Training week in review: 14 of 18

This week’s training theme:

Trust your training.

I’ve seen the three words that make up this week’s training theme before. In books, in interviews and on message boards. Trust your training. It’s often used in the context of tapering, as advice to take tapering seriously, not go out and do a bunch of aggressive training runs two or three weeks before your marathon to get that 1-2% edge. You’re more apt to tire yourself and leave your marathon out on the training runs. Trust your training.

Like last week, I had certain priority runs around which I organized all other miles. They were, in descending order of importance: a 15K race, a 20 miler and a speed interval session.

On Monday I was still pretty worn out from last Sunday’s 25K race/training run. I also had a nagging soreness in my lower right leg’s achilles tendon — must have been the hills in Connecticut. That soreness persisted into Tuesday morning, just in time for my speed session. Since I had the fourth of my five rabies shots scheduled later on Tuesday morning — after which I knew I’d feel like, well, like I had rabies — I got up at an ungodly hour to run the 10 miles with the speed session sandwiched in the middle.

It was — of course! — incredibly windy. And I was — still! — very tired. So I did just three intervals on the Bronxville track. In a respectable time, all things considered. I learned that you need to get to the track and done with your work before 8:30, because that’s the moment the school doors fly open and 200 children come pouring onto the track. Kids today!

Wednesday was a nothing day — one little four miler so I could get ready for…

Thursday’s scheduled torture session: a 20 mile long run, which I again got up very early to do. My leg was still hurting and the first seven or so miles were a real run down memory lane from last year, during which I suffered with pretty much constant shin splints during marathon training. It went away and I was thankful for my new status as someone who runs without pain most of the time.

Friday and Saturday were easy days so I could save my energy for today’s race.

And Bob’s your uncle.

So why is this week’s training theme “trust your training”? Because this is the mantra I will soon need to spend weeks repeating to myself during my pre-race taper, when I will be tempted to go do some harder running. It’s also a reminder that I can trust my training; my recent races bear that out.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 5 miles recovery pace (AM), 5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 9.9 with 3 x 1200 at 5K race pace; felt like I’d been hit by a truck post-rabies shot in the afternoon
  • Wednesday: 4 miles recovery pace
  • Thursday: 20 mile long run (steady) pace
  • Friday: 4.6 miles recovery pace (AM), 5.4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 7 miles recovery pace
  • Sunday: 9.5 mile race (15K)

Total mileage: 70.4 miles

Paces this week:

  • Recovery: 10:05 – 10:25
  • Speed: Intervals at 6:45 pace
  • Long: 8:25
  • Race: 7:07

This week’s quote:

You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

— Steve Prefontaine

Coming up in training week fifteen: Another peak week of 91 miles, including more speedwork and 22 miles in Central Park. And it’s the storm before the calm: my taper starts after this week.

Race Report: NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 15K

This morning we ran the Colon Cancer Challenge 15K in Central Park, yet another of the approximately 50 races that New York Road Runners is hosting this year. I will again extoll the virtues of racing in the park: challenging course, good competition, excellent race management and — on Sundays at least — free parking nearby.

I’m over the moon about this race because it’s the last race before the marathon in a month. The last chance to evaluate my fitness in order to pick a goal time and pacing strategy for The Big One. The reason I’m so happy is that I exceeded my expectations for today.

I wanted to see if I could again (after last weekend’s race) run a pace equivalent to a 3:24 marathon. That alone is a challenge for me since it’s only in the past month or so that I’ve been training for that faster pace (down from 3:30 paces). Today there were 20 mph winds, and I was actually excited about that. Yes, I must hate myself. I was happy that it was going to be ridiculously windy because it was another chance to test my mettle in less-than-ideal race conditions.

My goal was to sustain an average 7:14 pace, the 15K performance equivalent of the 3:24 marathon. Instead, I managed a 7:07 pace. The race results say 7:16 (my finishing time was 1:07:35), but I was actually running faster than that because, due to the crowd, I couldn’t hit all the tangents and ended up running 9.49 miles rather than 9.3.

But who cares?! I ran 7:07 for over 9 miles and lived to tell the tale. I was trying for a 1:07:22 or under time. What I got was close enough for jazz and government work. One interesting aspect of the race is that I also ran a dead even set of 5Ks: three each at exactly 22:11. This tells me that I am able to balance banking time on the downhills and taking it easy on the uphills in a consistent way.

In terms of race standings…these days I rely on people not showing up to races in order to “do well” from a competitive standpoint. (I hope to change that in the next year.) Had we turned the clock back a year to 2007 last night rather than forward an hour, I would have come in second in my age group. This year, the faster fortysomething ladies came out and I ended up in ninth place. But that’s a number that nevertheless delights me.

Jonathan, continuing his streak, took third in his age group (he would have won his age group by five minutes last year) for a lovely plastic award.

Normally I would be nervous about looking at two race results for shorter races (15K and 25K) and basing a marathon pacing plan on those. But I’ve done my homework on the endurance end of things, so I’m feeling very confident about going for a 3:24ish time in April. I also got some great data today regarding pacing and heart rate changes along different parts of the course. I’ve got a month to construct a pacing strategy based on all of this. And that’s a lot more fun than doing taxes.

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