Category Archives: recovery

Weeks in Review: 4.10.17 to 4.23.17

When time is short, write up two weeks of training at once!

4/10/17 to 4/16/17

Monday: 5 mile recovery run. Feeling Unplugged now!

Tuesday: 7 mile run at the crack of dawn.

Wednesday: Planned off day.*

Thursday: Fartlek workout, 5 miles.

Friday: 2.5 mile early morning run.

Saturday: 12 mile long run.

Sunday: 4 mile trail run, most of which was spent sideways in mud.**

Total Miles: 35.5

4/17/17 to 4/23/17

Monday: 4.5 mile run plus striders.

Tuesday: 7.5 mile fartlek. 2 by mile uphill at t pace. 5 by 45 seconds hard uphill.

Wednesday: 2.5 mile early am run.

Thursday: Planned off day. Arm routine. 

Friday: 2.25 shake out run with 4 by minute at tempo pace, 2 by 30 seconds at interval pace.

Saturday: Off. Ankle. ***

Sunday: Off. Ankle.***

Total Miles 20.5

1 decent week, 1 not so decent week. I have 1 (how?!!?!??!) week of medical school left now and am so excited for a few weeks where all I have to do is pack, move and train.

* As I mentioned on my Instagram earlier this week, I have decided to schedule an off day every week. My recovery has been really poor over the past year and as much as I want to pretend my life is set up for optimal training, it’s not and I have to do what I can to maximize my training impact. As such, I’ll be taking a day off each week instead of a day every other week.

** This run was absurdly muddy and my ankles were sore after which I think set me up for an ankle twist later in the week.

*** I wear clogs in the SICU and usually, they + compression socks are the most comfortable thing going. On Friday, however, I was a little overzealous when wandering around in them and tweaked my ankle. It didn’t swell too badly but was sore bearing weight on Friday night so I decided to forego the Rollin Irish Half Marathon and rest instead.

The weather is beautiful, I’m ready to train again and I’m so looking forward to getting back in a groove and looking forward to the Asheville Half!

Week in Review: 3.20.17 to 3.26.17

Monday: 5 mile workout, half power of my usual 5-4-3-2-1 fartlek. Legs felt pretty clunky. Lifted legs afterward.

Tuesday: 3.8 mile recovery run with the dogs.

Wednesday: 7 mile workout, 4 by 5 at tempo pace with 60 seconds between. Felt pretty good.

Thursday: 4.3 miles. Legs tired!

Friday: Hour of cross country skiing with the dogs; new snow and leaving for the weekend? Needed exhausted dogs.

Saturday: Travel to Asheville. Lots of walking but no run.

Sunday: 3 mile Asheville hill classic. Great to be back. Tons of walking as well.

Total Miles: 23.1

Lots of good news this week. First, I found a house!!!!!! My mom and I spent a busy 36 hours in Asheville looking for houses and by Sunday night, I found an amazing one. Interestingly, it was the smallest one I looked at but it used the space well, has a perfect location and is a great setup for dogs. One of other parameters I used to evaluate places was ability to run. Although the new house sits on top of a hill (it’s Ridge Street, after all), it has great access to all sorts of running and even a greenway that is under construction.

Second, I’m cleared to lift and workout fully (as tolerated). I saw my fabulous breast surgeon yesterday and she cleared me for all exercise AND the surgical pathology confirmed that I had a sclerosing papilloma which means that it was a benign tumor. All great news.

This week, I’m back to reality. As I said last week, Unplugged has gone from a race to a supported workout for me so I’m training through it. I have a combination workout on the schedule for tonight and a long run planned for Saturday. In between will be easy workouts, just trying to get a base underneath me.


Week in Review: 3.6.17 to 3.12.17

Monday: I didn’t have high expectations for this run. I’d been sick and expected to basically survive this. Instead, I had a darn good run! Warmed up then 2 by 2 mile at tempo pace on the track. First set was 6:32 pace, second set was 6:23 pace. Both felt totally in control.

Tuesday: Surgery Day. Didn’t do much besides sleep in the OR, sleep in PACU and sleep on my couch.

Wednesday: Back to class. Short walk with the dogs.

Thursday: Light arm lift with resistance band workout from here.

Friday: Hour walk in the woods with the dogs.

Saturday: 20 minute uphill (10% grade) walk on the treadmill and at-home Barre routine from here. 

Sunday: 20 minute jog on treadmill. Light arms and legs.

Total Miles: 10.3

I had no expectations that this week would be a big one for running. My hope was that I could get a little physical activity in for sanity and heal up so I can get back running soon. I attempted to run on Saturday but a few steps in, knew that it was too soon and settled for an uphill treadmill walk. Today, I was able to do an easy jog.

My restrictions are 1) no strenuous activity and 2) no lifting anything heavier than a milk carton. The latter is pretty objective, the former not so much. What is strenuous? For me, a jog isn’t technically strenuous but perhaps it is on a new scar. I chose (and this is NOT medical advice) to let pain or discomfort be my guide. If anything felt off, I had to stop doing it. I’ll continue that plan through this week. Suffice to say that New Bedford looks to be out of the question. I’m adding some other local races, however, in hopes that I’ll heal quickly enough for those.

There have been two major upsides from this week, however, besides the obvious of a safe, successful surgery. The first is that since I haven’t been running, I’ve had a ton of time to deal with my to-do list. I’m psyched to say that today, I finished a first draft of my manuscript and that by Tuesday at noon, my goal is to have a do list. Can you imagine?!?

The second upside is that I’ve had to be creative about lifting options and came across some really fun (but really hard) low weight ones. If you think you’re in shape, I encourage you to try to resistance band one. In full disclosure, there was no way I could do 100 of the lying pullovers. I did 50 and literally couldn’t do another one.

The other exciting news for the week is that it’s MATCH WEEK!!!! Tomorrow at 11 am, we find out if we matched via a cryptic email that just says yes or no. On Friday at noon, we have a big ceremony at school (as do all 4th year medical students) where we open envelopes and find out where we’ll be going for Residency. I think I’ll breathe a sign of relief tomorrow at 11 but I have a feeling it’s going to be a long week.

Week in Review 1.23.17 to 1.29.17

Monday am: Thanks to odd January weather, actually made it to the outdoor track for 5 by 800 at interval pace. Enormously humbling to be struggling along just a bit faster than what I consider my usual tempo pace but felt great to get it done. Legs after.

Monday pm: 45 minute skate ski with the team.

Tuesday: 4.7 mile run in the snow/sleet/ice storm. Stayed upright, which is all a girl can ask for.

Wednesday: 5.65 miles while the car was getting inspected. Sidewalks still a little hairy but trail shoes did the trick. Skied with the team in the afternoon, probably 20 minutes or so of real skiing and a lot of coach standing.

Thursday: No run. Had I known how busy the end of the week would get, I would have run on Thursday instead of taking it as a scheduled rest day but I was trying to be good. I downhill skied all day and the conditions were INCREDIBLE.

Friday: 7 mile progression run on the treadmill. Massage in the afternoon.

Saturday: All of the activities day. 3 mile recovery run, 30 minutes of nordic skiing plus coaching then 5 hours of downhill skiing then three rounds of bowling.

Sunday: Got slammed by my schedule (and my own bad planning) and didn’t get any run in, let alone my long run. Disappointed but trying to view my accessory activities as deposits into the fitness bank.

Total Miles: 33.1

The good? I got two solid workouts in, lifted a lot and got a massage which did wonders for my glutes, hamstrings and back. The not so good? I didn’t do a good job managing my schedule and messed up my long run. My senior research abstract is due on Friday and I’m still scrambling to review charts. Interview season and HIPAA made it impossible to do this project on the road so I’ve been working hard to get through it since my travel wrapped up.

I still didn’t manage to get 20 minutes of yoga in this week, which is more a reflection of my prioritization than schedule. I need to make this investment, period. My DQS was > 15 on 5/7 days and even the days it wasn’t, I was making good food choices. Planning meals on Sunday makes a huge difference for me and surrounding myself with good choices for fueling makes it easy to get to 15.

This week brings my LAST interview. Wahooo!!! I’m headed to the Windy City where I’ll get my long run in on Friday, hopefully along the Lakefront Trail if there’s not too much snow. Will has shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be out of commission for 12 weeks so I’ll also be trying to pick up more of our household stuff that he usually manages. Finally, this is my last weekend before I go back on service on Monday for my Medicine Acting Internship. My AI will be a great test for my workout plan during Residency and my goal is to just get my workouts in (including that long run!!) and be at least at 40 miles a week. Everything else is gravy!

Why I Am Trying a 9 Day Training Cycle

It’s no secret that my schedule is wonky at best. I am occasionally on a Monday through Friday workweek but most of the time, the idea of weekend or workweek is irrelevant. Add in the fact that I start coaching full time this coming week with meets almost every Saturday and half my weekend instantly evaporates. On top of this, I have call requirements and a fall full of interviews, some of which are a long travel from Burlington.

In addition to this scheduling nightmare for the fall, I’m also in desperate need of a better recovery plan. Thanks to the above schedule, my ability to increase sleep is limited and by definition, I’m on my feet all day, sometimes in very awkward positions. How then, to create more recovery time so that I can keep chasing after my athletic pursuits? One option is to increase my intensity but drop my volume. I ran a very successful first marathon on 35 miles a week, so this is a possibility I’ll likely reconsider during residency. The other option and the one I’ll be trying out this fall is the 9 day training cycle. 

The premise is simple: instead of trying to do a speed workout, tempo workout and long run in 7 days, you do it in 9 days. The nice part of this is that each harder effort is followed by both a recover run and a regular run and increases the likelihood you hit hard workouts fully recovered. Because there are more days to play with, the added benefit of flexibility is a good fit for the inevitable travel delays that I’ll experience this fall.

Here’s what my first “week” back will look like:

50 8/24/2016 Hard 8/1:1 x 10 Legs
50 8/25/2016 Recover 6 Arms
50 8/26/2016 Regular 7 Core
50 8/27/2016 Hard 8/3 by 1 at T Legs
50 8/28/2016 Recover 6 Arms
50 8/29/2016 Regular 7 Core
50 8/30/2016 Long 12 Legs
50 8/31/2016 Recover 6 Arms
50 9/1/2016 Regular 7 Core

How do you adjust mileage for a 9 day cycle? As I’ve addressed in comments before, I prorate all of my mileage to get the right day to day load.  In the case of the example above, 50/7 is a daily load of 7.1, so my workouts are (daily load + 1), recovery is (daily load – 1) and regular is 7. Long run will start at about 25% of my total mileage and increase. After this 9 day set, I’ll go to 55 miles per ‘week’ and adjust accordingly.

When do you have an off day? I’ll be taking an off day on the 4th recovery day, which is every 12th day. Right now, I take an off day every other week which can be anything from 8 to 13 days. I think with the additional recovery offered by the 9 day schedule, I’ll be okay with this being on the long end but it will definitely be something I pay attention to when I reevaluate.

How long is my experiment? I’ll be trying this through early October, enough to go through 6 microcycles. If I feel like it’s an improvement over my current schedule, I’ll keep it going through the rest of the fall. if not, I’ll either go back to a 7 day schedule or try something new.

Anyone ever do a 9 day cycle? 

Improvement Season: Recovery

In looking back at Philly, this is perhaps the most confusing part of my performance. Unlike my normal training cycles where I balance school, coaching and training, I was essentially off to train. Yes, I was still coaching and taking classes, but I was able to get 9 hours of sleep every night and had ample opportunity to nap during the day if I needed to. Furthermore, I had a totally flexible schedule which meant that if I needed another day before a workout, I could take it. Despite this, I felt like my taper was the least effective of any taper I’ve done. In some ways, I’m curious about how running goes now that I’m back on my regular crazy schedule.

Sleep: I start Surgery on Monday and furthermore, start on the night shift. I actually prefer running while on Nights because I can run at 3 in the afternoon on rested legs. When I flip back to days, my plan is to run at 4 am and then do strength after my shift. I know some people can run after a day in the OR, but I can’t stand the ache of “OR legs.” In general, if I can get 6 to 7 hours of sleep, I’m a functional human so this is my goal going forward.

Compression: As warm as it can be in compression socks while scrubbed in, I just need to get over the fact that I’m always the sweaty kid and do it.

A rare dry moment. Must be pre-op.

A rare dry moment. Must be pre-op.

Foam Rolling/Flexibility: This is a place where I really didn’t excel during the Philly cycle until the end. I have a simple routine that takes about 10 minutes. I do 8 rolls over my glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, IT band and hip flexor on each leg, 30 seconds of hamstring stretch per side with a stretching rope and 30 seconds of calf drops off the basement stairs. My goal for going forward is to do this routine after my morning runs rather than waiting until I’m sore.

Run Paces: I suspect this last item plays the biggest part in my underperformance at Philly. In past cycles, I’ve done my recovery runs and many of my regular runs really.slowly. For this cycle, however, my recovery and easy runs just didn’t feel as easy. I think I was feeling pressure to “catch up” after the anemia fiasco and not necessarily listening to my body. Going forward, I am going to start wearing my heart rate monitor on my recovery runs again, with a goal of keeping my heartrate under 135. If I am still feeling under recovered, I may start wearing it full time. If that happens, I also need to find a way to protect the skin on my sternum, which is permanently scarred from my chest strap…

How do you assess your recovery? Any tricks for keeping chest straps from digging into your skin?

Welcome to Phase 3

It’s a Phase 3 kind of week around here. Joe, the MMU girls team and I are all starting Phase 3. Phase 3 is a Jack Daniels phenomenon (the acclaimed physiologist, not the booze), the goal of which is to optimize the components of training that apply to your event of primary interest.

For the girls that I coach, this represents the transition from general fitness to 5K specific speed. We spent the bulk of the summer running easy miles and climbing up mountains (literally) around Vermont to build as big an aerobic base as we could muster. In the past few weeks, we’ve started basic workouts to remind our legs that in fact, we can move fast. Starting today, we’ll move to workouts that prepare them more specifically to race a 5K. This includes intervals, tempo runs and full speed work. We’ve also revamped our drills to improve form and will spend a day a week working on tiny details like how to run downhill, how to pass and how to run tangents.

For me, the transition to Phase 3 always feels like the beginning of “real” training. I know I’ve been training for months but Phase 3 always feels more real because workouts become more traditional in terms of repetitions and effort. Daniels also states that phase III is usually the most stressful in terms of quality training sessions and I would have to agree. That stress is one of the reasons that Will didn’t have me start Phase 3 until I had a week of sleep under my belt. Other changes for Phase III for me include aiming for 10 hours of sleep a night, emphasizing rest when I’m not running and no alcohol until Philly. Giving up beer and wine isn’t a big deal, but I’m definitely struggling with the new rest schedule. I’m not a great sleeper and I’m definitely bad at relaxing. By Thursday last week, I texted Will to ask what I’m supposed to do between workouts. His response? Sit on the couch. Thankfully I’m doing a reading month and have lots of interesting obstetrics articles to catch up on, but sitting is still tough.

Are you a Daniels person or do you follow Higdon, Pfitz or another plan? What parts of training are you best at? And what do I start watching on Netflix?!?!

Week in Review 7.20.15 to 7.26.15

Time is flying towards Philly! Somehow I only have a week of clinic and two weeks of L&D until I’m “off” til November. It’s both exciting to think about training full time and terrifying to feel like I’m not in the best shape I could be going into that focused period.

Monday: 7.1 in 87 degrees.

Tuesday: 8.5 at 4:30 am. 2 by (3, 2, 1 minute with equal recovery).

Wednesday: 6 miles at recovery pace.

Thursday: 8.5 miles with Annie. Slowed it down a bit and felt much better.

Friday: 6.2 miles and arms afterward. Starting to feel better.

Saturday: 8.2 mile Progression Run. First three miles of progression felt great; really easy. Last mile was awful.

Sunday: 12 mile run up Mount Mansfield. Yup, 925 feet to 2760 in 3.5 miles. Felt amazing going up. Coming down was a little rough on the quads.

Does this count as altitude?

Does this count as altitude?

Total Miles: 57

This adaptation week was needed both physically and mentally. With a little more focus on food (eating enough of it, on a regular schedule), only running in my GoRuns (can’t explain why my Kinvara and Hoka are killing me) and slowing my pace down, my legs have really calmed down. The weather is becoming a major factor with dew points well into the 70s but it’s a little easier to be patient for progress when no one feels good. Climbing up Mansfield was also a great bonus workout; hard enough to get my heart rate up but (hopefully) not so hard that I ruined my legs for the week.

Back to normal mileage this week. I flip to L&D nights next week so my schedule will be more of a 10 day structure but I’m just working on being grateful for every hour that I get to run!

Week in Review 7.13.15 to 7.19.15

Monday: 6.23 mile run with horrible OR legs.

Tuesday: Last case didn’t roll out of PreOp until 6:30 pm so no run for me.

Wednesday: 11 miles with 6 by 30 seconds hard up Depot Street. Legs pretty dead but felt smooth during the hills.

Thursday: 8.5 run just slogging along.

Friday: Fit 9 in and ran into Amy which made it much more enjoyable. Striders in the last mile.

Saturday: 7.5 mile speed workout. Another day with a dewpoint of 70. 6 by 400 on the track. Dying with the heat!

Sunday: Quite the weather potpourri run; thunderstorms and rain for the first hour, then opened up to sun for the second hour. 15 miles, grateful for Erin’s company for all but the last bit. Full body lift after.

Total Miles 65.3

Not going to lie, this week was not the best. My schedule was pretty crushing and I was just in low-grade pain all week. Hoping it’s just fatigue from this new rotation but making plans to get my hemoglobin checked regardless. Heading into an adaptation week next week and will assess from there.

Not All At Once

Last week, I was on the phone with the mom of an alumna with whom I remain close and we were talking about balance and the tendency of some women to take on too much. She remarked that she once heard Madeline Kunin (former Governor of Vermont and generally incredible woman) say that “Of course women can have it all. Just not at once.” That quote has hung with me since our conversation.

I am rarely overwhelmed by my schedule. In the past week, however, I’ve felt a bit overbooked and increasingly like I’m doing a sh*tty job at all my commitments. As I struggled out the door for my workout on Monday, feeling like I should remain tied to my desk instead of running, I finally admitted that something had to give, at least for the next few weeks.

Right now, my priorities are the Boards and MMU Nordic. The former is self-evident from a career perspective. The latter reflects a core priority in my life: give back to the community that raised me. Every season of coaching is special but when a State Championship is likely and you have three and four year skiers who have given their all to get here, they deserve your all right back.

By the end of my workout, I’d come up with a temporary solution (which I suppose made the whole run worth it). Until the end of ski season, I’ll use ski practice as my recovery days. I have two days a week slotted in as recovery runs and since the purpose of a recovery run is to just move, skiing will do just fine. This saves me a double workout twice a week and takes some pressure off. Is it the most specific workout for running? No. But it will have to do. Yesterday was an incredible day of skiing and it was made even better by being able to enjoy it for what it was, not worrying about when I was going to get my run in.

What compromises have you made to better fit running into your life?