Training: July 31-Aug 13

After the past year I am so gun shy with regard to injury that I shouldn’t even say this. But I will: I am finally training consistently, and having consistently good workouts. Keys to this are, I believe:

  • Taking days off fairly frequently — and by that I mean completely off; no cross-training, no nothing.
  • Maxing out at two hard workouts per week, with rare exception.
  • Skipping strides if my legs are too tired.
  • Cutting down a workout (but not abandoning it completely) if I’m tired, the weather’s bad, etc.
  • Adding volume slowly and with great caution.


Here’s something else I shouldn’t say: I think I’m getting faster. First I had a ridiculously (for me) fast 10 miler on a miserably hot and humid day on July 31. Then I had an okay race, also on a miserably hot day. I’ve also had some very good speed sessions. Especially Friday’s. That was a good one. It was fairly low humidity, although windy. I tempted fate by going to the track, the scene of a horrible calf strain in early June that created a pause in training for a month.

But all was well on Friday. Better than well. I ripped through the workout at paces that were around 10-15 seconds faster per mile than previous editions. Did I run them too hard? I’m not sure. I don’t think so.

I am trying to get weight work in at least once per week. Next week I’ll add in some pylometrics (leaping up onto platforms, mostly) in anticipation that this will help with mile racing. Speaking of mile racing, there’s a series of track miles being run up at the stadium in Van Cortlandt Park this month and next. They are being organized by the Metropolitan Milers. I will probably run the one on September 9th as a time trial for the Fifth Avenue Mile.

But before that I have the Percy Sutton 5K, which runs through the streets of Harlem, in about two weeks. I have no idea what to expect from myself in a 5K given the focus on mile training right now. But, you know, it’s only 3.1 miles. It’s not a marathon.

8 Responses

  1. Evidence continues to point toward the 8K to half-marathon races representing your true wheelhouse. As we discovered over a period of a year and a half, you are one of those unfortunates whose body tends to stand up to the rigors of high-mileage marathon training without compensating you with the ability to actually run a marathon commensurate with that training. Sounds like you’re about to have a renaissance with your shorter-distance PRs once the weather cools off. Don’t let the little voice yammering away in your head tell you that you’re slacking just because you aren’t doing 70 to 90+ miles a week anymore.

    Also, I read “gunshy” as “GUN’-shee” at first. And at second and third. I had similar trouble with the stool softener Golytely back when I was playing doctor. Instead of reading it as “Go lytely,” I could not help but hear “Golly Telly!” whenever I looked at a container of the stuff.

    • Yes, I just separated it into “gun shy” for the same reason.

      I didn’t realize the Audrey Hepburn had anything in common with stool softeners.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I do suspect that I’ll make some interesting discoveries in the second half of the year. When we were working together I had some great races in the 15K or under range.

      At present I’m not feeling like even 10 weeks will have been enough time to reach my potential in the mile. But I can always continue to work on that distance. I am very curious to see how I do in the 5K in January off of three months’ specific training (and on top of the mile work) for that.

      I’ll tell you this much: With the exception of garden variety long runs, I don’t miss marathon training. At all.

  2. glad things are going well! you probably said this, but is this based off a particular training plan? I don’t really know anything about training for the mile (seeing as how the last time I raced one was 10 years ago), but I feel like my friends that ran it would alternate between our the kind of interval workouts you’ve been doing and things like 2-3 x 400, 2-3 x 300, 2-3 x 200 at race pace or faster. and a metric shit ton of drills. I’ve been doing a lot of drills and strides lately. I hate them, which means they’re working. Anyway, I’m just curious what all is out there, since I think Daniels is the only book I know about that covers mid-d.

    • Daniels’ book (2nd edition) is what I’m using. He does not specifically cover (or assign) drills, so I’m looking into what I should be doing there — I’d love links if you have them! The strides are something I’ve had to get used to doing again, but I do think they are helping me run faster on my harder days and in races.

      As for other training plans, these looked pretty good:
      http://www.runningplanet.com/training/mile-1500-meter-training.html

      I looked at the intermediate plan at the above link but ultimately went with Daniels because I knew I couldn’t handle the frequency of workouts in the Running Planet plan but didn’t know what to cut back on from week to week. Daniels’ prioritized workouts provided me with that guidance.

  3. Does look like you’re getting faster. Not sure what it is, but I think there’s a benefit at the muscular level (especially for older runners) in running lower mileage and higher quality (if one is only racing up to the half marathon distance). Only problem is that it’s not easily measurable, except perhaps by a standing long or high jump. Go carefully with the plyos — drills too, bring them in gradually. The race at Van Cortlandt would be a great one to do prior to 5th Ave.

    • Yes, Ewen, whether or not one has improved is a big mystery for some of us. But I’m happier living with that mystery when the question mark isn’t attached to a marathon. Joe reminded me that we have a mile road race right in our backyard, so I’m going to run that one about two weeks before the goal mile to see where I am.

      I hope the rest of your trip was everything you wanted it to be. I was amazed at how much running you got in!

      • Thanks. It was good, but NYC will always be a special memory. I was incredibly disciplined about running daily (not wanting to return ‘worse’ than when I left), more disciplined than I’ve ever been about any aspect of running. Which meant running early A.M. (which I don’t enjoy) or sometimes late in the evening. Joy and Mal weren’t totally cool with this, but I think Joy was more annoyed with the ‘smelly’ (which they weren’t — I’d just washed them in the shower) clothes hanging up in the bathroom.

  4. We all make sacrifices for our friends, Ewen. :) I remain impressed by your discipline and adventurousness.

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