Fall Training: Week 10

After three back-to-back 90+ mile weeks, I took a week of recovery. I ran 70 miles over 11 sessions this week, many of them inside on the treadmill. The majority of those miles were at recovery pace, with two exceptions.

Aside from early Friday morning, which offered a few hours respite from what has been a multi-week stretch of heat index days at 90 or above, the weather was horrible. You better believe I took advantage of the cool and dry (relatively speaking) temps on Friday. I did some hard running outside that morning: 2 miles very easy, followed by 10 miles with alternating chunks at (well, almost at) my current marathon pace of 7:22.

I couldn’t quite hit 7:22 on most of the miles, but I wasn’t that far off. I do know that it just felt really good to run fast without feeling like a blanket soaked in hot molasses had been thrown over me. I wonder how many more heat and humidity-related analogies I can think up over the summer.

This morning I did 16 miles inside on the treadmill to avoid the thunderstorms and that too went very well. I did 2 miles very easy warmup pace followed by 14 at 8:20-8:30. My heart rate during those harder miles was a mere 70-72%. This is good, because in a week or two I again move my training paces downward from a 3:13 marathon to 3:10. I think I’ll be ready for it.

One of the advantages to training over the summer in New York is that the fall brings big surprises in terms of fitness gains. During last summer I was working on a mileage base rather than training for a fall race. I spent the whole summer running lots of miles at 70% heart rate, suffering through the heat and humidity, wondering if it was doing me any good. Then I ran a few races in the fall, when the weather had turned cooler, and I was completely blown away by how much faster I’d become. And this was with no race-specific training.

So whenever I start whining to myself during a miserably hot run, I remind myself that my hidden treasure awaits in a few months if I remain patient and keep the faith.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: 3.2 miles recovery pace (AM); 4.9 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Wednesday: 6 miles recovery pace (AM); 5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 5 miles recovery pace (AM); 4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Friday: 12 miles easy pace with 2 x 2 x 1 at slightly slower than marathon pace (AM); 3.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 6 miles recovery pace (AM); 5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Sunday: 16 mile long run (steady pace)

Total mileage: 70.2 miles

Paces this week:

  • Recovery: 9:55 – 11:10
  • Easy: 8:00 – 9:30
  • Marathon pace(ish): 7:28 – 7:39
  • Long: 8:20 – 8:30

I’ve got a minor issue with my left shin, a spot on the bone that is sometimes tender to the touch. I’m aware of it sometimes when I run — not a pain, really, but more just a spot that’s asserting itself. A stiffness, maybe. It’s a different sensation than I had with shinsplints last year.

I don’t want to screw around with things like possible stress fractures. So I’m icing it a few times a day. If it doesn’t go away, I’ll probably sacrifice some mileage in the coming weeks and if that still doesn’t help, I’ll go to the orthopedist.

Sort of reminds me of that stupid joke:

“Doctor, doctor, I have this strange pain on my shin.”

“When do you feel this strange pain?”

“When I press on it. What should I do?”

“Don’t press on it.”

This week my Swiss sunglasses (which Jonathan won in the Westchester Marathon last fall) began to fall apart. At $129 retail (and Swiss made, no less), I’d expect them not to fall apart. But even Krazy Glue was not up to the task of keeping the right lens from popping out with the slightest pressure applied while cleaning. So I’ll keep them as my “backup” glasses to throw in a gear bag. Too bad, because aside from the fact that they were a bit too dark and had frames that obstructed the ground view and had a tendency to fog up, I liked them. Er, maybe I didn’t like them that much, on second thought. To replace them, I ordered new ones from Zappos that have photosensitive lenses and are nearly as light as the dying Swiss pair. I hope they don’t fall apart in nine months, but at $62 I won’t be heartbroken if they do.

The NYC Half Marathon was run this morning. And I am glad I wasn’t there. Jesus, those people looked HOT, and I don’t mean “hey, baby” hot. I know that NYRR is planning to move it to another month. Good idea! July is the hottest month, usually. I’d consider running it during the fall or spring, or even winter, but not in high summer. At least it gave me something to watch during my long run this morning.

Coming up in Fall Training Week 11: Back up to 97ish miles and — weather and bodyclock permitting — a 20 mile marathon pace training run in Central Park at 7AM.