This week was a "back to work" week for me bouncing into brand new territory in terms of workouts and overall mileage. My plan adds more work in terms of improving my lactate threshold as well as continuing to increase endurance. Both very important for marathons!
Monday: Workout A of my strength training plan (last time for this!) and 30 minutes of yoga.
Tuesday: Tempo run. I truly have a love/hate with these. I get all amped up and nervous for them, go from being ok with them to hating my life during them and then feel like a freaking rockstar afterward. This run was 3 miles of easy warmup, 5 miles @ 7:35 avg, and then 2 miles of cooldown. It was a challenge due to mother nature, of course, but I rocked it and got it done. This is actually the last one of this type of tempo. The next couple focus on longer miles at half marathon pace, which is slightly slower. Then again, I don't know... all my numbers are very arbitrary right now. I need to run some shorter races all out but you know what? I don't want to mess with that stuff until warmer weather, so for now - playing around with pace in regards to heart rate and RPE is how these will go.
Thursday: The first "medium long" run of my training plan. These runs are to be done around long run pace, which as I've said before is slightly faster than easy pace (85% heart rate max as opposed to 81% max). This was 11 miles in less than perfect conditions and ended up being quite a bit faster than I expected. I am really finally starting to see improvements in my pace in relation to heart rate. I guess it is true what the research says - it takes a while, but when you see it and feel it for yourself you'll appreciate the process. Just gotta keep sticking with it.
Saturday: I surrendered to Mother Nature and Father Winter and moved my long run to this day. I have been doing my long runs at North Park but the RSG1 race (remember my first 10K?) was going on and I do not like running there when there is a race happening. This is just my preference, but personally when I'm running a North Park race it bothers the hell out of me when there are people trudging around the lake loop/wherever that aren't running the race. It's more traffic to contend with, more weaving around, and we all know how much I loooove that. So when there's a race there I really try not to be there.
It was convenient that the Steel City Road Runners were hosting a 16 mile long run starting in the area my son had an event going on. So, I signed up to run with them. Since I was a little concerned about not being fully recovered from Thursday's medium long run, I decided to run with the 9:30 pace group instead of the 9:00. I'd rather go slightly slower - especially in snow - than to risk going faster than my body needs that day. One thing running with a group takes away from me is the ability to run by heart rate.
Another thing I have a love/hate with is group runs, for a variety of reasons (pacers getting lost, the group breaking off, the route not being clear, etc) but for everything I have to bitch about during this particular run I can say something positive so I'm cool with that. I ended up being very satisfied with my decision to run at 9:30 because I felt awesome. Even the hill climb into Oakland (where I have never run before aside from the portion of the Great Race - yes, I'm serious!) was great. Yes, it was the most challenging part of the run but it wasn't that hard. I twisted my ankle on a huge chunk of ice under some snow in the Bloomfield area and it bothered me a bit but seems fine now so that's all that matters, I guess. I got to talking with a guy in my group who was running with SCRR for his second time and we passed the miles chatting about various races and where we'd recommend and where not. He thought given my chattiness and running ability that I was training for a 3:3x marathon, and that cracked me up. I'm really just focused on a PR.
Now I will come out and gripe about a single item with regards to this run. In my opinion, if you advertise a 16 mile run, there should be people actually dedicated to running 16 miles. I knew I would have to run 2 miles on my own to get my 18, but that was no big deal. The 12 mile point (IIRC) stopped back at the office and from there everyone from my group bolted (and when I say everyone, I mean the one guy besides me left) except one of the pacers and I. We ended up hooking up with some others left over from the 9:00 group who wanted to head out for more miles. Then while out around the stadiums everyone decided they were done for whatever reason and just turned around and went back. It was just over 14 miles when I found myself alone and with almost 4 more miles still to go. So, I just headed out and ran around the North Shore area and eventually ended up on the trail. That was a baaaaaaaad idea. The snow on top was ok, but the layer of thick ice underneath sucked. I had to slow way down to stay upright. But, I got my 18 miles in and I felt great. Fun fact: Even though I only monitored my heart rate those last couple of miles on my own, I came in only 2bpm average off of my target for the whole run anyway. Cool!
That night I did 25 minutes of yoga. It was just what I needed.
Sunday: I told myself when I made the decision to run long on Saturday that if my legs were seriously trashed Sunday morning then I would forgo running and hop on my bike and get some yoga in. But I only had some mild soreness - mainly in the calves, so I went to the gym and got on the treadmill. I ran 7 miles at recovery heart rate pace (again, proving my fitness has improved as my recovery pace is faster than when I started this journey). I felt great! I had to the "treadmill jump" because of the silly 60 minute timer crap, but that was no big deal. I finished up my run feeling rejuvenated and like I could have gone longer!
10 minutes of yoga before bed wrapped up my week!
Total Miles Ran: 50.07 - a shiny new PR for me! I feel better after these 50 miles than I have after some 20 mile weeks. I am serious! This training WORKS!
Total Running Workouts: 5 - 1 tempo, 2 recovery, 1 medium long, 1 long
Total Strength Workouts: 2
Total Yoga Days: 4
Nutrition this week: It was good... and bad. Come on, it was Valentine's Day on long run day and I got chocolate and cupcakes! I did have some awesome quinoa burrito bowls, great smoothies and some huge ass salads, though... Everything in moderation, right?
Spring is coming! I'm thinking positive (and flipping off the Weather Channel)!