Summer Basebuilding: Week 7

sum09-base-07This week: a little more mileage, a little more speed, a little more confidence.

I ran just shy of 90 miles this week, although it very well could have been 90 or more since I was guessing at distances until Friday, when I at last had my new training partner, Mojo, happily vibrating and blinking on my wrist.

NY was a sauna this week, with little relief, even at night when it rarely dipped below 70F. The dew points were very high some days, which is really where you feel the misery. The worst days were Saturday and today, and once again I was glad I wasn’t running in the NYC Half Marathon this year, as the heat index was already around 80F at 7AM and only went up from there.

I took it fairly easy on my recovery runs, especially yesterday (when it was a brutal 91F heat index when I got in).

I wanted to have a productive run on Wednesday, so I took the LT run inside on the treadmill. The last five miles at LT effort were tough but doable. Although the treadmill’s pace readings are always suspect to me (meaning I always suspect it’s anywhere from 10-20 seconds “slower” in terms of what it’s reporting), I know I was running at the right effort (as I borrowed Jonathan’s HRM again) this time around. And right now effort is more important than pace is.

Like last week, there was the strange pattern of my running recoveries quite a bit faster on Thursday, sandwiched between two speedier sessions.

I did Friday’s 10K repeats on the Bronxville track, which even at 8:30AM was like an oven, with the rest of the run on the running path.  But I wanted to try out my new watch, and I wanted accurate speed data, so I braved the weather. On my third repeat I suddenly had an image of myself as a soufflé with legs, rounding the track as the cheese atop my head bubbled, blistered and browned. Still, I was happy with what I managed: Two sub-7:00 pace repeats of around 1200m and one just over 7:00, all at 92% MHR.

The heat yesterday was just insane. I knew today was going to be a big long run, so I ran yesterday’s run extremely slow and at just 63% MHR average. The run, of course, took me forever. The longer I ran, the hotter I got, the more my HR went up, and the slower I went. This experience convinced me to take the long run inside today, since the weather was scheduled to be even worse today (and it was, according to Jonathan, who ran 16 miles up to North White Plains).

And so I ran 18 miles on the treadmill. And I was grateful for it. With AC and fans cranking, I too cranked. After a slow couple of miles to start as a warmup, I ran somewhere around 8:20 for most of the miles, then picked it up to 8:00 or so for the last few. HR% averaged 74% through most of the run and topped out at 79% toward the end. For entertainment, I watched the movie I’ve Loved You So Long (which was excellent) and then finished off by blasting some Radiohead. The 2.5 hours didn’t exactly fly by, but it beat the alternative of struggling outside for 3+ hours instead.

I should note that I’m tiptoeing into things in terms of pace on the harder workout days. Last weekend I did the long run at just under 9:00 pace. This weekend it was around 25 seconds faster (that table should say 8:27 for today, not 8:37). For next Sunday’s 20 miler (if I run it inside again), I’ll probably shoot for trimming off another 15-20 seconds per mile to see what my HR does.

Next week is yet more of the same, although the LT miles come in the middle of the run and the intervals will be shorter and faster (three minutes at 5K effort). Plus five more miles to top me out at 95 miles per week. I don’t know yet if I’ll be running more miles than that during fall training.

And the winner is…

Mojo!

That was among my favorites anyway, not the least of which is because it’s good timing: I got the watch just as I’m getting my running mojo back.

Thanks to all who voted and offered other naming ideas.

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