Fall Training: Week 11

“Runners like to train 100 miles per week because it’s a round number. But I think 88 is a lot rounder.”
— Don Kardong

Although I hadn’t intended to, I hit over 100 miles this week. 100.1, to be exact. The plan called for 97. But a half mile extra here, a quarter mile extra there, and over 13 sessions it’s easy to inadvertently tack on a few extra miles. So far, so good. My legs haven’t yet snapped in two, fallen off or worn away to unsightly stubs at the ankles. Nor has the niggling sore spot returned.

Aside from hitting triple digits, the week was notable in a few other areas. I started adding a second recovery session to most quality days. I also started the process of extending the length of a few of my recovery runs by a mile or so, which I’ll be doing to keep the mileage up there for the remainder of training.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 3.0 miles recovery pace (AM); 7.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 14.4 mile long run (steady pace) (AM); 4.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Wednesday: 5 miles recovery pace (AM); 6 miles with 3 at tempo pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles recovery pace (AM); 5.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Friday: 7.4 miles recovery pace (AM); 6.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 20.5 mile long run (steady pace)
  • Sunday: 7.0 miles recovery pace (AM); 6.1 miles recovery pace (PM)

Total mileage: 100.1 miles

Paces this week:

  • Recovery: 9:16 – 10:28
  • Tempo: 6:45 – 7:00
  • Long: 7:45 – 8:45

The tempo run on Wednesday was done inside on the treadmill. I really don’t trust the treadmill’s calibration. Maybe it’s the effect of being pulled backward on the belt, but it always feels as if I’m running a lot faster inside than I am outside at equal paces. I broke up the run into a 2 mile segment at 7:00, then a 1 mile bit at 6:45. Running that fast is a real shock, and I had trouble relaxing my shoulders and arms, as well as getting my legs to move fast enough. I’ll be glad when I can get back to doing these on the track in the fall, after the weather turns cooler.

The other tough run was Saturday’s long training run in Central Park. It was quite hot, with a dew point approaching 70%. I’d planned to do this as a marathon pace run: First 13 easy pace, last 7 marathon pace. It was obvious pretty early that I wouldn’t be able to hit that pace. So I ended up doing 2 miles very slow, then started working my pace down from 8:45 to 7:45, taking 5-10 seconds off per mile, then back up to 8:15 and the last few miles easy.

It felt like a failed run at the time, but when I got home and looked at my splits I realized that I managed to run 16+ miles at about 8-12% slower than marathon pace. So, while it wasn’t a marathon pace run, it was still a well-executed workout considering the course and conditions. I’d like to do more of the NYRR training runs. It was enjoyable to run with other people without the pressure of racing. There were enough people to run with, but not so many that it felt crowded. Everyone was very low key and there was plenty of water. I’m sure I took in more than I normally do on summer long runs; I certainly took it in more steadily, as compared to every five miles or so when I’m relying on stashed bottles between Bronxville and Valhalla.

The heat and humidity subsided yesterday and, at least in the morning, it was — yes, I’ll use this word: “delightful” — to be outside. That is really saying something, considering it’s August in New York. It seems pretty nice out there right now, where I’ll be heading in about 15 minutes. I hope it holds through to tomorrow morning at least, when I have my next session of hill repeats.

Complete non sequitur: My legs are becoming very shapely indeed.

Coming up in Fall Training Week 12: If this week is anything to go by, I’ll hit triple digits again. I’ve got a full dance card, with hills on Tuesday, a mid-week long run on Wednesday, an easy run with some miles at marathon pace on Friday, and then a mere 16 miles on Sunday.

9 Responses

  1. WOW, 100 miles in a week is incredible! I’ve still been struggling just to hit that in a month.

  2. …. where do youstash your water bottles en route? I have considered doing this but always imagine some homeless guy finding them & thinking he struck gold… and there have indeed been some lovely mornings for running thie past several days. I'm afraid to inx it by pointing it out too enthusiastically.

  3. Julie,

    That truly was a great week; you are an amazing runner! I’m wondering if it would have been even better if you had taken Friday off completely or at least run fewer miles from Monday-Friday. That way, you would have been better-recovered on Saturday and would have had a better shot at hitting those marathon-paced miles during Saturday’s long run. What physiological variable(s) were you trying to improve during the week?

    Very kindest regards,

  4. Pigtails: I live up in the burbs, where there are few homeless guys wandering around. I’ve also got a running path that stretches from Bronxville all the way up to the Kensico Dam in Valhalla. There’s a good hiding place about every 10 feet.

    If you can tell me where to stash water in Central Park, I’d love to know. When I do a long solo training run there, I end up wearing my Camelbak.

  5. Owen: “Physiological variables”? You flatter me — I’m not that organized!

    Your theory re: taking it easier on Friday is interesting, but quite honestly, I think the heat and humidity on Sunday was what conspired to lower my pace, not residual tiredness. It was brutal out.

  6. Julie,

    I hear you about the heat and humidity; they have been rugged. They shorten my late-night runs with my Siberian-Husky puppy; when he gets hot/tired (usually after ~ 5 miles on a muggy night), he simply cuts my legs out from under me, and the run is over! Cool nights always lead to quality runs – it is tough to keep up with him.

    The point I was trying to make is that that kind of week – 100 miles with almost everything slower than marathon pace – might be great for enhancing your ability to handle 100-mile weeks, but not so good for optimizing your marathon time. A neural pattern of running slowly gets kind of locked in, and your economy at marathon pace is not enhanced. At any rate, you’re an outstanding runner!

    Very kindest regards,

  7. julie,
    I wouldnt worry about what Mr. Owen Anderson says. “A neural pattern of running slowly gets kind of locked in, and your economy at marathon pace is not enhanced.”

    I call B.S. on that. In my last marathon (2:32) Thats 5:50/per mile, I did nothing but 8min/mi runs. Got up to 110m/wk. Even my Longer workouts were at 6:00 pace (3x5k, 2x10k+5k .etc) I did however do mile repeats at 5:15-5:20 pace every other week.

    Running slower actually improves economy. It improves your fat burning efficency. It doesnt make it worse.

    You’re doing an excellent job. Keep up the good work!

  8. I’m not worried, coachrivas. I trust my training approach, as it has been proven to work well for me in recent races.

    I just find it highly entertaining that two coaches are commenting on my blog, and disagreeing at that!

  9. Julie,

    Those are great points. But, there is no evidence at all that running more slowly improves economy. The research suggests the reverse – that running faster is the way to go.

    In a now well-known study, Paavolainen and Rusko asked one group of 5-K runners to increase weekly mileage from 45 to 70 mpw by adding moderately paced miles to their schedules. Average training pace decreased. A second group stayed at 45 mpw but increased training intensity with fast sprints and explosive drills (average training pace increased). After nine weeks or so, the 70-mpw folks failed to improve economy or 5-K performance. The 45-mile people enhanced economy and took a nice chunk out of their 5-K times (will provide ref on demand)

    Enhancing fat burning actually hurts economy, because more oxygen is required to metabolize fat during running, compared with carbs.

    Finally, it’s interesting that Coach Rivas says that all he did was 8-min pace, yet he admits that he did very long intervals at around 6-min tempo. He ended up running his marathon at very close to 6, which seems to reinforce what I was saying about specificity.

    Very kindest regards,

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