Monday, April 9, 2012

Life & Training Recap: Weeks 9 & 10

The past two weeks have been filled with a lot of love, stress, and gratitude. Life and training for me seem to go hand and hand, when one area seems to be challenging the other soon follows.


Two weeks ago I was recovering from my 8k but still managed to get in about 74 miles. Most were easy with the exception of a raced paced tempo that provided quite a challenge.

Decided that I was overdue for a cut-back week, so I've spent most of last week taking it fairly easy. I like to keep my training cycle with a 3 week hard 1 week easy pattern, this seems to work best for me as I have found that pressing hard for more then 3 weeks in a row consecutively really starts to wear me down. This week my energy level has been fairly low and my motivation wavering. Taking a mini break every now and then where I let my focus shift away from progress and into recovery mode temporarily provides food for my soul, and this week has been prime time for that.

Tried some mile repeats on Wednesday that turned from good to bad fairly quickly. Goal was 5x1600's at 6:10 pace, or until I could no longer hold the pace. For my first two I felt great and spot on, then I turned into a strong wind that just seemed to soak up every ounce of my mental edge for the day. As I made my best attempts to forge forward braving the blustery conditions for the day, my mind begun to slowly check out and my movements begun to turn robotic and dull. Focus just wasn't there where my splits begun to seep past that 6:10 speed limit as my mind processed every thought possible besides pace and what my body was attempting to execute.

This is when I know it's time to pull the plug on a workout.

Called it quits after 4x1600's where two were several seconds off pace.

By Saturday my legs felt a bit more like themselves, so I set out for a redemption fartlek where there was no regard whatsoever to what pace I was clocking and instead governed only by effort. Workout was 4x5 minutes hard with 2 minutes recovery. Felt nice to shake off all that has been dragging me down for the week and try to get myself back on track.

Redemption was achieved.

Sometimes training can turn into a numbers game, which is why I don't frequently run with a watch. It's nice to have the watch telling you what pace you are approximately clocking, but there are so many other factors that can mess with what feels like a hard or fast effort on any given day. I don't like when my watch tells me that my recovery pace is in the high 8's, so I remove the toxic effect it has on my mind by frequently running naked and instead focus on the mind/body connection.

Week 9
 held 74 miles with 1 hot yoga session, 2 strength circuits, and 1 race paced workout

Week 10
held 54 miles with 2 hot yoga sessions, 2 strength circuits, and 1 park tabata workout with the husband

Spent a bit of time on Friday thinking about my key workouts for the remaining 6 weeks of my cycle and have them sloppily jotted down in my treasured personal note book. Have some great workouts planned that I'm ready to dive head first into.


I don't talk about my life beyond the world of fitness here on the blog too often because I'm a fairly private person and like to keep personal matters separate from my training, but this doesn't always pan out. Life has been filled with quite a bit of chaos and uncertainty about where the future is leading lately, and has begun to slowly seep on over to my training life.

In the past 6 months I've held more jobs then some may have in a lifetime. 

There was a brief stint at a money hungry corporate gym where I was told that I was going to have to go to great unethical lengths to obtain clients.

Then there were a few months where I worked in a mortgage office in the evenings providing administrative support.

Then I took a temp job working for a fitness apparel company.

And most recently I was working with a local trainer who provides private training sessions in peoples homes and quit because he thought it was okay to provide services (like private yoga or physical therapy sessions) which he was less then qualified for (as he often instructed clients incorrectly) and thought that this was more then okay.

All this time I've also been doing quite a bit of coaching for runners here in the Chicagoland area which has been an amazingly rewarding experience. Being at the side of runners, guiding them through and supporting their training, has brought so much enrichment and gratitude to my life.

In life there are times when we feel like our character is being tested, times when we continue to venture down one dead end road after another and begin to wonder what the heck we are doing with our lives. Months ago I thought I had it all figured out. I left my corporate hospitality career to venture into the world of fitness with high hopes and an eager spirit where I have been greeted by nothing more then money hungry bodies seeming to have little care for the people they supporting and instead see dollar signs. This truly breaks my heart.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps" Proverbs 16:9

I feel like I can do all the planning I want for the future, but the road will most likely never lead to my desired destination. Instead of feeling frustrated and lost in all of the chaos that surrounds me, I am embracing the uncertainity where I know that it is time to be silent and still to hear the Lord. Now I am finding it funny that besides my family, faith, and friends my one constant in life has been my running and coaching. All things continue to point back to coaching and few, if any, careers compare. Coincidence? I'm thinking not.

Easter Sunday lakefront sunrise service
"For such a time as this." Esther 4:14
As the next few months begin to unfold for me, I am hopeful and faithful that even though there are days when it all seems like too much that the Lord's plan for my life is slowly unfolding just as he intended. 


  1. I love that verse! I need to remind myself of that in my current phase of life. I hope that things work out in the coaching and running arena for you. I appreciate your honesty and openness. I don't know how I would make it without my faith either. Great post!

  2. With that attitude good things surely await you. I really admire your heart and your values, Britt. Oh and your amazing mileage too!

  3. Still putting in some serious mileage even on a "quiet" week! Nice job, and also- good job for knowing when to pull the workout plug. That can be really hard.... Great post, keep up the great work!

  4. I am glad that coaching is going well for you! Keep it up! Sounds like an awesome job :). I am also going through a new career search and it is definitely stressful.

  5. Beautiful post, you are pursuing a life path I think I might be following some time soon too. Just need to get the courage to change from the easy well established to the new ... Good luck! I'm sure that with such a great attitude you will do more than well.

  6. Britt, I bet that you are an amazing coach, the chicagoland area is lucky to have you to! If I were there, I'd definitely be there trying to get on some of your coaching action.

    I like your idea of three hard and one easy-ish, that's a great way to let your body rebuild and stay healthy for the long run.

    I am bummed to hear about all the disappointments (at NO fault of your own!!) with the job stuff in the past few months. People can be pretty darn disgusting sometimes.

    And yeah I know what you mean. Despite having a blog, I am a very private person. In fact, I was just talking about this on Gourmet Runner's blog the other day!

  7. Britt, you are an awesome coach, and I would not be surprised if that is your calling. You plain and simply rock at it. I am going to be emailing you in a few weeks. I am eager for some high mileage flexible weekly workouts with no goal race, just a goal of continuing to be a strong runner (okay, okay, and getting a bit faster.

    You had some kick@$$ training weeks! This sounds bad, but so happy I am not the only one who mentally struggles with the wind. What can we do to work with that? I try to pump the tunes up to drown out the music but when I can still hear it it makes me crazy!!!

    1. Thanks kimmy kim kim! Love working with you, you are pretty much the perfect client and you are a pretty rockstar gal so I will be anxiously awaiting your email :)

      The wind only gets to me sometimes, but when it does there really is no turning back for me. It's almost like it just completely washes my mind. I tried pumping up the tunes, but I have crappy headphones that constantly fall out so that didn't really help me much. Maybe it's time to invest in some new ones and see if that helps.

  8. If you don't like corporate gyms, maybe try a small independent gym? I work out at Kru in Andersonville and I know they're in need of a female trainer..

    1. I've actually never heard of Kru, so thank you. I'll look into it. Trying right now to pursue the entrepreneurial path, which is simultaneously exciting and frustrating all in the same moment.

  9. You are living your dream which is absolutely amazing. :) I can only imagine how hard it was for you to leave the safety of your corporate job to pursue your dream and passion. I'm sure you've read Gary V's book "Crush it", but if you haven't, it is a wonderful book to help kick start living your passion. (although it seems like you're already are)

    Your training is going so well- and I love how you listen to your body and can "save yourself from yourself." I would struggle with pulling the plug on a workout, but now it's almost the opposite post injury, I'm too freaking scared to push. I'm thinking of hiring a coach this year to help reach my ambitious goals (or hit realistic ones) without killing myself. Perhaps we can talk sometime in the next few weeks about it. :)

    Happy training!

  10. Well, thanks for taking a risk and sharing from your personal life. Hard to do sometimes...
    I admire your integrity and decision to seek the Lord's direction in work and elsewhere.

    Also- seems like you are doing a fantastic job with mileage and a break is in order! Soak it up :)

  11. I can really relate to what you have written here. I am currently looking for a job and I don't know what or when it will be. It can be hard feeling lost- but know that you're not alone :)

    I am sure you are a fabulous coach (and speedy too) so I think its great that you are pursuing that as well. The students/proteges will be lucky to have you :)

  12. You must be an amazing coach! I have no doubt you can make that your career. If I was in Chicago still, I just might hire you right now to get to my next marathon injury-free this time. Have you thought of coaching for Chicago Endurance Sports? Angela coached with them for years and it was a great experience. It would be just a few hours a week so you could still pursue your indepent coaching projects. She loved her time with CES coaching beginners as well as triathletes. Just a thought :) She could always put you in touch with Mike Norman.

  13. So sorry you're dealing with this end of the fitness industry. However, from a fitness entrepreneur (and much more) know that this is not always the case... I've only been reading your blog for a short time, but I really like it and am sure you're an amazing coach. It looks like you've got a good thing going with the coaching, keep it up. I've worked in many different settings and now coordinate a couple of wellness programs. If you ever need help feel free to contact me:! Good Luck!

    1. Thanks. I think that with any industry there will always be unethical money hungry folks that give things a bad wrap, it's just frustrating when I'm trying to establish myself and I continue to run into these kind of folks. I'll keep you in mind :)

  14. You are such a beautiful writer!

    So many times in my life, I have been totally confused as to what I should be doing with my life, especially when my dreams of competing internationally in figure skating were shattered. Looking back during all these moments of confusion, however, I have realized that God really does have a plan for us, because even though things didn't turn out the way I wanted at the time, I wouldn't change a single thing, cause so many wonderful things have resulted.