I’ve had two big things on my mind when it comes to my training this week - nutrition and recovery. Nutrition is something I find really intimidating, simply because it’s so far outside my realm of knowledge and there’s loads of conflicting information about. I spent Saturday scurrying around the National Running Show trying to understand all the options out there, but I have no idea what or who to trust, and it’s all a little overwhelming. I’m planning to do some serious research and testing over the next few weeks before I share more, so watch this space.
Recovery is something I’m better at, but given I’ve been a bit knackered lately, and the stop start nature of The Speed Project, it’s something I want to really nail. My two problem areas are soreness and fatigue. Seriously, today I feel a bit like I’ve been hit by a truck, especially around my hip flexors and the soles of my feet. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to be like this, and I’m pretty sure that a decent recovery strategy would help a lot.
yoga and mobility
This is why I keep a training log, because looking back I can see that during weeks where I’ve practiced consistently I’ve been much less sore and stiff. Totally logical, but so easily overlooked and a good reminder to make time for myself on the mat because my body and my mind will benefit.
One of the effects of not being consistent in my practice is that I’ve noticed more soreness in my calves during my runs. My calves are a real trigger point for me and a part of my body that I really need to look after. After all sorts of experiments I know that a good warm up focused on mobility makes a big difference to me. Yes it’s a bit dull, but it’s better than having to quit a run because my calves hurt like hell.
I hate foam rolling and I’m terrible at remembering to do it, but I know that when I do put the effort in I see results. The best routine for me is to roll before I run and then to have a few independent sessions with my roller each week. I don’t always do this and sometimes my technique is terrible so at The National Running Show last weekend I took the plunge and invested in a Pulseroller. I’ve been eying up these vibrating wonder tools for awhile, but they are not cheap so I wanted to make sure the investment would be worth it. Turns out trying one out last weekend was all it took to get me to part with my cash. I’m really looking forward to seeing what difference the Pulseroller makes to my recover, even after one use I’ve noticed my calves are much less tight, which bodes well.
epsom salts and magnesium
I love a bath and back before Christmas Vie Healthcare sent me a huge bag of their Epsom Salts to help my body recover from everything I put it through. In water Epsom Salts break down into magnesium and sulphate which are absorbed through your skin and, alongside the joy of wallowing in warm water, can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints. I like to add a drop or two of essential oils to make everything a bit more luxurious, but I’ve been out of salts for a few weeks and I have noticed everything is tighter, so probably time to reinvest.
Rest is so important to me as even when I’m not training I do suffer from low energy and fatigue. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but it is possibly linked to anxiety disorder and the medication I take to manage my condition, both of which can mean my sleep is disrupted. I also get tired more quickly because it takes quite a lot of effort for me to deal with very stimulating situations (after The Running Show I was exhausted simply because it was so full on!) and also to concentrate for long periods of time. Although I’ve got better at managing these things with time (including developing a strong sense of NFOMO - no fear of missing out) as my training load ramps up I need to be more careful and even more focused on making sure I get enough rest and avoid too much stimulation. So more naps for me!
I really believe that if I want to perform I need to make sure that my body is getting what it needs, before, during and after my training. Discussing this with my coaches we already know I’ve not been taking on enough calories during my runs and I’m now exploring what fuel might work for me (I’ve got a few ideas I’m testing out - will share more later!). Mike and I have also recently changed our diet a bit as we’ve stopped eating meat. This is taking a bit of getting used to and we’re having to work quite hard to make sure we’re eating a balanced diet and that I’m getting enough of the right sort of calories. It’s all a bit trial and error so far, but I’m sure it’ll come together and I’ll share more when it does!
When I’ve not been thinking about nutrition and recovery I’ve been dealing with the first week of a new term at university. Everyone comes back off the break all fired up and keen to put plans into action, or at least talk about putting plans into action. Which means I spent pretty much the whole week in meetings! As a result my training took a little bit of a knock - it’s that combination of stimulation and needing to concentrate again - but my pace is really picking up on my long runs and my speed work is pushing me in the most painful and enjoyable way possible, which is amazing!
Monday - an hour pottering around London with Doris, the perfect way to recover from the weekend’s training.
Tuesday - more pottering around with Doris - probably need to remember that I’m training for a running event, not a cycling event!
Wednesday - REST DAY
Thursday - 50 minutes of intervals, 1 minute on 1 minute off with 15 minutes warm up and 15 minutes recovery. I love these sessions so much, they push me so hard and are total sweatfests, but they’re the sessions that change things. Also squeezed in a 20 minute upperbody workout.
Friday - REST DAY
Saturday - such high hopes of a hill session after The National Running Show, but I was exhausted and quickly fell in to a drooly sleep
Sunday - just shy of 9 sub-10 minute miles along the canal on the most beautiful day - exactly why I run!
If last week’s focus was recovery, I guess this week’s should be nutrition, which terrifies me. I know so little about this area, and it’s bound to be a bit of an adventure learning how to nourish my body better.
Are you curious about how I’m training for the Speed Project? Is there anything you’d like to know? Let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do! In the meantime, you can read all my posts about this adventure here.
* Vie Healthcare kindly gifted me a bag of Epsom Salts, but all opinions are my own.
* images: Anna Rachel Photography