Sunday, August 30, 2015

The 13th of 18 Weeks

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

Monday12-13k E. The first day back from vacation was made a bit more sad by the fact that when I woke up to go for my run it was still very dark out! Before my holidays when I had to wake up around 5am it was at least getting light out. This time, I didn't get up until 5:30am, and wasn't out the door until 5:50am, and still had to run in the dark for a good chunk of my 13k E at 5:22/km run. At least the run was good. Tried to keep it really easy in anticipation of the Strength session to come. I think I succeeded, though the last split was a bit fast. In the afternoon, despite the craziness that comes with returning to work after two weeks off, I managed to get to the gym for a good running specific strength training session followed by a decent amount of rolling and stretching. Couldn't believe how stiff I felt after I didn't really do any stretching while on vacation :( Then again, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

Tuesday3x2 miles. The night before this session I had set the Garmin up for an interval workout of undefined warm up (ended up being the usual 2km), then 3 x 3.2km with 800m rest interval, and completed with an undefined cool down (ended up being 2km as well). This is the third time I'd used the interval training feature on the watch and I must say that I like it, though for some reason it always seems like the last thirty metres or so take FOREVER to pass by when one is hurting. In any case, the familiar territory of home turf and the cooler weather made for a much better strength session than I'd been able to manage the past two weeks. Although I felt slow and sluggish on the warm up, I managed to pull off three very good and quick (for me) repeats: 13:43.20, 13:43.31, 13:39.24. Not bad for even splitting! These translate to paces of 4:17.25/km, 4:17.28/km and 4:16.01/km for an average of 4:16.86/km. From where I've come this is a HUGE achievement, and to run these on tired legs in the thirteenth week of the marathon training plan makes it even more satisfying. In total I managed 16k ST at 5:06/km and earned another nice day off. At lunch time I went to the gym for a complete rolling and stretching routine followed by a bit of sauna action.

Wednesday: OFF. This was quite honestly the most difficult work day I've had in certainly my new role, but likely in my entire career at my current employer. In any case, I did manage to get to the gym for a brief strength training session and a very abbreviated stretching routine. Other than that this was an OFF day for running, and very much an ON day for work stress.

Thursday14k T. The night before I was feeling less than good on account of the tough work day. In fact, I felt like I may even have been coming down with something and was quite worried. In any case, I woke up at 5:10am hoping to get my run in by 7am, and this almost happened. My stomach was feeling off when I woke up and that delayed me a little as I prepared for the run. However, the weather was a perfect 15C and not to windy so that made me feel good as I started in on my usual 2km warm up. I was a bit surprised at the slow pace that my Garmin was reading on the warm up given that I felt like I was running faster. This concerned me a bit heading into the Tempo portion of the run, but by now in the training plan I figured things would work out despite how I was feeling or what the watch was showing. In the end this very much proved to be the case as I ran what I would consider a very strong 14k tempo run at an average pace of 4:28.60/km. Compared to the disaster of last week's 14k tempo run this was a huge improvement. I never had to stop and just kept chugging along at a good clip with my usual 3-3 breathing pattern for the first 11k. After that I switched to a 3-2 breathing pattern at some point in a natural fashion (these switches don't happen consciously I find) and finished the run strong with the three fastest splits of the entire run. All but the first two splits were slower than 4:35/km, and the last 8 splits were all under 4:30/km. I was very pleased with this run and to be back on track with the tempo run component of this training plan. The total for the run in the end was 18k T at 4:42/km, which once more averaged out to faster than goal marathon pace overall even with the warm up and cool down included. At lunch I slunk away from the office for a decent rolling, stretching, and sauna routine.

Friday10-12k E. Woke up to another beautiful day for a run and enjoyed the stress free preparation for another easy effort. The temperatures have been perfect for running and that definitely helps even if I do like the hot weather that comes with Summer. In fact, I hope we get another stretch of heat sometime soon. However, for now I will take the cooler temps and enjoy the running that comes with those conditions. On the run itself I felt much better than expected after the tempo effort of the day before and ran nice and easy without looking at the Garmin for pace. I ended up running faster than ideal pace as I managed 10k E at 5:13/km, but because I ran on feel I don't think that's a problem. The sunrise was spectacular as well; a big red ball coming up in the East. If I were a sailor I'd have been worried... At lunch I went to the gym and managed to complete a standard and decent strength training session followed by rolling and stretching.

Saturday10-13k E. Met up with the running group and set off on a nice easy run, but had to pull ahead after a kilometre or so as the pace was a bit slower than what I needed to do. Managed a nice 10k E at 5:14/km in the end and then hung around the coffee shop chatting with the runners for a while. A great start to the weekend! And leading into the long this was a good prep.

Sunday26k L. It's always so gratifying to complete a run in such a way that one is surprised with their own abilities to a certain degree. That happened on the long run to end week 13 for me as I set off feeling tired and a bit concerned about my right calf, which mysteriously cramped up on me while watching the Jay eviscerate yet another opponent the day before (the Edwin hat trick game). I set off at about 7:30am and it was already 19.5C on the thermometer so I didn't really have too many expectations about pacing other than to keep it steady. And that totally worked out, but I achieved much more! Not only did I keep the pace steady, but I ran way faster than I thought I would and I didn't try any harder than before or anything. The best part was that I had never felt stronger in the last part of a long run before! As a result I tacked on two more kilometres at the end (as I had done the calculation and knew that I could go as high as twenty-eight kilometres and still be under 30% of total weekly mileage for the long run) and managed to complete 28k L at 4:58/km. Yes, this was a tough run, but what surprised me the most was as things got tougher I didn't feel the usual lull in energy and was able to maintain pace and even pick it up a bit at the very end. Is this was it feels like to draw of slow twitch muscle fibres that have been trained to act like slow twitch fibres? If it is, I like it!

Total for the week: 95 km at 5:02.88/km average pace.

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