I know, I know, starting a new year’s resolution is cliché, but I’m going to do it anyway.
I took my month off in Nov/Dec, did a lot of yoga, some strength, lots of stretching and addressing some weaknesses and tightness and bad habits through bodywork, help from an athletic trainer friend, and acupuncture. What I noticed as the tightness in my body slowly unwound is that I have weak deep core muscles. I mean I have done planks and situps and all sorts of ab work, but my very deep core, my breathing, has been hindered. By breathing with (what I can only explain by calling it my pelvic floor) I can maintain a better upright position and activate my glutes better.
I have naturally tight calves and poor ankle flexion, so instead of doing single leg squats (and never getting far enough down to be effective) I have switched to step UPS with 30lbs daily. It started with 20 lbs and I have worked my way up to 30.
I have decided to base build for a solid 3 months. What does that mean? Well like many runners, I tend to do a lot of my runs in what many call the dreaded “grey” area. So by using the Maffetone calculator, and with some observation, I have settled on keeping my heart rate between 143-153bpm. I seem to be able to run at least 3+ hours without needing food at this HR. I will stick to runs at this HR until at least March 2016.
I have also been working on using fat as fuel since last March, so I figure if I base build until March I will have a full year (plus a little holiday splurge) of fat adapting under my belt. Why do this? Well, for a few reasons, mostly because my stomach seems to dictate this. I have run marathons with no fuel in 3 hours, but the minute my body ran out of sugars, and I ate, I would have the dreaded runner GI problems. I have been following a combination of the Whole30 and Paleo diets, gleaning from them no processed foods, lots of nuts, coconut oil, and olive oil (since dairy seems to give me hives) eggs, lots of veggies and avocados, and some fruit.
*note, up until October 2014 I had been vegetarian/vegan more often than not since around 2000, relying a lot on crabs from beans, veggies, fruit and nuts and having some pretty major blood sugar crashes. Since switching to a more Paleo diet I don’t get hangry (that’s hungry+angry) and don’t have such major blood sugar dips, which has been quite nice.
Ok, so 2016!
- I will continue this maximum aerobic function training with my HR between 143-153bpm. (Reassessing in March.) Mostly on single track to start, and then adding in hilly roads to keep my legs from getting slow and stale. Hopefully peaking at 120 mow.
- I will continue to eat following my high fat, real foods diet.
- I will weight train at least 2 times a week, with heavy lower body weights, rather than do high reps with medium weight, I’m going to do high weight with fewer reps.
- Sleep! Getting on a regular sleep schedule is important. I am usually pretty good about getting enough sleep, but I will try to get better at an early bed time so I can have an early wake up time to train. This is always harder for me in the dark morning hours in winter, however, I am not signing up for any races at least till April, so the pressure will be off to run lots of dark, cold, and early miles.
- Blog for accountability and as a record for my progress
- Choose my races for 2016 already damn it! I have been fighting the “too many races, not enough time,” syndrome since November…I need to sit down and really pick my races. I didn’t get into WS or HR, so time for a new game plan!
What are your goals for 2016?
Next post, calculating my caloric needs during a race.