Sunday, July 19, 2015

The 7th of 18 Weeks

The seventh week of the marathon training plan went like this:

Monday7-10k E. The seventh week began much the same as the previous five (first one excepted), with an easy "6 miler". This time I did not have a partner to run with due to tight timelines on his end that meant he had to get going before 5am, and I felt the extra bit of sleep for me was more important than completing an easy run that early in the morning. In any case, I woke up a bit before 6am and was out the door shortly after the hour for a 10k E at 5:16/km. Clearly, the pace indicates that I ran this too fast, but based on effort I'd say I was on the upper end of the Easy run spectrum, but not pushing it. I think as my fitness is improving I am noticing the benefits most in the faster easy paces that I am able to run at the same perceived effort.

Tuesday8x600m or Pyramid. Opted for the pyramid option and it was definitely a worthy challenge. 400-800-1200-1600-1200-800-400 was the "ladder" workout, but I prefer to call it a pyramid. I suppose stepladder would work as well, but most don't have steps on both sides. But I digress... The weather was humid, but not particularly hot. All morning it sure felt like rain was imminent and I definitely produced a copious amount of sweat during this workout. Not as much as last week's speed session, but definitely more than I normally do. In any case, the workout itself started off well as I kept the effort quite even as I set off on the first 400m repeat, anticipating the longer repeats to come. Each rest interval I started off with a bit of walking, even after the first loop although I didn't particularly need it. Again, I was readying myself for the pain of the middle portion of the set. Sure enough, when that 1600m repeat came it was both physical and mental battle. Once it was done I felt like the workout was mine. However, that second 1200m was really tough as well! In the end I ran these fairly well, though I did manage the last two repeats a bit faster than average, which either means I left too much in the tank (hard to believe as I was really hurting), or mentally I was really glad this was almost over (much more likely scenario). The average pace for the fast portions ended up being 4:04.33/km, which is great for me and under the goal pace of 4:10/km. In all I managed 13k SP at 5:21/km, which included 2k warm up and 2k cool down sections. Over the lunch hour I went to the gym for an abbreviated session of rolling and stretching. Very difficult to get these sessions in as I've taken on a new role at work and my schedule has filled up very quickly with pressures coming from all angles. However, I must continue with the strength training and flexibility work in order to remain healthy so I will do my best to ensure I have at least a minimum amount of time during the work day to get this done. It remains to be seen how successful I am...

Wednesday: OFF. Another day of no running, as per the plan, so I took is OFF. However, I was able to get to the gym for a good session of running specific strength training followed by the compulsory twenty minutes of rolling and stretching.

Thursday8-12k T. Once more the way I feel going into a potentially tough run and the lack of confidence that is the byproduct of tired legs has little bearing on the outcome of the run itself. Thinking back to the same 12k tempo effort of week 6 I was a bit apprehensive about the same workout, but actually felt not so bad on the 2k warm up jog. Only issue was a bit of trouble here and there taking a full breath, but that seems to come and go with me so I pretty much ignore it. I started in on the tempo portion also ignoring the boredom that accompanies running the same 2.1k loop that I've chosen for both its slightly undulating terrain, but also for the fact that there are no potential stoppages in the form of red lights along the way. I ran the first kilometre as easily as I could and managed 4:33.7 for that split. Feeling that this was too fast I backed off a bit and the second split was 4:36.1. Little did I know that this would be the slowest split for the entire tempo portion of the run! I proceeded to accumulate splits that read more like a race for yours truly than a training run: 4:29.9, 4:33.3, 4:24.8, 4:29.9, 4:27.7, 4:29.1, 4:28.7, 4:24.8. 4:34.3, and 4:26.8. I was quite pleased to see that the average pace for the 12k Tempo part ended up at 4:29.92/km, which of course is under my dream BQ pace! In the end I even managed the entire run, with warm up and cool down, under the goal tempo pace of 4:45/km and managed 15k T at 4:41/km. And although I felt like I had a good workout, I wasn't completely drained by the end as my cool down kilometre was a decent pace and easy rather than closer to the slog I was anticipating. Nice! Later in the day I hit the gym for a good session of rolling and stretching followed by some sauna action.

Friday7-12k E. Well into the seventh week of marathon training the legs continued to accumulate fatigue. This was particularly evident on the 7k E at 5:28/km that I managed when I felt like each leg gained about 20lbs of useless weight. Dragged through the first kilometre and then things loosened up a bit so by the end of the run I was feeling a bit better. A good easy run completed as prescribed. During the lunch hour I went to the gym for some strength training and stretching.

Saturday10-13k E. For a change we actually were in town on a Saturday morning so I got to run with the running group. My wife and younger son joined me, though they went off and did their own run. I ran a nice 10k E at 5:26/km, chatting with someone the whole way about all sorts of interesting things. It was hot and humid, and it was fun to finish off the run sitting around at the coffee shop that serves as the de facto meeting place for the group chatting with everyone. Later in the day we went to watch the semi final baseball game of the Pan Am Games between the US and Cuba. We sat in the very partisan Cuban section of the stadium and it was very loud and boisterous, but the US ended up tying the game late and won 6-5 on a walk off single in the bottom of the 9th. Good game. Too bad Cuba couldn't pull it out after leading 5-1 early in the contest.

Sunday16k E or 23k L. After travelling to the cottage immediately following the baseball game on Saturday, we had a bit of a late night after a full day that was rather poor on the nutrition front. I woke up several times in the early morning, but did get my ass out running until much later than I'd intended. It wasn't so bad at a bit past 7:30am, but the heat and humidity were already quite oppressive. At least I had bought a packet of ELoad energy drink stuff, the same stuff that will be on offer at the PEC marathon, and I mixed that into a new running bottle and brought that along. And thank goodness I did as this was a major struggle on all fronts! Not too bad for the first half, but with about 10k left I really started to feel the effects of the hills, the heat, and the cumulative fatigue in the legs. In the end I managed 23k L at 5:23/km, but had to stop a few times to try and cool off. It of course didn't work very well as I was right back to feeling overheated the moment I started running again. I don't know what things would have been like had I not brought that drink along. After the run I shed everything but my shorts and slipped immediately into the lake, where I lay on my back completely submerged save for my face until my body started to feel something close to normal. I downed multiple glasses of water as well, and ate the fastest thing on offer (4 hot dogs), before I really began to feel like myself again. This Hanson Marathon Method thing really is onto something as this long run definitely felt more like the last part of the marathon and not the first. But holy crap was that hard!

Total for the week: 78 km at 5:16/km average pace.

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