Tune up Time! It’s Race Week

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Pace and Racing, Training
Tags: , , , , ,

Mondays are typically cross-training days for me.  I am usually pretty beat-up from a couple of days of tough running over the weekend and I simply need to back off and rest the legs to get ready for another week of training.

This week was no different as I decided to throw the triathlon bike on the trainer for a quick 15.5 mile ride to get the legs a little work, but save them from the pounding of a recovery run.

I’ve learned a lot about running since training for my first marathon in 2006 and one of the irrefutable facts remains that for me, five days of running with two days off is my “optimum” schedule.  It allows me to work hard on improving and reaching my goals, but also provides me with the downtime these 43-year-old legs need to stay injury free.

Not pain-free mind you, but injury free.  Two very different things.

I have my share of bumps and bruises just like any distance runner or endurance athlete does.  Which is why last week’s “step back week” was much-needed to allow me to get my legs “back under me”.  We had really been pushing the intensity over the last month and I simply needed to dial-back a bit.

What was interesting to see was the fact that I actually ran more miles last week (46.05) than I did the week before (44.85).  However, I only ran 13 of those miles at a pace under 7:00 min./mile.  The week before that number was closer to 20. 

That is an important lesson as it is not only the quantity of miles that need to be monitored, but the quality or pace of those miles needs to be carefully measured as well.  Effort is something that as an aging marathoner I will need to really examine if I hope to continue to progress as a distance runner.

Late Sunday night I had started to think about finding a local 5K race for this coming weekend to use as a “tune-up” with IBM still 19 days away.  As I hopped off of the tri-bike this morning after 50 minutes, my legs felt remarkably fresh.  I felt “Racey”.  Let’s do it I thought.

No matter how much I try to push pace on my training runs, there is no substitution for a true “race” to get those juices flowing and force me to run “hard”.  For me to get into that sub 6:00 minute/mile pace, I simply have to have a number pinned to my chest and a timing chip on my person.  That’s just the way that it is.

So, I took a look at the local race calendar and found a 5K just north of our home for Saturday morning.  The Harvest Fest 5K in Georgetown TX.  The race will be run at 8:00 a.m. at St. Gabriel Park – an area I have never run before.

The course looks like a nice flat out and back, some of which will be on the trail system. 

I’m not going to worry too much about “going low” or posting a “PR” this weekend as it is all about getting ready both physically and mentally for IBM on the 17th.  I do however want to run well, something in the range of 18:15 to 18:25 which will serve as a good boost of confidence with two weeks to go in our quest for that sub 40:00 minute 10K time.

I might even be lucky enough to have Little Miss Landry and Dawn at the finish line this weekend, making the Harvest Fest 5K her first ever race. 

Come to think of it, maybe we do have a PR in us this Saturday.

  1. tbrush3 says:

    You are a racing man! Go tear it up.

    By the way I see proof you are a Texan. I see that pickup truck in the Picture!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Thanks Trey! Very excited to toe the line on Saturday in a final tune-up race. We haven’t raced in cool temps since Boston in April – really interested to seeing what we can do if the weather cooperates. Sub 18? Maybe …

  2. Jodi Higgins says:

    Good luck this Saturday Joe! I am sure you will crush it out there! I too noticed the pick up truck in the background like the previous poster. So the question is, Ford or Chevy? 🙂

  3. Lara says:

    That’s great that there are so many local races close to home; you can really choose something to fit into your training schedule and not have to plan for it months in advance. I have no doubt you’re in Race Shape; most of it is mental anyway, and you have a mental edge that would put Lance Armstrong to shame. As for the discussion about the quantity of miles during a dial-back week… I realized that this week as well. It’s a “high milage” week, though 18 of those are Easy Recovery Runs. Makes me feel down-right lazy, but I do see the wisdom in training at different paces. Best to you, Joe, have a good one!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Lara! So great to hear from you. You are so right, we have a great running community here in the Austin area – I feel so blessed to be able to live, train and race here.

      You really hit on a great point as one of the reasons I wanted to race this week was I didn’t want to go a full 7 weeks without the “focus” of a race day. This tune-up will get that feeling of racing back and I will only have 14 days to IBM – a lot of racing truly is the mental side.

      As for the “intensity” dialing back, I am becoming a huge convert Lara. I think you can still get your work in, but do it in a smart way to prolong your ability to run, train and race injury free. There is definitely something to us getting smarter as we get older when it comes to this – and although we might not be as “fast” as we were when we were younger, we certainly can close that gap by training smart. Hope all is well out in CO!

  4. onelittlejill says:

    If I didn’t keep a race schedule, I would never work out!

    Sooo…when is the first tri?

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jill! It is looking like my first ever Tri will be in May 2011. We have a Tri here called “The Rookie” in Austin.

      300M Swim, 11.2 mi Bike, 2 M run.

      I’d like to try my first “Tri” in conditions that won’t stress me out too bad and learn a lot about transition areas, set-up and of course the test that the swim, bike, run is all about before I really show up to “race”.

      If I could get an Olympic distance under my belt in 2011 before the end of the year (or two) – I think I would be no pace to get that first 1/2 Iron Man done before turning 45. We’ll see! I need to walk before I run or I guess in this case, I need to swim before I bike and run ….. very excited about chasing down this goal after the Austin Marathon in February!

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