The pursuit of fitness continued this week. I reached my highest weekly volume of the segment so far, and had a couple of really good workouts. These workouts will certainly help me for Chicago, and will help me in my next race which will be the US 20k Championships on Labor Day. The week began with a 10 + 4 mile easy day on Monday, along with meeting for drills, strides and plyos to sharpen up for Tuesday’s big workout.
Tuesday’s workout was a cut down tempo run. This is another kind of workout that I have been asking for Coach Ben to give us in training. I think of it as a twist on our normal long steady states on Lake Mary. For those, we lock into a pace as quick as we can, trying to stay in a roughly 5 second per mile pace spread throughout 12-16 miles. While those are great workouts, I like this twist as it enables us to run faster paces by the end of the workout (on pretty tired legs). The goal of the workout was to run a 4 mile segment at 5:20 pace, 3 miles in 5:10 pace, 2 miles in 5:00 pace, and 1 mile in 4:50. In the past when I’ve done this workout, I’ve usually taken between 2-3 minutes of stand/walk/jog recovery. Coach Ben decided to make the workout more challenging (and probably more marathon specific) by making the recoveries half mile “floats” with a range of 3:00 to 3:15 to cover those half miles. That was still enough to recover, but it definitely made the workout harder overall. We started off by nailing the 4 miles, running 21:15. The cool part about that section was that it was starting to get really dark as the storm clouds were rolling in; but we didn’t have to deal with the challenge of wind or rain. That changed during the 3 mile segment, as we began to have to battle a bit of a head wind. Luckily we had a group of about 4 guys working together, so we tried to switch who was in front battling the wind and came through in 15:27. Going into the workout, I thought that the 2 mile segment would probably be the hardest, I was right! It didn’t help that the 2 mile stretch we were on is a couple of the harder miles to run on Lake Mary, and the wind started to pick up even more. We pushed hard, but were a little disappointed to run 5:01 and 5:06 for those 2 miles. Coach Ben yelled at us to not worry about it, that the effort we ran was definitely worth 5:00 pace. Scott Smith joked on the cool down that he thinks the effort was worth faster than 5:00 pace. After a final half mile float, we ran a 4:48 mile to finish the workout. By that time the wind had died down, but the rain had finally started. It was a lot of fun to finish a hard last mile in the rain, knowing we’d had a great workout. All put together, I covered 11.5 miles in 61:07 which is about 5:19 average pace. We cut our cool down a tiny bit short to get out of the rain, so I finished the day with a slow 4.5 mile second run.
On Wednesday, I had a simple 10 + 5 mile double. My calves were really sore all day from Tuesday’s workout. It’s something I’ll have to really keep under control because I don’t want to miss important training in my already shorter training segment for Chicago. By Thursday they were feeling a lot better (shout out to my wife, Annika, for always giving me lots of massages and keeping me healthy!) which was good because Thursday was a long day. Scott Smith and I had a medium-long run of 15 miles in the morning. We stuck with our usual routine and went to the bagel run, but had to add on an extra 5 miles from what others were doing. By 11:00 we were at HYPO2 for an hour of strength work. I napped HARD that afternoon, which helped me re-group for my 5 mile second run that evening. On Friday it was back to a more usual 10 + 5 double, with more drills, strides and plyos.
Saturday was our long run day for the week, but I think it’d be better described as a long hard workout. After our warm-up, the Scotts and I started the day by running 2 mile repeats in 4:48 and 4:49, taking 3 minutes of jogging recovery after each of them. It was certainly a lot faster than we start any of our more normal long run days, but I tried to think of that as a simulation of a race that starts off a little quicker than expected. After those 2 miles, we set out for 10 miles of alternating pace miles between 6:10 and 5:10 pace. It was crazy how easy the 6:10 pace felt right away, as well as the first couple of 5:10s feeling pretty smooth. By the end of those 10 miles, we were still able to stay on pace, but the effort was definitely increasing to keep it that way. After the 10 miles, we got 3 minutes of rest, and chose to take that time as more of a standing/walking rest, rather than the slow jogging we took early in the workout. All 3 of us were a little unsure if we’d be able to get back to 4:50 pace after the last 5:10 we ran felt pretty tough. Well those 3 minutes definitely helped a lot, and we surprised ourselves by getting out pretty quick and running a 4:42 for the first mile repeat. After that we again took 3 minutes of standing/walking recovery, and Coach Ben asked us if we could run that pace again. That 4:42 gave us some good confidence that we could, so we said we’d try to run 70 or 71 second quarters to run somewhere between 4:40 and 4:45. Instead we ended up running about 4:36! It was so cool to find out that I could run that fast for the 14th hard mile of the day. Accomplishing all these hard workouts, and seeing how well Scott Fauble just ran at Falmouth last Sunday is really giving me a ton of confidence for Chicago down the road, and the 20k Championship next Monday! We got in our cool down to finish with 20 miles for the day.
The rest of that day I was super exhausted. Nothing was bothering me in particular like my calves had after Tuesday’s workout, I was just super fatigued. I still had a hard time sleeping that night though, which was quite frustrating. I finished the week by doing one more 10 + 5 mile double on Sunday. I felt a lot better than I did all Saturday afternoon and evening, but I still wanted to focus on resting as much as possible to prepare for the upcoming week. In total, I ended up with 120 miles for this week. 6 weeks to go!