Take Care of the Small Stuff…

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…and the big stuff will take care of itself.

I’ve had a good string of workouts since my last post, including a number of “firsts”: I walked my first 25k in quite some time, walked over 100 kilometers (62 miles) in a week–probably for the first time since the 2012 Olympic Trials–but also “crashed” my first long day in a long time! 😦

I tell athletes all the time to keep tabs on the little things. I recommend writing everything down in a training log, including keeping track of morning heart rate and morning weight to gauge recovery. Elevated heart rate is a sign of over-training, and sudden weight loss is a sign of dehydration and/or carb. depletion. (With every gram of carbs. stored in your muscles you store nearly three grams of water, so carb. depletion and dehydration are closely linked…)

My 100 km+ week ended with a 20-mile+ day spent coaching athletes in the Las Vegas Marathon last Sunday evening. After the race there were the obligatory celebratory drinks, karaoke, bull-riding, etc. well into the wee hours, then a 6:00am flight back to New York. Tuesday and Wednesday were typical 12- and 15k easy days, then I had planned a 27k walk on Thursday morning. I hadn’t weighed myself in about a week and was surprised to find on Wednesday evening that I had lost five pounds from the previous week. I’ve been trying to lose the most recent “spare tire” of sympathy baby weight that I’ve accumulated for every one of Loretta’s pregnancies, so I held out hope that the extra mileage I was doing, coupled with reasonable dietary choices, was working.

I felt fine for the first 15k on Thursday, then the wheels feel off. Loretta and I were cruising at a fairly easy pace, so I didn’t crash hard, but I did suddenly feel drained. A familiar nemesis, “The Wall” had appeared in the middle of my favorite training course. I bailed out at 21k while Loretta went on to complete her first 25k since (well) before her July c-section.

Today was quite different. My weight this morning was up three pounds, so apparently I have lost a couple of pounds, just not the five that registered on the scale last week. I carbo.-loaded and hydrated yesterday so I was able to breeze through the 21k mark today feeling fine. Although 27k was my scheduled goal, today may prove to be one of the last 60-degree+ weather days until spring so I pushed on to 30k to take advantage of the mild weather. Unlike last week’s attempt, I felt fine despite violating the 10% rule by increasing the distance of my longest day by 25%. I’m feeling pretty beat up now (!) but I’m elated to be at 60% of my 50k race distance where only two months ago I was having difficulty getting through 12k.

I still have a long way to go in terms of both distance and pace, but every training milestone gives me more confidence that when the time comes I’ll have what it takes to get the job done. As long as I don’t forget to take care of the small stuff….

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