Couch to 5 Miler: Week 4

I’m back! After missing the last two Couch to 5 Miler classes due to both illness and too much work (Class #3 fell on my first day back at work after having the flu, and holy catch-up, Batman!), I returned triumphantly today to Class #4. Let’s see if I can organize my thoughts enough to see how my training has been going…

In my last Couch to 5 Miler post, I laid out how well my first week following the training plan went. Then I got the flu and was out of commission for a week (2 weeks ago). So let’s just ignore Week 2 of the training plan and say with certainty that I spent all those days on the couch reading Outlander.

Then Week 3 of the plan… yeah…. let’s just ignore that until Sunday. The training plan called for 3 miles or a 5K race, but what did I do? I played soccer. After swearing it off for good mere months ago.

soccerDespite my vow to never again play soccer in my local rec league, I caved after seeing Drew mope around for most of the day before his first game of the new session, for which 3 of the 4 ladies on the team said they couldn’t make it. According to league rules, a minimum of 2 ladies must be on the pitch at all times, so as it looked, his team would have to play one player down unless he could dig up someone of the female persuasion to stand in. Against my better interests, I stepped up. Mostly because I wanted to wear my hideously bright green socks (see above photo), which matched the team’s bright green shirts.

It ended up being a terrible experience… but for once, not because of the other team! Our opponents were nice and not too competitive. Rather, the game was terrible because:

1) The heater for the giant bubble we play in was broken, and it was actually colder inside the bubble than it was outside. We could see our breath, my nose and chin were frozen for the whole game, and the ball felt extra hard whenever it hit you because it was so frikkin’ cold.

photo(3)

Inside the bubble

2) I am NOT in soccer shape. I was all cocky as we drove up to the field, thinking “Even though I haven’t been running in the last week or two, I have been running, so I shouldn’t get too winded! This will be cake meat.” Yeah, no. Even if I had been doing sprints during speed work with the Shammies for weeks, I would not have been in the right kind of shape to chase someone down the length of the pitch, suddenly change direction, and speed off back toward the other goal. Multiple times. With elbows and cleats flying at me from all directions. Nope nope nope. I subbed out at one point in the second half and had to practically lie down on the sideline. My muscles are still sore, 3 days later.

3) Despite the relative chillness of the other team, I still got beat up. My big left toe got stepped on, my right knee collided with another person’s knee, my lower shin (the tiny spot between my shin guard and ankle brace) is sporting a gash after getting cleated during a 50-50 challenge, and – my brightest moment of the game – my arm and back are messed up after I threw myself through the air onto my back. Again. Just like I did during my first game back the last time I played. I lifted my right foot to try to intercept a goal kick, and my planted foot decided it didn’t want to be planted anymore and suddenly I was on the ground. So graceful! I don’t know how I landed, but now I can’t put any weight on my right arm (no planks or pushups, and pushing doors open isn’t very fun either) so that’s cool.

Yet again, thanks to soccer I was reminded how much I prefer running. Yes, I get injured way too often, but at least I don’t feel like I’ve been through the wars after each and every run, like I do with soccer! Hopefully all the ladies on Drew’s team will show up for the rest of the games this session because I’m not sure I’ll be able to step up again. At least that’s what I tell myself now.

Moving on.

Monday was supposed to be cross-training, but I was sore from soccer and got home late so that didn’t really happen. I did foam roll my insanely tight hips though, like my gait retraining guru told me to, so that was something, right?

Tuesday was also supposed to be cross-training, but I had a long-overdue date with the Shammies.

trackOur speed work plan was: 8 mins at 10K pace, 2 mins recovery jog, 4 mins at 5K pace, 2 mins recovery, 8 mins at 10K pace, 5 mins recovery, then 4x strides. I had forgotten my watch and can’t do pace math very well when I’m also trying to navigate the tiny indoor track without colliding with anyone/anything, so I just tried to run by feel. That meant my “10K pace” was closer to my 5K pace, so my “5K pace” was way too fast, so I could only manage 5 or 6 minutes of the final set before having to stop. I also only manged 2 sets of strides before giving up too. It was a tough workout for my first one back from illness, but considering that it wasn’t too bad!

Wednesday was Couch to 5 Miler class #4, and our workout was *drumroll* more speed work. Yay! Two days in a row! The instructor had said she’d work with me in terms of working the Shammies speed workouts in to the training plan, giving me different workouts than everyone else, but she figured today’s workout wouldn’t be too bad even after Shammie Time last night, so I went with it.

photo(4)The workout was 3x 800, at a pace that was “comfortable, but slightly uncomfortable” according to the instructor. The first rep felt pretty good… faster than my usual pace if I’m trying to go any farther than 400m, but not so fast that I was dead after the first lap. (We run on a 200m track, so each rep was 4 laps.) After a quick recovery we set off for rep #2, and when I was about 2.5 laps in the instructor told me to up the pace a little, so I did. My second 800 was quite a bit faster than my first, but that made my third 800 all side-stitchy and awful. My splits ended up being: 4:28, 4:11, 4:38. Not too shabby, given that my legs were still wicked sore from soccer and last night’s speed workout!

This class continues to be a HUGE self-esteem boost for me, because for once I’m the fastest of the lot. It was especially awesome today, after having brought up the rear as usual for the Shammies last night, getting lapped multiple times by our speedsters. I finished each 800 well before the others in the class, and when we did strides during our warmup, I was the fastest sprinter too. It makes me feel pretty awesome, but then I feel guilty about being so fast, which is weird, but that’s me! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This next week calls for:

Thursday: cross-training
Friday: run 35-40 mins
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 4 miles

Fingers crossed that no illness or injury will strike again as I go back to trying to stick to the training plan!

Have you ever done speed work 2 days in a row?
Pretty sure it’s not something I’ll look to repeat anytime soon!

Ever thrown yourself through the air like I did during my soccer game?
I believe I can fly…..

How’s your week going?

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6 thoughts on “Couch to 5 Miler: Week 4

    • Thanks! Ugh, back to back speed workouts plus the soccer game really added up and my legs are DEAD today. Not going to try that again! 🙂 I kind of get weirdly proud of my “war wounds” from soccer, but having not had them for a while, I think I might be over it. Like you, I bruise myself enough on my own without needing people in cleats to help me!

  1. Yay, glad you’re back at it. And speed work two days in a row? No thanks. Once a week is about all I can handle. And seriously, QUIT IT WITH THE SOCCER! You’re gonna kill yourself! Said with all the love in the world 😉

    • Yeah… no more weeks with multiple speed workouts for me… I can barely make it up and down the stairs at work today! And I appreciate your words of wisdom re: soccer! I’ll have to come back and look at this comment if I ever think of joining a team again 😉

    • I feel really lucky that I have access to the indoor tracks! Working for a university means access to awesome athletic facilities, and the other track is all because of my running club! Are there any athletic clubs near you that might have something?

      I was fearless as a kid when it came to ball sports, until I got hit in the shins by baseballs a few too many times! Then it took years, and I still shy away sometimes. I think it’s natural!

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