Lesson 1: my fitness returned quickly. I can say that even without any speed work (aside from strides) I am back to where I was, if not faster. My MAF pace has dropped by almost 1 min in 3 weeks. Boom!
Lesson 2: It is hard to be coached. OK, maybe for some it is easy, but for me, it is an adjustment. I did not even realize it, until my coach pointed it out, but 2 weeks ago I ran almost all workouts NOT as they were written. Most strides were faster, my long run was faster by close to 1 min/mile in the second half, and most runs were a bit longer... This is what I always do with my training plans, keep the structure and then modify as I please. But, as I am learning, my paces are important as they are written, as they follow my specific times, HR zones, etc. So...I try...I read each detailed workout several times including right before I leave for the run. I am getting better at this.
Lesson 3: I like being coached. I did not know how I would react to being coached and being "told what to do". But this is working out really well. In all aspects of my life I have full control and responsibility. It feels good to just do the running, trust the plan (which I do, 100%) and learn along the way.
Last week I ran my first time trial. Five miles when I was allowed (sort off) to run as fast as I could. In fact, I was told to not hold back and run all out the last 3 miles. Hurray! Finally! I really missed going all out, it has been a while... I ran the TT faster than I thought possible and I felt strong in my breathing and my legs. The last 3 miles were way below a sub 20 5K pace. Of course, nausea sucked but this is my weakness when I run hard, and it goes away as I train. I am really excited to start doing some speed work. I love to run hard!
My body is holding up really well. My legs are strong. I have been tapering the strength but still do an average of 20 min of "something" (core, pilates, circuit, plyos, jump rope, weights) every single day.
No races on the horizon for me, but I am gearing up for a couple of 5Ks and a half marathons April/May. So excited to see what I can do. But for now, I am really enjoying training!