Fitness Check Friday

This past Sunday, as I was texting my coach about workouts for the upcoming week, I was very honest.  I need a fitness check.  I did not race this month as I had planned, and I have no idea where I’m at.  While I *think* I’m in pretty good shape, I had a few small setbacks in December that have made me question whether my big goals for the spring are reasonable.  My coach’s response wasn’t exactly one I had expected:

Sure.  Come to the indoor track on Friday and run 5 x 1500. 

ummmm, did shit just get real?

I was equal parts excited and terrified at that suggestion.  On the one hand, a good track workout is exactly what I need to either give me a confidence boost or show me the areas I’m deficient.  On the other hand, I haven’t done an indoor track workout, let alone one with a coach present, in YEARS.

I was telling a friend about this predicament at brunch on Wednesday.  Her response was exactly what I needed for a bit of grounding.  She mentioned she likes not having anyone to answer to because there isn’t any workout anxiety or anyone to please.  That made me realize that my anxiousness about the workout was pretty misplaced.  I certainly am not running for anyone other than myself, and my support system is simply there to help me be my best.  I’m not even sure what I was nervous about in the first place?

So, the feelings of anxiousness were replaced with pure excitement.  I’d get to spend a Friday morning with my people! Doing what I love! and the workout had a very real purpose, which makes me happy!

After my warm up we decided on 5 x 1500 with 3:00 recovery at 5:08 (5:30 pace).  The track is 200 m with tight turns, so 1500 m (vs. 1600 m) would save me from an extra 500 m total of stress.  We chose 5:30 to approximate 10k xc effort for February, while taking tight turns and the hot/dry environment in the field house into consideration.

The workout could not have gone more perfectly.

Instead of 5:08, I ran 4:59, 4:57, 4:54, 5:01, and 4:54.

The first three felt awesome, and I was consistently way too fast.  By the start of the 4th, I purposely forced myself to slow down a little bit, but then was frustrated with myself I had slowed down that much.  I got great feedback here from my coach, telling me that my upper body was started to break down.  I put forth the same effort on my 5th 1500 but made coach’s suggested changes and instantly dropped 5 seconds.

So, where does that put me?

Well, I would not have guessed that I was able to easily hold 5:15 – 5:20 pace right now.  I switched directions for each rep, and numbers 2 and 4 definitely felt awkward running the “wrong” direction.  My biggest struggle was the hot/dry temperatures, and feeling like I was going to throw up because of it.  Dave ran #’s 1, 3, and 5 with me, and he was in the same boat with the track hack/pukey feelings.  Otherwise, I felt really strong and like I’m in better shape than I had realized!

I got a lot of great positive feedback from coach about recent changes I have made to my form, so that was nice to hear.  I’m happy he pointed out the way that my upper body breaks down when I get tired, because that will be great to think about during the later stages of workouts.

Being coached remotely can be a double edged sword.  On the one hand, the freedom and flexibility is great, especially for someone who is self-motivated.  I realized today that I do miss having a coach watch my workouts, so I hope that I can take advantage of working out with him more often, since he lives in my hometown which is only 2.5 hours away.

After the 1500s I joined a few girls on his high school team for a core workout before heading out for a cool down.  I love answering questions about how I got to where I am, and busting the myth that you have to follow a traditional progression of high school state champion to all-american to post-collegiate.

(I think I need to work on my bird dog form)

After the cool down I chatted with coach and Jasmine, a former athlete of his who is now running at Western Michigan.  Check out the #flystyle!

I love the way it feels to have the hardest part of the week out of the way going into a holiday weekend.  So much love and gratitude for everything going on in my life right now <3

Merry Christmas/happy holidays to all!

Originally published on Going Big, or Going Home

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