Following the Game Plan (Fitness Diary 28/52)

Considering I celebrated my birthday last week, you’d think I’d take a break from training and just treat myself to my favorite foods. In years past, you would be right. But because I’ve released myself from the pressure of huge training loads, thirty minutes of run/walking three times a week doesn’t feel like something I need to take a break from. Additionally, aside from my birthday dinner with my lovely family, I haven’t fallen into the trap of splurging on sweets or Cheetos. My big indulgence was a bottle of wine and some cheese, inspired by binge-watching Anthony Bourdain on iFlix before his episodes of “No Reservations” expired from the platform.

The other week I did a 5K time trial, and as it turns out my comfortable pace hovers around 6:15-6:30 min/km. Not fast enough yet to slip under 30 minutes for a 5K. But there are still three weeks to go until my Milo 5K at the end of the month, and I’m definitely starting to feel a lot fitter than when I started this run/walk training program. I’m running longer intervals at a faster pace, and don’t have my tongue hanging out during the walk intervals.

It really is quite nice when things start to feel like they’re coming together. I have to admit I used to be skeptical of the Galloway method, but the build-and-release pattern within each session really teaches your body how to make use of that recovery period during the walking, and you feel fresher for the running.

I know I’m not there yet, but it’s nice to know that I will get there eventually. I’m just happy that it isn’t the “one step forward, two steps back” kind of progress rut that I got stuck in for the longest time. But here’s the tricky part: this is around the time in a training period that I tend to get overeager and fall into the mindset of “more is better” because I feel good, even superhuman.

It’s kind of like making a souffle. (This is where Bourdain intersects with running!) If you mix the ingredients together all at once, you end up with an egg-based batter that won’t rise — it’s not souffle, it’s pudding. If you over-beat the egg whites, the souffle will collapse when you so much as breathe on it. If the oven is at the wrong temperature, it can be over- or under-baked. When you follow the recipe correctly, it should work.

This time around, I know what will only wear me out instead of build me up. This time around, I’m not going to second-guess the plan laid out for me. It’s all designed to come together on race day.

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