Sunday, July 26, 2015

The 8th of 18 Weeks

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

MondayOFF or 10k E. After the long run on Sunday that definitely felt like finishing a marathon I set off on the typical easy recovery run on a Monday morning feeling tired. I wasn't all that sore, surprisingly, but couldn't move very fast at the beginning. As the run progressed I loosened up and felt much better by the end of the run. In the end I managed 10k E at 5:27/km to start off week 8. Later in the day I went to the gym for some strength training and stretching.

Tuesday6x800m or 3x1600m. Woke up at 1am, read for a bit, then totally slept through my alarm, which had been set for 5:30. Instead, I woke up at 6:46 and scrambled to get out the door to get my run in and not be late for work! Just as I was getting ready the rains came pouring down to add to my already stressed state, but luckily they stopped by the time I had my shoes on and was heading out the door. The warm up 2k jog to the track was tough and my legs were definitely not "fresh". I didn't allow any doubt to creep in and at this point in the plan I decided to just run on faith given that I'd hit all my paces in the first seven weeks despite the fatigue. As I started in on the first of three 1600m repeats I just kept telling myself that somehow, some way, I will get through this workout and hit my paces. First repeat was tough, but I tried to just glide as much as possible. Didn't really feel the pain until the last lap and ended up doing it in 6:37.9, which was under the goal pace of 6:40. I walked a good half lap before jogging the rest of the 400m rest interval and set off on my second repeat, which was considerable tougher and really made me question my ability to complete the set as I was really huffing and puffing with about 600m to go. I ended up with a 6:35.8 for my second split, which surprised the hell out of me when I looked at my stats after the fact. Again, I walked about half the rest interval lap and just kept telling myself, "Only one more to go!". That one more was also tough, of course, but it's easier to push through the pain when one knows there will be no more. I ended up running the last split in 6:32.0. The average pace for the intervals ended up at 4:07.02/km, so under the goal of 4:10/km. I jogged the 2k home at a pace that was faster than I thought I could manage given how the intervals had felt. The total for the day was 10k SP at 5:08/km. And I did make it into work on time. Just! Later in the day I hit the gym for rolling and stretching, which was very necessary.

Wednesday: OFF. Really feeling the effects of training on the old legs and these days OFF are really quite welcome. I managed a regular strength training session during the day and went for a massage in the afternoon, but it seems that my current state of fatigue will only continue to get worse. In the first seven weeks of the plan the day off made a noticeable difference on my legs and, subsequently, on my Thursday morning tempo run. I am not so sure that this will continue as the mileage and intensity increases.

Thursday8-12k T. No idea how I was able to actually manage this one. My legs definitely did not recover after the off day, and as I set out on the first two kilometres warm up I felt like they were more sacks of wet bricks than anything resembling running legs. As I started into the 12k tempo portion of the run I told myself to just be happy if I did manage to hold 4:45/km. I kept things as even as I could and lo and behold I managed way faster than I thought was possible! The second split was my slowest at 4:41.8, and the last one was by far my fastest at 4:25.2. All the rest were between 4:30/km and 4:38/km, and it all averaged out to 4:33.52/km. The total ended up at 15k T at 4:44/km. Nice! We then attended the day session of the Track and Field events at the Pan Am Games and that meant that yours truly got to work rather late and was immediately faced with multiple crises. I managed to get some rolling and stretching done at home in the evening, but it wasn't as good as a typical session at the gym ends up being. Oh well.

Friday8-10k E. For the first time all week I woke up not feeling completely drained. I also felt good on the run despite the whole fatigued legs thing that was definitely in play since that 23k effort last Sunday. In any case, the 8k E at 5:13/km felt really easy as I ran it with a very even and relaxed effort. All in all a very good run! Also, I picked up a couple pairs of my current running shoe at a terrific discount from my local healthcare provider where I go for things like massage now and again and this was the first run with one of the new Asics Gel-Kayano 21s. The pair I'd been wearing had a significant amount of wear in particular on the front outside of the sole. An interesting wear pattern especially for the fact that both heals showed almost no wear at all. This last pair of Kayano 21's were at or perhaps past their useful lifespan so it was high time to get some new shoes into the mix. At lunch time I went to the gym for a strength training session followed by rolling and stretching, which was also good.

Saturday10-16k E. After spending Friday evening at the Pan Am games track and field competition, watching interesting events such as the women's 3000m steeplechase and long jump finals, first four events of the heptathlon, and both men's and women's 4x100m relays, and getting home rather late, I tried to get up early enough to both avoid the expected heat and humidity and to get out of town in good time to get to the cottage. I was out running before 7:30am and the first bit felt worse than I would have liked for it to feel. It was already hot and humid out, but I felt ok with it for some strange reason. My pace improved throughout the run even though I didn't put in any more effort and I was quite pleased to finish the 10k E at 5:08/km feeling like it was a successful easy run. These types of runs give me faith in the Hanson's Marathon Method: I was feeling like total crap after last Sunday's run and it took me at least four days to recover, but I still managed to hit all my paces for all the runs and never felt like I was anywhere near any edge or close to getting injured. Things will get tougher still, I recognize, but I've been feeling more resilient by the day.

Sunday16k L. Went out in the early morning at the cottage in very still and foggy conditions. It was a beautiful morning for running: still, quiet, and not yet hot and too humid. My left Achilles and calf were a bit tight so I have to pay a bit more attention to it, but it's been something I've been dealing with for a while now so wasn't too concerned. More than anything, I was just a bit wary of the hills that I would have to traverse and went out without much of a pacing strategy, but rather just wanted to get a solid Long run in with even effort. As usual the first kilometre was slow, but as I loosened up my pace started to hit paces that I have never hit on the familiar route that I chose so I started to wonder if I'd be able to hit the pace range called for in the Hanson's Marathon Method. The big question is always how I would manage the big hills getting back to the lake. I stretched the run out a bit by running a loop through Stirling, the closest little town, and then hit the hills. I was pleased to find that both my perceived effort and pace showed marked improvements over the same terrain in the last two months. In the end I managed 16k L at 5:01/km, so right in the middle of the 4:54-5:10/km range for Long Runs. Week 8 of 18 done!

Total for the week: 69 km at 5:05/km average pace.

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