Friday, February 24, 2006

Tempo+Hills+Long Run=BONK

Work was too crazy for me to post yesterday, but things have calmed down again. I'm a bit slumped in my chair, trying to fight off the fatigue of a tough long run this morning. My guess is that a day of tempo(ish) running, followed by yesterday's hilly run up the road and around in Sabino Canyon, followed by 22 miles today just pushed me a little too far too fast.

I'm not bonk-proof, at least not yet. This was a "legs" bonk, which in my opinion is better than a "lungs" bonk. I should have run my hill day earlier in the week instead of saving it until yesterday, as I could feel every step in my hips and adductors once I got past half-way. Hard, easy, hard, it's not rocket-science. If only life worked the same way. As everyone knows, when it gets hard, it usually gets much more difficult before the clouds finally part and we can crawl back up to even ground.

My body is letting my mind know when I'm up for performing well on a given day's run, and when I'm not. Even though I slept pretty well, I had the same feeling of foreboding when heading out today that I had a few weeks ago when my long run turned into a medium-long-run-meltdown. At my turnaround of 11 miles, I knew I would make it back, but I also knew it wouldn't be pretty. As I've mentioned before, there is a cruel stretch of about 4 miles of rolling uphill I tackle with 6 miles to go on these longer runs. It no doubt makes me tougher, but it's especially imposing when I'm not on a good day.

With 4 miles to go it was sheer toil-spittle on the chin, shirt off and wrapped around my waist, eyes crossed kind of toil. This is still not close to the "nearly tireless state" Arthur Lydiard talks about, but rather a "determined and stubborn" state I find myself in some days, while the mind is still stronger than the body. On a run like this, when you hit rock bottom and keep going, the body learns. It starts with your muscles screaming at your nervous system to stop. The nervous system responds by secreting chemicals into the muscles and the brain, telling both to shut it down. "Save yourself, it's not worth the punishment." When we say "no" to this and continue, the body will put up a fight but ultimately relent. This is when the body learns. "This fellow just won't stop, so I guess we should just make the ride as comfortable as possible." This hopefully leads to more glycogen storage and more efficient glycogen utilization, the body bracing itself for the next battle, this time more prepared.

It's not always easy, but it will get easier. This is only my second week of singles and higher mileage during this second Lydiard conditioning build. I'm still at the bottom, but hopefully the bottom is a bit higher up this time after going through all this six months ago. And like the Beatles said, "When you get to the bottom you go back to the top".

Training: Today, 22 miles, 2:36:17, 7:06 pace
Yesterday: 12 miles, 1:27:18, 7:16 pace, hilly run in Sabino Canyon


Love2Run said...

I hear you. When the mind is willing the body is forced to follow along like a sad little puppy on a leash with a stubborn 4 year old! You have to be nice to your puppy, Mikey ;-)

Speaking of which, does the order
Hills+Tempo+Long also = Bonk? because this runner is about to find out on sunday and the messages from the puppy are not good right now.

Great picture and great post!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

whew, I'm exhausted just reading it!

love the pic