April 22nd was my 7-year runniversary—i.e. the date I first started training “for real” and signed up for my first half marathon. It’s been an amazing journey of 8,500+ miles, much sweat, and non-negligible amounts of blood and tears thrown in. Seven years ago I was fresh out of grad school and just starting my professional life as a starry-eyed model-builder in Frank Gehry’s office in Los Angeles. I’m now a licensed architect and a partner in a small firm in New York specializing in exterior wall design. In many ways, running has shaped my adulthood—it has been the constant through the stresses and growing pains of my career, personal life, and multiple cross-country moves. It’s been the backbone of more than a few friendships. And every year on April 22nd I have celebrated all of that by going for a run that’s just for me. There’s no workout structure allowed, no treadmill, and I try to go somewhere scenic as my schedule allows. This year I had to postpone a few days, as I was resting the mysterious toe-squeak injury, but on Friday I ran home from work the long way—around lower Manhattan, through Battery Park (in full bloom), and over my beloved Brooklyn Bridge. It was glorious. (And I mean glorious in running terms, which is to say, beautiful, but with severe chafing of my collar bones by my backpack straps. And I almost got hit by a bike, and then a car that was running a red light. But let’s focus on the positive.)
Since then, this week has been really up and down. I feel like I’m really walking the knife edge of overtraining, and a slight breeze may push me over the edge. Last night I was so tired I was on the verge of tears, and then this morning I banged out a six mile tempo run at 7:40 pace like it was nothing. The root of the problem is that I can’t find a triathlon training plan designed for someone with a good level of fitness, lots of running experience, and zero swimming and biking skills. Because I’ll be rolling straight from NYC Tri training in July to NYC Marathon training, I want to maintain my running base as much as possible, while putting in a lot of hard work to bring my swim and bike up to snuff. That has so far resulted in me doing almost every workout hard, and doing two-a-days four or five days a week. I realize that this plan is unsustainable. This week I backed off one each of my swim and bike workouts to an easy pace, and definitely felt better. Still, I need to find a good training balance that doesn’t leave me a quivering, irritable mess by the weekend.
In what may be a fortuitous turn of events, the Runners’ World training log I’ve been using for 7 years is going to cease to exist next week, so I’ve had to migrate all my data over to Training Peaks. I have the premium free trial tools right now, so I’m taking advantage of all the fitness and training assessment data to sort things out. I have the Harriman Sprint Tri in two weeks (agh!), and then I’ll be focusing on the Olympic distance in July. Goal #1 is to make it to the starting line (and the finish line) healthy and fit. In the coming weeks I’m going to be paying extra attention to nutrition and sleep, and am resolving to try (harder) not to let life interfere too much with either.