I finished my last summer race in mid-July, desperately in need of some time away from my typical training schedule. I love training with my...

I finished my last summer race in mid-July, desperately in need of some time away from my typical training schedule. I love training with my coach, Guenter, and the training plans he provides are some of the most sensible I've ever seen, BUT they get a little bit repetitive after three years.

So, I ventured off on my own, in the hopes of improving my 5k running PR while staying at least mildly fit during my time away. The first three weeks of solo training were super successful. I won a local 5k race, trained almost every day, had a great time, and earned a huge PR on another 5k, breaking 20 minutes in the process.

Then, things started to fall apart. First, the Olympics were being televised. Late nights watching led to late mornings which led to deleted workouts and more late nights. Second, we were spending time with family, and my priorities were with seeing them, not maintaining my training schedule.

A cross-country road trip quickly turned into a solidly sedentary week.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I spent about 6 weeks away from Guenter's plan, training well and then half assedly and then not at all. And I came back ready to go.

Part of me feel that those six weeks were wasted time, when I could have been improving the parts of my fitness that have been lacking these past four years. But the sane part of me understands the need for balance and joy in life. I had a really solid September of training, and I have to at least partially blame that on the time I took off in August.

So what did September look like?

It started with a couple of grueling weeks, as my body re-adjusted to training. I registered a pretty low anaerobic threshold (4mmol blood lactate/L) after our first week of training, but a solid 2mmol/L level. I was also close to my PRs in the weight room, which was encouraging, if uncomfortable.

A 6k erg test after two weeks of training was humbling and embarrassing to share. One of my goals for the fall season is to accept where I am, and work from there. This 6k test was great, terrible, wonderful, awful practice.

Now, five weeks in, I'm starting to regain my confidence. My normal splits have returned on easy rows. I can hold my technique for more than 25 minutes.

And the workouts are starting to feel really, truly productive, in a way they haven't before.

I have been on a fitness plateau for a while now. My last big improvement on a 2k was in early 2015, and I've only made minor progress on my 6k as well. I spent much of last year regaining the fitness and strength base that I lost in the summer of 2015, and now I finally, finally, finally get to use that base to have some real fun.

Follow along on social media (@lightweighteats) to see how my training progresses. I'll post race results, my next 6k erg test, and too many workout selfies.
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