Well rested & recovered ~ just like a perfectly-simmered pot of chili?

One of the best things I like about working with a coach – or should I say working with Lisa, since I have a feeling she’s not only top of the line but also not your average running coach – is that I’m never really getting ahead of myself in my training. She just doesn’t give me the opportunity.

We meet weekly, to talk through the previous week’s runs, as well as determine the seven days ahead. We go no further out than that, though, and the longer I’m on this program, the more I appreciate staying mostly in the moment. Sure, she’s given me a heads up on a few things to come, like how I’ll eventually be running 10-milers as my long mid-week run and how later in the game I’ll be incorporating more tempo runs and hill work. But really, it’s about what’s happening now, how I’m feeling under the current training rigors and how my body’s responses possibly (likely) affect the coming weeks’ training she has mapped out for me. She’s never given me the 22-week program plan in its entirety.

Which brings me to where I am now: midway through week 11. I learned today, after running my first mid-week 8-miler, that tomorrow will now be a rest day (normally I’d run 4). Then, it’s the regular 6 miles on Friday, shorter 3-mile recovery run Saturday, and … 14-16 miles Sunday. As Lisa puts it, at this particular spot in my training, I’m going to bring myself “to the boiling point.”

She also described it as treating my body like a pot of chili.

Here’s where it gets good: after reaching this boiling (not burning) point of mine, I have 4 – count ‘em, f-o-u-r – rest days. In a row.

This is how she explains it: Bring the pot to a boil (long run), turn down the heat (rest), cover the pot and let it season and simmer (sleep, stretch, recover), and boy will that chili taste good (stronger runner).

This sounds just fine by me. Lisa’s suggestions for my recovery period also include: massage and a leisurely walk or hike. Perfect.

Given the training base I’ve built up, I don’t need to worry about losing any of my fitness – “I know this from science and from experience,” Lisa tells me.

In my continuing quest to drag, er, invite friends to join me on runs, I’m excited to report I’ve got several who are now helping me through my pile o’ miles: Mary on longer-run Wednesdays, Ann every other Thursdays and Amy on Sundays.

In other fabulous news, I signed on this week for my very first triathlon, the M22 Challenge that’s held in beautiful Leelanau County. It sold out in one day – the event is capped at 400 participants – and I’m equal parts excited and nervous about a race that involves more than just running. I’ll be biking 18 miles and paddling a kayak in addition to three miles of running (and climbing, since part of the run involves a 130-foot dune climb). This is in June, post-marathon, but as my friend Jen reminds me, we’ll need to get out on the road bikes sometime next month so we’re ready for the race.

What’s cooking with everyone else? Any fun spring or summer races planned?

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