Week 6 Training Recap: Trust in the Training
Step One Hand Icon

Week 6 Training Recap: Trust in the Training

Last week, I had a forced down week thanks to the flu, leaving me curious about my ability to bounce back. Recovering from illness with Crohn's Disease is usually a slow process, often accompanied by lingering fatigue and related symptoms. This was the first time I’d been sick since moving from a colostomy (large intestine) to an ileostomy (small intestine) and while my disease has been in deep remission for some time, I’ve been learning all year that I’m in a whole different ball game. Fortunately, my strength coach provided timely advice, emphasizing the need to be mindful of making "withdrawals" from my fitness while accounting for additional stressors. WIth this guidance, I was able to make some intentional “deposits” throughout the week throughout the week that paid off immensely in my longest and most successful run in over two years.

Coros Half Marathon Training

I had worked my way up to running over 20 miles per week before getting sick, but this week I felt like I was able to slingshot ahead and ended up at 27 miles and ended the week with a 10.75 mile zone 2 run. I had a long day in the kitchen Monday and didn’t make it home in time for my casual Pub Run with the Fleet Feet community — I got home around 8 and promptly went out for a 6.5 mile easy run with strides. This was the “withdrawal” I mentioned above, I went off script and while the distance and effort were normal, the time of day and some indications of some Energy Availability issues really made recovery hard as I bounced into our longest market day of the week. 
Energy Availability (EA) is defined as the amount of caloric (dietary) energy available after subtracting the energetic load from exercise. An imbalance of EA can come from increased exercise, reduced caloric intake, or a combination of both. A chronic deficiency or Low (LEA) can disrupt endocrine function and hormones, bone density, and has been primarily associated with female athletes. Recently, there has been an extension of this to male athletes as well, and while I don’t have direct evidence for myself, I think that the combination of Crohn’s and not having a colon, so all of my intake is processed in the small intestine makes me more vulnerable to a variety of issues from hydration to nutrient absorption.
I had been feeling like an EA issue might be a thing, as I had been feeling more sore than I would expect a day or so after my workouts, and fatigued. With a week of very little food intake due to the flu, it made it clear by Monday that my energy (caloric) intake was not balancing out with the exercise demands I’ve been putting my body through. I had listened to several running-related podcasts that brought up LEA this week and when my coach Menachem mentioned the withdrawals, it all kind of clicked. I’ve spent seven years tracking my food with chronometer.com, so I was able to spot the holes in my eating and went about course correction (making deposits), increasing my protein and healthy fat calories by about 30% and putting myself to bed an hour earlier each night.

By Friday, I was feeling much better and got myself out on the trails for a 6-mile loop in Fort Ord National Park with some friends which made me feel a bit more confident in the upcoming Big Sur Trail Half. The good vibes carried into Saturday with the Fleet Feet Half Marathon group, where I put together the best long run I can remember and every person in my pace group really leveled up. What does best mean? This wasn’t my fastest, and well under my race pace, but my heart rate for the full 10.75 miles was below 150bpm and my average heart rate was 135bpm. Most importantly, I felt great for the rest of the day. This kind of effort is proof that my training is paying off and I’ve built a strong base to use as a jumping off point for my two biggest goals of the year.

I finished off the week with a little Madrid-ception — watching the final stage in La Vuelta, while riding 15 miles of the route on Rouvy. I do love a Spanish road race.