Sunday, August 16, 2015

The 11th of 18 Weeks

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

Monday8-13k E. Arrived at Sharbot Lake the day before and now was finally faced with running on the roads that I had thoroughly checked out on Google Maps to discover that the only real route worth considering was on the local HWY 38, an 80km/h two lane deal. All other options were either dirt roads that would most likely be filled with bugs, or doing loops around the small town itself. Driving in revealed that a good chunk of the town's roads were under construction, so HWY 38 it was for the first run of the vacation. The morning was pleasant and not too warm. Bugs seemed to be a bit on the lesser side this year as well, and that proved to be true as I ran down the 0.6km private road to the main road where in year's past I got destroyed by mosquitos and deer flies. The run itself was uneventful and the only things worth noting was the lack of a proper paved shoulder to run on, forcing me to run on the white line and scurry whenever a car or truck approached, and the fact that my left Achilles seems to be tighter than usual. The latter worries me more than the former, naturally. I managed 13k E at 5:13/km in the end. Later in the day I did a decent amount of rolling and stretching to try and work the kinks out of the calf and tendon.

Tuesday6x1 mile. Well, the best thing that one can report after a tough run like the one I had on this day is that it got done. After a restless night of "sleep", wherein yours truly was awake more than asleep due to rain storms raging and ceiling fans making noise and rooms overheated, etc. In any case, dragged my ass out of bed just as the rains had stopped, only for the crap to return with a vengeance as I was putting my running shoes on. Felt less than stellar on the 2k jog to the highway as a warmup, then started in on the mile repeats along the edge of HWY 38. For the first time ever I set the Garmin for an interval workout with 6 sets of 1.6km up and 400m rest intervals, which I guess is close enough to the 1 mile repeats called for in the plan. As per the Hanson's Marathon Method these Strength sessions are to be run at 10s/mile faster than goal marathon pace. In my case, that is a bit of a mystery as I am supposed to be running the marathon at 4:45/km, but have been running my Tempo workouts (which are run at planned marathon pace) about 10s/km faster, so it was a bit tough figuring out what pace I should be aiming for in the Strength sessions. I thought I'd be ok to try for 4:20/km - 4:24/km, but in retrospect this might have been too aggressive given how tired my legs feel these days. I managed the first three repeats at 4:24/km, 4:21/km, and 4:24/km average pace, so right on. Then I had to turn around the head back into the wind and uphill for the second half of the workout. The fourth repeat was at 4:26/km, and it was a struggle to get it down to that number and I knew I was pressing too hard just to do that. Physiologically I ran this one too hard, so I decided to run more on feel for the rest of the session. The fifth repeat averaged out at 4:34/km, and that included a significant uphill stretch followed by a long gradual climb so I guess that the pace was not indicative of the effort required. The last on I just wanted to be finished and I was hurting something fierce by the end, averaging out at 4:23/km in the end. When averaging out all the repeats the result was 4:25.33/km, so a bit slower than intended, but like I said, it was not clear to me what my goal pace should be for these Strength workouts. In the end I totalled 15k ST at 5:09/km for the session and was glad to have earned another day off. I can now see more clearly why people refer to these Strength sessions as the toughest workouts in the Hanson's Marathon Method plan. When they come at the end of a six day stretch and your legs are shot the seemingly doable pace in the HM range is a lot tougher to manage than one would expect. Later in the day I spent some time rolling and stretching, but nothing too organized.

Wednesday: OFF. Spent pretty much the entire day in bed lying around and doing nothing. My right hamstring tightened up something fierce for some reason the night before. I figure it had to do with running on a slight sideways angle while on the edge of the local highway coupled with a swim in the lake late in the evening that cooled me down a bit too much. In any case, I was in a bad mood all day because it definitely felt like this issue would derail my entire training plan. This was in the end the most OFF of off days I've likely ever had.

Thursday13k T. Woke up after the previous day worrying about whether this run would actually happen at all and immediately started testing how the right hamstring was feeling. I could tell that it wasn't 100%, but it didn't hurt as bad as it had 24 hours earlier so I got dressed and ready for my run. I figured if the muscle gave out it would likely happen early on so I would still be close enough to walk home. Worst thing that could have happened was to have it give out at the half way point on the out and back course. In any case, the first 2km warm up jog went ok and I decided to try and have a go at the Tempo portion thinking it would be easier to try and hold it to the 4:45/km prescribed pace, both on the hamstring and mentally speaking, given that I had been averaging quite a bit faster than that to date at 4:34.36/km on these Tempo runs. When I started in on the faster section I immediately could tell this was not going to be a cakewalk or, in fact, any easier than any other Tempo run. Right from the start I struggled to stay around 4:45/km. Ended up having to switch out of my 3-3 breathing pattern after about 3km and into a 3-2 breathing pattern, which I maintained the rest of the way. I stopped at the halfway point (6.5km of Tempo pace running) and stretched for a short spell. I knew that mentally this would be a slog on the way back so I gave myself goals linked to stopping for stretches. As I ran I told myself that I would stop with 4km left, but kept running through that spot until I only had 3km left in the Tempo portion. I stopped to stretch there and once more promised myself that I would only go 2 more kilometres before another break, but once again I ran through that spot and finished the run. In fact, I didn't even stop there before the cool down jog; just kept on going. I even stretched the cool down to 2km instead of the customary 1km on account of not wanting to face the bugs on the dirt road leading to the cottage while walking. I managed a total of 17km T at 4:54/km, which was not a great average pace, but the Tempo portion averaged out to an impressive 4:39.45/km under the circumstances. Not executed perfectly, but given all the issues of hamstring pain and lack of energy I'll be happy with it I guess. I rolled the crap out of my legs while watching the Jays in a matinee contest with the A's on TV in the early afternoon.

Friday8-12k E. I guess I was premature in declaring last Friday's easy run as the shortest left on the schedule. Looking ahead I now see there are a few easy 8k runs left for me :) Today was one of them and I ran an out and back into town to accommodate the requirement. My legs are sore and tired, but the schedule keeps me honest and focused so that I don't make mistakes by either doing too much (as is my history) or slacking off (with which I do not have an issue). The effort ended up as 8k E at 5:17/km and it was a decent mental rest day as well.

Saturday13k E. Woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble getting back to sleep so by the time I woke up again for my run it was later than I'd intended and I felt a bit more crappy than I would have liked. Got out the door at close to 9am and it was already quite warm out, and definitely very humid. I decided to just run on feel and keep it easy so that's what I did, maintaining a 3-3 breathing pattern and not pushing it up the hills. Ultimately, this ended up being a decently executed long run as I managed 13k E at 5:17/km, though I kept thinking the entire time that the 26k run to come was going to be a very difficult one indeed if this is what an easy 13k effort feels like. More than anything beyond my legs being completely wasted I am concerned with my lack of energy and general state of lethargy. Is it just that I am on vacation and that lends itself to being somewhat lazy? Or is it the diet that accompanies being on holiday? Or perhaps it's just that my body responds in this way when my routine is disrupted? Who knows...

Sunday26k L. I was right to be concerned with how the first 16 miler of the training plan would go, but in the end I managed as well as one could hope for. I left, once more, a bit later than I'd hoped (the cottage next to ours had a wedding and party afterwards that lasted well into the night with some very predictable and crappy DJ playing modern "hits" that kept us all awake and not in good spirits) and was finally on the road at 7:51am. I had in the back of my mind the pace band for Long runs that I was ostensibly trying to achieve, but ultimately I decided that a steady effort was more important than a failure born of trying to run too fast. It was very foggy out when I left and also very humid, which only became more of a factor as the fog lifted. Therefore, holding a steady effort was already difficult enough. I ran south on the out and back along the highway and all the while tried to push away the thoughts of just how long this run would take. Instead, I focused on the turnaround point at 13km and managed to get there, on the outskirts of the town of Tichborne, without too much trouble. I played a mental game with myself all the while whereby I promised that I could stop for a break at X kilometre, then kept pushing that back. Initially it was the halfway point, then 15km, then 18km, then 21km. I never did stop, and once I hit 21km I decided that it was necessary to not stop at all in order to get the desired training effect. And boy did I ever get that desired training effect! Those last 5km were very tough and I had to fight against every fibre in my being that was telling me to stop. The last 2km in particular that lead me to the cottage were very difficult as they present the would be runner with some decent hills to traverse. Ultimately, I succeeded in not stopping and managed to run 26km L at 5:14/km, which was only 4s/km slower than the lower end of the goal pace for a Long run. Not bad! Also, this finished off the longest mileage week in quite some time for yours truly.

Total for the week: 92 km at 5:10/km average pace.

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