Running hard after running hard is hard

I had the rare horrible workout on Tuesday, a revisiting of the rite of passage “on/off” tempo run: 12 miles with the last 8 switching between 7:15 and 8:30 pace.

Eek. It was awful. I felt iffy going in but I’ve learned that how I feel often has no bearing on how well I run or race. So I gave it my all. Which wasn’t very much. After 3.5 very slow miles I gradually picked up the pace  to the low 8:00s to get ready to run faster. Then when the watch vibrated (yes, I have a vibrating watch; no giggling) at 4 miles I launched into my first “fast” mile. I struggled to run this in 7:56. A mere 41 seconds per mile off pace.

With a rapidly blackening mood, I took it down to 8:30 for a mile, as assigned. Even that was difficult to maintain, though, and I ended up with an 8:45. Things continued in this vein for the next few miles, although the faster ones got a bit better, more like 7:35. But I was working too hard and I knew it. The fourth fast mile was 7:20 at 93%. It was so awful that I abondoned mile 12 and called it a day at 11.1.

Jesus fucking Christ. That was a bad feeling heading into a race on Sunday in which that’s 5 seconds slower than my intended half marathon pace. Ain’t now way I’m running 13+ miles at 93%. Uh, no. Just no.

I came home, banged things around in the kitchen and then moped all morning.

Then Jonathan went out for a run and, for the heck of it, decided to try running a fast mile or two. He came back and confirmed that it had been extremely difficult to do so. I can only think that my legs were still tired from the 5K race on Saturday. I wouldn’t have thought that a 5K can take that much out of you, but I guess it’s like doing a speed session or something.

Days like that make me think of the 19 year olds who regularly post on LetsRun with questions like, “Should I hammer my workout a day after racing?” It must be nice to be young. Beyond a certain age, “hammering” a workout doesn’t even seem to be a possibility three days after racing.

I just end up feeling so fucking old when this sort of thing happens.

I took yesterday off because I was very busy with work and then had to go shopping and after all that couldn’t cope with putting on my stupid shorts and going out and running in 25 mph winds for another dose of failure. Today was better, with a pleasant little recovery run this morning, not even 5 miles, at a reasonable effort vs. pace.

It’s Thursday. I’ve got a couple of days to get ready to race. The forecast isn’t looking too favorable — warm, humid and windy — but never mind. I don’t care about anything this season, remember?

6 Responses

  1. I WANT a vibrating watch.

    About the workout — I’m sure you’ve already looked into whether you have allergies — but what you describe sounds very much like what a high pollen day is for me.

    • In that case, I’m totally screwed since I’ll be running in Pollen Central. We’ll see. I’ll load up on allergy pills. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Sure, it’d be nice to have young legs but you’re doing pretty damn well for not! Good luck this weekend, bet you’ll find Tuesday’s workout was just the remnants of the race hanging about.

  3. Like Chris, I think the bad workout could be something other than having raced on Sunday. But then again, 2 or 3 days of easy running after a race (even a 5k) is probably needed at “our” age.

    Regarding the LetsRun youngsters, “hammering” any workouts is stupid. They should only be “hammering” races. It’s the sum effect of many “lightly hammered” workouts that results in improvement. As Steve Moneghetti said when asked what is the best workout, “it’s the 2 x 7 x 52.”

  4. [...] Running hard after running hard is hard [...]

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