Thursday, December 18, 2008

Insomniac's guide to winter training

In my spare time I have been making up a beautiful training schedule for the next fifteen weeks...

I have been trying to use my brain and really take advantage of what I learned from marathon training this fall!

Things I have learned #1: SKIP WORKOUTS WHEN NECESSARY.

Trying to hew very close to a schedule in the face of overloaded work obligations or unexpected changes of travel plans leads to injury or illness. I had a hamstring pull that was a very direct consequences of not making allowances for the stress of travel and trying to make up miles I'd missed; ditto on November's bad cold, I would not have been so likely to get that sick if I hadn't been running around maniacally doing a million work-related & other things the weekend I also did my 20+-mile run and got ready to leave town for a week.

This round of marathon training only has three long runs - in the pattern 12, 16, 14, 18, 14, 20. The 20-miler is pretty much fixed, it has to happen that weekend - but if something unexpectedly stressful intervenes, I could do a bit of switching around on the 16 and the 18 as needed (like do 12, 14, 16, 14, 18, 20 instead, or take some extra days recovery and wait till the following Wednesday for the long one and move to a decimal rather than week-based schedule) - I will try and attend to my body and its needs...

Things I have learned #2: SLEEP SITUATION IS NOT HELPING TRAINING - but there might be things I could do about it.

Last year I was really having truly awful insomnia, like where you think you are going to die from lack of sleep! Now I am back on my regular familiar sleeplessness, which is to say that it is a constant ongoing problem but not something that seems like it's going to tip me over the edge.

But I think that during this next stint of training, it would behoove me to try a new approach. And I hereby resolve that the only thing, this next three months, that is going to make me set my alarm to get up early is an actual honest-to-god my-own-priorities-say-it's-important work-type obligation, i.e. writing. (Or, of course, an early morning plane trip or work meeting or what have you.)

But no morning runs that cost me sleep, because it is not worth it. I am going to try and reclaim those earlier morning hours for last-ditch sleep, because I think that the extra hour and a half you can get if you fall back asleep around 6:45 and stay in bed till 8:15 is the thing that I need more of in my life. I will do my long runs - indeed, I will do all of my runs - later in the day.

Constraints on this round of training are various.

Most important: I have a book manuscript due Feb. 2! I will have to see how it goes with the next weeks of work - it may be that I just about scramble together to make the deadline, or it may be that some more or less dramatic deadline adjustment is called for (I devoutly hope NOT!). But this is more important than the training (triaspirational heresy!), and I will certainly pull back for a week or two if I need to in order to polish it off...

I'm visiting Brent from Jan. 1-12 (2 travel days; preference for swimming over running while there).

CU pool is closed from this coming Tuesday till after New Year's; but there are a couple TNYA workouts I can go to at John Jay post-Xmas, so I should be able to get the necessary swim fix.

School starts Jan. 20, so my prime writing time is the first three weeks of January before I'm teaching.

The Florida 70.3 race is going to creep up on me if I am not careful (mid-May), so it makes sense to start using the trainer now for some cross-training. All-round endurance training seems apter for Antarctica than high run mileage. That's partly because of the nature of the course, but it's also true that though I would love it if I could settle in to a schedule where I regularly ran about 35 miles/week, I think that at this stage, everything above 30 or so raises the chance of injury.

Book-writing needs mean that for this next little while I should try and do double workouts rather than two separate workouts whenever possible, and keep mornings free and clear for my own writing (easier said than done, especially once school starts).

I am hoping for quite a bit of snow, so that I can do some of my long runs in adverse conditions - but I am going to keep them really slow, I think that I did my fall ones at too fast a pace. I don't know that it makes a huge difference at the level I am at, but certainly it's more stress on the body than doing a highly aerobic one, so I will revert to the older plan (Hadd-style!) of low-HR long runs.

I have registered for an intersession voluntary phys. ed. class at CU, one that comes recommended by a friend of mine and that is directly adjacent to the Tuesday-Thursday TNYA blocks (a pilates-based core sculpt class that should be very much to the point without being excessively intense), but will wait to decide about things for the semester till I see (a) how I like this particular class and (b) how my semester is shaping up, when/whether the book is finished, etc. etc.

Hmmm, regrettably the dodgy internet connection I'm using is not going to let me upload the scanned picture! Ah well - you will just have to trust me when I say that it is a thing of beauty - or at any rate a thing of considerable complexity that I have pored over for a number of hours?!?

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