Last week I had three good rest days, I did three runs of about 20 miles in total, and I did one spin and strength session on Friday. An easier recovery week.
I still felt a bit tired after the cold, and a bit worn out with less motivation than I had at the start of the month. But I still managed to do a good base level of exercise and was at work all week in my second week enjoying the new role.
Wk6 – 3 Feb
Tue: 6.4M easy
Thu: 3.5M lunchtime run
Fri: Spin & Simple Strength (Day 1)
Sat: 9.5M run (Cold all gone)
I wrote last month about me looking into cycles, and without going into too much detail, I’d done some research around females doing our training around our monthly cycles. The hormones change throughout the month, and have effects on how we’re feeling and there type of training we are best doing.
Apologies to any men out there that this is boring to, but to be honest I can’t believe I didn’t tune into this more before now.
I felt great at the start of the cycle and for the first two weeks – oestrogen levels rising to a peak mid cycle, and progesterone levels low. I did a few good strength sessions and plenty of running. Mid cycle can be a good time to aim for strength pbs.
Week 3 into 4 was where the wheels fell off a bit. Now this was likely coincidence and the fact I visited my Dad who had a bad cold and caught the bug. But then I caught a cold. I ran through it a little bit then rested and needed the rest. I also had some disturbed sleep in week 3. Booooo.
During this time – in the luteal phase – oestorgen drops and progesterone levels rise making it harder to recover and making you not as strong as in the first two week. By week four I was pretty knackered and much more demotivated than weeks one and two.
Although saying that, I nearly couldn’t be bothered gyming it on Friday, but when I did, I did a simple but hard strength session and I felt great after it and for doing it. All on day 1, and the usual one day of cramps followed and dissipated.
I read that the American football ladies team were coached about this and saw reference to an app FitrWoman and downloaded it for more information. It’s nice to know that there’s likely a reason for feeling sluggish or not being up for training and that hormones have a lot to answer for.
It’s also nice to know that when I’ve felt demotivated and gubbed in the past, it’s probably been to do with hormones and cycles rather than just not knowing what’s wrong and feeling like a failure for some unknown reason.
Or put in other, more positive words, I can now more cleverly plan my training around my cycle – which by the way is around 29 days long – and rather funnily synced in with the full moon. Ha ha. Sack all the detail and studies… it looks like maybe I’m a werewolf after all. 😂 my aunt would be proud lol.
(Here’s me an some colleagues going out for a lunchtime run on Thursday).
Here’s the plan for my second 4 week block of training this year anyway. With the long runs building with my marathon in June, I’ve entered the Balloch to Clydebank Half marathon on 15 March and I’ll still keep a focus on strength training around twice a week. With another easy / recovery week in week 4.
Wk7 – 10 Feb
Mon: Spin & Deadlift Strength
Tue: 6M run
Wed: Spin & Clean n Press Strength
Thu: 6.2M run
Fri: 5M run / 8x400m
Wk8 – 17 Feb
Mon: Spin & Squat Strength
Wed: Spin & Deadlift Strength
Fri: Spin & 5×5 PB Strength
Wk9 – 24 Feb
Mon: Spin & Clean n Press
Wed: Spin & Squat Strength
Fri: Spin & Deadlift Strength (Or rest)
Wk10 – 2 Mar
Tue: Spin & KB Strength
Wed: 6M run
Thu: 5k run
Fri: Spin & Simple Strength
Sat: Rest / Day 1
( Sun 15 Mar: BtoC half marathon )
Now let’s talk about progress. In January I was a bit more careful about what I ate and tracked it in myfitness pal. I saw that I usually had a weekly deficit in calories mainly due to all of my training.
And my protein intake was up at about 30% – I try to have a high intake of protein for recovery but also to keep me fuller for longer (and eating less sugar hopefully). I think I’ll make chilli for lunches again soon as it was really tasty.
Now in 5 weeks – including all the exercise I’ve been doing – running and strength – I’m seeing results:
1 Jan: 140.7lbs
24.2lbs body fat / 17.2%
111.6lbs lbm / 79.3%
9 Feb: 139.1lbs
20.5lbs body fat / 14.8%
113.5lbs lbm / 81.6%
A drop of -1.6lbs in weight, but crucially a 2.4% drop or -3.7lbs body fat, and an increase of nearly 2lbs lean mass. That’ll do nicely. Hopefully next week I’ll be back to feeling strong and motivated in the gym – with all that oestrogen flying around.
I might need to travel to London with work at some point and if that happens I’ll need to rejig my training a bit but that should be fine. Looking forward to what next week and February into March has on offer.
And there’s a nice view from my new desk anyway.