I said yesterday that I was going to run easy last night, but I changed my mind. Well, I had help from a nutritional coach in changing my mind.
We just finished our second "block" in the coached eating program that I've been doing since late November. Each block is essentially one month. So far, while my fitness has improved, my body composition hasn't changed that much. My body fat percentage has gone from 20.3% to 18.3%. That's a change in the right direction, but I'm still far from where I want to be for Western States. And, it took me two months to get there.
At the end of each block, we have some 1-on-1 conversations with the coaches. My coach suggested that I make a couple short-term changes to my exercise to focus more on fat loss for a while. He asked me to increase my lifting to 3x per week instead of 2x, and to do that by subtracting one hour of endurance work. My total volume of exercise is already higher than just about anyone else in the program. Also, I need to increase the amount of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that I do. For the most part, I've only been doing HIIT once per week. HIIT is different than normal running intervals, mostly because volume of work isn't very high, but the effort is high and the recovery period often short. The ultimate example of HIIT is Tabata intervals - 5 minutes of hell where you go all out for 20 seconds, recover for 10 seconds, and you do this for a total of 10 reps.
My diet has been much better in the past four weeks and I'm starting to lose some weight. But, the coach would like to see me do more lifting and HIIT in the near term to focus on fat loss. This obviously carries some risks, as it might leave me behind where I want to be from an endurance perspective when ski season ends. But, if it has me at my racing weight more quickly, my longer workouts in April and May and June should go much better. So, it's a chance I'm willing to take, at least for 4-6 weeks right now.
So, last night, instead of running easy, I warmed up for a mile and then did 6 quarters, with a quarter of rest. For HIIT-type interval work, the longest distance I ever use is quarters, and I think they give me a good balance between pure all-out efforts and my need for run-specific training.
This morning, I went out for an easy 66 minutes of snowshoeing. Tonight, I'll likely add about 75 more minutes of snowshoeing.
So, for the next few weeks, my exercise is going to look like this:
Monday: Lift in the morning, HIIT at night
Tuesday: Easy endurance morning and night, totalling at least 2 hours
Wednesday: Lift in the morning. Rest at night or maybe an easy walk
Thursday: Two-hour endurance effort at night, most likely on snowshoes
Friday: Same as Monday
Saturday, Sunday: Ski. If conditions force us to take it really easy, maybe some easy endurance work after skiing.
I'll add in a rest day or a cut-back day periodically, as needed.
Hopefully, this will get me down below 15% BF fairly quickly.
Last year, I arrived at WS at about 13% and I'd like to be closer to 10% this year, if I can pull that off. Right now, I'm about 18 pounds of fat loss away from 10%.