“What’s it like to race a marathon?”

Specifically, the New York Marathon? This race report from Pascal Lauffer vividly describes the agony and the ecstacy.

Winter Basebuilding: Week 1

09spr-base-01

A few days ago I posted about having hired Kevin Beck as my coach. His first order of business was to come up with a plan to help me rebuild my base. This past week marked my initial foray into this new venture.

I plan and track every day of running in Excel. This enables me to not only see what I’m doing at a glance, but I can do other nifty things, like calculate number of sessions, total mileage, miles at recovery pace, etc. I also keep diary-like notes below each week so I can easily see what was going on over the course of a season.

I’ll just post each week’s sessions (sans the diary entries) here. If anyone would like a copy of this Excel workbook, just let me know and I’d be happy to email it (virus free!) to you. It’s offered “as is,” meaning you’re on your own to figure out how to fill it in or make other changes to it (or fix it if you gum up the formulas). If I wanted to work in software support, I’d move to Bangalore.

Some comments about this week:

As compared to my last basebuilding round in the summer, there are marked differences. Most notably, no doubles! Note also that the recovery runs on a few days are very short. That will change as my mileage builds back up from 60 to 85 over the coming month. The inclusion of longer recovery runs runs counter to advice I’ve read in various places (including Pfitzinger), the “common wisdom” being that you shouldn’t do recovery runs that last more than an hour. Such rules were made to be broken, or at least questioned, it seems.

Also note that, unlike traditional, old school basebuilding approaches (think Lydiard), it’s not all “easy” (or, here, “recovery”) running, meaning below 70% maximum heart rate. I have some real workouts in here, and it’s only week 1. On the blue days, I’m running most of the miles around the quicker bits (ex: 8K effort segments) at a reasonably hard effort, meaning “easy” pace (between 75-82% mhr). These are challenging workouts, as evidenced by my need for a half our nap after Thursday’s effort.

I also am doing strides on one of the recovery days, something I never did in the past.

Despite all the fast running, I felt very fresh and ready for yesterday’s race. I also feel fine after a 16 miler this morning. True, I’m coming off of many weeks of recovery, and the mileage was low this week. But I’m pleased with how I feel and my ability to run faster paces without late-week exhaustion resulting.

Just to fill in all the blanks, here’s a rundown of what I did during my five weeks of post-marathon recovery:

Oct 13-19: 5 miles recovery pace
Oct 20-26: 39 miles, 75% recovery / 25% easy
Oct 27-Nov 2: 42 miles, 50% recovery / 50% easy
Nov 3-9: 48 miles, 40% recovery / 60% easy
Nov 10-16: 35 miles, 40% recovery / 60% easy, and a bonus cold!

Coming up in Basebuilding Week 2: Ten more miles, longer recovery runs, and still more running at 8K and 10K effort. Plus some delicious lamb on Thanksgiving.

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