First and foremost I would like to thank the Buffalo Bills for a phenomenal season! If you haven't realized yet, I am a bit of a Bills fan (only mildly obsessed). This was a year that I have been waiting a long time for and I wish we could have pulled it out, but we made it to the AFC Championship and have learned more about what we need to do to improve for next year!
That is also what I want to focus on for this blog, learning what I need to improve on. Another thing that seems fairly obvious if you ever talk to me or have read any of my blogs. I am not very easily satisfied! I am always looking for that thing to tweak to make me better, or working on yet another lofty goal that will push me to another level. That is the key I have found for staying disciplined, never being satisfied and always wanting more. It is in part why this idea of running the Erie Canal was created!
Even in victory, I try to take a look at what can improve an how I can get better. For instance, last week I surpassed my previous weeks running (and walking) with 45.08 miles of just running! My goal was between 45 and 50 and making sure I was over 45 to beat my 8 day week from last week in just 7. But where could I have improved?
First, I need to get more morning runs in! As my training progresses, there will be no way for me to get all of my running done at night, and if I do not start waking up and getting my ass running now, it will really be a struggle come Spring! My diet also has not been great, for me at least. Much like other people, I can easily make excuses. My excuse for the past month has been playoff football and the Bills, giving myself permission to binge eat on Sundays and essentially negating any positive impact on my body. So as sad as I am that Bills football is over for the season, I am looking forward to no longer having that excuse.
So this week I plan to readjust my diet (goodbye pizza) into something that is actually suited for training, get a few morning runs in, and hit a total of 50 miles! I also want to add another day of weights into my routine. The past few weeks I really have only hit about 2 days a week at the gym. I LOVE lifting weights and do not want to lose that, but with needing to average 8-10 miles per day during the week, I either have to run longer each day to free up an extra day, or double up which means waking up even earlier! Either way, if I really want it I will make it happen.
What are you focusing on improving this week? What were the deficits in your training last week? What were your successes? Send me a message and let me know, or post here and tell the world. Either way keep pushing, pain is only temporary!
As in any training routine when you have a goal in mind you learn things quickly about what works for you and what does not. The difference between people that succeed and those that do not typically is the inability to be flexible and adapt quickly. I have learned a valuable lesson over the past few weeks and this week I plan on making some adjustments that will hopefully help me.
First is when I "start" my week. In the plans I have posted and mentally my week starts on Sunday. It is how I see calendars so it only logically makes sense to me. This is not something major except when I go to track my stats using Apple, Garmin, or Strava. All of these apps start the week on Monday. This means that Marty needs to do math. If it was only running it wouldn't be that hard, but some of my apps show the running totals and not weight lifting or yoga, others combine them all, and it leaves me to pick through data and configure my totals and it is just too much work when I have so much already tracking my workouts. That being said, my first change is changing my training week to go from Monday to Sunday like (what appears to be) everyone else in the free world. This is not a major tweak, but allows me to make things smoother.
Secondly, I SUCK at training by a script! Having to run "X" amount of minutes or distance, needing to train or do yoga for a set period of time has been making my training more of a choir than an enjoyment. It has also taken away a bit of my competitive spirit. I have always loved the mantra "your only competition is yourself" and I do believe that... most of the time anyway, but the way I have been training has not allowed me to compete against myself.
Now I have to say that this is usually a trainers worst nightmare, when a client basically bashes everything and says things aren't working even though they were designed for a specific reason. Fortunately for me I am training myself with the assistance and input of some well know ultra runners, so this fight really only comes down to me. I also know that I CANNOT disregard what I have been told about training for an event like this, so I just have to tweak things to merge the two ideas into something that will prepare me properly while also not driving me insane!
So rather than scripting my workout it is going to be simple this week. My plan is to run whenever and wherever I can as much as I can with at least 3 days of lifting and 2 yoga workouts thrown in. No, my running goal is not "as much as I can", but I need to bring a little more fun to my routine. So I will create some impromptu challenges for myself throughout the week and push my limits a bit here and there. I want to beat my previous weeks record each week. I will still monitor my heart rate a bit as I have been and see if I continue to trend faster. If I do this I will allow myself to call it in for a day or take a rest day 5k and then on days like today run 2 or 3 times for 6 miles per clip. This will maintain my time on my feet and allow me to push for more each week.
On the plus side I am moving much quicker at the lower heart rate which is making me a little happier and allowing me to see that the training is working. My numbers from the month are as follows:
36.14 miles in 7 hours and 21 minutes
36.71 miles in 6 hours and 25 minutes
39.81 (really over 40) in 6 hours and 51 minutes
My time dropped sharply from week 1 to week 2 and I believe that was due to more of those scheduled walks and still getting use to the idea of running indoors. Week 3 I increased both time, distance, and pace over week 2. I know I had over 40 miles because when I finished my run yesterday and saw the 39.81 miles I got back on the treadmill for a .2 mile run, but it did not register for whatever reason (not happy). Plus this also technically included my 5 mile ruck from last Sunday since I am just changing around my start date of each week, so really it is about 45 miles for the 8 day range.
Either way I am moving faster and farther each week. My end all goal is to be hitting 100 miles per week once the weather breaks and I can spend 4 or 5 hours running outdoors again. I am almost halfway there with about 2 (maybe 3) months to go. If I increase each week by about 5 miles per week I will be ready for Spring and some serious running!
I also need to start working on getting up earlier. Right now it is not TOO much of an issue, but considering I will still have the same schedule in the Spring as I do now, but with twice the amount of running, I am going to need to start my days earlier. This means I need to be able to go to sleep and stay asleep, something that has not been too much of a problem this week, but has caused me a few minor inconveniences.
Either way, week 3 is in the books and I have already knocked out a 6 mile run in an hour today with at least one more in my plans. What are you doing to train this week? How have you tweaked your plans? Leave a message or comment on my socials @ocrlibrarian315
Pain in the Canal Training Log
January 3, 2021
So my first official day of training did not start exactly how I wanted! I had planned on waking up early, before my daughter and getting in my first of 2 one hour runs before she even woke up. Unfortunately I did not sleep AT ALL on Saturday night. Since I had written my blog post detailing my planned training for the next 2 weeks, and scheduled its release at 8 am on Sunday I seemed to have some pre-race jitters. Funny considering the actual event wasn’t going to happen for 8 more months. Between that and the random foot or hand to the face by a flalling 5 year old that can somehow take up an entire king size bed, I tossed and turned until about 11:30 when I decided to go to my living room.
I proceeded to try anything I could to fall asleep. I drank some tea, I stretched and meditated, and I even listened to one of my audio books. Finally I fell asleep at about 3:30am only to be woken by a very confused child asking me why I was asleep on the couch. I woke up, walked her back into my bed where she sleeps one night a week as a reward, and tried to fall back asleep. By the time she woke up for the day at 7 I had estimated I had got about 3 hours of sleep total for the night and had not yet ran.
The day was a normal Sunday in football season. Hang with my daughter until noon, get in a quick 40 minute run then eat pizza with my girlfriend as we tune in to watch the Buffalo Bills play. With only a few weeks left in the NFL season, pizza is an excusable dietary binge.
After watching the game I was fully aware that I needed to get another hour and forty minutes in of running on the day and was obviously groggy. I got at it either way and made it about 40 more minutes. During that time the hip pain I had been feeling all week came back and I received a few work-related calls and emails that I needed to respond to so I figured with half of my running down I would be able to get back at it. The hip pain was not bad, but noticeable enough to annoy me. This would be my downfall for the running of my day today!
At the time of writing this, I had only gotten back on the treadmill for another 5 minutes or so and used my massage gun for about 15 minutes. I am determined to finish the amount of time I need tonight, but I may be walking for 35 minutes tonight rather than running. I had always been curious about a start/stop ultra and wondered if I would be able to do it. Today I am learning the difficulties of these types of runs.
For those that were curious about my 2 separate hour long runs each day rather than 2 straight hours, it is so I get use to the idea of forcing myself to get back up and run after already running. When I run the canal, the plan will be roughly a marathon in the morning and a marathon at night with a lunch break for fuel, massage, and change of clothes in between. I will need to pull myself back together after an hour and a half break every day to push off for another 25 miles or more (depending on my exact location). So even though this would rank as pathetic for my typical runs, it is causing me more stress and anxiety than any other training I have done! I WILL get my 2 hours of work in on my feet, even if it is just walking and by the end of this two-week training progression I will be use to the start/stop style of running. After that I will have one or two of these each week to maintain the pain I put my body and mind through over these first two weeks!
January 4, 2021
Well I completed my runs/walk yesterday. I was not too pleased with how I did, but knew that lack of sleep played a large role as well as my diet. Today I woke up refreshed and excited! I decided to do things a little out of order compared to what my original plan was.
My initial plan was to run for an hour before work, do yoga on my lunch break, then finish with another hour run at night. When I woke up though my hip was still slightly bothering me so I decided to start with yoga. This was my first structured yoga program ever! I had done plenty of yoga poses and stretches on my own in the past, but had no idea what I was really in for. This work out KICKED MY ASS! I absolutely have a new respect for anyone that does yoga. I also now see why they like it! As tough as some of it was it was refreshing! I felt so much looser than normal and my hip pain was disapaiting. Parts of my body that are always tight were loosing up and I felt good.
As soon as the workout was over I got on the treadmill and rifled off a quick and easy 30 minute run. I was ready to attack my day. I went through the first part of my work day slowly sipping on my one cup of coffee and was excited for my lunch run. I did this with ease again going nice and slow. This is still aggravating me because I want to push myself, but I am trusting those that have done ultra runs before and trying to take it easy. After finishing my work day, making some calls and finishing up some other work I had it was time for my final run of the day.
This was awful! I was slow and drained almost from the start. My slow 10 minute pace became a slow 12 minute pace and I was genuinely struggling. This was something I had not experienced in a long time. My cardio was fine, I had pushed through 4 hour runs before, but my legs were dying. As I struggled through I realized that for the first time in my running life I had broken the momentum. I had stopped, completely and restarted later. Sure I had done 2 a day runs before, usually quick fast 5k’s, but this was longer both in distance and in time. To top it off I had done yoga too which absolutely loosened me up, but also caused additional strain to my muscles that I had not been use to.
At the 30 minute mark I forced myself off the machine and ate something. My only hope was that taking in some calories I could polish off the last half hour of running. I ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich and 2 bananas and pushed through to finish.
In retrospect, I am glad that I did today’s running the way I did. I will be experiencing this on my canal run in August. The plan is to run roughly 8 miles and then meet up with my support team for refills of water and snacks. Then after finishing off a marathon in the morning I will take a longer lunch break before heading back out to run an equal distance before dinner. There will be a lot of starting and stopping, and if my body is not use to this I will surely cramp up and lose the ability to keep going.
Tomorrow’s plan is a bit simpler than todays. Only an hour of running, 30 minutes of yoga, and 30 minutes of strength training. I may break up the run to do 30 minutes in the morning with yoga and 30 in the afternoon with weights, but I am not sure as of yet. It will all depend on the sleep I get tonight and what my day has in store for me tomorrow. Either way, 2 days down and over 4 hours of training already! That is one way to attack your goals if I do say so myself.
January 5, 2021
Today seemed much easier than the past few days had considering I only had 1 hour of running compared to 2, so the running was much easier. I did break it up into two 30 minute runs due to my schedule so things went smoothly in that regard. I did begin to worry about the future however and how I would make the time to run consistently while maintaining my busy schedule. I am sure I will not be able to run the same amount of time each day so some days will be heavier than others. Hopefully I can put off the really long runs until the weather gets better, but I will have to do whatever is necessary to succeed!
I also realized that yesterday I did 30 minutes of yoga rather than using the massage gun for 30 minutes. I was really excited about yoga and completely spaced on my scripted plan. In order to ensure I follow the plan as closely as possible I skipped yoga today and did the massage gun right after my lift.
My lift was more of a full body home workout with my 35lbs dumbbells. This included curls, deadlifts, floor presses, calf raises, and hammer curls. The lift and massage gun hour left me feeling like I went too light or it was not a solid enough workout. It is difficult on Tuesdays with my daughter home with me, but I need to make sure I make it work. A HIIT workout might do this for me, but I am concerned it will not increase my strength enough. I am not sure about this however because I have never done a consistent HIIT program before, only incorporated these types of workouts in my weight lifting routine. I will try to get around my mental blocks on this and do more HIIT workouts, but I need to get back to the gym to lift heavy again. It has been too long and I genuinely miss it.
Tomorrow will be my recovery day so it will be an easy day which I am wondering how that will work right after what seemed to be an easy day. I am hoping it doesn’t kill my motivation. But we will see what tomorrow brings!
January 8, 2021
So I have not added to this the past few days, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped training. I have failed at a few of my goals however and have been having some struggles that I will describe below.
Wednesday was my rest day. My plan was to walk for 30 minutes, do yoga for 30 and the massage gun for 30. Then the world’s attention to the news, including mine. I was able to walk and use the massage gun, but found myself absorbed with the events that took place. That combined with my lack of sleep Tuesday night resulted in me falling asleep on my couch. I was not happy about this, but realistically I needed a quality rest day either way. One would think that would mean that I would have slept well Wednesday night but unfortunately I still struggled to sleep through the night for some reason.
Thursday was going to be a 30 minute strength workout and 2 one hour long sessions of running. Despite the struggles sleeping I made it to the gym and had a great lift. Feeling really good I finished my workday and easily ran for an hour before a meeting I had starting at 7. I knew this would go until at least 9 so I was planning a late-night run which was not bad. I was feeling great after my rest day, and the hour long run I had just finished left me feeling energized. Then the unthinkable happened and I spent the following 4 and a half hours on this call and the phone dealing with some issues that could not wait. At 11:30 I was exhausted but not all that upset about missing my run and felt like as long as I got a good night sleep I would be able to attack Friday with a FIRE. Planning on at least a 2 hour run starting at 6 I went to bed after drinking some tea.
2am was when I started losing my mind. I woke up, AGAIN. I couldn’t fall asleep despite everything I had done and how I tired I was. So frustrated and spent the next 2 hours attempting to figure out what was wrong. I finally fell asleep sometime after 3:30am. I tried to wake up to my various alarms, but I just could not do it. I slept, as best I could until about 7:15 and got up. By the time I finished getting moving it was already 7:50 and I had zero time to work out. I was literally on the verge of tears!
I say that not because I wanted to work out so bad, or because my goals are not being met as I wanted them to be, but because something is wrong! Something that I have not yet been able to put my finger on as of yet. It is affecting my day to day life, my training, and just about every aspect of my life.
I had several calls this morning with members of my team and a few other fitness junkies/professionals and there were only a few commonalities that came up. The biggest thing is my diet. It is not that I have too much caffeine or sugar, I have very little of this in my diet. It doesn’t seem to be eating too early or late either as many people like to concern themselves about.
My approach to diet to start has been fairly simple to start. I have just wanted to eat more than I normally do (4 or so meals a day with snacks) and have it be primarily naturally/unprocessed foods. I have not been tracking my calories too much this first week or the macros. I wanted to see the effects on my body with the training. When thinking about these things started to click. I simply have not been eating enough, even with the larger than normal amounts of quality foods!
I do not say this lightly! My meals have been things like teriyaki chicken, brown rice and broccoli, or a hefty/hearty bean and veggie soup. Egg souffle’s with mushrooms and spinach and shakes with blueberries, strawberries, spinach, peanut powder and almond milk. That is this week, things change each week, but the portions are a medium to large in size and quality food, but when I have multiple days of burning over 4,000 calories it just hasn’t been enough.
That being said, I am not going to stop my training, but I am sure as hell going to work on my diet and meal prep this week. I am really hoping this helps me to sleep next week, but until then I have to do the best with what I have. According to Strava I only have 22 some miles in this week, but still have today (Friday) and Saturday to put up some numbers. I now that I am suppose to focus more on time (4 hours) but I still inherently think about the miles. There is a walk in there from Wednesday as well that will count towards it all, but not where I wanted to be at this point this week.
Tomorrow I will note my hours, miles, calories, and planned changes to my plan that are spurred by this week. Also important to note, I am supposed to do an hour of yoga or massage gun tonight, but that was initially supposed to be 30. I am uncertain how this will work today since I am going to focus on getting 2 hours of running in. Wish me luck!
January 9, 2021
Well it has been a pattern this week… NO SLEEP! This time I get to at least identify the cause fairly easily. My lovely 5-year-old daughter, who gets to sleep in daddy’s bed every Friday night and watch a movie is the only child on the planet that can take up an entire king size bed. If I move, she finds me and usually punches or kicks when she is trying to cuddle up next to me. It is usually cute but added to my frustrations today.
Because of this, the awkward angles I had to sleep at, and the compounded issues with sleep this week I am exhausted on a level that I am not use to. Coupled with the increased training I just couldn’t handle more today. A 45-minute run was all I could muster and I plan on using the massage gun as soon as I am done writing this post.
These are all lessons though, and have created a baseline for me so all is not lost! I am also learning how much I genuinely hate running on a treadmill, but it is better than nothing for now. So how did my week stack up?
These numbers signify a bit of a failure on my part. I am an hour and 21 minutes short of my running goal and missed my strength training and yoga/massage gun goals substantially, but this is not bad. It gives me a starting point to work from and where I need to go to change a number of things. My baseline has been complete.
On top of that I also know about how far running at a comfortable pace I can go currently. This will hopefully change a bit as I continue to train but will be essential for the logistics of the actual run. Over the 8 plus hours I ran this week I covered 46.7 miles. This is not too bad considering what I am shooting for and how awful I have slept this week. Next week I have to step it up a little.
I will continue to shoot for the plan I laid out last week however, even with my failures. I do this intentionally. I was always told you should shoot high! This way if you fail you also fail high. The idea is if I try to train for the same 10 hours of running I did last week I may fail at 8.5 or 9. If I plan for the 11 hours of training and IF I fail, I will fail closer to 9.5 or 10!
This week will place an importance on sleep and nutrition. I am still currently working on the details of this plan since Sunday is my meal prep day, but once I have figured it out I will gladly share anything I come up with and try out!
Thank you to all who have already signed up for this event and especially those who have donated! I am truly humbled with seeing so many donations coming in at the very beginning of this!
Please feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or things that you are doing to train yourself here on my blog or on any of my social media accounts @ocrlibrarian315.
Over the past few weeks I have been working slowly to get use to the volume of running that I will need to accomplish in order to properly train for a 7 day, 360+ mile expedition for my first time. The one thing that is incredibly obvious to me is that I do not like to take time to recover! I am not much for stretching and have only done some basic yoga stretches over the past few years. This is something that NEEDS to change quickly in order for me to succeed.
The regluar running, as well as running on the treadmill has resulted in some hip pain that is not normal. I am use to back, shoulder, knee and heel pain (I have done some damage to my body) so new pain is something I try to avoid. With this new found hip pain I have decided to purchase myself a massage gun and I cannot say more about the help it has given all sources of pain old and new. This coupled with the new fitness programs released by Apple, I now have Yoga classes for free from the comfort of my own home. Because of this I have amended my original training plan to incorporate both of these into my daily activities.
I am going to start with a gradual increase in running over the course of the next two weeks. This will increase more as the weather eventually gets warm and I do not have to spend too much time on the treadmill. As I have said before, my running will focus on time and going slow. Trying to train to run slower has already proven difficult, but it is essential. So for week 1 I will do runs of 60 minutes then I will increase to 65 in week 2 with one 70 minute run at the end of week 2.
I will also be adding in my strength training routines at least 3 times per week. This may be weight training or high intensity workouts depending on time and if I am able to get to the gym or not.
The best news is that I will be working remotely for the first almost 2 weeks of this month, so training time will be easier. I can run right up until the time I have to log on for work, or use my 30 minute lunch break for yoga or strength training. This will make the increased load of training a bit more convenient for me to start.
As a friend of mine always says, a plan of attack never survives initial contact with the enemy so I am sure there will need to be some modifications and changes to the plan as the week goes on, but I am hoping to keep things just as I have laid out below. I will update my progress and the exact workout routines (including any Apple classes I take) next weekend as well as my updated and/or modified training plan for week 2!
I find this title very fitting. Not only because my official training for "The Pain" starts today (my loving new nickname for this event), but I woke up several times overnight and this morning with some pretty severe pain. Over the past few months I have been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury on my left shoulder, and recently my back pain has started again. Couple these together and you have one awkward and uncomfortable night of half sleep. Put these together with round trip drives to and from Buffalo and a 5 year olds first ball drop and you have the perfect combination of crap to convince you to do as little as possible.
These are all legitimate issues and I am positive that I am not the only one out there that has had these or has had the opportunity to let these infiltrate their thinking especially when it comes to talking themselves out of training. This is what got me started thinking this morning about what motivates us and pushes us.
New Years Day is the day for resolutions. Traditionally millions of people pack themselves into gyms for the first time or first time in years. Maybe they got some fancy new home workout station or decided to give up on smoking or eating crap. Either way it is a day where almost everyone tries to live healthy. By the end of the month however the gyms empty out, the fancy new equipment starts collecting dust, and the greasy fast food joints start getting their clientele back. So how do we stay consistent?
For me, and for the clients I have had through my side gig (OCR Librarian) I always try to push both the internal and external motivating factors. I have found you can't really stay committed to something without both.
For me it started with wanting to shed a few dozen pounds. That was enough to get my ass in the gym. To keep me there however I needed a longer term goal, something that wasn't just about me or losing weight. It started with my first race, then a series of races, then quite simply to be there for my daughter when she was older.
This is how I have attacked my planning for The Pain. I originally wanted to get in shape for a triathlon and drop below 10% body fat at the age of 37. When the idea of the triathlon turned into an ultra and eventually the entire Erie Canal I decided that I would use this as the yearly fundraiser I have been doing for Kevin. The thought was simple, running that kind of distance would be painful, but nowhere near the pain I have witnessed Kevin and his wife Hilary go through over the past few years. A pain that they have not only taken in stride, but have maintained a beautiful life and raised 3 great kids!
I also knew that on days like today I could look at this as motivation. Yes I am in pain, but is it even close to what Kevin has gone through? How many days had either he, Hilary, or both wanted to just stay in bed and pretend the world didn't exist or worse? I can only imagine what waking up knowing you are going to go in for chemo must be like, or worse waking up the day after chemo or a surgery. Yet, from my perspective at least, they have both gotten up and been champions in their families and lives! Hell, Kevin was texting me and getting his computer to take a look at some of the stuff for the initial concept of The Pain while he was recovering from a major surgery in the hospital!
So on mornings like today, with numerous motivating factors I can look at what I am trying to accomplish and realize that all of my pain is temporary. Really it is just muscle soreness since I typically lack proper recovery in my training. A solid stretch this morning will loosen me up enough to get my ass in gear and start moving.
As for my official training I am going to run my plans Sunday through Saturday and will post them each week here. For the first two days of the new year I am going to try to squeeze in a minimum of 4 hours of running. This should equal roughly 20 miles to start the year off.
My training style has been much different and I have taken a few weeks to start getting use to it. I am trying to maintain a heart rate of between 135 and 145. This has been slowing my pace from a 7:30 5k and 8 minute 10k/half marathon pace to a 10-12 minute running pace. It has been aggravating to say the least, but I am looking forward to seeing how far I will be able to go at this pace. The last time I ran 20 miles monitoring my heart rate like this I felt great and did an additional 8 miles several hours later when I couldn't sleep.
For this New Years Day I want to know what your motivating factors are! What are you pushing for to benefit you, and what are you doing to benefit others? Leave a message on the blog or on my social media channels (@ocrlibrarian315) and let me know!
Happy New Year and let's CRUSH 2021!