Remember how last year while training for my first marathon, I latched on to Kelli Clarkson’s song, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger?
Well, this year there’s a new sheriff in town and she says:
So, I am in my 12th week of training with 10 weeks to go until race day. As you know, I also made the conscious decision to have a different experience with running and racing this year. To accomplish that, I changed my training plan and I changed my training fuel. I don’t even feel like the same person right now, so I think it is working!
This year I am training with a personalized version of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate runner program. The biggest change in this plan has been the kind of speed-work the plan entails. Instead of just running intervals on speed days (short sprints or “fartleks”), this plan uses Tempo Runs. Tempo Training is a gradual process of training your body to be able to sustain a faster speed for longer periods of time, rather than explosive sprints which never helped me get any faster. You can read more about Tempo Training HERE.
(Incidentally, for those who didn’t see when I posted it on Facebook, the link above led me to this fascinating video on how to blow the perfect Snot Rocket while running. For that bit of edification, click HERE. Good stuff.)
Since incorporating Tempo Training I have actually seen my pace slowly improve. It took awhile for me to see any differences but I was persistent and this week I really turned a corner and cut off some serious time at the 5K distance.
Not only has my performance improved, but the shape of my body is changing as well. In the past, I tended to grow some pretty big quadriceps muscles when training for these distances events. This year has literally been a pain in the @ss with most of my new muscle growth in my hamstrings and butt. Why the difference? I have been ATTACKING hills this year. I used to kind of avoid them and we all say how Tel Aviv is a flat course. But it’s not really flat – ask anyone who has run it! There are some looooooong slow inclines that are killer and what about those two crazy hills on HaYarkon at the end?! (If you are thinking “what hills” imagine turning south on HaYarkon from Nordau. Oh yeah, that hill. Oh and what is this on the other side of the tunnel coming up to the Sheraton? It’s a nasty friggin hill at the very end of the race, baby).
Another thing I have changed this year is my nutrition. Back in November I committed to an Eat to Live challenge over on Dr Furhman’s website. I had a kind of wobbly start with being totally compliant, but once I got going, weight started coming down and energy started coming up. Becoming a Nutritarian is changing not only my physical shape, but my mental approach to how and why I feed myself, and undoubtedly it will change the way I coach others as well. I’m sure I will be writing much more about this.
It is crystal clear to me that on the days I eat to meet my nutritional needs and no more, I have great workouts, and days when I eat (or drink) for entertainment, distraction, or mere habit, my body gives me sub-par performance. I didn’t even realize I was getting sub-par performance before upgrading my nutrition! I thought I was doing pretty well. But yo-ho, there is a whole other level up here!!! And I don’t want sub-par anymore and not just in terms of running and working out.
So that expression about doing what you’ve always done and getting what you’ve always got? Completely true.
Luckily, the opposite is true as well.
Training song of the week, Vertigo by U2. This song is like a brick on my gas pedal!