Spring Race Training: Week 15

09spr-training-15The report is a bit late this week on account of my being in mourning over my loss in New Jersey. I’ll post a race report, along with some insights, this evening. But to summarize, the funk has lifted, with reason and logic prevailing at last.

Last week consisted of a “mini taper” for the half, with just one hard workout rather than two. This probably would have been fine if we hadn’t had a freak heatwave Saturday of the previous week through Wednesday of last week.

My legs were totally trashed on Monday from Sunday’s hot, hilly 20 miler in Central Park. I wasn’t much better on Tuesday, during which I experienced what felt like a pre-flu state: nausea, exhaustion and feeling feverish. I didn’t have a fever (although I do wonder if I had a bit of sun poisoning from Sunday), so I went out and attempted a hard run in high heat and full sun.

In retrospect, this was a stupid thing to do. I probably should have cut the run short when it was clear that doing mile intervals in such conditions wasn’t going to be productive. I wish I weren’t so stubborn, as this is a quality that truly is a double edged sword. When it works for you, it’s a great help. But it can also result in foolhardy moves that sabotage larger goals.

Anyway, suffice it to say that Tuesday’s run is probably what screwed the pooch for Sunday. I never really recovered from it, although my recovery runs were slow enough to fake me out and think that I had. But there were clues I could have heeded if I’d looked hard enough:

  • I was still completely exhausted on Wednesday. Normally, I’d expect some residual tiredness after a hard run on Tuesday, but this was flat out, kicked in the ass exhaustion of the highest order. A lingering problem with my right quads also was intensifying.
  • I was starving all day on Thursday, meaning I’d eat something and an hour later I had to eat again. I think I spent more time in the kitchen than in my home office. I was even doing teleconferences in the kitchen, standing at the fridge eating with the phone on mute.
  • I needed a two hour nap on Friday afternoon. This is very unusual. I might need a nap on Sunday after a very hard long run or a race, but rarely during the week.
  • Saturday morning my resting HR was still elevated by about 20%.

The kicker was Sunday’s race, of course. I knew from the moment the horn blew that I was going to have a bad race and be very unhappy for the next 90+ minutes of my life. More on that later.

Unfortunately, Kevin’s computer died during the lead-up to this race, so he was unable to look at my training logs (which include HR information, reports of sleep quality, etc.). While he had my blog reports on how things were going, they didn’t tell the whole story. With the full view, he says he would have told me to scale back expectations (but still run the race). As it stands, we’re making adjustments going forward to help ensure that I’m recovered to do the remaining key workouts, the biggest of which is on Sunday: a 22 miler with the last 12 at MPace.

So there you have it. Despite the race disappointment (which I now have some perspective on), I still feel really good about the training I’ve done and confident about my fitness. The recent track work in particular has gone very well. I’m not as worried about Sunday’s big MPace run as I thought I’d be. Ironically, I have to credit the race experience on Sunday for some of that relaxation of expectations. I’ve been banging away, doing 100 mile weeks for several months now. What matters most is the overall quality of my training, not whether I hit exact paces in one particular workout — there are just too many variables that can throw that off.

It’s bizarre to look at my training plan and see so few weeks left. Next week is my last real training week. Then it’s three full taper weeks, including three (three!) days off in there.

9 Responses

  1. Thats a long training week and running in the heat is not so good for runners!.
    You learn a lot this week and better to learn now than when you run the marathon ;-).
    Now waiting for the marathon!, are you nervous?.

    • Rinus, it’s funny but I don’t feel nervous. Not yet, at least. I know that between now and race day I should have a good idea how fast I can run. Not knowing that has always been the thing that’s made me the most nervous.

  2. Hang in there. It’s almost over!

  3. I think many of us have difficulty with scaling back set training runs. Thanks for this. It’s food for thought.

  4. Question about the mileage you’ve been doing. Do you feel it’s made a valuable difference in your training, working the 100 mile weeks? How many miles/week were you doing for Steamtown?

    Laughing out loud at you on a conference call, stuffing your face while on mute. Great visual.

  5. Sorry, wanted to ask also, along with the mileage question, were you doing the same percentage of recovery miles for Steamtown and were they in the mid-10 pace, too?

    • Flo — Your questions are interesting enough that they merit a dedicated post. Stay tuned. I need to do a little number crunching first.

  6. The perils of eating on the phone:

  7. Lol Jim, I remember that commercial.

    Julie, great! I’m looking forward to the post.

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