Back in the Box – Weekly Recap – 11.8.20

My second week 100k ultramarathon training is in the books, and I’m (mostly) feeling great.  I’m also happy to report that when it comes to CrossFit, I am officially back in the box!  Even though I’ve been strength training consistently, it’s still a shock to the system to be throwing myself back into these high intensity workouts and heavier weights.  I do feel like it’s important to get back into any workout program safely and intelligently, so I’m sharing a few helpful hints below.

Otherwise, this week was pretty uneventful.  I started out the week with an easy half-marathon at McAllister Park, and hit the powerlines for a hill workout on Monday.  Tuesday was a rest day, and I made sure to get outside and walk as much as possible.  I’m trying to increase my time on my feet, so I got out in the morning before work, and again during my lunch break.  I’ve also been walking our son to school as much as I can with work, and it’s been really special to see him riding his bike in front of me.

Wednesday and Thursday were more road miles, with a speed workout on Thursday with my cousin. I wrapped up the week with a couple of trail runs, and breaking out the Christmas decorations Saturday afternoon. The weather was great on Saturday, so we took our son to a beautiful park here in San Antonio and ended the day with a dinner out. It was a really great and relaxing weekend.

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Getting Back in the Box

I’d be lying if I said that getting back into the box wasn’t a somewhat humbling experience. The barbells felt heavy, I felt slow, and my range of motion isn’t quite as much of a range as I would really like. But I know that restarting an intense workout like CrossFit is something that is going to take time. So here’s how I’m making sure I don’t rush things and find myself in the injured athlete camp.

  • Don’t Skip the Warm Up – When you only have an hour to get in a solid workout, it can be really tempting to short change the warm up and jump straight into the meat of the workout.  Especially if you’re like me and tend to run on the “late” side of the clock.  But skipping the warm up really puts you at an increased risk for soft tissue damage.  So do whatever you need to do to make sure you have time dedicated to getting those muscles warmed, stretched, and ready for the work.
  • Incorporate Rest Days – It’s so easy to start or restart a new program, and get so excited that you find yourself tempted to skip rest days.  It’s also really human to want to “get back” to where you were before your break, and a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that more work means faster gains.  The reality is that in order for your body to change and adapt, you have to give it adequate rest to rebuild the muscle damage that leads to increased strength.  When you’re first starting, your body will go through adaptations more quickly, which means you need to give your body more rest.  If you used to program 1-2 rest days per week, try 2-3 for the first couple of weeks.
  • Fuel Appropriately – Similar to rest, your body requires enough fuel if you want positive changes.  If you’re working harder and more frequently, you need to adjust your calories to make sure your body is getting everything it needs.  This doesn’t mean you need to start tracking macros, or following a specific diet, but make sure you getting enough protein, carbs, and fats to keep your body from wearing down.  This will help your energy levels to stay consistent, which means you’ll be able to work harder in the gym.  More food, and more energy.  Win/win!

Related Post: Running Nutrition

  • Don’t Compare – Whether you’re returning after a break, or starting for the first time, it’s so easy to fall into the comparisson trap. Seeing other people lift heavier, or move faster can feel discouraging. And it can feel really defeating to realize that you’re only lifting about 70% of what you used to be able to with ease. But it’s all a work in progress, and comparing yourself to anyone else (including yourself) is a fast way to suck all the fun of training right out of the gym. So just skip it.
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This Weeks Workouts

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Total Miles: 77
Total Workouts: 4
100k Training, Week 2
How the Runs Felt
The mileage is ramping up fast over here!  I have to admit that I was pretty tired after my 20 miler last weekend, so my half-marathon on Sunday did not feel easy.  Monday’s hill workout, however, felt really great.  I can feel my legs getting stronger, and hills that felt really hard to move up don’t feel as difficult.  My pace is slowly improving too, so that doesn’t suck.  I broke up my miles on Monday and Friday, so that I could get in trail miles before work both days.  Finishing out a couple of miles after work is not easy, but I’m hoping it helps my body get used to running at odd hours.

My workout this week felt really hard. I was running with my cousin, which meant that we ended up pushing the pace a little faster than I had planned, and my legs felt pretty fatigued for the last 5k of that run. Getting back on the trails on Friday though, felt great. I met a group for Saturday’s long run at McAllister Park, which is much less technical than the nature preserve I typically run on. It is nice to have a few long runs here and there where I don’t feel like I’m on the trails literally all day, because my pace is so slow. It’s nice mix here and there.

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I followed my plan of working on incorporating more fueling sources during my long run.  I brought a pouch of blueberry & oat baby food and some Pringles, along with my regular tailwind and honeystinger gels.  I was able to avoid any GI issues, but I did realize that I bonked pretty hard around mile 19.  After taking an extra gel, I was feeling better for the last 2-3 miles.  But I know my nutrition is still something I need to work on over the next couple of months.

How the WODs Felt
Being back in the box has felt really great.  I dropped into several boxes near our new house, and asked a lot of questions about the culture and values before settling on the box I ultimately joined.  It has been so nice to just show up and not have to think about programming a workout.  I liked having some flexibility at LifeTime, but it was mentally exhausting finding a workout that I wanted to do or having to adjust WODs to fit the big box gym.  By Friday, though, my arms felt like they were about to fall off; all the pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and overhead movements were rough!

What I’ve Been Listening To
I’ve been binging the podcast I mentioned last week, Trust Me, which is about cults and dangerous groups.  It has been so interesting to hear from survivors, and recognize just how harmful the group think component can be.  I’ve also started listening to a new true crime podcast; Anatomy of Murder.  It is exactly like what it sounds like, and I am here for it.

What Went Well
I was so excited about getting back to CrossFit that I went to four workouts this week.  I’ve been doing 3 gym workouts and 1 home, but it’s been so fun for me that I decided to go in four times.  Not regretting it at all!

What Went Shitty
My feet have definitely been tired.  I’m really needing some new shoes, which I finally ordered and am impatiently waiting on.

Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week is going to be one of my highest, mileage-wise, so I want to make sure I am prioritizing all the recovery things; sleeps, eats, and stretching.

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