Sunday, September 6, 2015

The 14th of 18 Weeks

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

Monday8-10k E. After that great 28k Long run I knew my legs would be a bit on the tender side so I really focused on the recovery aspect of the Monday morning easy run. The run itself was totally uneventful and my legs didn't feel all that stiff or sore. I just lacked some energy, but still managed a decent 10k E at 5:35/km. In the afternoon I went to the gym for a strength training session and some rolling and stretching. Even after a big weekend of running I figured doing some resistance training was the right thing to do to get those muscles moving and activated.

Tuesday2x3 miles. Sometimes it's your guts that get you through a workout and not your legs. This was one of those times. I set off on my warm up jog feeling less than stellar and with a sore right groin (must be careful with this one I think). After a 3k warm up, which was longer than my typical 2k warm up, I set off into the first of the repeats with the Garmin set on interval mode for 2 sets 4.8km with 800m rest interval. At the beginning the first repeat felt ok and I just tried to get into a rhythm. That lasted until I had about a kilometre or so left and then things really started to hurt so I just tried to focus on form and kept plugging away. By the last 400m or so the form was all over the place and I couldn't wait to be done. I stumbled to the end with a time of 20:40.76 for an average pace of 4:18.49/km and was instantly worried about what the second repeat would feel like. After walking 200m then jogging the remainder of the 800m rest interval I blocked the doubts out of my mind and set off again. Once more, the first part wasn't too bad, but this time the pain really hit at about the halfway mark. I could really feel the lactic acid in the legs and began to lose control to a certain degree of how my feet were landing as well as the recovery phase of each stride. I guess that's why I think I managed to finish the second repeat on guts; it certainly wasn't on legs. The time for the second repeat ended up at 20:48.76 for an average pace of 4:19.31/km. Ultimately, I was very happy with the result and the mantra that got me through that last tough stretch was, "This is where the adaptation occurs!" Here's hoping it's occurring... The total for the run was same as last week: 16k ST at 5:06/km. In the afternoon I went to the gym for a good rolling and stretching session followed by a sauna. I will have to book another massage appointment as I seem unable to get to that sore groin area on the right leg that's been barking for a few days now.

Wednesday: OFF. Another tough day at work (what is it about Wednesdays?!?!) was broken up with a decent running strength session and some rolling and stretching. I developed a kink in my neck that I had hoped would not hamper me going forward, and it was certainly present all day. Other than that this was another well earned day OFF.

Thursday14k T. A very tough run on a hot and humid morning and on what ended up being very tired legs indeed. The thermometer read 23.5C when I left the house at 5:45am, a bit later than I'd hoped. And as soon as I went outside I was hit with a wall of humidity and knew I would be in for a challenged. The two kilometre jog to warm up was ok, but I felt low on energy for sure. Then when I started in on the tempo portion of the workout I did something I haven't done in this training block, at least not that I can recall. I consciously slowed myself down accounting for the heat and when I glanced at my watch about halfway through the first split I was running at 4:50/km! Much too slow. I made up for it and finished the first kilometre in 4:41.23, but paid for that effort on the second split, which I managed in 4:43.23. After that things stabilized a bit and all my other splits were in the mid to low 4:30's except for the second last one, which ended up at 4:29.70. Those last five kilometres of the tempo run were a killer though! I switched from 3-3 breathing to 3-2 with about 6k left, and then went to full on 2-2 for the last 4k. In the very last two kilometres it was a true struggle to just keep going and not allow myself a break. Looking back I am very pleased with this run as it definitely shows how far I've come over the course of this training plan. There is no way I could have managed this type of workout in the past in this type of heat. The total for the run was 18k T at 4:49/km, which was about 7s/km slower than last week's same workout and I can only assume the slow down was on account of the heat, though this one did come on the heels of that 28k long run and the killer Strength session on Tuesday. In the afternoon I was able to go to the gym for a good rolling and stretching session.

Friday8-10k E. Definitely was feeling the effects of the tempo effort as I set off on this recovery run. I also think that I got more dehydrated than I recognized at the time over the course of that tempo run on account of the heat and did not replace my fluids properly throughout the day. I had a couple of tall glasses of water just before bed and really didn't have to use the washroom all that much when I woke up, so that's definitely a sign that I have to pay more attention to hydration going forward. As a result, my legs were feeling very sore and tight. However, as the run progressed I loosened up a bit and ended it feeling much better than when I first started. Ultimately, I managed 8k E at 5:29/km and was better for the effort as I believe this runs help, rather than hinder, the recovery process. In the afternoon I went to the gym for another strength training session followed by rolling and stretching.

Saturday13-16k E. After arriving at the cottage the night before past midnight I was very tired due to lack of sleep in the morning as I woke up at 6am anyway and then tossed and turned until finally dragging myself out of bed for my run. Not feeling all that great I had very low expectations of the run itself, though I was quite pleased to be running on the roads near our lake after a four week absence. Man, the Summer just flew by didn't it?! In any case, I set off on a humid morning just trying to keep things easy and loose. As I ran on the familiar roads I was reminded of just how different running in the country is from the City. It's peaceful, quiet, and there are no red lights to contend with. Also, the drivers are super nice and courteous as they make sure to leave lots of room for me. Most of them move all the way over to the opposite lane as they pass by! In the end I managed to run 13k E at 5:16/km and the two kilometre climb back up to the lake at the end of the run, though tougher than I remember it, was not too bad. It's amazing how quickly your body forgets these hills if you don't run them every single week.

Sunday16k E/L. After a much better night of sleep I woke up to a very foggy and misty morning where the fog was so think I couldn't see more than a couple of hundreds metres in front of me. It was also very humid out, as I was about to find out, but while getting ready to run I wasn't so aware of this fact. My run was to be done either at E pace or L pace, and I left the choice up to the legs and how they were feeling in the first two kilometres. As I completed this warm up of sorts I noticed that my pace was such that I should try for the L end of the spectrum. Everything was cool as I coasted down Bird Rd., stopping for a few seconds to admire two Pileated Woodpeckers that I saw right at the edge of the road hanging onto one of those wooden guardrail posts. The out section of the out and back course I chose was either flat or downhill, with a very steep and long downhill section at around the 4km mark. My pace was quite good through these kilometres as I maintained a good cadence and kept things very loose. This would continue until the turnaround point, at which I was really feeling the effects of the humidity for the first time. I stopped to catch my breath a bit and noticed that my clothes were totally soaked. I began to be a bit worried that I would be in trouble for the back half of the run and promised myself another short break before the major climb back up Bird Rd. By the time I reached the bottom of the hill at the 11.75km mark I was really overheating. The break was a blessing, but in the heat I was not able to really recover. I decided to just run to the top of the hill and take another break, but after cresting the top I just kept on running. I was forced to take another break while waiting for a short spell to cross highway 14, but other than that I managed to fight the urge to stop again and did not do so for the rest of the run. In the end I managed 16k L at 4:55/km, which was a very decent pace for me and at the faster end of the Long run range (4:54/km-5:10/km). All in all a tough but good way to finish off week 14!

Week 15 will have a bit of a twist to it as I've signed up for a small local Half Marathon and will move my Tempo run from Thursday to Sunday as a result. I will attempt to run the race at Tempo pace, which is goal marathon pace in the Hanson's Marathon Method plan.

Total for the week: 81 km at 5:07.67/km average pace.

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