Well-rounded training needs to have a balance of duration (how far, how long), intensity (how hard), and frequency (how often). For me, there are three consistent predictors of intensity errors (going too hard, or not hard enough) in my training: 1) stress, 2) weather, and 3) ego.
Stress – the stress levels have been high for a while, and generally consistent, with some poor stress management on my part to make matters worse. Immediately before my run, I my patience was being tested by two cranky kids who were manipulating the bedtime routine, which had already started out later than it should have been.
Weather – it’s springtime in Colorado. Days are warm and sunny, evenings cool, and everything is greening and blooming. I can’t help but feel “up” and energized when I’m outside.
Ego – I’ve had the fortunate track record of being able to jump into a new training routine rather suddenly, with gusto, despite significant time-off from running. The last time resulted in a decent marathon finish on just a couple weeks of training, so my ego and confidence is probably more elevated than it should be. I know that can really get me into trouble.
Today’s training run was to accomplish the “quality, not quantity” purpose of my training for Missoula. I set out after the kids were in bed, and it was past sunset. It was still warm outside, though I knew the temp would drop quickly once I was out there and it got dark. My day as a whole wasn’t exactly stressful, but it was full, and the last hour was definitely stressful. It seems the bedtime routine with the kids has been becoming more and more stressful lately.
I also spent about an hour playing soccer with my 4y/o son Garrett, as well as his friends next door. It served as a good warmup, so I was confident I could just jump right into my run after the bedtime routine (which was almost immediately after soccer).
Needless to say, I soon found myself running a 7:30 pace, feeling good, pushing it…before my brain kicked in and I had already gone about 4 miles at an overall average of 8:30 pace. My previous training pace was around 10min/mile. Plus, my training has been anything but consistent this year. I’m running on a weak base, and I should know I’m susceptible to injury if I do too much too soon. Duh.
I got lucky tonight, I think. The run felt good, although 30-minutes after I was done, I found myself sneezing and wheezing…a sure sign for me of too much intensity too soon. On a scale of 1-10, I’d rate my exertion level at an 8 for tonight, but it was probably too soon. I fully expect to see my resting heart rate to be elevated tomorrow morning as a result, with my body still working to recover.
Lesson learned…hopefully, the easy way…I guess I’ll have to wait to see how I feel in the morning! Rest day tomorrow, and maybe an easy recovery run on Thursday.