Monday, August 27, 2007

I Hate Recovery Weeks!

I'm terribly ashamed of my slacker week but this is a full-disclosure blog. Maybe if I embarrass myself enough, I won't do it again! Last week was a well-earned recovery week. Unfortunately, because I had pushed it so hard the previous 3 weeks, I ended up feeling overtrained and borderline sick going into it. No problem, right? It's a recovery week!

Problem. Recovery weeks are supposed to be reduced volume and intensity (about 50% less), not total time off! This isn't the off-season, folks! However, by the time Monday rolled around, I had a persistent sore throat and headache. I thought for sure I was doomed for a nasty cold.

I had felt kind of run-down in my training week but had slogged right on through. I kept thinking, "I can rest during my recovery week." Ugh. I should have listened to my body and backed off when it told me to. In addition, I had been skipping stretching, good nutrition and NAPS!!! Bad, bad, bad.

Okay, so Day 1 of recovery week--Monday--well-earned rest day. No guilt. Day 2 (Tuesday)--I skipped my morning swim and opted to sleep in instead. Still, no guilt. I was still sore and tired from the weekend. Day 3 (Wednesday)--still had the sore throat and headache and ended up sleeping all day. Thursday? same thing. This was getting ridiculous. Friday--the sore throat and headache were worse. Skipped workouts. Saturday--1st day I finally felt better. Plus, I was tired--but in a good way. For some reason, I needed to sleep a lot more but was finally feeling well-rested when I woke up.

Oh, and did I mention my diet was atrocious all week? Pizza, bagels, donuts, ice cream, Big Macs, french fries, milk shakes, cheeseburgers, onion rings. It was ridiculous. I can always tell when I've pushed too hard when my body craves crap-food.

By the time Sunday rolled around, I was cranky and depressed. Not working out makes me one grumpy gal! I had forgotten the mood-lifting effects of exercising. Sheesh! Luckily, I did a lot of watercolor painting in my down-time, which was very therapeutic.
Sunday, I dragged my sorry ass to my group long run. I held back while everyone else ran 10 miles. I knew that was ridiculous on a recovery week when I had felt like ass all week and this was my first workout in a solid week! It was SO hard to hold back. I hated it. People kept asking me if I was hurt, what was wrong, if I hadn't been training in awhile. I felt fine! I totally could have pushed harder but I wanted to stick to the workout I needed. I am vowing to be more disciplined about following the purpose of my workouts! Hard means hard and easy means easy!
I let everyone go at the 3 mile point and walked. I watched the surfers to the west while a very entertaining thunderstorm duked it out to my east. I smiled to other walkers and enjoyed just being outdoors. After a half mile up, I turned and walked a half mile back, at which point, the faster runners had caught me again. I ran the final 3 miles back for a total of 6 miles running with an extra 1 mile walk in the middle. I felt fantastic on the way back. First 3 miles never count anyway, right?
So my sore throat is gone, and I'm ready to start back into my training week. However, I'd like to prevent myself from burning out again by the next recovery week. It'd be much better to pace myself and reduce 50% instead of having to take an entire week off! There are a couple of options.
#1) Do 2 on and 1 off instead of 3 on and 1 off.
#2) Build more slowly for the 3 on.
I'm kind of leaning towards #2. After my terrible spring sinus infection, I was able to handle 6-8 hours/week without much of a problem (see graph at top). It wasn't until this last base training phase where I was going 12+ hours/week that I felt really blown-up. Also, I need to dial-down the intensity a notch to make sure I truly am base training. My weekend long bike and long run are the most important workouts. Everything should revolve around that. After that, is my masters swimming since it is helping me so much. Plus, the swimming doesn't take it out of me as much as the biking and running. Finally, I need to focus more on diet, sleep, stretching and recovery. So I'm back in! With a more disciplined approach.


Erika said...

I hate being sick! I always struggle with myself around my training, I know I should rest but I hate not working my plan. One day of missing a workout no big but I hate when it turns into two.. three....
I had to adjust my training last week because I had no childcare for my daughter.

I was inspired by your talk of the Masters Swim club so I decided to check it out. I'm going to start up with one nearby in a few weeks when they start up again. (They take Aug and part of Sept off.) It's a Tri focused group too so I'm super excited about it. I hope I can handle it though.

I hope you continue to stay healthy for the remainder of the week.

RunBubbaRun said...

Sounds like you are in IronMan training.. I know the feeling. I personally can only handle 2 on and 1 off, the 3 on 1 off burns me out..

Get some rest. Aerobic base training is what it is all about for your 1st IM.. You will do fine..

IM Diet, I think I start it two weeks before IM, you have to have some vices in a crueling schedule. Gotta love the pizza and Ice cream.

Sara said...

Sounds like you got a much deserved rest break! And just like you told me last week - it is always good to learn from these things rather then letting them get us down!

I hear you about craving crappy food when you are burnt out! Fast food is like a crutch (a very bad one!) when I'm sick and just exhausted!

Good Luck this week!

Mon said...

how true it is! exercise does wonders for boosting the mood! But youll get back to it!