So, I'll start off this week's entry with a rant that it seems like ALL runners rant about - THE WEATHER! It's been crazy hot and humid in DC this week. My runs outside have been shit. I was thinking I was a little "over-trained", or something was really "wrong", then I did my hard working on Thursday in the gym on a treadmill in a nice air conditioned room with a big fan blowing directly on me. And guess what....I ran fine! I did some work at 10k speed (1% incline on the treadmill as I always do) and it felt GREAT (well, as great as 10k intervals can feel). And I know from prior experience that 1% incline on the treadmill is a pretty good indication of how I'd run and feel outside WHEN THE WEATHER IS DECENT. So, this workout gave me a big confidence boost that my fitness is fine...it's just the weather sucks.
This is my first summer where I have some running experience, race and pace expectations, and solid goals I want to hit. I didn't realize how much HOT weather affects my running and paces. So...NOW I know. I always thought those articles in Runner's World (or wherever) over-exaggerated the affect of heat and humidity...but I guess not! So, I'm now a little more accepting of slower paces and feeling like shit when running in 90 degrees and 85% humidity. I no longer feel the need to "find" the answer to why I feel bad and am going so slow...I KNOW the answer.
All I can hope for now is cooler weather on August 21 (race day), than we've had this week. Weather report says it will cool off next week....so there's always hope! I also know that it is VERY hard for me to give up my goal pace on race day (which is calculated in perfect conditions) and adjust for hot weather. It. Is. Just. So. Hard. To. Do! Probably the reason I have yet to run a negative split race this year."
In one of Matt Fitzgeralds's books (I think "Run" - which is about running by feel), he recommends recording wether workouts "Build Confidence", "Neutral to Confidence", or "Reduce Confidence". The idea is - you will improve, or feel like you are improving, when workouts build confidence. I had two workouts this week that Built my confidence, and make me think I'm more fit than it has felt like the last few weeks as I've toiled in the heat and humidity. They are:
Thursday workout with 10k pace intervals - I did this workout on the treadmill at work to get away from the heat and. I ended up doing 6 x 2:00 @ 6:15 pace with 1% incline - and I felt "good". No issues, I felt in control and on top of the pace. Confidence back.
Sunday I decided to run roughly the course of my upcoming 20k race as a long run / HM pace workout. The plan was to run 8 miles easy, then mile 9-12 @ HM pace, then a mile or two cool down. Like Thursday's 10k intervals, the run went well. The weather helped, it was cooler than it has been in a long time (I ran from 6am - 7:45am or so), 70-73F with 100% humidity. Confidence up.
In prep for Sunday's run, I watched the US marathon Olympic trials Saturday afternoon. I was inspired watching Galen Rupp pull away at mile 20 to cruise to a victory, and Meb (at age 41) finish a close second. Even more inspiring was watching Amy Cragg (who won the race), catch Shalane Flanagan (her training partner) as she collapsed at the finish line for 3rd place. Shalane "bonked" hard around mile 23 and suffered tremendously to still finish top 3 - very inspiring. Side note: Meb and Lagat, both 41 qualified for the US Olympic team this year - Meb in the marathon, and Lagat in the 5k. Very inspiring for me, at 49, working toward my much MUCH more modest goals.
On Sunday's run, about 3 miles into the 4 mi HM pace portion, I almost stopped and started walking. I actually took two steps sideways, and about stopped, then woke up and pushed on, keeping my pace another mile. That decision changed Sunday's run to Confidence Builder from Confidence Downer. Definitely had Meb / Lagat / Shalane / and Amy in mind at that moment....
Rant on HM vs Tempo pace - in theory I know the difference for me. HM is about 6:45 and Tempo is prob around 6:30. But - when I'm running, and trying to "feel" the difference - I can't. How I feel, the weather, and how I slept probably will make a bigger diff on my paces than the small theoretical diff in the HM vs. Tempo pace. I'm sure as I get more experience I will know the difference, but right now I can't really tell.
Weekly mileage: 44
Long Run: 13.5
Weight: 138 (low end of my normal weight "range")
Daily workouts: (Harder workouts in bold)
Tuesday: off. First day back to work...sigh. Ran the last 9 days.
Wednesday: 45 minutes easy plus 4 strides. Finally started to feel better today - cough that has been hanging around is gone - still REALLY hot tho...hope this ends soon. Ended up with 5.7 miles (8:00 pace). Core work. Dynamic stretching and foam rolling.
Thursday: 10 miles with 4 x 2:00 @ 10k pace (6:15)with 2:00 recovery @ 10:00 pace. Treadmill. Inside with air conditioning and a giant fan blowing directly on me. Felt great! First good run in a while...so it's been the weather stupid that's been slowing me down! I feel re-invigorated to know my fitness is still there. Upper body strength, single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, ITB rehab routine. Foam rolling and stretching
Friday: OFF. Decided to take two days off from running this week. Time zone change and still getting over a cold has kept me a little too tired, and afraid of overtraining. I was able to work a half day today, and took an afternoon nap. Stretching and foam rolling. And.....feeling better.
Saturday: 41 minutes easy including strides. 5.1 miles / 8:05 pace overall. Core work. Rolling and stretching.
Sunday: 13.5 miles with miles 9-12 @ HM / tempo effort. Miles 1-8 @ 7:45 pace, then 6:30/6:36/6:40/6:31 for miles 9-12. (Note: these miles were slightly downhill - about 10-15 sec/mi faster than flat). Then, 8:30 pace or so for the 1.5 mi. cool down. Most of this run was on the course of the 20k on August 21. So, it was good to get a "practice" of what the course will fee like. Upper body strength/hip strength and mobility/lotsa rolling/dynamic stretching.
Next week - back to my "normal" schedule as I'm back home and working a full week.....