Last Friday, I attempted to flip my mental switch from 'not training' to 'training'. Going by that, today is day seven, and my first full week.
It's a funny thing, because it's all a mind game. At this point, 'training' doesn't look that different than a normal (good) week. In fact, the only reason I'm using the word training rather than just saying that I'm being healthy is because it keeps me focused on a goal that will mean some fitness and nutrition adjustments down the road. Making those adjustments will be a lot easier if I have some lead time, and that means getting my head in the right place first. The easiest way to do that is to look at my normal routine through slightly different eyes.
I think it's taking hold. The race is starting to seem less like this hypothetical thing sometime in the future and more like something I'm *doing*. I posted my race map on the wall where I can see it. I've written my running schedule down on my calendar, even though it's the same basic schedule I run every week. I've got the running magazines on the bedside table. Like I said, mind games.
For fitness, I'm trying to make some subtle changes to the normal routine to turn my holding pattern into the beginning of training mode. I did that on yesterday's run. It was my usual 5k after-work route, the same thing I've been running for months. This time, though, I monitored it. I watched my heart rate (high), controlled my pacing to a ten second window (slow down!), and basically tried to treat it like a training run. Tonight's will be the same thing, but in the opposite direction. Tonight is also my second go at my new shorter, more intense strength routine.
If this last week was about mentally changing into my gym clothes, and the next three weeks are my warm up before the real 16-week-long workout begins. My clinic starts on January 24th, so phase 2 is getting myself into shape for the first day.
Goals for that period:
Get my weight back down to about 123 pounds (currently around 125-127, part of that temporary.
Be able to do an 8k steady and 6k tempo (currently doing 5-6k whatever runs on weekdays)
Get back up to a comfortable 16k long run (I'll do 10 - 12 - 14 over the next three Sundays so I'm ready for a 16k the first week, if needed).
Continue with three days of ST and one day of yoga per week so that the habit is established by the time the more intense running schedule starts up.
Eat within range, with particular attention to carbs and protein.
When I did the HM clinic last year, I was caught off guard that first week. For starters, I hadn't done more than a kilometer without taking a walk break before that first night. It wasn't that I couldn't do it (although, I felt it), but I hadn't bothered to push myself to that point on my own. I was also used to only running once a week outdoors and hitting the gym on the other days - not quite the same thing as putting your body through 5-6 days of running. I got myself up to speed fairly quickly, but those first couple weeks were difficult. I'd like to be a little more prepared this time around, even if it's just so that I don't embarrass myself that first night by collapsing into a wheezing pile of misery on the first night.