Finding your sweet spot

We can all make ourselves crazy as we read magazines, Google key terms, and become incessant with other people’s training plans on their blog. I know that I do. Or did. Or, at least I like to think that I did it more 4 years ago when I first started training for endurance events. I was new to the area of athletics and looked everywhere that I could for advice. I was following a marathon training plan that had me running 4 days in the middle of the week and a long run on the weekends. I entered the long run with tired legs.Every.Single.Time.

Creepy cat

More like this--me dragging A@# on a 20+ miler

Then there was the time that I broke my foot. Not once, but twice. Suddenly I was forced to stop drooling over other’s blogs and race reports for the mere fact that it made me cry. I slowly built my endurance and sweat factor back up and by sheer physiology I had to scale things back. Now, I listen to my body and not other people’s stories as a comparison. I listen to other people’s stories because I want to over camaraderie and friendship and cheer them on in their endeavors. Training for an ultra? Running 24 miles today and 32 miles tomorrow? Hell ya, go for it! I will be sitting here icing my foot after my 17 miles with a huge smile of accomplishment on my face.

See Mom Run Far (one of those awesome people who can hit hi mileage every week NBD) posted points from this article  and it struck a huge chord with me. It summed up exactly this dichotomy that I have been trying to accept with myself for the past year.

“2) Find Your Sweet Spot in Training

Successful training is about finding the balance in your stress/rest cycle. Training (and much of life) is stressful. It depletes your body’s energy stores. It stresses your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. In short, training tears down your body. With rest, however, your body builds back stronger than before. The trick is to find the training rhythm where your stress/rest cycle is in balance — where you’re having positive workout followed by positive workout, successful week followed by successful week.

This can be tricky due to the unpredictability of our other life stresses (work, family, etc.), but if you find a training routine where nearly every one of your workouts and races is positive then you’re in balance. If you find that you frequently have poor/unpredictable workouts or races, or are often injured, then your training (or life) stress is too great. You are under-recovering and should add a bit more recovery to your plan. Successful workouts lead to greater and greater motivation, which leads to better and better racing.”Source

I wish that someone had shared this with me 4 years ago. I remember going for a 20 mile long run and one of the guys I was running with that day mentioned to me how strong I looked. My response was “I took 2 days of rest this week.”

Running strong to the tops of mountains!

I had never taken 2 days of rest before and never would again until 3 years later. But, I need it. I know that now as I am in my sweet spot with running and training. It’s working for me. I nailed every run this week on my training plan. Yes, they were hard. Yes they were uncomfortable. Yes I grunted a few times. But, I succeeded in mind, in body, and in numbers.

“Successful workouts lead to greater and greater motivation, which leads to better and better racing.” Source

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5 responses to “Finding your sweet spot

  1. Kait, I love this post. It’s SO true, and so important for me to hear right now. I get ideas in my head of distances that I want to accomplish but I don’t always stop to think about what my body is truly ready for….I’m definitely still working to find that “sweet spot”….I just need to keep reminding myself to be patient 🙂
    Thanks!!!

  2. That’s soo important to figure out for yourself. Everyone’s body reacts so differently so there can really be no set formula. It takes a while! I’m sure I’ll have to work on it once I start upping my long runs here in a bit.

  3. I love this post, I have not even been running for a year yet, this June/July it will be though and I find I am always changing things up b/c sometimes training plans just don’t work for me. Thanks so much for posting this! glad I found you 🙂

  4. Pingback: Necessary Reminders | Pain Can Be Fun·

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