Here is what my training looked like the week of 07.09.18 – 07.15.18:
Monday – REST
I started the week off with a good, old-fashioned day of rest. In actuality I had an eight mile run scheduled for that day, but the possibility of an afternoon run sounded better than getting up when my alarm went off Monday morning and then I didn’t get home from work until almost 7 p.m. My evening running window closes between 6 and 6:30 p.m. and I seized the opportunity to take a little break.
Tuesday AM – Quality: 9 miles (7:50 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:59 pace)
Here’s the deal … Tuesday my schedule called for a three mile warm up, 4 X 1 mile at 5:55 pace (with a three minute walking recovery in between) and a three mile cool down. I saw this workout on the schedule and thought to myself, “Well, I’ve surely never done mile repeats in the 5:XX range, but I might as well give it a shot.” Carpe diem or whatever. I knew that it would be extremely difficult, but at the same time I knew that I could likely hit at least two or three miles at that pace.
A lot of my workouts recently have been very challenging and have stretched me to a place outside of my comfort zone. This is exactly what I needed and was looking for in a training cycle. I have been essentially been on a three-year running plateau. I’ve had some small PRs here and there, but I haven’t had any big breakthrough races in quite a while. The longer you run, the harder it is to achieve those big breakthrough races and seasons, but I am choosing to believe that I still have a few of those somewhere within me and these challenging workouts are going to help me find wherever it is that they have been hiding for the last few years.
Daniel came with me to the track Tuesday and was planning to run easy. We did the three warm up miles together and then it was time for me to start my mile repeats. Daniel decided (or rather, I somehow convinced him) to pace me for the first two laps of each mile (a mile is four laps on the track). This seemed to work really well, as I didn’t have to think about the pace at all for the first half of each mile and then once he peeled off, I only had half a mile to go. Sweet!
The first two miles actually went really well. I ran 5:55 and 5:53! Unfortunately though, that’s pretty much where it ended. After those two miles, I was spent. I tried my best to gut out another mile, but that one ended up at 6:30 pace. At that point, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to put in the right work to get the desired adaptation from the workout, so I just called it a day and moved on to my cool down. I wasn’t too upset with how it had gone. I mean, I ran two sub-6:00 miles in swampy conditions.
My coach later texted me asking me “what happened?” Well, hmm … I don’t really know. There have been several workouts recently where I have “hit the wall” so to speak. Usually it is during a marathon that you “hit the wall” and not during a track workout, so I don’t know if that’s really the correct terminology for it or not. Basically at some point the monkey (or the elephant or whatever large animal you can think of) jumps on my back and I just can’t make my legs go anymore. My coach told me that based on my current race times, I should’ve been able to complete this workout. She also said that she’d rather have seen me do 4 X 1 mile at 6:10 or 6:15 pace than 2 X 1 mile at 5:55 and 1 mile at 6:30. I was frustrated because I just wished I had known that before I went out and tried to run four mile repeats at that pace that I knew was likely not sustainable.
This prompted a discussion about adjusting the paces to take into account the heat and humidity (which can obviously have a significant impact on summer training in the Deep South). We definitely need to be doing this. At one point my coach also said that I was “interesting,” because most of her athletes do better in workouts than they do in races, but she thinks that I race better than my workouts indicate that I should. I honestly didn’t really know how to take that. At the time it felt like a backhanded compliment, but I mean … I think I’d rather do it my way if I had to choose. There’s no reason to waste your good performances on workouts. If nothing else, we came away from this workout and conversation with better expectations and a more open dialogue of communication, which is important in an athlete-coach relationship.
Wednesday – Easy: 10 miles (8:57 pace)
On Wednesday I ran ten easy, flat miles with Bowie while Daniel and Kenny did a hill repeat workout.
Thursday – Easy: 11 miles (9:09 pace)
On Thursday I met Kenny and Bowie for what has become a weekly run all. the. hills. run. I ended up with 950 feet of climbing.
Friday AM – Easy: 6.75 miles (9:56 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:20 pace)
Friday morning I did 5 easy miles on the treadmill and then took Brooks out for a little over a mile. He ran out into the street Thursday morning while we were playing fetch in the yard and almost got hit by a car (basically the car slammed on brakes and then Brooks ran into the car (bless his heart)). It scared me way more than it hurt him and I wasn’t ready to play fetch again quite yet, so we went for a little dog-jog instead. He is fine and pretty much came away unscathed, but man … that could’ve ended really badly.
I did an easy loop Friday afternoon after work. I was still a bit behind in my weekly mileage and decided to go ahead and get an easy double in before the weekend.
Saturday – Quality: 13 miles (8:08 pace)
Saturday morning I had a tempo run. The workout called for a three mile warm up, 3 X 2 miles (with a quarter mile of recovery in between) and a four mile cool down. Prior to our discussion on Tuesday, my coach originally had the goal pace for this workout at 6:26. She adjusted this to 6:40, which was just about perfect. It was 79 degrees with a dew point of 78 Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. Eek! Can it get any more humid?! Bonus points if you read that with Chandler Bing inflection.
This workout was better suited for the road than the track, so I decided to get this one done on the go-to weekend long route from Warehouse. Even after a three mile warm up, it was really hard to settle into 6:40 pace. The first mile of the first repeat ended up at 6:57, but we brought the pace down to 6:41 for the second mile, so the average pace for that set was 6:49. The second set started out uphill, but oddly enough, it didn’t really phase me too much. All of this hill running might actually be paying off after all! The splits for the second set were 6:37 and 6:32, so the average pace for that set was 6:35.
The hardest part of this workout was actually starting the third and final set. Once we got going it was okay, but actually getting to that point took some strength. Not gonna lie, we walked pretty much the entire quarter mile of recovery and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t supposed to happen, but sometimes you just do what you gotta do to get it done. The splits for the third set were 6:41 and 6:38, so the average pace for that set was 6:39. It felt amazing to finish the workout! The cool down miles were blissfully slow and I was super pumped to have that one in the books. Oh and my coach was proud of me too, so … woo hoo! Insert happy dance here.
Sunday – Easy: 11.65 miles (8:36 pace)
Sunday was another group run from Warehouse. This time nothing too hard, just some easy conversational miles to finish off the week.
Total – 71.2 miles
That’s it for now! Have a great week!