Spring Race Training: Week 7


Following the pattern of two weeks on and one week off, this was an off week, with just seven sessions and 66.6 miles (Satan’s mileage?).

Despite having run the previous week’s hard weekend run on Saturday rather than Sunday, I was in zombie mode on Monday. For the second time during this training cycle, I was so tired that I felt slightly fluish. I did a very slow recovery run on the treadmill (since we had a late-season blizzard on Monday) in an attempt to get myself ready for hard work on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s tempo run was short (just two miles at the end of faster running), and theoretically went better. I say theoretically because I’m never really sure of what I’m actually running on the treadmill. But it felt hard enough and my HR seemed in line with where it should be for a sub-7:00 pace.

The snow kept me inside again on Wednesday and Thursday, which had a modified speed session to allow for a little more recovery for Sunday’s 25K race/training run. This speed session went very well, although the fact that I’m not a Mathlete led to a quarter mile of extra effort.

I bumped up the mileage for Friday’s recovery run, then did a short session on the track on Saturday — five recovery miles with eight strides. I ran the strides fairly fast — in solid 5:30-5:40 territory for most of them. So now I can almost run as fast as Paula Radcliffe’s Mpace, for about 100m. Or, to draw a real world comparison, while Paula can rocket to the the moon, I can take a bus to Philadelphia.

This little track session gave me a chance to try out my first pair of spikes in a non-workout context (in case for whatever reason I’m not a spike-friendly runner). They were quite comfortable (and light at about 5.5 oz. each)*, and I’m looking forward to doing more speedwork with them in the coming weeks.

I skipped the planned PM four mile recovery run on Saturday due to a social commitment. Of all the runs I could have thrown away last week, that was the most logical one to jettison. I’m glad I did, as it probably left me a little fresher for Sunday’s race.

My resting HR was high all week. This may have reflected the usual consolidation of the previous two weeks’ work, or it may have been because I slept badly for several nights. Or it may have been too much wine. Regardless of the causes of a faster beating, I basically felt okay all week, but not great.

The race on Sunday took a lot out of me, forcing a post-prandial collapse on the couch for a two hour nap. I’m still feeling the effort today, although with each hour, the fatigue lifts just a little more.

Week 8 is a big one, with a 10 mile run including an 8 x 600m speed session on Wednesday, a 15 miler with the final 5 at tempo pace on Friday (boy, am I dreading this one), and a 20 miler on Sunday — along with the other four days featuring doubles adding up to 13-14 miles each. All totalled, a nice, round 100 miles.

*Or, as my favorite bad track commentator Larry Rawson would say, “Running in shoes that each weigh about the same as two slices of bread, is Julie.”

11 Responses

  1. […] Spring Race Training: Week 7 […]

  2. Why do speedwork in spikes? I prefer racing flats, even though I wear spike for track and XC races. Wouldn’t spikes affect your stride, however slightly, and thus introduce a potentially damaging variable?

  3. I find that when I run very fast (fast for me) on the track, I’m aware of a lack of traction. I liked how I “stuck” to the track during my experimental strides in spikes and wasn’t aware of a change in form or footstrike. I probably wouldn’t bother to use them for anything longer than 400-600m, though.

    Or is what I’m doing idiotic? Having no running background, I hope I’m not doing the equivalent of going scuba diving in a 1920’s diver suit.

  4. I cringe every time I hear Larry Rawson; e.g., “He took the lead and didn’t relinquish it, did Fernandez..” It happens at least once each broadcast. What is that?!

  5. No, not idiotic – just don’t overdo the work in spikes. If you were doing 4s or 6s, you might want to start with half in spikes/half in flats until you’re used to them. Depends on how hard the track is too. My friend Kathy does all intervals (big volumes too) in spikes, but we have a grass track. Some all-weather tracks are soft, some hard. The variation of using different shoes on different surfaces could be advantageous in preventing injuries. Also, you might want to race on the track some day…

    Besides, it’s fun running fast in shoes that are as light as one thin slice of bread.

  6. That was interesting about running as fast as Paula – running short intervals on the track is certainly an eye-opener as to how fast moon-shot runners run. One 200 at Geb’s pace sees me calling for a stretcher.

  7. Meant to say if you do too much running in a session in spikes it can leave you with sore calves for a few days. A bit hard to judge how much is too much though.

  8. Thanks, Ewen. I was hoping you’d chime in on the spikes question, being a real trackster and all. I’ll try the alternating spikes/shoes idea.

    Me? Race on the track? Uh, no. That would mean racing shorter races — and worse, ones in which I couldn’t just fade away on the road when things weren’t going well. You have to run the whole damned thing and get lapped on the track.

  9. Congrats whit your good run 25km race.
    A nice time and it looks you going good to the marathon.
    And a nap after the race is a good and give power.
    goodluck this training week.

  10. I know about your bullet-proof reputation regarding injuries, but having enthused about spikes, I should add that they do deserve wariness.

    Not sure if I told you this story?

    Anyway, there’s a local girl (very talented), who did a lot of training on the track in spikes – she ran 9:08 for 3000m. Sandwiched between some brilliant running, she suffered three foot stress fractures over a couple of years. Her coach put it down to the track training and racing. She now does all her speedwork on grass. She only races cross country (World Juniors end of this month) and some road races.

    So it’s worth listening to your body/feet/legs when training on the track.

  11. I’ll tread lightly on the spikes. Thanks for the cautionary tale.

    I bought them on a lark (they were dirt cheap), and on the off chance that I race a trail series that takes place here in the summer — 5K races in Van Cortlandt Park. I may also take them to South Africa in the fall, where I’ll be visiting family in a very rural area that has miles of trails. The shoes have interchangeable spikes: steel spikes for track and grass, rubber for mixing grass/dirt with road.

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