Patience. Endurance. And more patience.

It’s been surprisingly difficult to get back into a regular running routine, considering how much I missed running from August through October. I had a rough goal of achieving 40 mpw over the past few weeks. But then I found myself skipping planned runs. Or, rather, I had no plans. So not running was easy to do on many days.

Coach Sandra is still traveling and that’s fine. I told her a few weeks back that I was dropping plans for a spring marathon and that I just needed to get injury-free before I could think about making any significant training or racing plans. Building mileage and getting rid of my remaining adductor problems have been the only goals on the horizon.

Still, one needs a plan. In my case, a specific one. “Run 40 mpw” isn’t enough structure for me. So I’ve mapped out runs for the next five weeks. Two of those weeks consist of the “pre-race” schedule Sandra had put into my original plan over the summer. The others include one tempo or fartlek session midweek and a long run on Sunday. Mileage is 35-45 mpw. I have one doubles day. This at least resembles real training, and it’s reasonable to think I can stick to it. I’m giving myself a day off from running about every 7-10 days.

I have races penciled in, despite my better judgment. First, the NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler in early February. That’s completely dependent on how the tempo/fartlek efforts go. If I still have adductor pain, forget it. But if not, I’ll probably go for it. Then, in very soft, highly erasable pencil, the Cherry Tree 10 Miler a couple of weeks later.

That one is probably not practical, based on my run today. I did 11.2 miles in Central Park, although I’d planned to do 12. I ran a bit faster than the previous run two weeks ago (and it was very windy today), and four of them were well under 8:00 at a not ridiculous effort. But I don’t have real endurance yet. I was cooked at 10 miles and made my way out of the park via a shortcut.  I’ll try for 12 next Sunday, down from my original planned 14.

It drives me crazy not to have something to work toward. So I’m going to loosely train for the NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 15K. That’s 10 weeks away. My best time in that race is 1:07:18 in 2009, and that was doing it as a tempo effort training run with 6 miles tacked onto either side of it. Incidentally, I have no fucking clue how I was doing runs like that two years ago. It seems impossible now.

Running a decent 15K would give me opportunity train for endurance and speed, which training for these 4 milers won’t give me. But I figure I can punt if I’m still struggling with longer distances and just do the Colon Cancer 4 miler instead as a measuring stick against whatever I do next month.

I’m not ready to jump into marathon training yet, physically or otherwise. I need to feel like I can run 50 mpw consistently without getting reinjured. But, looking a bit farther ahead this season, I’m thinking a run at the half distance in Long Island in May (and hoping we don’t have another freak heat wave) is not a terrible idea.

In totally unrelated news, we had a good New York Running Show episode this evening, in which we (Joe, Amy, Brenn and I) covered all things related to training in Central Park (and some racing tips), as well as a discussion of whether men should wear shorts over their tights. We had 83 downloads of the show last week. That’s up from around 50 a few weeks ago. Explosive growth!

Race Report: NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler

Just a quickie report.

Fuckin-A! I finally had a good race.

I managed a 28:11 (7:02 pace). This brings my best pace in NYRR’s books down a hefty 12 seconds per mile. Perhaps more important, I know I could have broken 28:00 had I not gotten caught in the 2nd corral logjam for the first half mile, during which I was trapped at 7:27 pace. After that, things opened and I was averaging 6:58.

Other good news:

  • I clocked 4.02 in distance, which means I did a better job hitting the tangents than usual (either that or the course was short).
  • I maintained effort throughout and only really started to hurt the last quarter mile; this tells me I did a decent job of pacing myself. Perhaps I should have been hurting a little earlier, now that I look back.
  • I got 5th in my AG, and hit just under 73%, which is very good historically for me, especially at the start of a season. I’m also scraping the top end (I turn 45 in less than two months), so I’m “old” for this AG group as it is.
  • It was windy, especially heading up to and over the 102nd Street Transverse, which I figure I can also credit for taking a few seconds away from me.

So I’m within spitting distance of my sub-7:00 blue bib. I’ve registered for the NYRR 8000 in five weeks, so I can take another crack at it.

Some things of note: I did speedwork on Thursday morning, then ran just two slow runs under 5 miles on Friday and Saturday. I wonder if that (and two glasses of wine last night) helped me today.

As I wrote to Coach Kevin, it is so nice to not be in a completely foul mood after a race.

Now to go for another run and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening ignoring the Super Bowl.

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