Spring Race Training: Week 10

09spr-training-10Last week was a recovery week and then some.

Coming off of two 100 milers, I needed a break. Unfortunately, I got more of a break than I wanted due to our iffy spring weather here on the east coast. More on that in a moment.

The week featured the usual suspects, sprinkled amongst a lot of recover running:

Tuesday’s tempo run actually went better than expected considering how tired my legs still were after Sunday’s “run ‘n’ race” sandwich in Central Park. What was interesting about this run is that while I was running the faster miles at the very end, my legs felt exactly like they do around mile 18-20 of a marathon that isn’t going particularly well (or, I suppose, mile 25 of one that is).

That sensation certainly brought back some unpleasant memories. It also served as a reminder to never, ever, ever run a marathon too fast again. If I’m not ready for a 3:05 in a couple of months, I’ve got to accept that and run within my capabilities.

My legs felt relatively fresh on Thursday and the speed session went as well as it could with a steady wind slowing me for half of each lap around the track. The speedwork not being perfect has begun to bother me less and less. I know that running 800m fast is not my goal, but a stepping stone to the real goal (which is to run around 7:00 for many miles). I’m sweating the races and MPace efforts a lot more than I am the shorter stuff.

On Friday my legs felt like two-by-fours with blocks of concrete for feet: stiff, heavy, dead. The recovery run didn’t help. I skipped the strides since, well, they were out of the question.

Then I ran a little recovery run on Saturday to rest up for…

…the race that didn’t happen on Sunday.

This was very upsetting, as I’d done a modified taper all week, carbo-loaded like crazy, and mentally prepared myself to race a 30K. Not only that, but this was to be the first race that didn’t feature ridiculous hills all season — a totally flat course.

The forecast was bad all week, but I held out hope that the weather would clear. No such luck. We drove to CT in a driving rain, got out and did a 1 mile warmup in pouring rain and steady wind, and gave up. I would have been able to run maybe, at best, a 7:20-7:30 pace in that weather and it would have been miserable. So we turned around and drove home. But not before dropping by the Scarsdale 15K start to see if we could race that instead. By the time we got there (5 minutes before start), we’d debated the merits of racing this one, which were few. It was no substitute for the 30K we’d just bagged.

So we came home and Jonathan took the day off. I got on the treadmill and did a modified MPace run, with three sets of Mpace x 2 miles, with a 1 mile “rest” at 10-20% slower than Mpace. I’m glad I did something on Sunday, since I was ready to run fast, but it was still a huge let down. It’s virtually impossible to find a long and flat race now (too close to marathon season, probably).

Sunday’s events may have been for the best. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I could have used a solid recovery week and after my treadmill effort I needed a two hour nap, which was unusual.

I’ll try again this Sunday (which is also my birthday), with another sandwich run/race: a 10 mile tuneup race on Long Island (for those running the LI Marathon), which I’ll tack a few miles onto either end of.

Week 11 features 90 miles with more midlength+tempo running, some longer intervals and another footlong sandwich run out on Long Island.