The month of April was my best racing month ever. I shaved almost an hour off my Los Angeles Marathon Time 4:56:28 (2011) vs. 4:05:19 (2012) and two hours off my 50 mile PR 11:37:53 (Rock’n River) vs. 9:31:46 (AR50). I got my Western States qualifier and finally felt like I raced rather than just surviving the distances. Lately, I have been feeling the effects of sleeplessness and stress. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions regarding work, family and potentially a return to school. Knowing that I am stressed out I decided to look back at my “best” month to find clues that would help me get back on track.
Considering I raced a marathon and a 50 miler; April was very low mileage. I logged 128 miles for the month. Throughout the training log for April the pattern that emerged was my conscious effort to rest and recover. By no means did I lag during the month or not put out the effort. My training dictated recovery runs and focused workouts to stay strong rather that just adding more miles to the total. Coach Jeff gave set up a tough schedule to assure I maintained peak fitness for my races but not overbearing to the point of burn out. Having a coach that is cognizant of the athlete and the person was vital for April being so successful.
So how do I apply this to my life outside of training? Simple answer: I need to sleep on time and take care of business. There is plenty of data focusing on the importance of sleep for performance and general health. Here are some links:
WebMD: Sleep Like an Olympian
Competitor – (video) Recovery and The Importance of Sleep
Many of us newer to the running scene and even the veterans will get carried away by unexpected results and immediately set new loftier goals. I often forget that training is meant to make my body stronger and healthier not simply to become a PR machine. This battle to stay in the present is something I fight with all the time. I want to recall and live by my past success and push forward to the next race, but the fact is I live and train now. It is a hard pill to swallow to know that every training run is not going to be a PR, every week is not going to be more miles…there will be bad days. Now that the rest is slipping away I find myself struggling to keep my same enthusiasm and getting out the door is hard again. So what to do? Focus on recovering and remember that training is training and racing is racing. Leave PRs for race day and get out the door, because in both life and training getting out the door is a victory.