[Goal?] Training: Week 1

It’s both strange and liberating to have no goal race for this round of training.* I don’t even know when training will “end” because of this absence of a race to work toward. I’m just training for training’s sake right now. That is okay.

For my first trick, I went out and whaled through a high effort run through the hilly streets of my neighborhood, Crestwood. Yonkers, which Crestwood straddles with Eastchester, is as a whole very hilly. Yet the running path I typically use isn’t that hilly at all. It cuts through the hills all the way from Bronxville up to Valhalla (just on the uppermost edge of Southern Westchester), with a 1.5 mile break on roads along the way. So when I do run elsewhere around here, it’s always something of a shock.

So I ran up and down in the local streets since the path was iced over and I needed a break from the treadmill. Crap pace at high effort (85% avg). Bleh.

The Festival of Slowness continued through the next few days, with slow runs on the treadmill, followed by a slowspeedwork session, again inside. That was also a bummer. I was running 7:30 intervals at 92-93%. Oh, my God. Kevin used the word “nadir” to define this post-bad marathon, post-holiday, post-sitting on my ass period.

Just as I was feeling most despondent, things picked up late in the week. My resting HR finally settled down into the mid-40s again after a month of being elevated. Then my recovery pace vs. effort picked up on Saturday. Yesterday I went out to do another very hilly run in Scarsdale, again because the path is still frozen (and looks to be that way until at least Friday).

That was a damned good run, all things considered. I kept up a 9:15 pace at avg 78% for most of the early miles, then did a few 8:50s (the last at 8:30) in the second half. Elevation up/down was 2000+ ft., to which my calves can attest today. I enjoy running this course because I get to run through some really beautiful neighborhoods. The Scarsdale 15K and 4M races go through some of these same streets, and I’ll be running one of those in April, so it’s also good practice.

I trained on these streets a lot during my buildup for my spring 2008 marathon, and I think it helped me deal with the hills in Central Park. So I’ll be up there a lot this winter and spring to prepare for my hilly races.

One annoying thing that happened: I’m running up Brite Avenue, listening to Pink Floyd, when I hear a rumbling behind me and smell exhaust. I look back and there’s a huge truck right behind me, driving on the wrong side of the street. I think, “Oh, it must be pulling over to park,” but it stays behind me for another hundred feet. I pause the music so I can hear if I’m about to get run over. I think the truck will go around me, but, no, it stays right on my tail. Now I’m getting pissed off. So I hop up on someone’s lawn and wait for the truck to go by. Then it stops 15 feet ahead of me, presumably in front of the address where it’s making a delivery. I ask the driver why he felt he had to drive right behind me along the entire street. His reply: “I had to deliver on this side. I thought if I kept driving you’d eventually go faster.” Fucking moron.

This week features a substantial, but not insane, jump in mileage and another speed session, which I hope to be able to do on the track. I think there’s some tempo work too, but I don’t have pace assignments yet.

The days are getting longer and I’m getting a little faster. These things make me happy.

*Ignore the field that says “21 weeks until race.” I’m just too lazy to update the spreadsheet.

7 Responses

  1. So even the trucker thought you were slow? That would be the nadir. One day you’ll laugh about this. Good to hear that things are getting zipper though. Have fun with the goal-free training.

  2. Funny you mention the terrain, I ran a fair amount of mileage in (northern, Valhalla was as far south as I got) Westchester several years back and found I couldn’t find ANY flat streets. GREAT hill training down there. (And to that end, I hear the Yonkers marathon is brutal…)

    And that truck driver is up there on the asshole scale. Wow.

  3. Hihaha, the trucker want that you go faster, what a joke!.
    I believe you go’s better abd better and you will see that fun and slow makes faster!.
    Bevore you now it is summer!.
    Next time run whit my on the (snow) beach in Egmond ;-).
    Rinus.

  4. At least he didn’t lob an empty beer bottle at you as he drove past. But if he had, you could have replied with a snowshoe ;)

    I’ve seen worse week 1s. Enjoy the improvement and freedom from racing.

  5. Nice week of training. I wouldn’t sweat the paces at this point (you know I’m a total hypocrite since I don’t follow my own advice). I like that your writing about your running is upbeat and you are excited about training again.

    Sounds like we need to trade terrain for a while. I envy your hills.

    • I’m definitely out of my post-race funk. And now that it’s warmed up a little, I can start running outside more than once or twice a week for however long this arctic weather respite lasts.

      Yes, I was surprised by how flat Sacramento was when I was there in December for the first time. As for this area, I do so much running on my path that I forget how hilly the area is. While I don’t like downhill marathons (or, rather, my quads don’t like them), I’ve been reminded over the past few weeks that I have plently of options for preparing for them.

      And, yes, the Yonkers marathon is brutal. No PR’s on that course.

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