Here we are at the halfway point already. I’ve got just six weeks of serious training left before going into a two week taper. Last week I hit 90 miles again after three weeks of running mileage much lower than that.
The first surprise was getting up on Monday morning and feeling surprisingly nimble considering the hard half marathon on Sunday. Then my legs seemed to get stiffer and stiffer as the day wore on. A warm bath helped, as well as some time with the foam roller.
I ran Tuesday’s “recovereasy” run at a very light effort, not even at 70%. I knew this was going to be a huge week in terms of challenging runs, plus I was going in with a recovery deficit from the race. So I decided to be conservative even though my legs still felt pretty good.
I took my tempo miles to the track and had another good session. I had no problem sustaining 89-90% for five miles and in fact could have run another mile had I wanted to. But I didn’t. I will note that the moment I stopped running, my legs started stiffening up again. The 1.75 run home was actually sort of painful. Was that still Sunday’s race lingering in my legs?
Thursday was a tough day, as it usually is. By this stage of the week I’m worn down from one or two harder workouts plus I have to run fairly big mileage this day. Since the weather was going to force me inside for the evening run I decide to do the strides in the morning. I’ve had a bad habit of skipping strides, but I felt just good enough to do them on Thursday. I did seven rather than the planned eight (miscounted).
Friday was another of my Frankenworkouts: a long run at recovery pace plus some faster intervals and short rests. I had issues with my HRM acting oddly again, and as a result I probably ran these a might too fast. Looking on the bright side, though, I’ve definitely got my speed back. I ran one repeat at 6:07 pace, which is quick for me. I couldn’t even get below 6:30 pace for a stride a few months ago when I was starting on the iron and D supps.
Saturday were two blah runs. Just getting in the miles. I crawled along at very low heart rates in order to get ready for…
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! This was the run I’d been saving myself for all week. A big 22 mile run with some elbow grease applied. The weather was atrocious, as we had the first Noreaster of the season moving through NY. But it didn’t seemed quite bad enough to take things inside on the treadmill. Some part of me believes that training in less than ideal conditions is a good mental exercise anyway. You never know what you’ll get on race day and if you’ve done some hard runs in wind and rain that offers some psychological innoculation against at least that aspect of pre-race freakouts.
I decided to do this run in Central Park. I like running the hills (I know; I’m weird that way). And since it’s a multiple loop course, if the weather turns truly foul I can always cut it short and come home. I can’t do that if I’m 10 miles away from home in Valhalla when the downpour starts.
The assignment was to run the first 12 at 75% MHR, then step up to 80% for the final 10. When I started my run the rain was steady but not terrible. I ran the first 6 in a t-shirt, long sleeve and “water resistant” jacket, plus gloves and a waterproof hat. I was soon boiling, so had to run back to the car on Columbus Ave. for a costume change. I took off my hat and my hair was soaked not from rain but from sweat.
I swapped the outer layers and ended up with the t-shirt and a very light fleece with zip up collar. Dumped the gloves and hat. Kept the tights as I was not about to pull my pants down in the middle of Manhattan (those days are long over!). Now I was ready to roll. The rain remained steady, but there were a few windows of 20 minutes or so when it turned to a mere drizzle. It was actually nearly perfect running weather, but for the wind.
While I was there I discovered a large walk for breast cancer — about 5,000 people according to the news accounts. I’m glad the park can play host to such events but I wish the marshalls would clue participants in to the fact that there are other people using the park. The walkers took up the entire roadway in some sections, so I had to hop up on curbs or take the pedestrian path (to the annoyance of regular park patrons) to get around them. Fortunately, they were done by around 11:15 and I just had 45 minutes or so of faster running by then.
The run was not easy, but it wasn’t particularly difficult either. If anything, I had trouble keeping the effort low for the first twelve. I was more in the 77-78% range for a lot of those miles, probably due to the hills and wind. I was up near 80% a mile early and drifted into the 81% range for a lot of the later miles. I only started really feeling the effort in the last three miles and in some ways the challenge was as much in the mental realm as it was in the physical one. I finished up with a faster last half mile in the 85% range and was done! Total time: just over 3:10 for 22.14 miles. I like to do a 22 miler in the 3:00-3:10 range, so I was happy with this time considering the awful conditions and tough course.
I’m a little shocked that I could do this run after a Sunday race followed by a big mileage week, but there you have it. This has me feeling pretty good about what I can accomplish in the coming weeks. I’ll hit 95 this week, which includes four days of doubles and a “sandwich run” on Sunday, again in Central Park with the Marathon Kickoff 5 miler.