Post By: Darren Brown – Father/Husband/Coach
As mentioned last week, we entered this week knowing that flexibility and adaptability would be paramount. The last time Sarah traveled cross-country, she started to notice the onset of her PGP (SPD). We knew that another long flight this week could potentially cause those issues to return, and worse, if we weren’t careful. We also knew that there would be some shifting that had to take place in our regular “routine” based on an early flight Wednesday, long day Thursday and early flight Friday. With all that in mind, we entered this week fully accepting that it may be a less-than-ideal week of training … and that this would be “ok” as long as she came out the other end healthy and feeling good. Here’s what the week looked like and a few quick insights into new modalities, double-runs (*gasp*) and unfortunate circumstances that happen at just the right time …
Monday – This was one of the few days this week that we knew would be “normal”, so we kept to our routine and continued to focus on small improvements day in and day out. The key to success is consistent forward progress. Eventually, that consistency will lead to a sustainable jump in performance, as opposed to immediateand unexpected success, which is usually followed by a setback …
Tuesday – Sarah had an opportunity to try out a local AlterG machine as a potential modality addition in her quality workout routine. However, because we weren’t sure how her body would respond, and with travel looming over the rest of the week, we decided we still wanted to get a quality workout in during the morning hours. With that in mind, we opted for an ElliptiGO workout that replicated repeat K’s – a staple strength workout this time of year. Utilizing the ElliptiGO would allow us to get in a solid physiological effort, while structurally keeping her body fresh for the afternoon AlterG session, since it’s something Sarah never does anymore – an afternoon run. Later that day, we headed to FunctionSmart PT to jump on the AlterG. Sarah and I both have prior experience with the AlterG machine and I felt it could provide multiple benefits moving forward in the pregnancy:
- It’s a given that Sarah will continue to put on weight with the growth of the baby. The ability to remove that weight from her structural system, especially the bones and soft tissue of the lower extremities, will help minimize her risk of a related injury due to increased impact, imbalances, etc …
- As Sarah’s hips continue to loosen, I feel that the pressure provided by the shorts and compressed air will help stabilize her hips and support her belly as she continues to put in easy and uptempo mileage throughout the pregnancy.
- The AlterG provides an opportunity to potentially open up her stride and put in some quicker turnover work. As the pregnancy gets further into the second trimester, we know that our available methods for recruiting fast-twitch fibers will become less and less … and sprinting will become impossible. If we can utilize The AlterG to achieve even a slightly faster pace of running, it will still add yet another dimension of benefit to her overall development and progress, improving bio-mechanics and neuromuscular recruitment.
Sarah came away from this session with a few takeaways. One, she needs LOTS of fans around to avoid overheating. While she was only on the machine for 30min, she is not sure how much longer she would be able to go before starting to feel like she was overheating – which is dangerous for the baby and something we WILL NOT risk. If need be, we can always warm up outside and cool down via cross-training, leaving strictly the duration of the workout for the AlterG. Two, while she felt awkward at first, she eventually settled into a stride and was able to progress from 7:30 pace down to 5:20 pace for the last mile. She even mentioned feeling like she could open up better. This gave us both hope that small interval sessions and cruise sessions may be a possibility through AlterG integration. Three, despite not having done an afternoon run in a very long time (and having done a very good ElliptiGO workout in the morning), Sarah felt really good after coming off the machine. While we are yet to be 100% on the AlterG as a staple modality in her training going forward, this first attempt was a positive experience overall.
Wednesday – A LONG, EARLY cross-country flight from San Diego to NYC caused us to replace Sarah’s normal Wednesday mid-long run with an easy double. Wait, what?! A double?! AGAIN?! Yes, that’s right. For a second day in a row, Sarah ran twice in a day … and the good news, she felt no increased pain or soreness as a result.
Thursday – While we were able to get a really solid series of workouts in this day, it was another LONG day. Between filming with VICE News and a New Balance “Girls Night Out” event, Sarah was “going” from about 6am to 9pm nonstop. However, by putting a priority on the workout in the morning, she was able to get in a really good mixed track/ElliptiGO + weight session in McCarren Park in Brooklyn, NY. (Side note, setting up an ElliptiGO on a stationary trainer in the middle of a Brooklyn park and hammering out a session draws quite a crowd.) After a full day of filming, Sarah did the “unthinkable” and went for yet another evening run to cap off her day. While she was definitely tired, she really enjoyed this run, as she got to do it alongside the largest group of “Girls Night Out” participants ever assembled … all while serving as the emcee for the event and leading much of the evening.
Friday – Tired from the prior two days, and with a long flight looming over our heads, we opted to get up early and get the workout out of the way. This would allow Sarah to sleep on the plane and then rest/recover upon returning back to San Diego. Since her prior three days had all been double-run days, I requested that she only do a cross-train. Not having access to an ElliptiGO, Sarah hopped on the elliptical machine at the hotel and knocked out an easy hour.
Saturday – We approached Saturday knowing we would have to listen to Sarah’s body and may even have to take another very easy day before returning to our routine. Upon waking up, Sarah actually felt pretty good. We set out on a loop that would allow us to cut it short and return to the ElliptiGO should she start to feel overly fatigued or have any pain. After the first 30min, it was obvious … she had managed this travel much better than the first trip. We continued to plug away, mile after mile, eventually accomplishing her longest run of the pregnancy yet, 11.5mi. Then, after that, she hopped on the ElliptiGO and finished out the typical 2hrs worth of volume she aims to achieve on Saturdays.
Sunday – An easy 30min shakeout and 60min ElliptiGO was the perfect R&R (Run & Ride for Recovery) day. All the travel had caught up with us and, even though we were initially going to follow the R&R up with an easy swim for added recovery, we welcomed the sight of a swim meet when we arrived at the pool. Sometimes the hardest thing for an athlete to do is to NOT do something, but we both knew that not even having the option to make that decision was the best thing for us both at this point … so we went to breakfast instead and lounged around the house with our dogs for the afternoon.
We are both looking forward to a more routine week of training this week. Check back to see how it goes!