• Michelle Howell

A day of training: quarantine edition

Sometimes it's hard to believe that it's been over a month now since I could run on a track, work from a coffee shop or coach. More believable? That within a week of being stuck at home I very quickly finished all those looming "to do projects" around the apartment and have caught up on all my qued Netflix shows. Staying inside and working from home has had its limitations on my usual training, but it's still happening on a daily basis and after sharing with mapmyrun and mapmyfitness I decided to share a little more of an in-depth look of what it's like training from home ( which is frighteningly not all that different than my usual life lol).

Morning routines

After spending a month between training camp and a short trip to Under Armour headquarters in Portland my morning routine was finally in a good place. At the run summit we learned about the importance of establishing morning routines, something I've always tried to implement, but tends to get lost when some morning includes a 5:30 am alarm to get to a cross country meet or private coaching session. With these out of the way, I've finally gotten into a good habit of waking up within a half-hour of 7:00 am (slightly over or more likely under) to get my day started.

The rest of my morning follows the pattern below:

  • Start the day with water (usually with lemon juice) followed by a pretty unexciting skincare routine

  • Stretch, roll, and if I'm not trying to get out the door to meet someone for a workout- twenty to thirty-minute yoga session. At camp, I'd gotten into the habit of stretching and rolling outside or in the gym which I'd love to do here, but clearly can't. Instead, my living room has a yoga mat in it now basically 24/7 for this purpose.

  • After getting my body warmed up and feeling awake I'll have some coffee. Depending on how much time I have I'll have some regular drop which I prep before I start rolling or on my non-time pressed days I make espresso with our Aeropress or Bialetti. Weekends I go all out with homemade cappuccinos and lattes. On workout days I add Vital Protein Collagen Creamer to my drip

Building back up mileage

Lately, with no meets, no real gym, and no access to a track, we've gone back to base building, which is possibly my worst nightmare come true. Training like a distance runner year-round makes the former 400m sprinter in me want to cry when it sees the prescribed seventy-minute runs. We've kept to the same schedule of longer runs on Sunday/Monday, workouts Tuesday/ Friday, speed on Thursday, and cross-training Wednesday/ Saturday as well as working out at 9:00 am. So far the build up's been better than I expected, probably because building mileage used to mean mile repeats and early mornings on a sopping wet golf course for 1200 repeats in college. Now it looks more like a lot of 200s, 400s, and progressive tempo runs, all of which are exponentially better than endless 1200s.

Workouts start at 9:00 which means I'm out the door starting my warm-up by 8:40ish so I can jog toward our starting point roughly a mile and a half away from my apartment. With social distancing in effect, we meet in pairs of two rather than groups- Jazmine and I are currently paired up since we're on the same training cycle.

Lately, all of our workouts have started by the Georgetown waterfront where we have access to either the C and O canal, Crescent trail, or a flat bike lane covered by the Whitehurst freeway that we usually use in winter that's marked up out to 600 meters. The worst part about workout days is honestly the cool down jog back to my apartment because it's basically all uphill once I cross the Key Bridge back in Virginia from DC.

Fueling up

After I climb my way back home I repeat the stretching and rolling process I do pre before grabbing some brunch (brunch because it's usually still too early still for lunch when we finish).

We've been lucky that apart from random unexplained shortages of milk (I personally don't purchase, but Max does), eggs, and yogurt at our local grocery stores (one day everything is stocked the next it's all gone) everything else we normally grab has been available. My post-workout meal is usually a smoothie with fruits, veggies, and protein powder added or leftovers from the night before.

I'll usually move on to my second cup of coffee at this point and peruse the news, answer emails, and complete my training log like I normally would except in my living room vs a coffee shop or outside.

Am I hungry or am I bored?

The biggest downside of being home all the time is the age-old question of am I hungry or am I just bored? I'd like to think I'm not alone on this one. Most of the time my answer is the latter. Snacking is something I normally do throughout the day, but usually, it's things like a banana I packed with me for the day or a small PB and J. I don't have unlimited access to it. Lately, I've found myself reaching for a protein bar that I don't need or dipping into a bag of tortilla chips which I get about halfway through before my brain registers that I'm not really hungry at all. So I've been trying to find ways to be more productive during the day to avoid the boring snack urge like practicing my Italian (I can now say phrases like I eat sugar, Io mangio zucchero), write a blog post like this one, or bake. We've also been breaking out the cookbooks more and making things from scratch versus buying them with this abundance of time during the day.

Daily double

Just like in a normal week doubles help add in some volume without the impact or are my time to add in some supplemental strengthening. Since my first workout of the day ends around 11:00 am, doubles are at 5:00 pm to give myself enough time to recoup. Previously swimming was my go-to for my workout doubles, but these days it's cycling on my makeshift stationary bike. Since I'm not finding myself crunched for time I usually throw in more mobility and mini band work post bike workout.

Winding down

After dinner, I like to end my training day rolling out with my usual roller and using my hypersphere mini to address any real problem areas while streaming something (lately, that's been Big Little Lies on Hulu and Sunderland Til I Die) followed by an Epsom salt bath after a workout day. Between the two, yoga, and semi-regular trips to the chiro, I'm managing my lack of usual recovery treatment. I've been finding that sometimes at the end of the day when I should be tired I'm just not (maybe it's the fact that I'm just kind of inside all day when I'm not out running?) so I've started using Dr. Teals Sleep Soak in place of my usual Epsom salt to try to help. Jurys out still on whether or not it actually works, but it does smell especially nice so that's a plus.

And that my friends is a day in the life right now of a quarantining athlete. Like I said not too far from the norm, which makes me think maybe I should be doing more?? Anyways as always thanks for reading and if you're looking for other ways to stay connected check out my other social platforms and if you're looking for more quarentine / stay at home insight from pro runners check out these blogs myself and others were featured in:

7 Ways Pro Runners Are Handling Staying Inside

7 ways Professional Runners Are Coping with Training Limitations

Stay safe, keep six feet, wash your hands


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