Pushing the limits

Peak Distance Weeks

The idea of Comrades training is always to push your running limits closer of the demands of the run, even to meet the demands if we can. Running lots to make you stronger, without breaking you down.

My plan is always to build to a peak-distance week 3, preferably 4 weeks before race day. I got that from the books I read. It works.

It’s a balancing act too. Push too hard and you break down. Don’t push hard enough and you feel dissatisfied, that you left something out there, an opportunity for a year, maybe forever.

Weekly Summary

Building mileage after the long training run

So I run as much as I can, accumulate as many miles as I can, while watching for signs of breaking down.

For the past four nights I have been sleeping badly, needing sleep but not being able to sleep properly and deeply. I pick at food. Other times I confidently eat the variety and quantities at the times I know will work for me.

I’m reaching my limit. I’m not backing off just yet – trying to eat better and get more sleep.

There are other signs of impending breakdown. “Watch for them, hear what they say,” I tell myself. Work with them.

Early warning signs

  • waking up tired and not wanting to run or running is a chore rather than fun
  • eat, sleeping erratically, problems getting rid of solid waste or it just runs out
  • legs tired in a run and not improving after ~20 min
  • general tiredness, sex drive lower than normal, general zip and zest, enthusiasm for life lower than normal
  • bumping into things more, not being able to find  shoes or running pants or other important thing.
  • increased irritatability, aggression, anxiety over little things
  • obsessing over whether you should be doing more
  • haggard and ragged looks, not caring much for your appearance
  • friends, family pointing out to you that maybe you are running too much

So what to do?

It’s easy. Rest, Sleep, Eat right. Drink lots. Bruce Fordyce’s dictum is deeply ingrained in me: something like: when in doubt, don’t run. Of if you have started, then stop and walk home.

I often run with money to get a taxi home, or with my phone and offer breakfast at a great beachfront place if only someone will fetch me and take me home.

And don’t run. Cycle. Walk. Play with the kids. Keep the heart rate up without doing leg muscle damage, without straining.

Oh, and avoid people with colds and ‘flu. Run from them. You can log the distance.

Four or five days is usually enough to get the zip back into my legs.

Reaching my limits

I must be getting to my limits.

I’m not sleeping right. I go to sleep early to get a proper sleep and wake, after 4 hours feeling awful but unable to sleep again
Nor am I eating right. I pick at food, eat junk and less healthy food because its easier and don’t make sure I get the right variety and quantities of food as I would other times
I keep bumping into things that should be easy to avoid, like the corner of our kitchen counter.
My wife says maybe I am doing too much.

Other things are right though: I still want to get out and run, my zip and zest, my libido if your like are okay, the crispness of early bird calls is still thrilling.

So I know I am not breaking down yet. but I know that must be careful

So it’s time to make sure

  • not to push too hard
  • I eat right and drink enough liquid
  • get proper rest
  • monitor my running, my body and maybe adjust the targets

Pushing these limits is where I want to be. I must just watch that  I don’t push myself through them

Another recovery day

The problem is I like  running, I like getting up in the morning, into gear and out the door.

And I  can’t. That pesky marathon I enjoyed doing is keeping me inside.

More accurately I shouldn’t run now, not for the hour and a bit I’d like to.

And this year, after all my accidents last year  I said that If I shouldn’t,  I wouldn’t.

That marathon on Sunday doesn’t count . It was one of those that  I could so I should and did.

So now I rest. A cool running morning, the  foghorns and sunrise go on without me.

Getting training right is a problem.