Fitness tetris

Running.  Lifting.  Yoga.  Pilates.  Spinning.  Cross training.  Core work, leg work, speed work, pace work.

At what point does it actually become work instead of play?

I will admit that I am struggling with how to fit “it all” in right now.  It feels like a delicate balancing act: between races and hard workouts, and wanting to be fresh versus needing to push hard, it sometimes feels like an impossible puzzle trying to fit everything together in a typical week.  A game of fitness tetris, if you will.

Case in point: my lifting yesterday left my legs too fried to run a good workout tonight, even after opting for the shorter version of the planned tempo run.  Chatting with one of the coaches after the workout, I had a duh moment:

“Why would you lift the day before a hard run?” he said.  As I stretched my screaming hamstrings, I nodded sheepishly.  Why indeed?

But….well, when am I supposed to do it then?

My general weekly goal has four parts: (1) Run 30-40 miles, including two speed workouts and one long run; (2) Yoga at least 2X; (3) Lift at least 2X; (4) One day completely off.  It doesn’t seem like that much when I lay it out like that, but somehow I’m having trouble getting it all done in a such a way that one goal doesn’t interfere with another – for instance, doing a lifting workout the day before a speed workout or race.

And that’s not to even mention the other fun fitnessy things that I genuinely enjoy – the occasional spin class, for instance – which seem to have no place at all in the puzzle.

Some ideas I’m kicking around:

  • Lightening up.  I’m not a typical skinny runner: I’ve got some muscle meat on my bones and I like to lift fairly heavy weights.  But I’m wondering if I should abandon the squat rack.  Do I really need to be squatting my body weight?  What am I getting from that (aside form a smug sense of satisfaction when the douchy guy who I’m working in with is using the same amount of weight as me)?
  • Nixing the lifting altogether.  For now, while I’m training and trying to improve my race times anyhow.  Maybe just stick to push ups and my twice-weekly yoga classes for maintaining strength?
  • Cutting out “junk” miles.  I could do a whole separate post on the pros and cons of junk miles.  I know, for instance, that the easy 5-7 miles I’ll go run tomorrow probably isn’t doing a whole lot for me.  Maybe I should turn one of those easy run days into an additional rest day?
  • Accepting my age.  I will admit: much of my basis for my thinking about this stuff comes from my high school and college days.  We ran hard, a lot, often twice a day.  And lifted weights, a lot.  And somehow I survived that without feeling as challenged by it as I am now.  But, alas, 30 is not the new 20.  Is my body just less capable of handling it all these days?
  • Shutting the hell up.  Or, stop being such a pussy, pushing through the fatigue, and hoping my body gets used to it.

And with that, it’s time to stretch out those sore hammies again.  I’ve got yoga in the morning to limber up for!

Today’s EAT: Macaroni and cheese.  Like, from a blue box.  With non-whole-wheat pasta.  And butter.  And neon orange cheese.  Deeeeeelightful.

Part of being an aspiring foodie is appreciating things like this, right?  Good food doesn’t have to always be fancy or healthy. 🙂

Today’s DRINK:  A Sterling Chardonnay which the hubs picked out of the wine rack for tonight:

It’s kinda meh.  It doesn’t help that it wasn’t fully chilled with I broke into it.  And, um…I put an ice cube in it to try to remedy the situation.  Yeah…that one was pretty much my fault.

Today’s RUN: CPTC tempo night was an 8-mile tempo run comprised of two 4-mile loops.  I, however, did a 4-mile tempo run.  I am not really happy about this, but as described in detail above I am really struggling with how to manage the various things I am doing to my body lately, so….yeah, I opted for a shorter run tonight.  It was still a decent workout, and I finished the loop in just over 31:00 (a miracle considering that walking is painful right now!) but I don’t feel great about skipping out on part of a workout.  Bleh.

I also did an hour of yoga this morning.  (Without which, honestly, I think I would have been even more sore tonight.)

Today’s QUESTIONDo you ever struggle with fitness tetris? How much is too much to try to fit in each week?


13 responses to “Fitness tetris

  1. I am struggling with this right now! I don’t run as much as you do, but since beginning training for my 10-mile race and my half marathon, I have been MAJORLY slacking on my strength training. I know I COULD fit it in, and deep down I really do love lifting weights, but for some reason I just never feel like doing it and have been skipping it way too much. And it’s showing – I used to be able to do a ton of real push-ups, and now I’m struggling to knock out a full set. UGH!

  2. i. hear. you. i would LOVE to do more yoga, but it always makes me crazy sore and my runs just kind of sucky. i’m no expert, but i think some lifting is important for every runner (many people have told me this), so maybe limit it to once or twice a week with smaller weights?

    in regards to your age: women peak as runners (and other things too i’m sure :P) in their thirties! your time ain’t up yet – you’re only getting better! don’t let being thirty (mentally) slow you down!

    • That’s interesting about yoga making you sore! I always feel GREAT after yoga and I’ve been assuming that it’s making me less sore, but maybe it’s taking a toll on me too?

  3. This week I haven’t had any trouble, then again I have only run 13 miles this week. I usually struggle with workout tetris.

    I have lower body weights on my schedule for Fridays and Sundays (my long run day is Tuesday). Chris likes to go mountain biking on Friday and Sunday. Mountain biking and lower body weights do not mix for me. Needless to say, I have skipped the weights every week since it got warm-ish out.

    I also wonder about the ‘junk’ miles. I suspect that they may have been that extra little bit that resulted in my hip injury.

  4. Doesn’t it feel kind of ridiculous when running – a hobby!! – seems like a full-time, kind of onerous job? I’m there with you as well on a lot f those points. Couple of thoughts:
    -Junk miles and recovery runs aren’t the same thing. Adding volume to make yourself a stronger runner isn’t a bad idea at all.
    -You can lift after hard workouts. This sucks, and I know CPTC practices in the evenings, but it might be a better way to get it in. I don’t know anything about lifting really (I do scrawny runner girl lifting) so that’s all I’ll say about that.
    -Shaddup about your age. Women far older than either of us run hella faster. I’ll slow down when I dead. Or pregnant.
    -Thank you for using “pussy.” I always feel like a foulmouth when I use off-color language on my blog. It’s gratifying to hear others swear as much 🙂

    • Yeah, I think you are right, doing the lifting post-hard-run is probably the best way to go. I think my gym is open until 10 PM so there is no reason I can’t do it. Eating dinner at a normal hour is for pussies anyway. 🙂

  5. I love Tetris! Oh…what now? Yeah, I have been going through something similar lately, but I don’t really have anything I am training for. My problem is more about my body composition goals aligning with my love of working out too much/too hard. I have eased up on the setting-PR-leg-lifting-each-week goal/lifting more then the dudes next to me in lieu of more running. I was just trying to do too much – and now with getting into yoga a bit, there is just not enough time! Right now I am just trying to be outside as much as possible I guess. Oh and I totally relate to the younger days of running..for some reason I feel like I should be able to run 8 min miles for 8 miles like I did when I was 19.

  6. Oh man, I definitely yearn for my college running days sometimes. Our “easy, easy” pace was 8:00 miles. In retrospect, I probably didn’t run my recovery days slow enough, but ah well…

    I’m very impressed with your dedication to yoga and strength training! I’m lucky if I can get myself to do some crunches once in awhile, hehe.

  7. My only struggle is Mondays – supposed to eb rest day after my LSD run Sundays. but it’s also my favorite 4:15 Step & Pump class.
    SoI take Tuesday as my day off.

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