Establishing structure.

Last week the fitness center was closed. So I couldn’t get my gym time in. This week I’m headed back, and I’ve built a more clear structure to my workout week to help me focus. This way I won’t be deciding what I’m going to do at the gym on my way to the gym.

Monday: Easy elliptical.

Getting on the elliptical helped me turn a significant corner in my fitness life seven years ago. After a while, though, it was hard to find a place for it in my routine. I haven’t very consistently used the machine for a few years now, but lately I’ve enjoyed getting back on the ol’ pedaler again. Monday is supposed to be an easy active recovery day following long weekend runs and cross training. Elliptical fits the bill quite nicely. I pull up some Netflix on my phone and get to relatively easy work.

Tuesday: In the weight room.

I’ve talked before about how strength training is a very important ingredient to running strong, fast, and injury free. I haven’t been completely ignoring it, but I also haven’t been spending much quality time in the weight room until a couple of weeks ago. It has felt really great to get back into some of those workouts, and Tuesdays will be a fantastic day to do them on the regular, to put it vernacularly.

Wednesday: Faster blaster.

I’m calling it this because it rhymes, and I like a good superfluous rhyme.

I love the 12 Minute Athlete workouts, but I don’t want to do them every day. It’s kind of easy to get burned out on them, since they’re high intensity and focused a lot on legs. Leg days are good though, so I’m keeping these in on Wednesdays. It’s far enough away from the long-run weekend that my legs will have recovered nicely. I’ll also be able to work on those fast twitch muscles, getting my heart and body ready for fast, technical trail races and explosive uphills!

Thursday: Core.

Sit ups, crunches, kettlebell, pull ups, and more! Using one day to focus on building those core muscles will benefit every other thing I do.

Friday: Rest and occasional race.

Ah, the rest day! I love it. I go to the salad bar and get a massive salad, which I eat in a little park. It’s a special day for eating great food and putting my feet up in preparation for Saturday’s long run.

However, the Full Moon Fever races I talked about last week are all on Friday evenings once a month. So, occasionally Friday won’t be a complete rest day. FMF is a fast 5k, and last week’s race taught me I need to be sure to have effective recovery foods on hand for when the race is over. Gotta be ready to head out on a long run first thing in the morning.

Speaking of which…

Full Moon Fever #1

On Friday at the series’ first race this season, Ashley won second place in her age group AND a brand new pair of Altra shoes. I’m jealous of both, but she busted it out there! She pulled out a course PR, so the shoes and award were well earned.

I did pretty well. I did not place in my age group, but I managed 25:03 finish time, so it was right around an 8:00 pace, which I’ll accept. I haven’t been doing any speed work, opting instead for keeping my heart rate at a Maffetone-approved <155, which will help me (slowly!) build a solid endurance base – great for ultrarunning.

It was encouraging to see my 5k pace unchanged from the last race I did (Laufenfest in July, 25:02), even though I’m not doing speed work. Laufenfest was also a road race, while FMF is a trail race.

My age group (30-39) is a competitive one. All the top finishers are crossing the line at least five minutes before me. But I did notice that those paces haven’t changed much from last year’s series, so if I can improve my time, I may be able to place at some point this year. Chopping five minutes off a 5k is not going to be easy, but it’s one of my goals for the year, so I’m keeping my eye on that 20-minute finish.

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