Training week in review: 12 of 18

This week’s training theme:

Listening to your body is more important than slavishly holding to a generic schedule.

With the exception of the speed intervals on Tuesday — a first! — there was no one run during this week that was anything new or different than I’d done many times before. But, collectively, and perhaps because of the speed session, week twelve was quite tiring. Especially coming off of week eleven, which was also challenging.

The speed session was the highlight of the week. I did it just two days after the big 25 miler in Central Park. It consisted of a six mile warmup run, which took me to the Bronxville High School track. This is a brand new track, and Bronxville has one of the highest per student spending budgets in the country. So it’s a nice track.

The speed session consisted of 5 x 600 meters at 5K pace. Since I’m training at paces for a 3:24 marathon at this point, that equated to covering 600m in 2:30. While that’s not going to break any records, for me it was very fast. As usual, conditions were less than optimal, with a 15 mph wind from the south. Still, I kept to (in fact exceeded) the pace despite the brisk wind. And I suppose it’s normal to be breathing like a panicky water buffalo, running at the nose and heaving at the end of each interval. No, it wasn’t that bad. But it definitely wore me out and I was glad when the last repeat was over.

And yet, oddly disappointed. There’s something gratifying about running ridiculously fast around a track. I can’t fathom actually racing other people on a track. It seems so much more intimate and unforgiving an environment as compared to the open road. But I can handle the heavy breathing on a solo basis at least.

The training schedule called for a long run the day after the speed session. After all these months, I have a good sense of what’s going to be too much. I was completely knackered the morning after, so made it a recovery day and tackled the long run/recovery run combo a day later.

I did a single recovery run on Friday, which seemed like a real luxury given all the doubles I’m doing. Then a 10 mile easy run on Saturday, which went splendidly; my legs were very fresh and I was going at quite a clip. Which, of course, drained me for Sunday’s long run, an 18+ series of loops through Scarsdale and White Plains, since the running path was (and is still) covered in ice and snow from Friday’s storm.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 6 miles recovery pace (AM), 3 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 9.9 mile easy pace, including 5 x 600 repeats
  • Wednesday: 6.3 miles recovery pace (AM), 3.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 14.9 mile long run (steady) pace (PM), 4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Friday: 6.3 miles recovery pace
  • Saturday: 10 miles easy pace
  • Sunday: 18.6 mile long run (steady pace)

Total mileage: 82.5 miles

Paces this week:

  • Speed intervals: 2:25 – 2:29 (600m)
  • Recovery: 10:00 – 10:30
  • Easy: 8:15 – 9:00
  • Long: 8:25 – 9:30

All in all, a tough week. I’m going to consider it a lesson in being flexible: moving days around to allow for more recovery, reducing mileage if necessary, running slower if I’m still tired from the previous day, etc. The goal is to get to the actual race healthy and ready mentally and physically. If I need to adjust things here and there to accomplish that, so be it.

This week’s quote:

It is true that speed kills. In distance running it kills anyone who doesn’t have it.

–Brooks Johnston

Coming up in training week thirteen: The suffering continues, with speedwork, long runs, easy runs and on Sunday a 25K race in Connecticut, which I’ll use as a 15 mile marathon pace training run.

But, the race is in sight — it’s only six weeks away. I’ve only got three more weeks of real training, and then I’m into my taper. What on Earth will I do with all that free time?