Sunday, February 24, 2013

From Doubt to Confidence

The last time I wrote I was coming off a decent long run that had me running some quick miles the last 30 minutes or so. It was a blustery day with slick roads but I managed to get in a pretty good run. The week following was one of ups and downs with the downs taking command for most of the week. Thoughts of doubt were creeping in my mind and I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards. For some reason, a reason I will explain in a bit, I was feeling a bit "shot". Weird, because I finished the Sunday run and went to bed feeling like I was headed to a strong progression week. I started the week with a much shorter, easy run than I am used to taking. I called it at 34:00 and shifted my energy to lifting weights for a half-hour or so. The next day I opened my eyes, made my way downstairs and decided on a big, fat zero for the day. Too tired and I was now feeling extremely tired. Not too sore, but just really tired. If I remember correctly I went to bed at 7:55 pm that night. Wednesday that week I rebounded and had a decent ladder workout and hit my splits with ease. Sweet! I'm back. Not so fast, as the rest of the week remained extremely fatigued and listless. To get out and run was a struggle the rest of the week and by Saturday I realized I was battling a good ol' fashion virus. Duh! Most of the people at work had some form of "bug" they were fighting and I am sure I had a hit of it and it just wore on me. Having said that, I only missed two running days and I finished with a decent 15 miler on Sunday that had my legs singing the praise once again. It's amazing how those viruses can take a toll on you, even oh so slightly.

This last week was a very nice progressive week that had me moving everyday. My shortest effort this past week was 60 minutes and I hope to repeat that for a few more weeks. I decided once again on just one true "speed" workout instead of two for the weekdays. I wanted to make sure my legs were going to accept the increased running and I can say they handled things quite well. My mid-week workout was 11 miles with 7 at 5:56 pace on the treadmill, and this weekends long run was 20 miles on the roads. Overall a very good week in the right direction.

The next phase of training starts tomorrow. It's referred to as "strength" phase. I will continue to do my MP efforts once a week and will now add some longer intervals at a pace closer to true lactate threshold (LT). I tend to do much better during this phase of training and I hope history can repeat itself. For now, my main goal is to get the legs recovered well from today's long run. Right now I feel great. We will see what song I am singing on Tuesday morning when I wake up 48 hours post-long effort.

I also wanted to give a shout out to all those friends that did the 2013 Birkie races this past Saturday. I took a quick look at the results to see a lot of familiar names. It's nice to see and I am proud to know you all! Recover well and enjoy a pint!

Here are the last two weeks of training:

Feb 11-17th
M: 34:00 4 mi, easy + 2 sets of weights
T: 0 too tired!
W: 1:14:00  11 mi, ladder workout at 5:18-15 pace
Th: 1:00:00  8 mi, west skyline
F: 1.5 miles tread, tired, + 2 sets of weights
Sa: 1:02:00  7 miles, roads
Su: 2:02:00  15.3 miles *legs improving a lot

Week: ~ 47 miles (2 days off)

Feb 18-24th
M: 1:01:00 7 mi, trails Hartley
T: 1:00:00  8 miles tread
W: 1:13:00  11 mi, 7 @ 5:56 pace
Th: 1:05:00 8 mi, Hartley. pushed hills
F: 1:00:30  8 miles, roads/Hartley
Sa: 1:00:00  *snow! SHT snowshoe  5 miles
Su: 2:47:30  20 miles  *last three miles up from lakeside, 8:10 Glenwood mile

Week:  ~67 miles

Years Total: 451 miles

Sunday, February 10, 2013

There's A Storm Brewin'

I would like to say the above title is an analogy to how my fitness is improving but I don't want to jinx myself. (even though I feel myself shaping up nicely...)  No, there really is a good ol' fashion snow storm in the works and it is smacking us as I type. The weather "experts" are calling for 8-10" of the white stuff to nail Duluth! Bring it!! I really don't want snow as it really mucks up a persons marathon training. I will press on and become creative with my training for a week or so. After all, I do have the dreadmill to fall back on for more specific training days and possibly next weekends long run. YUK! Let's not be ahead of ourselves quite yet. There may be perfect outdoor running by next weekend.

As for the last two weeks I start with the week following my half-marathon "pace run". For those of you who can't understand why someone would pay for a race and use it for a training run needs to give it a try. Really, its a lot harder than you think. Mentally, that is. Physically, one usually is ready to crank out some fast miles until reality sets in and you realize you are not quite as fit as you thought you were. Early season races are perfect for the faster training runs. The courses are closed to traffic, you have others around to help distract from the grind of the miles, and you have suffice aide. In addition, it really allows you to dial in the pace you desire for future races and get a feeling for where you are at in your training cycle. For me, I needed to understand if running 6:00 per mile will be a reality come April 15th. With the half I did, I feel like, all injuries kept away, that it is a serious reality. I like that, because if I do, it will be a personal best (PR)!

After the half-marathon my goal was to have un-interupted training, another reason not to race. I managed that with a few easy trail runs Sunday thru Tuesday. I was surprised how tired my quads were, but by Wednesday I was ready and did a 5X1000 meter workout and nailed it. The weather that week kept me to a few days in the gym, but I did manage to get out and run a couple days with windchills near the  -20F mark. I finished the week with a nice mix of trails and roads for 16 miles.

This last week I managed to catch some sort of GI virus that took me out for a day. Feeling a bit of nausea is never good when needing to run, so I took a day off. It was a quick buggar, thankfully, and I was good to go the remainder of the week. My highlight for the week was the 7 miler at 5:56 pace. I felt like that was a strong run for me and I'm really headed in the right direction. Today's long run was another solid effort, one in which I did solo and that always is good on the psyche.

We, (I) have 9 weeks to go and I feel like I am in a good place. I'm still not doing a lot of volume but I am running good, quality runs. My recovery are truely run at a slow pace and that has been setting me up for good quality, faster days of training. I have two more weeks of speed, then switch gears to strength oriented work. I love that shit!!

Here's to a marvelous week of training people. Keep it up!

Jan 28th-Feb 3rd
M:41:00 5 miles  (woodland, anoka, hartley)
T: 45:00 5 miles (trails, feel better)
W: 1:09:00 10 miles  5X1000 meters @ 5:18 pace
Th: 1:09:00 9 miles (skyline, -20F)
F: 1 mi + weights at gym. *tired so no running
Sa: 1:15:00 8.6 miles (sno mo trails)
Su: 2:04:00  16 miles (trails/roads)
~55 miles for week

Feb 4-10th
M: 1:05:00 7 miles (-13F hartley run)
T: 0 miles GI virus
W: 55:00 9 miles -4X1200 meters @ 5:18 pace
Th: 1:05:00 6 miles snowshoe run. *maybe too much for recovery day?
Fr: 1:14:00 11 miles w/ 7 mi @ 5:56 pace
Sa: 1:15:00 9.5 miles recovery day (roads/trails)
Su: 2:04:42 18.3 miles *ave 6:49 pace
~61 miles for week

YEARS TOTAL: 337.1 miles