2016 Goals; looking ahead and Blogging for Training Accountability

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.




3 responses to “2016 Goals; looking ahead and Blogging for Training Accountability

  1. I’d love to hear more about specifically how you are working the weak inner core muscles (think RW had something on this in Dec mag but I like firsthand knowledge). I’m also interested in step ups versus squats. I have a slightly cranky knee, but more problematically, a bunion that twists and makes it really hard for me to work that side. Right now, my plan is to over strengthen my hip, knee, etc. on that side as best I can and try to find ways to work the foot muscles to strengthen them. (tips?)

    Good for you on the base build! Glad you’re figuring out the diet/fueling stuff. It is NOT easy (and sometimes a system stops working, which is what I think I’ve been dealing with). I definitely need to get more sleep. Tough to shut down, only so many hours in the day, so choices must be made.

    Sounds like you’ve got a good, well-rounded approach and have thought it through. I hoe it brings you a great 2016!

    • Hi M,

      Thanks, I hope it brings me success in 2016 too!!

      I saw that article from RW in December and it got me thinking about doing core exercises that extend my mid section rather than shorten it (crunches or sit UPS shorten.) I do planks while breathing deep with my diaphragm, or almost with my low belly, I can feel the muscles above my pelvis expand and contract. I do the same thing lying on my back with my hands under my butt while holding my feet a few inches above the ground. Together and then apart. I also have been stretching my hips and quads with foam rolling and lungs, also while breathing deep in my belly, that helps access those deep core muscles. We get so tight from sitting that it can alter our breathing patterns.

      In the past I have done what would be classified as endurance strength training (medium to light weight and many reps) I am trying to do more pure strength work (higher weight, fewer reps). There are lots of foot strengthening exercises you can find videos on youtube. Scrunching a towel under your toes, walking on your tip toes, heel dips for your calf.

      I like the step ups on the stairs, or at a stadium. I will do one foot at a time up my steps, slowly making sure my knee tracks correctly (no wobbling in or out,) and feeling my glute fire.

      Hope you can work out that cranky knee!!

  2. Pingback: Nearing the End of my MAF Only Block; Thoughts and Prelim Results | Trail Wisp(erings)

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