Focus.

Squeezing everything from my belly button down.
Squeezing everything from my belly button down.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a “suckfest” post (November, December) talking about whatever I’m focusing on lately.  This is mostly because my concentration has been strictly on increasing mileage and staying healthy, which includes my form.  While I’ve been at CrossFit, my training there had been specifically related to running – I haven’t truly squatted or practiced an Olympic lift in about two months.  Looking ahead to my “goal” race (hesitant to call it that), I found a few things to really focus on.

You could consider this past week the first week of training towards the Buffalo Half Marathon.  You could also consider it the recovery week from the Lake Effect Half Marathon; at least, the latter is what it was supposed to be.  I’m still okay with my decision for LEHM 2015.  Even though I didn’t finish the race and didn’t treat this as a recovery week, I’m going to call it that for one reason: if I count this as my first week in training, I have 13 weeks of training before the Buffalo Half.  I’ve never considered myself superstitious but I’m not willing to have the 13th week be race week.  Nope, not happening.

So, this week I increased my mileage ever so slightly and hit the sweet spot.  You know that sweet spot where you find yourself needing to chug water all day, you can’t eat fried food because you’ll throw up on your run, and ten minutes less sleep one night will completely alter everything about your mood, fatigue, hunger, and performance the next day?  Yeah, I’m there right now.  I thought I was doing well, but all my runs this week tell me otherwise.

I'll replace beer with water... next week. (Pictured: part of my Loganberry Whit growler from Resurgence Brewery in Buffalo, NY).
I’ll replace beer with water… next week. (Pictured: part of my Loganberry Whit growler from Resurgence Brewery in Buffalo, NY).

I’ve always struggled with drinking enough water.  When I’m at work it takes me until 10:30am to drink my coffee.  To finish off the 24 oz of water I bring to work before leaving at 5 sometimes doesn’t happen, at most I’ll drink 32-40 oz at work.  When I run after work I’ll easily finish 24 oz, but I’m not hydrating at that point, just replacing the amount I’ve lost.

Then there’s the fueling situation.  I have been trying to avoid the extra grains I was eating frequently before (subs, bagels, pastas) and replace it with whole foods in an effort to eat more healthy options, with better nutritional content.  My breakfasts have consisted of fruit salad (cantaloupe, various berries, and pineapple), with a mid morning or early afternoon snack of vegetables, hummus, and a little stick of cheddar cheese.

Last week's meal prep for J and I.
Last week’s breakfast and snack meal prep for J and I.

Lunches are whatever leftovers I’ve had from dinner, last week was vegan chili and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  The problem is I’m starving again by 3-4pm and I haven’t found something to eat that settles well with me in order to run with energy and not feel sick.  I’ve carried bananas and blood oranges on me this week, but they tend to not sit very well with me when I’m on the treadmill.  Previously I would eat a Picky Ber or Honey Stinger Waffle (the only thing of theirs that I can tolerate the taste of) before running, but I’m trying to save money and purchasing these things don’t do that.

And finally, we have the recovery aspect, which encompasses so much more than just resting.  I have no problems with spending a Sunday on the couch getting lost in a marathon of TV shows, but that’s not the right type of recovery.  I already sit for eight hours a day at work, doing it on the weekend isn’t going to help these hip flexors!  I’ve gotten better at foam rolling, but I know I can be better.  And while I can sleep for hours on end Saturday and Sunday, I know the smarter option is to get to bed earlier and get a more sound sleep during the week.

Recovery days = PT exercise days, too. (Really, the beer is getting replaced with water soon.)
Recovery days = PT exercise days, too. (Really, the beer is getting replaced with water soon.)

My runs this past week have been a struggle.  I was tired each day I went to the gym.  Two of the runs involved walk breaks because mentally I wasn’t with it, which meant my body felt like I simply could not last 4-5 miles without a break.  I also was so thirsty I had to stop to drink in the middle of the runs!  Saturday I spent my entire 5+ miles dealing with a side cramp; this was after not drinking anything but 8 oz of coffee for over 24 hours.  Some people say cramps have nothing to do with hydration, but my body tells me otherwise.

In short, I have a lot to focus on in the next twelve weeks.  Hydration, better fueling, and awesome recovery.  I’ve spent enough time focusing on fixing my knees which rub together when I run (and I still haven’t gotten any better at this) and perfecting my arm swing (which I have gotten better at) so now it’s time to add some focal points outside the actual time spent on my feet.

What has and hasn’t worked for you when incorporating this into your routines?

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Brittany

Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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