I’ve been building up now for as long as I was on the couch this year with osteitis pubis. It was a great feeling to have made it through the first week of running. Exhausting and pleasing to make it through the first month and when the second month went by and I was actually training with the signs of speed bobbing up on the odd occasion. 5 weeks into an altitude training stint in Colorado and I am running the miles I was when I was training for my Nagano marathon win.
I take my hat off to all those people out there who start a running program and make it past the first month. The first four weeks of running when you start from scratch are tough. Whether you are an elite athlete, recreational runner or someone with the desire to tackle a little race having never ran further than the letterbox, that first month hurts! I had such a consistent few years from 2008 to 2010 that I had forgotten how hard it was to get it back. As Dick said to me when I compiled my garmin training data for him the other day, “that injury is history now”. I replied to his email with a smiley face!
I’ve learnt a little more about what I can handle as a result of this last injury and by making good decisions during the training build up I’ve been able to extend that threshold just a fraction further. I had a fantastic year in 2010, but not every year can be like that. When it gets tough, take the time to focus on what’s going well while on that journey to ‘get it back!’.
In order to give the body an opportunity to build slowly, recover and find out a little more about itself we decided it’d be a good time to find out what altitude training is like for an extended period. I was also thinking about the ‘what-ifs’. What if I was a full time athlete? Would it necessarily mean I would run a faster marathon if my focus was on preparing for the marathon or would other factors come into play?
Making the decision to take a few months off work and prepare for my next marathon was tough. Leaving my commitments and responsibilities behind to focus on ‘just me’ is foreign and I hope the quality workouts we’ve been able to produce here will be fruitful, come October.
It has been an amazing month so far. During our first week in Denver we took a trip over to the USA Airforce Academy and completed some key altitude physiological pre-tests, setting the scene for some solid adaptations ahead!
Our second week arrived and we picked up our new roomie Michael Shelley and set up camp in Boulder. I have no brothers so it has been a different experience with all the boy humor in the house! We found out instantly that we all like Steak, Pepsi and Pancakes so meal times aren’t too complicated!
Our first week in Boulder was an eventful one with a snake spotting on our very first run, a coyote on day two along the Boulder Creek path and a deer out the front of our apartment on day four! I then went on to get stung by a wasp at the 16km mark of a 30km run. I got the run done at a good clip after washing my sting with a hose in the parking lot of a local Chinese Restaurant.
To mix it up a little we decided to start ‘Fun Fridays’. Shelley wasn’t too sure when we suggested a drive up to Estes Park 7522 ft (2293 m), but after a quick power nap on the drive up and he zoned in on ‘Fun City’ and ‘Fun Fridays’ made their debut! I think he is still wondering how he missed a few of those holes in one! Lac is currently ‘Put-Put’ Champion 2011.
Baseball was next on the ‘Fun Fridays’ agenda, but moved to Monday as we could hardly expect the League to change the game to Friday! Coming up is a trip to the outlet malls and a movie night before we send Michael on his way to Amsterdam. Key message here is you can’t overdo the extra-curricula activities when training hard, but you need a little fun in your life to keep things in balance.
The jury is still out on the effect altitude will have on my marathon pb and will remain that way until I race in October. The good news is, training is going well to date, I’m relaxed and I am looking forward to the post altitude testing results to see what physiological adaptations have occurred!
When you suffer a long term injury like I have this year, you learn to make the most of the good times and you enjoy the process of ‘getting it back’, despite how tough the first month is! Remember when it gets tough, there’s always another runner going through it too out there.
Lisa Weightman x
PS - Don't forget, if you've got a running question you'd like to ask Lisa, you can fire it off to her. Find out how and to see other FAQ's here.