There are just three weeks until race day. Three weeks! I had a solid training week again which is really motivating and has proven something to me that I’ve known since training for Chicago but have yet to truly address… My mind is what holds me back. I think that’s true for a lot of distance runners. Self doubt and self destructive tendencies can really wreak havoc on our testing and racing! Plus seeing another great week made me realize how much external stresses affect me. I don’t feel stressed but damn does it show.Though I’m training for a race a full month before my typical goal races in the spring, I’m hitting some similar workouts at the same time as I did during my last PR attempt. This week, my TimeHop reminded me of my absolute favorite workout of the 2015 training cycle. It was a two mile warm-up followed by three miles at tempo then one mile recovery, another three miles at tempo and two mile cool down. I remember being intimidated but then nailed it. This week I had similar experiences!
Week 5 – 4/4/16 to 4/10/16
Tuesday – 3 x 2 miles at tempo interval pace
Sunday – 7.5 hilly miles
I didn’t do any CrossFit this week largely because it didn’t fit into my schedule. After last week Sunday’s pretty intense ten miler, I took Monday off. I’ve been really bad lately at recovery runs. It’s partially weather related… When it’s cold outside, dressing up for 20-30 minutes east seems like more hassle than it’s worth. I know better. It’s something I need to work on.
So that Tuesday workout finally came. It was cold but I felt happy all day thinking about where and how I was going to execute this run. I even got the pre-workout jitters thinking about my target paces and knowing this run would be just as long as the weekend’s long run. I told J my run would take a couple hours and I’d be home around 7:30. Yawn.
I drove myself to Delaware Park because I thought I’d have better luck not dropping early if I knew I just had to get back to the car. I started off with one loop warm-up which is 1.75 miles. I averaged 8:51 per mile which is slightly faster than I wanted to kick off but hey, my legs were ready!
As far as the workout, my target paces were 7:29 to 7:46 per mile for all the repeats which is based on my recent Shamrock run PR. Now, when I ran that race, I ran 5 miles at 7:31 pace so 6 of them, even with the five minutes of recovery running between was, well, daunting.
My first set felt controlled and pretty good, even when I was cruising up the steady slight incline for about half a mile. Since I use the workout feature on my Garmin, my miles don’t click, so all I had was overall time, overall miles, and current pace. I finished the first set in about 15 minutes so that was a simple calculation. Actual pace? 7:29/mile overall. Yes! Recovery was exactly 10:00 pace so I was kicking off set two with easy to remember starting points.
Things started to feel tougher here but I kept thinking I needed to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As I rounded past my car again and headed to another flat part, the sun was setting but shining bright and my watch was showing 7:20s and 7:30s, I couldn’t help but smile so big! It reminded me of practically all Michele’s race photos. She’s so happy to be running and in that moment, so was I. Set two finished with average of 7:32/mile and my five minutes of recovery was 10:13 pace.
Finally set three came and I was ready to be done. Because of the one lap distance of Delaware Park, I had two hills in this set which sucked. I just kept pushing and thinking about how great it would feel to have a decent amount of miles completed this early in the week. I finished off with a 7:40 average for that set and walked my five minute recovery before a short half mile cool down. Should I have run a better cool down? Yes, but sometimes you are cold and windburnt and hungry.
I tried to do my long run on Friday but instantly felt all the miles I had run earlier and realized if I did my long run then, I would nearly double my seven day millage millage millage. Instead I ran Sunday and was able to do it on the hills of Chestnut Ridge.
I listened to the first episode of “I’ll Have Another” to take my mind off how much I didn’t want to be out there. Fortunately, the girls had me laughing the entire way and it made the miles fly. I had two hard hills throughout the sevenish miles and still managed 9:09 overall pace on this easy effort run. I wish I wore my heart rate monitor to see where I was at but the scar from a month ago terms me otherwise. I’m totally ecstatic to see my efforts becoming easier with paces that are quicker. Over 600 feet of climbing yet keeping a pace I struggled with in December on flat, easy runs? I’ll certainly take that!
I have about ten more days of solid training before I head into my taper. For me, this means three big workouts left: a speed session (mile repeats), a fast finish long run around half marathon distance, and finally a steady state workout about ten days before race day.
It’s crunch time!