guilty of skipping because we’ll do them later or because they must not be that important if they’re not written into the plan…

This year has been no different . All of the biking and running I’m doing, added to the fact that I commute a little over an hour each day to and from a job where I sit at a desk all day at work and no stretching during the day or after workouts, meant that some of my muscles were getting pretty grumpy with me.

Two weeks ago I was doing a mental check-in and it was clear I needed to start doing something to provide some relief to my tight muscles, especially my hip flexors, which had been pretty vocal the past 2 or 3 weeks. I was starting to feel creaky and downright OLD. It became crystal clear that if I didn’t do something to head this off at the pass, there was a lot of potential for my hips to become a much bigger problem in training for Ironman. If I didn’t do something it seemed, my tightly wound hip flexors might just snap. Ick. Sounds messy. And dare I say, an untimely inconvenience.

As a result, Week 11’s resolution was to spend more time stretching and strength training. The guys at Mobility WOD have some good stuff for all sorts of fixes and I found this to be a painful (yet helpful)  addition to my days:

But I also know that I’m flat out awful at committing to stretching for more than a few days in a row, which is a big part of the reason why I’m in this position in the first place. So I also added in one evening a week for yoga – 90 minutes dedicated specifically to stretching and  focusing on erasing the tight spots with some added core and balance elements as a bonus. And of course, mentally it’s refreshing to focus on one thing and one thing only – not falling over.

After three weeks, I think I feel some improvements. Whether it’s the yoga or the mobility wods, I’m no longer in fear of my muscles snapping. Now on to Week 14 and figuring out how to NOT get that same crick in my neck every time I’m on the bike…

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welcome back, me!

Hello world, I’m back!

When I was last here, wayyyyy back last summer, I had just finished my 2nd 70.3 triathlon and had an October marathon staring me at the face and an Ironman off in the distance. Following the completion of that marathon, I took a much needed break. A full-on break for about two full weeks followed by four weeks of “still mostly break”, running maybe a handful of times, swimming some, but mostly sleeping and relaxing. Recuperating.

Mentally, I knew I needed it. Training takes a lot out of you. Well, it takes a lot of out me anyway. Physically, sure. But that’s not the hard part. The hard part is ALWAYS steering the ship toward the goal. Doesn’t matter how much you want to achieve your goal, there will always be days when you just don’t want to but you have to. It takes a lot of will power to choose to log sometimes lonely miles over beers with friends night after night, week after week, month after month. Your brain gets tired of making that decision. My will power needed a break if I was ever going to be able to pull off Ironman 2013.

So I rested. Just a few weeks ago, I started slowly logging in more time in the pool, more time on the road. Getting ready to start training again in earnest. And here we are. This coming Sunday OFFICIALLY marks the start of training for Ironman Coeur d’Alene. That’s right. This blog has been upgraded to 140.6 and me!

Twenty four weeks of swimming, biking and running toward the ultimate goal of completing 140.6 miles in under 17 hours on June 23. And not dying along the way. Over the next six months I’ll be posting my thoughts, fears, goals, dreams, and experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly – throughout my training right here for you to follow along.

Since I’ve been gone for a while, just a quick reminder / disclaimer: I’m not an expert in much of anything and certainly not a personal trainer, nutritionist, or professional athlete. I’m just a normal gal training for Ironman. The thoughts and recommendations I have here are solely my own … if you are thinking of joining us in crazy town, I highly recommend you talk to a professional. More specifically, a therapist first. Then head straight over to talk to a coach or someone who’s got a few races of this distance under their belt and hop on in, the water’s fine!

sleep…

In the weeks leading up to the 70.3, I found I wasn’t sleeping particularly well. (This is unusual for me – I’m a very solid sleeper. It’s one of my strengths. Ha.) Could’ve been a number of things: Work, worrying about oversleeping or sleeping through my alarm or turning my alarm OFF and returning to sleep only to sleep through work or a board meeting. Could’ve been that nagging feeling that the race was creeping up on me and I didn’t feel ready. Could’ve been that we recently entered the 3-4 truly HOT weeks of the summer and I was just not comfortable. Could’ve been that I was worried – about the race, about my training, about a nagging injury, about gear, about the HEAT.

I always found this ironic and also quite unfortunate because training ALWAYS makes me SO tired. I sleep (or at least I want to sleep) a ton when I’m training for marathons or 70.3s… It takes a lot out of you. So what’s worse than wanting and needing to sleep but not? Nothing.

I never figured out what it was. But today marks 4 days since race day and I’m happy to report that, while I’m still tired and could use a nap over lunchtime, I have been sleeping quite nicely. Naturally, I slept like the dead the night after the race despite aches and pains I picked up over the course of 70 miles.

If I had to guess what it was, I’d say there was a part of me that was just too nervous to sleep. For me, there is always a certain level of anxiety that goes along with a big race,whether it be your first 5k or your first 70.3 or your first marathon. It’s just part of the deal. I have to remind myself to have a little faith in the training and in myself. To have a little faith that things will shake out just fine. To have a little faith that I’ve prepared myself for race conditions. To sleep because I NEED it and because it doesn’t do anyone any good to stay up at night worrying! And I have to remind myself that time’s up, I’ve done everything I can and its time to put it to the test. Race day. It’s all I can do to quiet my mind and get some rest. Because, after all, that is just as important to race day performance as training and nutrition.

Happy training and sweet dreams!