Training week in review: 5 of 18

This week’s training theme:

Stress. Recover. Adapt. Repeat.

And that is the essence of training.

When I looked at this 18 week training plan originally, I remember thinking that the recovery weeks were too few and far between. Maybe I’ll still feel that way in a few weeks, but for now I think going five weeks full tilt has been just right. The sixth week starts tomorrow, and it’s a full recovery week, meaning both the mileage and the intensity of the workouts are cut back to allow some rest — presumably to facilitate further adaptation.

I am a true believer so far. I was quite tired this week — more than in previous weeks, which suggests a cumulative fatigue — so it seems right that a recovery week follows this one. What makes me believe? The results: I’m very comfortable running at race pace (8:00 minutes per mile) — which I was not a month ago — and that’s evidenced by the fact that I’m doing it at a lower and lower heart rate, even over longer and longer distances.

I also did my second tempo run (inside), and that went very well. Not exactly easy, but not as difficult as the one two weeks ago; plus, I ran it quite a bit faster this time around. And, finally, today I did a 20 miler with the last 7 at race or sub-race pace in 2:51. I felt very good and could have kept running, which is always a good sign.

According to MarathonGuide’s 2007 annual report on US marathoning, 4,845 women finished in under 3:30:00 last year. I want to be in that crowd this year, and I’m feeling more and more confident that this training plan will get me there.

A look back at the week:

I did a few of my runs inside on the treadmill this week, either because of bitter cold (and icy paths) or to save my legs on recovery days.

  • Monday: 6 miles (AM) and 4 miles (PM), both inside, recovery pace
  • Tuesday: 10 mile tempo run (inside) with four miles at 15K pace
  • Wednesday, 15 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Thursday, 6 miles (inside), recovery pace
  • Friday, 13.1 miles, long run (progressive), last two at 10 seconds below race pace
  • Saturday, 5.9 miles (inside), recovery pace
  • Sunday, 20.3 miles, long run (progressive) pace, last seven at or below race pace

Total mileage: 80.3 miles

Paces this week:

  • Tempo: 7:25
  • Long: 7:50 – 9:45
  • Recovery: 9:30-10:35

This week’s quote:

Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is working in training to get gradually stronger.
— Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic Marathoner

Coming up in training week six: A much needed week of recovery. One eight mile easy run, lots of recovery runs and shorter long runs.

Unfortunately, that means fewer calories available for eating, but most things in life involve some sort of tradeoff, don’t they?