I recently had a baby and my life turned upside down for 2 weeks. Of course for it’s better. However physically and mentally it is very challenging.
Most people say that the newborn wakes up, so they must wake up too and feed, change and care for. For me it is the opposite. I want to wake up to care for, I want to wake up in the middle of the night if the baby is scared, have stomach cramps or need some calming before I hand her over to her mother for milk. It is my choice and my decision to be there and be ready ! My baby, my girl my daughter, my family are the first and most important thing in my life.
However I am a runner and I go to run every day. Sometimes twice a day. I am aiming performance goals and looking forward to stand on the podium of events I have written on my plan.
Combining these two is delicate. It needs discipline, trust and enormous self knowledge. Some little sacrifice too. I have no issues with discipline, trust and dedication. Sacrifice I practice, but not from family time or general health. Most likely from leisure-time, from reading and from extra activities like long bike adventures with friends and general friend time. I don’t have any issues with this.
Trust your training and discipline yourself
A plan should follow an athlete and not the other way around. Renato Canova says it, but even Brad Hudson and most coaches follow it.
For two weeks I completely got derailed from my plan and my predicted times. Also my sense for track splits got messed up. Judging a 33 or a 38 second 200 on the track became miserable.
I ran an easy 10k race a couple of weeks back where the first 3km were @ 3:24/km pace. Easy ! 2weeks later I was not able to hold that for 800m. I wanted to run 6 x 800 @ 2:40 and I was having issues already with the first 2 laps. I decided to modify the sessions and use the warm up sets as part of the training. At this moment my endurance pace for 200 / 400 is the same as my speed slash speed-endurance pace for 800 to 1600, what is 3:20/km. My speed pace for 200/400 is 35/37sec and my power pace for those are 29/30. The difference of course is the number of sets and the recovery between sets, but we don’t talk about that here.
- 200 @ 40s
- 400 @ 1:20s
- 2 x 800 @ 2:46
- 200 @ 40s
- 400 @ 1:20s
- 2 x 800 @ 2:46
- 400 @ 1:20s
- 5 x 200 @ 35-37s
Above, is how I modified my plan. I did not achieve the same goal of pushing up VO2, enhancing lactate resistance and more, but still got in a decent workout. I also realised that while with the more endurance type workouts I would be struggling, I can still maintain speed.
I also had a 4 x 1600 @ 3:40/km endurance pace for the following day. I did not even attempt it. I was completely unable. I had no sleep for 3 days, staying in the hospital, lying on the hot floor, no shower, bad food, little fresh air, disaster. Easy jogging, that is it.
Then I had 4 x 1000 @ 3:20 lined up. I competed to workout @ 3:31/km pace. The weekend long run was previewed as 8km @ 3:51 to 3:51/km. I did 5 x 2min uphill and 10 x 10sec hills instead. Then 2 days later on Tuesday/Wednesday I had again a double day lined up of 4 x 1200 @ 3:20/km and next the 5 x 1600 @ 3:40/km and for Friday a constant 5K @ 3:40/km. Skipped all and did one trail uphill fartlek, 200s on the track with no watch and a weekend marathon specific long run with friends of 2 x 8km at 4:15 then 4:10/km.
Now my life started stabilising after about 2 weeks. My sleep is disturbed only at 23h and early morning around 3am. Every time. So I do my strength and conditioning, yoga and easy running in the morning. I have a little afternoon nap and then I go for the quality sessions. I probably lost some weight despite the enormous food quantities I am absorbing.
I recently completed a track workout, again completely modified as there is no place for 200s now in the training program. I just had no mind for 1000 repeats. I went for it and power came by. I did 10 x 200 @ 33s + 45sec fast jog all the way.
Then the weekend long run what was 8km @ 3:51 – 3:53/km went instead @ 3:48/km and felt super easy and relaxed. Surprise !!! No, it is not !
Those messed up intervals all over the place were counting. Because of the fatigue and lack of sleep, they stimulated me on the same way as if they were ran at the proper times. I keep high mobility and stick to my regular hill sprints. I now can open up my stride and run the times I need to run despite the total low volume and the lack of two weeks of real proper training.
While staying in the hospital, I still was doing some basic yoga routines, static stretching, wall squats and other isometric holds. Nurses were amazed to see a guy on his forehands in his underpants, in the hospital room.
When your lifestyle doesn’t let you to do what you want, you can still maintain. You can still develop mentally, you can still train. Your athletic level might not increase, but don’t worry. There will be the time, when it pays off, that you did not stop the hard work, the skill development and the callusing.
It is like gardening. You give everything, but the fruits will not come, because of a bad cold. The sprouts are frozen off. Maybe even for two years. However the tree itself stays healthy, due to the great care and nourishing. When the next sunny summer comes, it will bring the same delicious fruits as before and maybe even more.
Of course you have to make sure, that it is not you who create the freezing, but the environment. Real over training or under resting is an issue. It can come, if you don’t pay attention ! Honestly it is mostly sleep, diet, lifestyle stress, social media and much more related to, than to training itself.
This weeks plan will be 5 x 3min uphill hard with 1:30 rest and 6 x 1000 @ 3:20 for Thursday. I am sure there will be no problems and looking forward to the workouts. A tune up race is due to the 15th of march.