I’m currently in diminishing return territory: but how?
I am struggling to add that extra mile to my longer long and adding a couple of reps to my hill and speed intervals. My cadence on the spin bike has dropped.
Like many other runners at the moment, I am not doing long miles or racing. So what is going on?
The clue is there: ‘not doing long miles’.
I will start at the beginning.
Back in September I decided that the ‘the weight will come off when I start doing the long miles again’ argument was really not cutting it. Although during the eased lockdown I had been edging closer to the twenty mile run. But who was I kidding? Time to tackle the chub. Drastic measures were needed. It was time to bring in the big guns. Step away from the home baking and back onto the 5-2 fasting plan (that had worked effectively in the past); and I finally got my act together with that two training sessions a day aspiration that I had had since the start of the first lockdown.
As the lockdown restrictions increased and it became illegal to go more than five miles out with your council area to exercise I decided to avoid frustration and swap my long run for two shorter sessions. This was all good. I found a modicum of discipline lurking somewhere, kept with the plan and got back to within a couple of kilos of my ‘A race’ weight. I could feel my base fitness increasing. All good.
I stopped the fasting a week before Christmas. Due to the low key festivities I did not miss out on much training and my weight stayed stable. Marvellous! That doesn’t happen often; in fact, never happens.
This is where it gets a bit messed up. Back onto the fasting? No. Its mid-winter and lock down is getting harder. Just don’t snack and whatever you do, don’t bake. That seems reasonable and if I keep on top of the training schedule it will be fine. At that point, my focus, a bit like the eye of Sauron, turns to the schedule. There has always be a touch of the obsessive compulsive about me which can be a blessing and a curse.
A review of my training log since the start of the year is revealing. On the positive side it shows disciple and progression, but there is a hint of the obsessive too. Exercises have been added to my strength training and core work extending the session time by about 50%. An extra spin bike session has been added and an additional 5k – 7k added to the sessions. An extra run has been added and I have been adding reps to my interval sessions. I am training twice a day four days a week and have had one rest day in the last four weeks.
This brings me back to the start of this entry: the returns have diminished over the last week, probably two weeks. ‘Quelle surprise’. I have lost sight of the importance of rest, especially important for an older runner. There has been flawed logic; the belied that less rest in needed when there is no long run combined with I need to do more sessions and more within them.
Right, step away from the bike, weights and running shoes. Take a break, have a rest, put your feet up, curl up and read a book, do a jigsaw, have a long bath. Be more Tallulah. Learn from the cat, she seems to have it about right and knows how take things easy. Eat, exercise, have a nap; hunt, nap; eat, go for a walk, nap; have a crazy race round the house, find a lap, have a nap.
It’s time to tweak that programme a bit and build in one rest day a week, and an easy week every four weeks and to stick to it obsessively.
Today I am being more Tallulah. I can obsess again tomorrow.