Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 17 - January 23

Weekly Totals:
Distance: 30.54 mi. Time: 04:02:47 Vertical: 1034 ft.

Distance: N/A
Time: 1:00:00
Vertical: N/A

My body is exhausted as much as my mind. Sunday’s run introduced (re-, is probably an appropriate prefix) my training to mental and physical hurdles that has left me drained. I find that even though I’m exhausted after a long run or a quality workout that if I do something, anything, low-impact the next day or about 6 hours afterward I recover quite a bit more seamlessly than if I do nothing. So, after work, I headed to the rock-climbing gym and found that I had no sustainable strength or the mental capacity to do much of anything but play like a child on a swing set, mindlessly. Afterward I felt better even though , I’m concluding that a placebo is neatly nested in the inners of my brain and that alone has produced a more satisfying experience. But whateva’ works, right?

Distance: 5.00 mi.
Time: 0:39:37
Vertical: 154 ft.

To my surprise and in compliment to my body, and mind, today’s run was great. The weather, however, awful. I hit the paved trails (roads) around Lawrenceville and jaunted around for a good 5 miler at an easy pace. My legs felt good, my feet felt tired, but my motivation is soaring. A cold rain, and a cloudy sky made for a monotone visual, but just getting put there after feeling so tired certainly put a sepia tone to things.

Distance: 8.36 mi.
Time: 0:39:37
Vertical: 0 ft.

Wednesday’s are my mentally tough day. I’m tired from Sunday, and I have a quality workout scheduled. I originally woke up this morning with the idea that maybe I had pushed the running last week and this week a bit much. I’m having trouble getting up and out the door in the morning and this morning I said, “ok, I’ll skip today.” It’s my “recovery” week, so decisions like this by all training purposes are ok. Of course, after the day got moving and I woke up my body felt fine and on a whim I decided to hit the track and do at least some of the workout and if I didn’t feel well I’d happily end it. After I got to running, I felt like I was in a groove and did 1.5 mi Warm-up, 9 X 400m at 3k pace w/ 3:00min jog, 1.5 mi Cool-down. The repeats went like this, 1)6:05 pace, 2)6:03 pace, 3)6:02 pace, 4) 6:03 pace, 5)6:14 pace, 6) 6:11 pace, 7)6:16 pace, 8)6:02 pace, 9)5:58 pace. The middle three got a bit inconsistent, but the entire workout I had to force myself to slow-down and stick with the scheduled pace. I think I’m having trouble getting up at 7:00 AM, partially because I am fatigued from training, which is good, and partially because a tired body going to bed at 2:00 AM and trying to get up at 7:00 AM just isn’t going to work.

Distance: 0.00 mi.
Time: 0:00:00
Vertical: 0 ft.

I have to admit that plugging in those zero’s, above, felt like a dagger. Having great races is about consistency in training and for the first time in 11 weeks, I failed to run the scheduled run. But all isn’t lost. This week has been a struggle to feel recovered after two straight weeks of great long runs with big verticals, fast quality workouts, and somewhat substantial weekly mileage. A little back story,
11 weeks ago I had been out of a cast for 6 weeks and hadn’t run in 7 months, and hadn’t trained injury free in 24+ months. I wasn’t focused on healing. I neglected to see recovery as an important part of training, and overall I just wasn’t focused on running. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s silly to show up at a start-line and believe you’re focused on a race without having even focused on training. I suffered from the, “I once was a fast runner,” syndrome and this infectious disease is at its peak when an athlete, it doesn’t even have to be a runner, tries to pick-up training or a race without properly judging their actual fitness first. The first rule of training, know exactly what kind of shape you’re in. Mentally, the “I once was a…,” athlete stays very much in-tune with the physique they were once in, especially in terms of numbers (in the runners case, paces, distance, etc.), but fails to realize that the physical aspect of the equation isn’t where it once was. In the runner’s case, we even tend to subtract a couple of seconds and minutes from PR’s, and add about 10 miles to the weekly distance average. Resulting in great PR’s and enough weekly mileage to assume injuries were rampant during such high-mileage.
So, 11 weeks ago, I decided it was time to coach myself the same way I’d coach someone else: conservatively. Now, granted, my conservative is from 0 miles a week consistently to 60+ miles consistently in less than three months, but as long as I’m staying injury free and recovering well the equation is balanced, intensity + duration = improvement + recovery. When one side is weighted too much there’s an imbalance and the risk of overtraining, burning out, and injury goes up or times don’t improve. Back to the missed day…
Being a recovery week, an emphasis is placed on recovering and letting the social life back in for a week. This benefits the mind just as much as the legs. Last night, I didn’t get up early enough to run and instead of putting in a run at 11:00 PM, I enjoyed dinner with friends, and just went to bed. To caveat the relaxedness, if this hadn’t been a recovery week the miles would’ve been completed. Overall, I’m a little disappointed that I missed, but it’s not something to fret over.

Distance: 8.08 mi.
Time: 1:03:52
Vertical: 103 ft.

With early morning runs being out of vocabulary and habit, this week, I have been stuck to post-work runs. No trails and no sunlight. So, once again, I hit the track for some mile repeats. It’s nice that the track is about a mile from work, so I just ran there, did the workout, and ran back. The whole night I just felt like my stride was just a bit off, and the wind was chilling-to-the-bone, but that’s the price for not running in the daytime. Just three mile repeats, tonight, because I’ve set up a time trial on Sunday, and I want to be a little more refreshed. The mile repeats were to be around 10k pace (6:32 – 6:43), and on the track because it’s so flat I don’t mind just a tad faster. Here’s how it went:
1)6:28 w/3:15 recovery,
2)6:22 w/2:55 recovery,
3)6:21 w/3:21 recovery.
A nice set of times and negative splits, but I can’t wait to be hitting them at least, :30 to :60 faster, patience first.

Distance: 2.00 mi.
Time: 0:15:22
Vertical: 139 ft.

Just an easy base run before tomorrow’s mid-phase time-trial. I usually think days like this are a waste of time, because I’m used to average about 6 to 8 miles a day, but in reality days like this keep my legs from feeling like they’re missing something. Designed as an off, today’s run was worth it, but it took me a while to get out of the house to actually do. My legs felt a bit heavy, but I did some extra stretching post-run. Tomorrow’s time-trial should be fun, but with tired legs I’m not expecting a PR, nor am I even going for one. The time-trial is focused on running hard on tired legs and getting my trail racing legs back into speed. Collins Hill Park with be the place and a gut-check is what I’m looking for.

Distance: 7.10 mi.
Time: 0:57:21
Vertical: 638 ft.

A cold morning and a gut-check time-trial. My legs were still feeling tired from the previous week’s mileage (crazy, how long this fatigue has lasted, but I’ve neglected some stretching, trigger point, and other recovery tools), but after an easy two miles yesterday my legs aren’t feeling over-trained just training fatigued. I’m hoping for some rough patches today, mentally, but overall a well run ‘negative-split’ 5k on the trail. I haven’t raced on trails since college, so the footing will take some getting used to with faster speeds, but that’s the purpose of this mid-season time-trial, among other things. The trail was a mix of packed in woodchips, four inch thick newly laid woodchips, and two foot high mounds of woodchips waiting to be spread out making the footing technical, any downhill soft, and speed sapping soft flats. As the warm-up finished I felt solid. Instead of a starting the 5k from a stop I just ran straight into the 5k, I started stronger than needed and by the second lap of undulating terrain I hit the hill with no speed, but I kept telling myself this is what it’s about, the pain. I finished with a 20:59 5k (6:46 avg) and a new respect for the trail in a race context and an understanding that I’m on very tired legs and in the middle of the season. I’d say the track workouts are paying off, but after another 3 to 4 weeks I’d like to add back in some hills.
As usual, here’s the profile: 2 mile Warm-up, 5k Time Trial, 2 mile Cool-down,