Training: May 24-June 6

Another twofer, as I’ve remained quite busy with work and personal projects. And it promises to get busier: I’ve got the Mini 10K coming up this weekend (and, I hope, interviews to do with the participating elites). Then next weekend the Green Mountain Relay is upon us. I am purchasing massive quantities of Nutella this evening to outfit our team’s two vans with high energy, chocolately and hazelnutty goodness.

The last week in May was low key. I did two workouts — one a general aerobic run, for the purposes of facilitating heat acclimation. I hate running in the heat, but I do notice the difference later in the summer if I’ve made an attempt to ease my way into it. I also will be doing a fair amount of racing this summer, which is new. So I’d better get used to being hot and uncomfortable.

Then on Friday I did a speed session that was so so. I had to make it a short one since I was so busy with work. It was on the hot side at the track and I did okay for the first few repeats but toward the end of the fourth one I was working way too hard and decided to end the speed session there. I have a feeling I was still worn down from the “easy” run (which was very hot/humid) two days before. I wasn’t freaked out by having what on the surface was a failed workout.

My recovery runs continue to hover in the 10:00 range, an improvement over earlier in the season, despite the uncomfortable conditions lately. This is good news.

I saved my legs over the next few days for what would turn out to be a very strange, but very educational racing experience in New Jersey. As Ewen pointed out in a comment, that recent mile race on the track may have helped my speed.

As for the rest of the week, post-race I applied myself. I did another hot easy run on Wednesday. On Friday, it was baking already at 7AM and I knew that if I went to the track to try to do speedwork there, in full sun, I’d just end up suffering both physically and mentally, and probably running badly as well. So I switched plans and did my speedwork on the mostly shaded running path.

I did a series of five 90 second pickups during 8 miles of easy miles, with the pickups at around 5K effort. The good news is that they got faster as I went along, starting in the high 6:00s and ending at around 6:07 pace. Not going to the track had been a good idea. And I got about 8 minutes of fast running in, with some decent aerobic effort miles to boot, so I was happy. And very sleepy later on.

Saturday I played driver and water girl for Jonathan, who did a hilly 5K in FDR State Park. It was, again, hot and humid. I did 5 miles at recovery pace around the park while he raced. That was enough for me. Man, it was hot. Today was not his best time, unsurprisingly, but he put in a good effort and got 6th overall.

From masters stud... tired hothouse flower.

The heat would be worse on Sunday. By the time I got out, it was around 10:30AM and the heat index was already in the mid 80s. It would be in the low 90s by the time I finished a 10 miler. As you can see, I was running at aerobic effort (mid-70%s MHR) and getting a slow pace for all that work. Oh, well. It will get easier.

In addition to the Mini on Saturday, this week I have my second track race, a 1500m race, again at Icahn Stadium. The weather is looking friendlier — 60s or 70s and (yay) very dry. A little wind, but anything’s better than 25mph. I’m feeling pretty good about my prospects.

New Houston Hopeful interview: Tammy Lifka

I published the second interview in the Houston Hopefuls series yesterday. Tammy Lifka trains in the Chicago area, has three young kids and uses high altitude simulation equipment, among other distinctions. It’s a long interview, but I think well worth the read, most notably for her perspective on pacing marathons, both as pacer and pacee.

For the full interview (with audio): Houston Hopefuls > Tammy Lifka