February 7, 2013 “They” say that it takes 21 days to form a routine or habit. Anecdotally, I would say that sounds about right. I have just over a month of full-force training under my belt, and already my thought process has shifted from “I worked out 4 days this week – well done!” to “Only 8 workouts this week – SWEET!” I never cease to be amazed by both the mind and the body’s ability to adapt. I bemoan my seemingly instantaneous loss of fitness every time I take a week off, but it’s equally incredible to watch it come back. Two and a half weeks ago I ran a 14 mile run and thought I was going to die. I was barely functional when I finally made it home, and I hobbled around the rest of the day and avoided all interaction with stairs. Just one week later I did a 16 mile run 15 seconds faster per mile and felt fantastic. No doubt there were other factors – nutrition, hydration, hills – but I believe a huge piece of the improvement was my body saying “Oh, that’s what we’re doing now? Okay!”.
Likewise, waking up at 5:45 has become easier (I didn’t say “easy” – I’m still guilty of hitting the snooze button), going to sleep by 10:00 no longer seems early, and my voracious appetite has returned. Racing is also no longer an abstract concept many months away – by my next blog entry I will have completed a 5k and a half-marathon. Those will both be early season tests of my fitness, so I’m not pushing for specific times but rather am aiming for solid performances that will set me up for a strong marathon showing in early April.
I like to stay focused on the positive, but I have hit a few speed bumps in the pool. My quick return to higher yardage (for me – any high school swimmer would scoff at my 3000~4000 yds per week) has put some strain on my shoulder so I’m taking some time out of the pool. The running and biking miles have also taken their toll on, well, my entire body. Fortunately, I have Natacha at Phila Massages to dig in and dislodge the knots, and, while it hurts at the time, it makes me feel so much better the next day and allows me to keep training.
I’ve also been dealing with the elements along with the rest of Philadelphia, and since I refuse to do 16 miles on the treadmill, I’ve been bundling up and hitting the road. Plusses of running outside in sub-freezing temps include being less concerned about getting run over by a bike on the path and feeling like a total bada$$ working out with just the few other hardy souls. To those of you out there with me, those cold frozen miles are worth it. To those on the treadmill, well done – you have more mental toughness than you know. To the rest of you – come join us. Give it three solid weeks of effort and you will feel the difference.
Happy training, and good luck to everyone kicking off their seasons over the next month!
Continue reading Alexis' monthly blog post on Phila Massages' blog