Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gearing up for another cycle

Today started at the ugly hour of 4 am for me to ensure I could squeeze in a much needed strength circuit. Sure it would have been easier to just turn the alarm clock off and snuggle back into the covers a little bit more, but it's 2012 and I've got some fairly lofty goals
I've got to do my best to #makeitcount. Everyday.

So as I said on my twitter page yesterday, thank the Lord for coffee.

Speaking of coffee, any other coffee drinkers out there who wear a heart rate monitor while running or strength training? Just curious as to how coffee effects others, it usually shoots my heart rate up 10-20 bpm.

Last posting I discussed a bit about how I've decided to take a new approach to my next training cycle. This time around all workouts will be stemming from intuition rather then the do it because my plan says so method that I've held myself to in the past. I've always been a planner that would spend copious amounts of time sitting in front on an excel spreed sheet and studying pacing charts analyzing how to best take on my latest goal for weeks before jumping into a new training cycle. Very time consuming and often times not very fun.

Planning out a 16 week training cycle all at once may work for some people, but it's no longer working (nor do I think it really ever worked) for me. It doesn't leave the wiggle room I need and often times leaves me feeling frustrated and anxious when adjustments have to be made. So I'm throwing out my old way of doing things in order to be more in tune with what is going on with my body so that I can get one step closer to actualizing my goals.

Next Monday marks week 1 of spring half marathon training 2012 for me and this is what my schedule looks like: 

Yup, that's how I'm doing it this time around. 
Blank slate with TBD days.

We are all different and there isn't one type of training that works for everyone. For me, I've found that as I've aged and become more confident with my physical abilities as well as more comfortable with myself, I feel motivated and inspired to challenge myself differently in my training. With each passing year my body responds differently to training and I haven't always been great about making necessary training adjustments when I have a packed schedule that tells me a specific workout must be done on a specific day. So this time I'm not committing to workouts weeks and months in advance, instead they will be planned more spur-of-the-moment by gauging where my daily fitness puts me in relation to my long term goals. 

For me this is the most effective way to be training and it's a shame I didn't realize this earlier. But it's better late then never.

If you're like me and you need a book to bring common sense into your own training, check out Matt Fitzgerald's book "Run: The Mind-Body Method Of Running By Feel"

Excited about this because it leaves more room for:

Fun runs with some of my new running pals and my hubby
Rest when appropriate without the guilt
Impromptu cross training opportunities
Potential for a few 2 a days
Stress free workouts 
Ease of mind

On a gear related note...

Tonight was the first time I was able to try out the clip-on LED light I received for Christmas while running.

The Saucony Ulti Mitt II mittens have a special pocket where the LED light sits. 

But the light also has a clip and can be worn where ever you'd like.

Who else suffers from the self-induced guilt which comes on when making adjustments to training?


  1. This post came at just the right time for me! I am in the same boat. I have spent far too many hours in front of a computer making draft after draft of the "perfect" training cycle, only to be stressed when things don't go as planned (sick, injury, too tired, etc.). This time around my schedule looks like yours. Blank. The only items in there are some key tune up races, and PENCILED in long runs for each week. If these go as planned, great. If not, well, that's why they are penciled in. I think we get so wrapped up in our goals sometimes that we forget that we do this because we love it, not because a sheet of paper that we made 2 months ago tells us to. Here's to a year of flexibility, freedom, and success!

  2. Thanks Rachel, cheers to a prosperous year on your end as well. I think once we allow ourselves to cut the strings a bit giving some room for fun and positive growth that we will really be cooking with some serious heat.

  3. LOVE the LEDs!!! running in the dark to so so so fun! When I talk about my training plan to others I feel like I sound SET IN STONE...but as I work through the plan things always change, and I don't mind. As long as I get to the starting line with a confident mentality, I know I will reach my goals. 4-months is too long to go without having life get in the way of "plans"!! so your plan looks perfect to me!
    I hope your week is off to a great start!

  4. Looks like great things are in the mix Britt! I like the flexible training idea. I usually run that way, but for some reason feel the need for structure for a marathon.

    Thanks for the book recommendations!

    Lights are AWESOME.

  5. check out that light!! super smart...trust me, i've got my issues with cars and runners...stay safe out there! :)

    great to hear u've found a training method that works for YOU!! that's the thing lots of people don't understand, nothing works for everyone and we all gotta find our own fit. so here's to a speedy future that includes ur sanity as well. ;)

  6. I've never followed a training plan, but I think I may have the opposite problem, and need one to save me from myself in respect of feeling that I've never done 'enough,' going crazy with the mileage and then injuring myself.

    It highly unlikely that I'd ever be able to stick to one, though!


  7. I teach a Body Pump class and used to use a heart rate monitor while teaching. Several times after an early morning class I discovered that my heart rate has maxed at 220! This had me very worriied and then I realized that it only happened if I drank coffee ( with nothing to eat) before class. Something about caffeine, stage fright,and talking while squatting really boosts the heart rate. Now I eat something with my coffee before class. I am not currently using the monitor. In a recent half marathon my heart rate was 184 on average. I am interested how high you' go.

    I like your training schedule. I have the benefit of a wonderrful coach and now have a 2012 plan that takes me to the NYC marathon in November. I have to keep reminding myself that it is provisional and to respond to how my body is feeling. It is easy to feel like a failure if you don't do what is laid out before you.

    Thanks for your inspiration and wisdom!

  8. That sounds so great - just listening to your body! I am trying that these days too (as I can't seem to get out of bed in the mornings:))

  9. I decided to try a similar training plan idea. I wrote down my goal mileage and long runs for each week but I can choose how long all my other runs are and when I do them. Sticking to a very detailed training plan just doesn't work for me

  10. I'm not nearly as experienced as you, but I find it hard to follow a standard training plan 100%. I need the flexibility. I like to run with a couple local groups on Mondays and Wednesdays, so those days can't be rest or XT days. And I usually go long on Saturday, but sometimes Sunday is better. Or sometimes the weather is crap and I can't run outside, so I'll switch a cross-training day with a running day so I can go to spin class or something. I'll usually research plans just to get a general idea for what I should aim for each week, and let my days fall accordingly.

  11. I often experience that guilt...and it is so unfair because I am injured right now so I SHOULD be taking it easy, but it eats away at me.
    I love your approach. I have too have become comfortable with the half-marathon distance where I feel like I can train by intuition...however I am tackling the marathon (God willing) this spring, so I have a plan in place. We shall see.

  12. I love your new outlook, Britt. It sounds like you have a great attitude towards this training cycle. Best of luck!

    That book also looks very interesting.

  13. *raises hand to the question asked*

    I love that LED light! Definitely needing one of those!

    Also need to buy that book - thanks for the recommendation!

  14. I like this approach to training. I have a basic idea of what I want to accomplish each week and stick to it fairly well, but I don't have a rigid schedule. I also train w/o Garmin or HRM and go by how my body is feeling.

    I have a Saucony shirt w/ one of those lights on the sleeve. Cool beans!

  15. I drink coffee but I don't drink it before I work out. It doesn't settle well in my stomach.
    I feel your pain with the 4am alarm, I don't get up that early, but when my alarm goes off at 5am, I am so tired and wanting to sleep but I know I will feel better once I get up and workout!

  16. Since I've been wearing my heart rate monitor to check out my heart rate (but not modify my workouts based on it...) for the last couple months, I haven't done any runs that involved caffeine yet. But when I read was that it usually increases your HR at least 10 or so points....

    And I like your new training philosophy. I totally relate. This summer, I literally did not follow a training plan closely. I did follow a plan for the long weekend runs, but during the week, I just did what felt right and what fit with my schedule. It allowed for lots of rest days, cross training, long days, and more of a fun approach to my newfound love for running. I don't want to lose my love for it and that's what would happen to me if I turned it into something too methodical, I suspect.

    Thanks for the sweet note about my cousin-- I am hoping that this will help her build her confidence and realize that the world is her oyster. I hope she chases her dreams and becomes a wildly successful chef with her own restaurant, she deserves it. This comment would make more sense after seeing the show-- she has a low level of confidence and is really working on finding herself.

  17. I love your attitude Britt! I think you're doing the right thing. I know the 4 o'clock alarm far too well... hitting the snooze is easy, but who wants to live their life that way? I would love to run with you soon! =)

  18. Oh wow. This way of training is the complete opposite of so many programs I have seen but I think it's 100% better!! With such a structured plan, people often set themselves up for disappointment or failure. The stress often takes over and training isn't fun anymore. I am excited to follow you through this new cycle!