Monday, February 08, 2010

Quantity VS Quality

I seem to have been in turbo workout mode for the last couple weeks. Here's what I've been up to:

Saturday 23rd: 10K run
Sunday 24th: 18K run
Monday 25th: AM 30m cardio
Tuesday 26th: AM 30m cardio, lunch 6K run, PM 1h interval class
Wednesday 27th: AM 30m cardio, PM 1h Spin class
Thursday 28th: AM 30m cardio, PM 7K run
Friday 29th: AM 30m cardio
Saturday 30th: 20K run
Sunday 31st: 19K run
Monday 1st: AM 30m cardio
Tuesday 2nd: AM 12K run, PM interval class
Wednesday 3rd: AM 30m cardio, lunch 8K run, PM 1h Spin class
Thursday 4th: AM 30m cardio, PM 9K run
Friday 5th: rest
Saturday 6th: 20K run
Sunday 7th: 21K run

I'm not too sure what initiated it, except that I wanted to take it up a notch. I ended up losing a good chunk of weight over two weeks, bringing me the lowest number on the scale since high school. I felt great for the most part, but definitely noticed that it was starting to take a toll.

Many of you commented that I should remember to give myself a rest, and I appreciate that. I think we've all learned that the rest days are just as important (if not more so) as the workout days.

I would say that the last two weeks made for a good kick-start to a higher level of training, but this is not a schedule that I can maintain on a regular basis. I often caught myself slacking off during a workout without giving it a full effort, simply because I was exhausted. This happened during morning cardio several days as well as Wednesday's Spin. I was also dragging some serious a$$ toward the end of yesterday's long run.

It's time for me to start thinking about the QUALITY of my workouts as opposed to just QUANTITY. While I do want to push myself to work while fatigued, I also realize that I will benefit more from a good quality workout where I can give it my all, as opposed to just going through the motions or putting in the miles.

I've never incorporated cross-training while marathon training before, so this is a learning experience. I have given myself the confidence that I can get out of bed early enough to squeeze in a run or workout before work, so I intend to continue doing so a couple times a week to help with scheduling.

I also plan to continue with double long runs every two to three weeks because I have never felt as strong as I did toward the end of Goofy training.

Other than that, I'll be figuring things out as we go along. Penny for your thoughts!

P.S. The RoadID Giveaway winner will be announced later today!


Zorbs said...

Where is your strength training?

Erika said...

Can you switch out one of your cardio or evening classes for weights every few days?

I need one full rest day, if not two every week. I've found that I just reach a point that nothing feels good if I don't take a break. I do like the back to back longer runs (mine are still building, so not really two long runs yet). I find that I am then a lot stronger on long runs that have a good rest day before them.

Good luck figuring out your training!

MCM Mama

Carly said...

Nice job on all those workouts and congrats on the weightloss! That is pure insanity!!! I hope you take a rest day or two.

joyRuN said...

Oh man, I'm so jealous of that awesome stretch! I'm the wrong person to ask about anything training-related right now - I've been such a SLUG.

Paige (The Last Doughnut) said...

I am doing the same thing. Over the last few years, I have really concentrated on getting miles in. I would feel bad or guilty if I didn't run a certain amount of miles per week. As a result, I was suffering constant nagging injuries anywhere from the knee, the ankle, to the hip. It was always something. Since December, I have incorporated the idea of quantity of quality and mixing in some cross training. I still feel guilty sometimes about less mileage, but I am seeing results in how I feel (better) and my speed is actually increasing!

J said...

I have been in turbo workout mode too and I have noticed some fatigue as well. It is good to rest but at the same time good to listen to your body. I think sometimes its good to test your body and find your limits. Plus I have found that cross training in the afternoons after running in the mornings helps to keep my hips and IT band from hurting.

Teamarcia said...

Amen sista!
These are my sentiments exactly lately. I've tried upping my mileage this cycle and have found myself exhausted. It's all about finding that elusive balance. Great job though!

Unknown said...

i'm exhausted looking at your schedule. i think you need some strength work in there in place of a run or cardio. and probably at least one full rest day a week.

Jen said...

Just keep going... your body will adjust.. but listen to it. Maybe like strength training... just getting the mileage in, instead of at a certain pace will help.

Unknown said...

I tried to up my training recently and ended up exhausted too! Still trying to get the balance right and get as many high quality sessions fitted in as possible, good luck working your schedule out :)

Pining for Pinterest said...

I was tired just looking at your workouts!! I loved the picture of the woman on the bike, it was funny! I hope you have a wonderful week!

RunningLaur said...

You haven't come away from the last 2 weeks with an injury, so it sounds like it was a safe little test to see how all of the training worked out for you. More knowledge about how training treats your body and your energy is more power for you :)

You'll find the right spot between quantity and quality - you're such a smart runner that I have no doubts!

RW said...

I find that I am the fastest, strongest, and fittest when I do more weights and less pure cardio. I would echo some of the other comments in saying that you might do well to substitute 2 or 3 of those morning cardios with weights and core. Particularly if you focus on core, back, and upper body it shouldn't interfere with the freshness of your legs and you can get in quality run workouts without a fatigue problem.

Mark said...

Try as hard as you can to listen to your body. You are such an amazing athlete! It's easier said than me!!

Lisa said...

I agree that it is very easy to over train. It is good that you can recognize that. Some people train and train until full burnout. I would say you should plan your workouts so they all have a purpose.

I didn't train for Goofy, but I did do back to back runs on the weekend and think it really helped to make my legs stronger for the marathon.

Oh... and congrats on weight loss. Be careful. I don't think most of us are meant to weigh what we did in high school, for the most part.

Anonymous said...

wow that is some hardcore working out! and only 1 rest days! jeeeezzzz! lol
but its good that you lost some more weight! congrats! thats great!

keep up the great work!
i need to follow ur way and try to wake up in the AM to squeeze a workout in. i always feel the greatest when i work out in the early morning!

happy monday!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Wow oh wow!! I wish I could fit that all in, but I know that my knees need rest. I say follow your body, you will know when you need a FULL day of rest. I love the idea of back to back long runs, pretty sure I am going to incorporate that into my training plan.

Hugs to the lowest weight since high school, I saw that number for me last week too..

Jen Feeny said...

Quality over quantity is very important! If you're just there but not into the workout it's basically like junk miles. I have a 6 day a week marathon plan that I turned into a 5 day a week plan and incorporated one day of xtraining and it's helped me a ton! I was too burnt out running 6 days a week, especially when one of those days was just an added recovery run.

Runner Leana said...

Wow, Marlene, that is one heck of a workout schedule! Good for you for pushing yourself! If I had any advice to give I would say to make sure that you are definitely getting one full rest day a week. More strength training in place of a cardio session will probably help lots as you already get so much cardio from your running. Focusing on core work is super important too - something I'm really trying to be more diligent about. And if you are doing multiple workouts like that, definitely focus on refuelling within 30 minutes of your workout with a snack that contains protein and carbs. It will help your muscles to repair more quickly so you can keep up with your multiple workout days.

Anonymous said...

here are my thoughts!! (btw- YOU ARE ALWAYS awesome and inspiring and you have what seems to be endless energy and CONGRATS on the weight loss!!)

1. you have built one heck of a base!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are in fabulous shape, have a terffic workout routine/habit, are no stranger to pushing yourself at all times of the day, and do a variety of kinds of workouts

2. from here, esp now that you have lost weight, get yourself ready for PRs!!!!!

3. i agree with you on quality over quantity. you might not NEED quantity anymore, but by putting in more speed work, more tempos, and fast finishes at the end of your long run, this will pretty much definitely take where you are now up to even another next level!!!!!!

4. quality workouts as opposed to sheer time will also help you mentally stay energized.

5. of course this would be subject to change based on how you feel :)

you are doing awesome, keep it up!!!

Denise said...

i'm so glad to hear you say all this. you definitely need to get some rest!!! and you're right, it's quality over quantity. the second you start sacrificing form, etc. you become prone to injury and you're not reaping the benefits of working out.

Sarah said... have been busy!!! I can only dream on getting down to my high school weight. :) It is funny, with life in general I find the busier I am, the more productive and efficient I am. Whenever things slow down, I also seem to slow down and accomplish a whole lot less. Strange!

Unknown said...

Wow! that is some busy 2 weeks there... good job and be careful!

I think others have covered this well. :0)

RoadBunner said...

Rest is definitely good! The last few marathon cycles I run only 4 days a week and honestly don't do much else the other 3 days. I have a small number of exercises I do for hip strength, but that is it. I can't stand cross training! It feels like exercise to me and I hate to exercise! Ha ha. I do want to start doing some core work, though.

Paula said...

I'm all for quality and making workouts efficient. You might be ready for a coach??? (My coach always scheduled 1 day off per week and I believe it was 3 weeks of hard work and then 1 recovery week which was less rigorous) Or getting your zones done so you can train based on heart rate...not just pace. That way you have another cue if you need rest...after all we only have one body.
Try to get zones done...I think its $100 or $150. You dont have to do anything else with them. Really nice people. I know Adam and Tereza

Regardless your drive and achievements are super duper!!!!!!!!!

Laura said...

Holy crap! That is amazing..
I need my rest day - I am totally bagged by the end of 6 days of training.
Great job in any case.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Oh sorry, I just passed out from reading all those workouts!

I LOVE double run days but you are a crazy machine. When do you live? eat? shower? and breath?

I admire "taking it up a notch." It does help to improve performance but don't over do to the point of injury. I know I am preaching to the choir.

Heather said...

Holy crap, that's an intense couple of weeks! Great job. I'm trying to be good about keeping in the cross training during this marathon training cycle and it does effect the running. Hopefully in the long run it will make me stronger.

Lindsay said...

well... better than being like me and doing neither quality or quantity ;)

you were on a serious roll there - hopefully it served as a good "jump start" into solid training for the rest of 2010. work hard, play hard, and rest hard!

Jill said...

I think it's cool that you tested your body to see what it's capable of and learned along the way what works for you and what doesn't. Everyone can give advice for what works for them, and some things you just KNOW but we're all an experiment of one and each responds differently to the stresses we put on ourselves. Nice work identifying that! Happy Monday :).

Char said...

I'm reading this book called 'The Masters Athlete' atm. Quality of recovery seems to be important. Stuff like eating high GI foods just after training, ice baths, alternating hot/cold showers, cool down, wearing compression stuff etc. Good luck with it all.

Anonymous said...

This is so true! Some days I force myself out there or to the gym just to be thinking the whole time "why am I doing this. My body is not ready for this" Yet there are those days where I can't wait to get my heart pumping and I have to force myself to stop. You're right, rest is a good and needed thing but so hard to force yourself to do! Thanks for this post!

Felice Devine said...

Turbo workout mode is that exact term for what you've been doing! Good luck figuring the next phase out!

teacherwoman said...

I have had those Quality vs. Quantity discussions with myself! We need to listen to our body!

Marci said...

Marlene - you are amazing.. great work, and yes listen to your body.. it will let you know. I suggest cut back and add a little weights if you have time. But really, you are so hardworking, I really admire that!! :)

Marci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

WOW! That's one impressive workout schedule you had. I have never come close to this much working out. You're a machine!
Listen to your body as everyone is saying :)

Anonymous said...

That is an impressive schedule! I plan to start incorporating cross training on my next cycle- but always have that fear of overtraining in the back of my head. You gave some great food for thought here-thanks!

Laurel said...

I'm so tired just reading your workouts of course everything makes me tired these days).

I am totally impressed by your stamina, but glad to hear you say you could use a rest. I'm a big believer in rest days. I always have better runs/workouts if I am resting properly.

That being said, I should have the best run of my life after this baby is out of me ;)

Toni said...

I would add some strength training in place of some cardio. If you are going to keep up the double workouts you should take at least one day off. It's amazing how good a run feels after a day off.

ShirleyPerly said...

Working with a coach last year, I realized how important quality was over quantity. There were no "junk" workouts and very few "easy" workouts so that I actually needed to be as fresh as possible to do every one as well as possible, esp. swimming and cycling which require a lot more technique and focus than running. But sometimes I long for those workouts where I can just do them w/o much thinking. They'll do little for getting me where I want but sure are fun. I guess that's what the off season is for :-)

Mel-2nd Chances said...

I think you're so right about the quality part. This is why I'm also sticking with the P90X. It's a structured workout, and I don't waste time in the gym putzing around doing stuff, just to accumulate the quantity. You know your body well enough and how much you can handle. Take your rest days, and keep listening to your body, you're doing awesome!

N.D. said...

sounds like you have been doing great and reflecting is totally helpful!

Anonymous said...

I know I was definitely one of those people advocating a rest day here and there - and you're a smart gal for recognizing that sometimes that kind of schedule is just too much :) Congrats on the weight loss, that's awesome! Just remember to get enough of those essential nutrients when you amp up the workout regimen like that (calcium, iron, potassium, sodium - Protein and Carbs!!)! :)

You're spot on with wanting "quality" workouts, and you'll be stronger because of it! Regardless, your motivation to just go go go is definitely inspiring!