Value Success through Strength.

Todays workout- 20 miles averaging 7:07 pace

Reading my workout for today, you are probably thinking; Well that’s a strange one for a Wednesday. You’d be right. The log said today was a 16 by 400 workout but when the call came that my kiddos school would be cancelled Coach Mark Hadley and I had to make the best of the situation. As a military wife and mother I do not always have the ability to just run out the door and my treadmill only goes so fast. Currently I am on a 7 day training cycle, by my own choosing, which leaves almost no wiggle room for switching workout days. Running two hard days in a row is not an option for fear of risking injury; sooooo I ran 20 miles on a treadmill this morning. Whatever works.

How did we turn this not-so-ideal option into an advantage? We simulated the Vermont City Marathon course (my goal race) by adding hills at the appropriate places. It made the workout that much more purposeful as opposed to my usual outdoor 20 milers that are entirely flat (hard to find hills here!) and eased any treadmill boredom by keeping me on my toes…literally.

Here is my weekly recap two days late. I front loaded the mileage because my sister and I had a weekend away planned. I knew I wouldn’t want to head out the door twice during that time. Normally the double days are spread out a bit more. I still have a good 17 weeks until my goal race so it’s nice that we have plenty of time.

  •         Monday- AM- 9 miles AT tempo @ 6:17 pace  PM- 4 easy
  •         Tuesday- AM- 9 at 7:15 pace PM- 4 at 7:45 pace.
  •         Wednesday- 10 total with 5 by 1 mile at 5:48 pace PM- 4 miles
  •         Thursday- 13 miles in two runs, first run on the trails.
  •         Friday- 15 miles at 6:55 pace.
  •         Saturday- 7 on a treadmill.
  •         Sunday- 9 at 7:30 pace.
  •         Total Miles- 88

Now I’m going to be a Mother Hen (as RoseRunner kindly called me  🙂 ) and give a tiny public service announcement. I have tried to bite my tongue about these types of things in the past but as a huge running blog reader, I cannot even begin to tell you (especially lately) how often I’ve read things that have made me want to reach through the screen and shake hug the female writer. For my guy readers, you may want to skip this part. There are many female runners who seem to think it is normal for goal-driven runners to hyper restrict their diets and/or skip periods. FALSE and FALSE.

I appreciate that I have many 20-something and college aged runners as followers on my blog and, for responsibility sake, I want to be clear. You should never have missed periods and I would always rather you eat more than you think you need than less. If you have skipped periods it is a sign that your body thinks it is starving. You need to back off training, eat more, or most-likely both. Do NOT continue to train for an endurance race at high mileage. If you have a coach who sweeps this issue under the rug and does not protest when you want to sign up for another race before the medical issue is resolved, then…well you can just imagine what I have to say about that. It’s not kind. Your body is begging for rest.

You all know that I sometimes link to my friend Hollies blog. She actually has an education in this area, in contrast to my unprofessional, emotionally-driven feelings, so if you want to read more, check out her blog here  Her “Lake Series Effect” writings are especially eye opening. Big Kudos to Hollie for writing about these issues that many of us (including myself) have always tip-toed around for fear of hurt feelings.  I’m going to leave it on that note but would like to add; Ladies- I adore you and want you to value success through strength.  Guys- I appreciate you too and if you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking out a sticky subject. Take care everyone, happy training, and hope you’re staying warm in this crazy weather!

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16 thoughts on “Value Success through Strength.

  1. This post is awesome Kris. I was honestly hoping to get someone to write about the importance of period for the series. I might actually write it myself. While it may seem “;worth it” to have high mileage and no period, your body will pay for it later. Whether it’s the huge transition to coming back to it, or not being able to get pregnant. Running is not worth that physical damage.

    Random point of interest: Most elite females have children, meaning they had to have their period at some point.

    Great post.

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  2. Well said my friend! I think I may be rubbing off on you as you just said exactly what you felt needed to be heard! 😉 very good points and Hollie has some great points as well.

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  3. Thanks for addressing the amenhorrea/missed periods. I have dealt with this myself and knew it was not right, but was annoyed by how many people (other doctors!) were like, “eh, it’s just cause you run so much” or “we’ll just put you on the pill”. It is wrong. It is not merely because one is running a lot. It is because there is a mismatch between caloric intake and output, whether intentional or not, and the consequences can be severe in regards to bone strength. Additionally, there is evidence that being placed on the pill (estrogen replacement) does NOT counteract. It is not a safety net. Anyway, I could go on and on. I am a physician myself and fellow runner and have written on this topic before (The Female Athlete Triad): http://wp.me/pVLR9-7F

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    • Thank you for sharing your site! Your blog post hit my point exactly, that the relaxed attitude about this is not appropriate. I just can’t get behind the idea that being unhealthy for a short time period to “succeed” at distance running is okay. Thanks for posting!

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  4. This is a great reminder, thank you. I have experience with working with disordered eating and athletes and am surprised at the number of coaches that are uninformed of the dangers of the female triad.

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  5. I am afraid I may be the one that angers everyone here….but that is me. I am an elite athlete, and I have gone without many cycles. BUT I had a series of tests…..actually once a few years ago, and once last year, and they gave me some hormones to make sure my body could still cycle, and it did. Multiple doctors have therefore said that I am not doing any long term damage as long as I continue to take estrogen to keep my hormones up. When i want to have children, I will literally have to stop running completely, and I am okay with that, but for now, I am not doing any long term damage to my body, it just may take a while to fall pregnant when I do want to.

    I know I may anger quite a few people, and I will be lying if I said it does not worry me at all, but if the doctors, and gynacologists say it is okay, I am going to trust their expert opinion and go for my dreams. I am not training that intensely, especially when compared to the other elites I compete against. I only hit 80 miles a week once or twice in a segment, my body just has a lower tolerance to it I guess.

    If anyone is very concerned and would like to talk to me more, I am happy to be contacted by email (details on my blog) as I would be willing to try other alternatives to bring them back.

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    • Thank you for writing Tina! First off, I hope you know I was not referring to you. Your blog has always been a source of healthy inspiration, never one encouraging negative behavior. I love that we became friends in Philly and think you are a great inspiration to upcoming female distance runners. I don’t necessarily agree that there is no long term damage being done but you have responsibly gotten things checked out by a professional and have taken steps to figure out the issue. You have not swept this under the rug or led blog readers to believe that they should be aiming for amenorrhea. Your blog is quite the opposite of the unhealthy posts I was referring too, yours is inspiring. Thank you and take care!!

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  6. Nicr write up Kris!!! And being a father to three little ladies I couldn’t help but read the last part of your post and couldn’t agree with your words anymore! Annnnnd nice workout by the way. Now that’s how you turn lemons into lemonade chica! 🙂

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  7. Great post, Kris! I like that you address the important issues, and I think it has much more meaning coming from an elite athlete. There seems to be a philosophy out there that pushing one’s body to self-destruction is necessary in our sport (and others).

    Nice (brutal) TM workout. Funny (to me) that your treadmill doesn’t go fast enough for you!

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  8. omg your mill workout!! Great job! I am major struggle bus on the mill. If it’s faster than 7:30’s I get anxiety, lol. I just can not run hard on a treadmill. Mental block.

    I haven’t read any blogs that post about missing periods … and I am not expert to speak on the topic. So many things we do to our bodies that we think are “healthy” can actually not be healthy and I think sometimes it depends on the Dr you see and their views. Missing periods def not a good thing though. But then I wonder why there are birth controls to prevent any period at all and how that can be “healthy”….????

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  9. Hollie…RoseRunner…WHERE’S MY LINK????

    Our monthly cycle is nature’s way of telling us things are alright. I am leery of “expert” opinions that infer acceptability. One can’t know about long-term effects until the long term has happened. Using supplementation as a regular means of counteracting the deleterious effects of unhealthy behaviors instead of modifying the behaviors is irresponsible and foolhardy. I guess I should have sent that to Tina privately. Oh well…it would have fallen on deaf ears.

    Great post!

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  10. Ahh, if only I could run 20 miles on a treadmill! Alas, after 6, I usually resort to stabbing things. I bow in admiration.

    Kudos to you for bringing up the nutrition issue. I also feel like it’s something I never want to mention because god forbid you comment on someone else’s choices, but it’s really distressing how often people act like that kind of thing is totally normal.

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