Training: Feb 27-Mar 5

Here ya go.

I was really keyed up after the previous week’s long run in Central Park. I ran what was supposed to be a 5 mile recovery run way too hard, in wind and on hills, around my local streets in the Crestwood neighborhood. My adductor started hurting, so I cut it short and took the next day off.

Determined to stay off the treadmill,  on Tuesday I headed up to Scarsdale for what was supposed to be a progression run with 2 fast miles at the end. But I was really beat, plus it was incredibly windy again. So I made do with a run at decent effort, dropping the faster stuff. I knew I had a speed session and a race coming up, so there was no point in pushing things.

Wednesday featured a horrible track workout. That was unhelpful.

I spent the next few days focusing on getting mentally ready to race a 5K, since my body was not doing its fair share. One of the Harriers’ coaches sent round a “Racing Coogan’s for Dummies” document and I studied up. Then I did some race visualization. I know it sounds hokey, but I’ll try anything at this point.

That race went pretty well, although I was a minute off my PR. But I was not expecting miracles. Nor did I get them.

And there you have it. I ran a measly 31 miles, but given my performance on Sunday, that is okay. I’m becoming convinced that less is more when it comes to pre-race mileage, provided you keep the quality up.

This week I’m back up to 50 mpw, with the staples: progression, speed, long. With the exception of one fartlek session featuring Billat surges, all of my speedier stuff between now and April 10th’s Scotland 10K race is track torture. While it’s not 10K training per se, the variety of shorter track stuff mixed with progression work over hills is bound to help when I line up for that race five weeks from now. Or at least I hope so.

4 Responses

  1. I tend to run a lot of easy runs to hard…I am working on changing that during this training and concenrating on taking them easy. I am trying to stay off the treadmill now myself with spring around the corner. I still do tempo/ hills on it

    cheers

  2. You had a good race, so 31 miles with 2 days off is fine. Agree about keeping the intensity up when mileage drops. I think that’s where many go wrong with long tapers for races.

  3. Hello.

    First off, I’m a fairly new reader of your blog and have been enjoying it. Your progress as a runner has been impressive.

    I do wonder why you think 31 miles for a week is measly. That’s a decent amount of miles for amateurs that want to improve their times.

    Just for perspective, I’m the same age as you, but have been running more or less my whole adult life. I’ve picked it up again since 1999 with some regular racing and am still improving my times during what I call my ‘modern age’ of running. I’m currently prepping for the NYC half-marathon and am topping out at 30 miles per week.

    Until I trained for my first marathon this past fall (Marine Corps) 30 miles a week was almost never heard of. Training up to my best 10 mile performance (1:05:00) I kept the miles between 20 and 25 per week.

    Now during training for the marathon I did reach 50 miles 1 week but only had 3 weeks out of 24 training weeks above 40 miles. With this I was able to pull off a 3:14 for that first marathon.

    So I just throw this out there as food for thought. Fast running can be achieved with low mileage and hopefully less chance of injury. The Runner’s World *Run Less, Run Faster* book lays out some strong evidence for doing more with fewer miles although I have only recently become aware of that. I’ve very naturally come to my fewer miles approach. Lower mileage is something to consider. After all, we all hope to keep running healthy for years to come.

    Run and write strong. :-)

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Eric. It’s all relative, isn’t it? For one runner, 31 miles is “measly” and for another it’s high mileage. In 2008 and 2009 my mileage averaged around 70 mpw. Last year, due to a long injury-induced layoff, it was about half that (or — measly! — around 30 mpw). I doubt that I will ever train in the 95 mpw range again, because I did not get the results that I wanted.

      I agree that 30 mpw is a good amount for a recreational runner to facilitate improvement. But I also believe (as does my coach) that in order to race to your potential at the marathon distance, you need more mileage than that, at least during your 4-5 month buildup. Finding the magic number is where the mystery lies — for all of us.

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