Honey Badger Don’t Cross Train.

Ever since I started training for my first race 3 years ago, I’ve been running Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  By this point, my entire life has been arranged around this schedule.  Laundry, socializing, cooking, and which days I go to work early instead of staying late have all been determined on the whim of my first Hal Higdon training schedule.  I have been accused of being totally inflexible on this point, but I always stuck with it because it worked for me.  Now that I’ve started marathon training, though, I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma.  Most of the schedules I’ve seen recommend a four-day-a-week running schedule with one or two days of cross training mixed in.  The thing is, I hate cross training.  It invariably makes me cranky and sore, and in the end I always fall off the wagon and start subbing an easy run instead.

When I made my training schedule for the marathon, I thought hard about cross-training and rest days, and ultimately decided to make my Saturday run optional as a compromise.  I figured that with my three weekday runs behind me and the long run yet to come, I would just decide whether to run easy, bike, or rest on Saturday on a case-by-case basis.  The added bonus to the plan is that if I get stuck at work late on a run night, it also gives me a flexible day to make up the mileage.  This would all be brilliant, except that I forgot that my Saturday morning runs have traditionally been really terrible when I’m in race training and cranking up the weeknight workouts.

Case in point, I went out for an easy 4-miler this morning, just to shake the legs out.  I left the apartment with visions of a relaxing, breezy trot in which I was breathing effortlessly and flitting over the sidewalk like the Kara Goucher Fairy.  My sheer optimism propelled me though the first mile, but then out of nowhere the thought, “My quads are really tired” floated in.  I pushed it aside, thinking that this was a perfect opportunity to exercise my new mental toughness assault.  About a quarter mile later, there it was again: “My quads really are tired.  My glutes are kind of sore, too.”  It was only a 4-miler, and I could have easily banged out another mile just to cross it off the calendar.  I ultimately decided though, that the smart thing to do was to turn around, log the 3, and rest up for the 16 tomorrow.

I came home, made a smoothie, and spent 20 minutes trying to foam-roller all the kinks out.  Now, a few hours later, I’m surprised to find how tired and sore my legs actually are after the rest day yesterday, when they felt fine.  I’m hoping it’s a good sign that my muscles are repairing and will be ready to go tomorrow.  And I’m actually a little relieved to remember that my Saturday runs always kind of sucked.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: