Training week in review: 7 of 18

This week’s training theme:

If you want to get better at something, do it a lot.

Oh, my god. This training business is hard.

I ran nine times this week, covering just under 86 miles. The schedule wasn’t that different than two weeks ago, but I feel as if I’ve been run over by a truck today.

The highlights this week included a slightly longer tempo run, with a block of three miles at 7:24 – 7:30 and, a mile later in the run, another block of two miles at (surprise!) 7:18. Dang. This training business may be hard, but it seems to actually work. The next day I did a 15 miler at 8:39 avg pace (!), a 12 miler on Friday at about the same pace and…drum roll, please…this morning I did just under 20 miles, last nine “around” marathon pace (more on that in a moment).

So, yeah, I’m dog tired. But I am also very happy with the way things are going. And excited about the Manhattan Half Marathon next Sunday in Central Park, which I’m using as a replacement to the training schedule’s tempo run. My dream time for this race is 1:40. It would be a real kick to take 10 minutes off my last half marathon time. But I’m not exactly going to be rested, so I’ll be happy with anything under 1:44.

About this morning’s run — I feel good about it because it went well despite being very windy for pretty much the whole way. Steady wind of 12-15 MPH with gusts of 25 MPH or so, although it was constantly shifting direction. During a few of the more sheltered stretches, it wasn’t too bad. But along the exposed parts of the route (pretty much all along the Bronx River Parkway) it was unrelenting. Going out this morning, I decided to have a positive attitude and just do my best.

So that’s what I did. I was aiming for a pace of between 7:40 – 8:00. I made it on some miles, not on others. What’s funny is you can tell the bits in which I was battling the wind, because the pace slows way down and the heart rate shoots way up. Some of the faster miles were probably due to a tailwind (although I’d love to believe that they were due to my supremely competent legs). But the time averages out to around 8:00 per mile, so I’m happy with what I was able to do.

Here are my splits after mile 11 of the run: 8:06, 7:49, 7:49, 8:09, 8:03, 7:52, 8:12, 7:42, 7:50

Today’s run was also notable in that I tried out an alternate fueling source: Gatorade Endurance (which seems to be de rigueur on most marathon courses these days). I planted two small bottles of the “lemon” (cough cough) flavor along the course and kept a third in the car at the midway point. I have to say, the stuff tastes like window cleaner (or at least how I imagine window cleaner might taste). I am cursed with a delicate stomach but, aside from a twinge after downing 8 oz. at once, I didn’t have any problems with it. (Plus my teeth are so shiny now!) Nonetheless, I think I’m leaning toward the Hammer Gels for fueling. They’re a pain in the ass to carry, but they definitely provided a more noticeable “lift” on a couple of recent runs. And they don’t taste like industrial-strength cleaning products.

Once again, the couch is mine today. The pattern lately is that I come home after these Sunday runs, take a bath, eat something very large, have a beer and promptly pass out for at least 45 minutes. After that, I’m still in a semi-zombie state, but at least I can muster the energy to make dinner and engage in light conversation.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 6 miles recovery pace (AM), 4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 11 mile tempo run with five miles at very speedy pace
  • Wednesday, 15.1 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Thursday, 6.2 miles recovery pace (AM), 3.8 miles recover pace (PM)
  • Friday, 12.4 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Saturday, 7.6 miles recovery pace*
  • Sunday, 19.8 miles, long run with 9 miles at or below marathon pace

Total mileage: 85.9 miles

Paces this week:

  • Tempo: 7:19 – 7:24
  • Long: 7:38 – 9:35
  • Recovery: 9:15 – 10:00

This week’s quote:

The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.

— Robert Frost

Coming up in training week eight: My doubles double, bringing me to four two-a-days of recovery runs. One 15 miler and one 22 miler (longest one yet) during the week. Then the half marathon on Sunday. Also, for some culture, we head up to White Plains (I’m tempted to run there, since we run more often than drive to White Plains lately) for a one-night-only showing of Spirit of the Marathon on Thursday evening. Review to come.

* This was supposed to have been an “easy” run with strideouts. But I ran way too fast on Friday and paid the price the next day.

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