Finding the Training Sweet Spot

Striking the balance of half marathon training with life is easier said than done.  Striking the balance of running and cross training is also easier said than done.  It’s clear that the strength training is working.  After coming home from vacation (which gave me about 10 days of rest) I ran my fastest 5K since 5 years ago.  I can only attribute that to a stronger core and fresh legs.  This is how it went down…

good run

I was on top of the world that day! It’s been a goal of mine this year to get an under 30 minute 5K time and I did that.  I had to stop 3 times during this run to catch my breath and regroup, but when I was running I felt like I was flying.

And then for the next two weeks I was on the fast train back to crap runs. Each run since that moment of glory had been really tough.  Like, pushing my way out of a wet suit that I no longer fit in, kind of tough.

Yet when I’ve looked down at my GPS tracker, I’ve found that I was at a faster pace than usual, but it hurt. All of my back muscles, glutes, quads, and hamstrings have been sore from squatting and lifting hard on CrossFit mornings.  I had dropped down to strength training two mornings per week since starting the half training.  During these runs I’ve had to stop a lot.  And I’ve had to walk a lot. And then I’ve gotten frustrated…a lot. Because I feel like I should be better.  I realize that I’ve been running on tired (sometimes downright dead legs), but I still think I shouldn’t be struggling this much to get through 3 miles.  I also have realized that my lack of focus on proper hydration paired with the heat and humidity lately all factor into the  “success” of the run. But good grief!

This is what my runs have amounted to the past two weeks:

bad run2          bad run1    bad run3

Now, I have to admit, I’ve started and finished about half each of these runs with two dogs, one of which has to smell every tree and mark every other block.  That slowed my time to a 12-13:30 minute for the first half of my run, but I really wasn’t able to really pick up the pace after dropping them off either.  At this rate I feel like I’ll never make it through the Beat the Blerch half without needing the whole morning to finish.

So I took my frustrations to the Women’s Running Club Group on Facebook:

WRC question

Here’s what some of the comments and advice were:

  • Take two rest days between CrossFit and run
  • Swim to recover
  • “I think it depends on the person. I did crossfit 5x week and was training for a marathon. I couldn’t do both and succeed at each…..are you eating adequately to recover?…”
  • “Try combinng upper and lower then you won’t tire out the lower or just do upper for CrossFit type of workout”
  • “Try taking magnesium supplements….increase foam rolling and make sure you get plenty of sleep!”
  • Increase protein intake
  • Try supplements for Vitamin D3, Omegas, and Magnesium
  • Listen to your body. Maybe it’s too much?

After posting this question and getting some advice, I’ve increased my protein intake (added fish and almond milk to my diet for a boost) and I also got back to foam rolling.  Both things have definitely made a difference in my recovery.  This past week I think my body finally adjusted to the strength training and I felt the power.  I felt the ability to dig in deep and push off the road with more force than ever before when I ran up hills.  I felt myself able to snap my knee up higher and faster to take my next stride.  I felt my core tighter and more stable as I ran down the hills.  I felt my heavy breathing bringing in more oxygen.  So I saw a glimmer that it’s working! It still felt like a struggle and I had to walk, but I finally felt like my body was using the strength that I’ve built.

Now I’m working on striking the right balance of the strength training days/run days/rest.  I think I’ve been doing it out of order and it’s not helped my body.  I’m going to try this combination for the next week because I think I need to rest before running, and run before CrossFit.

Sunday- Long run (7 or 8 miles)

Monday – Easy recovery run (2 or 3 miles)

Tuesday – CrossFit

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Run (3 or 4 miles)

Friday – CrossFit

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Long run

We’ll see how it goes this week.

Jane getting ready to lift

-Mama K

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