Week in Running 1/20/14-1/26/14

I had a great week of training last week. I’m transitioning back into more intensity and harder workouts. The reduced load was necessary after the marathon and once I got used to it, it was nice to have a little break in higher mileage/intensity. But, I’m very motivated to be better and faster so it’s nice to be heading that direction again.

One struggle right now is that I lost some fitness during my recovery from the marathon. It’s tough mentally because I want so much to be improving but right now I’m still trying to catch back up to where I was pre-marathon. I’m hoping in a couple of weeks I’ll be back there and then I can set my sights on a new half PR at Tom King in early March.

Anyway, here was last week’s training:

Monday: Easy 8 with 6x30s pick ups; Felt pretty good on this but my last pick-up on a gradual uphill section didn’t feel very smooth.

Tuesday: 2 mile warm-up, 10×1:00 on/off, 2 mile cool down. Start off at 6:15ish and work down. This was my first fartlek of this training cycle. If you are unfamiliar with fartleks, here is a good resource: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/lost-art-fartlek. Fartleks are a great way to transition from base building to heavier training. I did a ton of them early on in my last training cycle. We started to taper off of them later in training as I transitioned to more marathon specific workouts. Basically, the workout was one minute at a fast pace followed by one minute at a recovery pace (those ranged between 8-10 minute pace). I did that sequence 10 times. I do my fartleks on a road with a few rolling hills which is a nice added stimulus (although during the workout I don’t typically think it’s so nice). I started off on these a little fast and got under 6 minute pace fairly easily. The weather was moderate (32ish I think). I was surprised how easily I got rolling. However, about 6 in I started to get tired and had some oxygen debt on the last two. This shows me I’m a little rusty but it was a good reintroduction to fartleks. I had 2 repeats slightly over 6 minute pace and the rest were in the 5:30-5:50 range.

Wednesday: 3 miles very easy; 6 miles easy. It’s really nice to sometimes wake up and only have 3 miles on the agenda. Even though that almost always means I have to run again later in the day, it’s nice to get some extra sleep and 3 miles always flies by. I had to pick Millard up at the airport that evening so I did my second run around noon. It took me awhile to warm up and get settled but then I got rolling. I really liked doing it in the middle of the day and may do that more often before the weather gets warm.

Thursday: 8 miles with 8-10 hill blasts; I ended up doing a little over 3 miles of warm up before starting the hill blasts. I switched to a slightly steeper hill for this one. The hill I’d run the last couple of weeks is a legitimate hill but it’s not super steep. It barely registers on Garmin’s elevation chart which was making me feel like a wimp. I definitely felt the added steepness as these hill blasts were harder than the last couple of weeks. I ended up doing 10. Ran the last 2.6 miles back home.

Friday: 2 miles warm up, 4 miles at tempo effort (think around 6:45 effort, not pace) on a hilly route, 2 miles cool down; it was 8 degrees for this run. I wore way too much clothing. I ended up doing 3 miles of warm-up because after 2 miles, my feet still felt numb. I felt like another mile would help. In retrospect, I should’ve shed some clothing for my tempo miles and circled back to them and put them back on for my cool down (which is what I ended up doing for today’s fartlek workout). I had on two pairs of tights, two pairs of socks, a short sleeve and long sleeve, a jacket, two pairs of gloves, and two headbands. I felt really restricted. This was much harder than I wanted it to be and it was humbling. I do think the weather and too much clothing played a role, but I’m also rusty at tempo pace. This was my first tempo workout of the cycle. I picked a pretty hilly route and while I felt pretty smooth on the flats and downhills, the uphills were definitely hard. I felt a little discouraged after this because it’s clear I have work to do but I was happy to get some hard running in. In order to not get too focused on pace, I put my watch screen on heart rate so I could gauge my effort level. I only observed my pace when the watch beeped for my mile splits, but I tried to genuinely run this one for effort and not gun for a particular pace. Splits for the tempo were 6:45, 6:50, 6:45, 6:50.

Saturday: 18 miles over a hilly route. This was a really good long run. I ran a hilly route through East Nashville, downtown, up to Belmont area, and back down to downtown. I felt strong on the hills. The miles went by pretty quickly which is nice when you’re running for over 2 hours. The most encouraging thing about this long run was my recovery. Last training cycle, I struggled a little to adapt to the long runs during high mileage/high intensity weeks. I would feel exhausted by dinner time and my legs would feel pretty beat up. I felt great on Saturday. My energy stayed high and I was even able to stay up and watch a movie with my boyfriend! This seems simple, but there have been many nights when I can barely keep my eyes open after 8 on a Saturday. The next day I felt pretty good and my legs didn’t seem to take a beating. This is really encouraging as I think it shows my body is adapting well to the mileage.

Sunday: 6 grandma speed miles. I decided to run the XC course at Vaughn’s Gap (By Edwin Warner park) and then run one of the trails for the last 3 miles. I figured running the cross country course would ensure that I took it easy. The ground is really uneven and pitted and I knew I would not encounter many, if any, other runners on it on a Sunday morning. I ran my first mile slower than I’ve run a mile in a long time. It took quite awhile to get used to the uneven ground. I didn’t have to worry about feeling competitive or too slow because I only saw one or two runners the whole time going the opposite direction. This did show me that I am a road runner through and through. I do not enjoy running the cross country course. I then ran the last 3 miles along an Edwin Warner trail. It’s funny, my fastest mile was on the only paved section I ran that day. My legs felt kind of tired for this, but didn’t have any pain or soreness from the long run.

Total Mileage for the Week: 66.9 (yes…that .1 kills me).

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