This morning I woke up by the loud and obnoxious sound of my digital alarm. It was set to go off at 3am without fail. I got up and immediately sensed, that though I probably got 5 hours of sleep, I was still a wee bit tired and needed to at least sleep in till 4.
Now before, I get any sneers and jeers about 5-hour sleep durations not being enough and 3 am wake-up times being too early, remember that to each her own. Of the many things in life that I am working on, hacking sleep is one of them. You can get an introduction on the topic here at bulletproofexec.com.
Now back to my snooze idea. Well, it was a Friday and the week was quite the ass-buster, so I wasn’t so interested in following this hard and fast rule this day. Plus, I exercised the evening before – something that I am re-introducing to my weekdays.
I ended up sleeping another 3 and a half hours, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my day (but not too fast and aggressively). It was more like leaving the start line as the tortoise, not the hare.
I got up and headed to the kitchen to start my routine of making Bulletproof Coffee. I make it much like the way that Dave Asprey does in this video. I use a French press to seep bulletproof coffee beans in boiling hot water. Then I mix grass-fed butter and a combination of XCT Oil and Brain Octane with a hand blender. This makes about half a gallon a day. It takes me till about mid-afternoon to finish it off. Sometimes, I get help from an NFL player, who refers to it as buttered caffeine.
This serves as my breakfast, allowing my body to become fat-adapted (versus carbohydrate adaptated), while also doing intermittent fasting. There are all sorts of health benefits to doing this. Of course, if you are in my camp, you agree with me. If you are not – you think I’m off my rocker and destroying my body. And if you are unsure, you may be just a little bit intrigued.
This post wasn’t supposed to be about the Bulletproof way of eating and living (aka biohacking). So, I will leave that topic and focus back on to the original topic of this post.
When I finally did wake up from my extended sleep, I felt really good. Not just rested, but I felt that my body responded quickly and positively from my workout the night before.
I confirmed it by stepping on the bathroom scale and taking an assessment of my physique. Yes, things were much better than the previous weeks. You see, I somehow let myself go the past weeks (and seemingly months). I’ve been trying out this new thing called Primal Endurance. Mark Sisson wrote the book and explained that we humans were not meant to exercise all out all the time. As a result, I exercised less.
The typical chronic way of training can and does lead to long term health issues. I’m not going to go into what those issues are, but I will say that in my handful of years in endurance training, I’ve felt that still small voice telling me to SLOW DOWN. But the social pressures and personal goals got the better of me most of the time.
A few times, I felt heart palpitations during times when I knew deep inside that I was working way too hard. They were scary moments but were shrugged off by me and by folks I shared the news with. Endurance athletes need to suck it up, embrace the suck, and harden the fuck up. Right! Isn’t that how they earn the name of “endurance athlete”?
Now, however, I am finally listening – and very intently. So much so that I’ve sacrificed the past 2 months re-training my body to exercise aerobically instead of chronically at the black hole or anaerobic levels. The result? My body had been training at way too high heart rate levels for years, that it was not optimized to train at an aerobic heart rate zone.
Just as Mark’s book predicted, my runs became embarrassingly and mentally excruciatingly slow. Even now, as I am at week 8 (the first step in my periodization training), I find that my body is really not ready to go on to the next stage, which is introducing high intensity workouts.
And I realize this as my marathon is exactly one month way.
I’m struggling internally. Do I keep my head down and continue my training the primal endurance way, which will most likely not result in a PR (personal best) next month? Rather, it will be a very difficult race, because my legs do not know how to run that far anymore. They haven’t since last October, when I ran my first ultra distance (50K).
That ultra race, by the way, was the hardest thing I had ever done. I’ll have to write about that experience some time, as it was also one of my proudest moments in life.
Back to my current mental struggle. The contrarian thoughts remind me of what I’ve been missing (sacrificing) during the past 8 weeks of training. I had been training at such a low maximum heart rate, that it made no sense to do group training, as I would be the one straggling behind. I didn’t want to burden anyone with feeling obligated to wait for my slow ass. So, I chose to train alone and just cheer my endurance friends on from afar (Facebook).
Fast forward to my conclusion… and Mark will shake his head on this… but I want to train with those fine folks at the tri club in the remaining 4 weeks before the marathon. I know I cannot keep up with them on the long runs, so as a compromise, I’ll go on the Saturday bike rides instead. This will be my long (and yes hard) rides days.
The rest of the week will be spend at max aerobic heart rate, eg. hour-long indoor bike rides on the trainer. This way, I can keep my heart rate low, while getting the benefit of working at a decent effort. Once a week I will do a MAF test to see if I’ve improved my VO2 max and time.
I’ll keep at doing core workouts, too.
I think this will help me to at least finish the marathon and not come in too far behind my previous year’s time.
I touched on a lot of topics in today’s post. As you can see, my thoughts on this have been deep and plenty. I’ll try and break down the topics in more bite-sized pieces in subsequent posts.
Happy exercising and getting fit!