Fall Training: Weeks 14 and 15

Another twofer report. I’ve been astonishingly busy lately with work and other things. I promised I’d get caught up on the training reports today, so here I am.

Week 14 was a recovery week in which I’d planned to run about 55 miles, most of them recovery miles. Things were going well until the weekend. The week’s mileage got cut down to just under 40 due to (as Alka Seltzer puts it in quaint nineteenth century parlance) “overindulgence in food and drink.”

We had friends over on Saturday evening, and they brought not only hours of good conversation with them but also a huge box of delicious treats from Billy’s Bakery consisting of highly concentrated amounts of sugar and fat. Yum. They left at midnight, but we were so wired that we stayed up until around 3AM watching the Tivo’d mens Olympic marathon and pouring ourselves more buckets of wine. Needless to say, that 14 miler I’d planned for Sunday morning was conveniently forgotten about.

So that week was a lot easier than originally planned. Not surprisingly, I felt very recovered going into week 15. I think I may experiment with radical mileage cut downs during some recovery weeks (to a third rather than half) during the next training cycle, since my workouts this past week went very well. Could being adequately rested have had something to do with that?

Last week was crazy busy with work (both my full-time contracting gig and extra freelance). Long hours punctuated by lots of running. I also slept horribly during the early part of the week for mysterious reasons. I had a good general aerobic (easy) run on Tuesday, and threw in some strides. Then did a longer recovery run on Wednesday, and then felt horrible that evening: Heavy legs, no energy, crappy attitude. I went to bed that night believing that I’d feel better the next day, and, lo, I did. So much better that I knocked out a 21 mile progressive long run, which averaged an 8:03 pace and even featured the last two-thirds of a mile at 6:35 pace!*

Was I satisfied with that? Of course not. 72 hours later I proceeded to go out and run a smokin‘ hot marathon pace run on Sunday morning: 12+ miles with 4 marathon pace miles thrown in at various points in the run. I met or exceeded my target pace of 7:10 too, with my heart rate right about where it should be during each Mpace mile interval. Go, me.

A look back at training week 14 (recovery week):

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: Off
  • Wednesday: 5.2 miles recovery pace (AM); 4.2 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 9.9 miles recovery pace (AM)
  • Friday: 5.2 miles recovery pace (AM); 4.6 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 10.4 miles recovery pace (AM); Bacchanalian merriment and self abuse (PM)
  • Sunday: Off

Total mileage: 39.6 miles

And training week 15:

  • Monday: 7.4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 7.2 easy run + strides (AM); 4.2 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Wednesday: 9.7 miles recovery pace (AM); 2 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 21 mile long run (progressive) (AM); what, are you kidding? (PM)
  • Friday: 7.1 miles recovery pace (AM); 5.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 6.8 miles recovery pace (AM); 5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Sunday: 12.2 miles marathon pace (AM); 4.3 miles recovery pace (PM)

Total mileage: 91.7 miles

Paces these past two weeks:

  • Recovery: 8:48 – 10:58
  • Easy: 7:45 – 8:15
  • Marathon pace: 7:05 – 7:08
  • Long: 6:35 – 8:55

In other news, I made the rather radical decision to cut off huge amounts of my hair. I now have a haircut that makes me look pretty much like a slightly taller Cindy Lou Who. Now that I’m used to it, I’m now thinking it’s not short enough. I may go for a Mia Farrow During the Sinatra Years cut next time…

Also, since drinking and TV constitute two of the remaining joys (and vices) in my life, I will share the recent discovery that a vodka martini with two olives contains a mere 220 calories! Also, there’s a new series on Sundance starting next weekend, written by and starring Jennifer Saunders, The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle. Between this and the new season of Dexter, I am beside myself.

Coming up in Fall Training Week 16: Another one of Frank’s Killer Tempo runs on Tuesday, a 14 miler run at 105% marathon pace on Thursday and an exciting 10 mile race on Sunday.

* Why did I run this fast? Because there was a guy on my heels for the last 3-4 miles who was driving me a little nuts. Since my run was a progressive/fast finish effort, I was running those miles faster and faster. I’d speed up. Then he’d speed up. Finally, toward the end, I could hear him closing in on me.

I decided that I may as well use the opportunity to work on “mental toughness.” So I pretended we were in a race (which I suppose we sort of were) and that there was no way I was going to let him beat me to the finish. Since he kept speeding up, I guess 6:35 was what I had to run in order to “win”. I had no clue I could even run that fast over that distance, let alone at the end of a hard 20 miler. I suppose it’s a good illustration of how racing environments can introduce motivational factors that are very difficult to duplicate in a solo training run.