Confession: Week 5 of marathon training is kicking my behind. The epic 20 mile run last Saturday left me quite sore in my shoulders (which I determined in the end was likely less from bad form and more from carrying a 20-ounce water bottle in my hand!) and tired in my legs. Then I developed a slight cold. I find that exercise boosts my immune system to the point that if I do get sick, I get only a mild case (dear gods: I do not wish to tempt fate by saying that. Please do not curse me with the plague). On Monday I did my “mile” repeats at 7:11, but they were half-mile repeats at that pace for 1.5 miles, then quarter-mile repeats for the rest. Disappointing, as I’d been able to hit that pace during week one of training. Of course, at that point I was just starting to build up, and I wasn’t sick. Still, it was hard for me to have to ratchet down the speed work. Then Wednesday’s tempo run was slower than I’d like. How could I have run the 4.97 miles of the Brea 8K at a 7:47 pace, yet not be able to hit 3 miles of a tempo run at 7:44? I hope I can chalk it all up to mild illness. I’m trying hard not to take it as a sign that the training plan is too aggressive for me.
Last night (the evening after the tempo run) I slept 10 hours: 9:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. I must have needed it! I am trying really hard to listen to my body and do what it takes to balance training with recovery and the rest of life. On my “rest” days I spend my time catching up on any housekeeping I let slide on other days. Today I put away several loads of clean laundry and tidied up the kitchen. I’m constantly juggling the demands of various people and things: children, spouse, housework, yard work, blogging, tax preparation, gardening, and friends (especially book club for me and for the girls). I adjust my cross-training because the family wants to go skiing or because a sick child needs me at home. (And make no mistake about it, my family adjusts plans to accommodate me too — like picking me up at the beach after a long run!)
Several things help me juggle it all:
(1) Planning the week’s workouts in advance.
(2) Taking rest days as needed.
(3) Getting enough sleep.
(4) Paying attention to fueling and nutrition.
(5) Communicating openly with Mike about both of our plans and how I’m feeling.
I cannot say I’ve got it down to a science by any means. Every day I prioritize what needs to be done and focus on that. Exercise remains a constant priority because it invigorates me physically and mentally and thus facilitates getting the rest of it done!