Tuesday marked my first day of running “doubles” in 2013. A 6 mile off/on workout in the morning, followed by a moderate 6 miles 12 hours later.
I bounced out of bed Tuesday morning feeling the best I have in quite some time. After feeling no ill-effects from the Texas Independence Day 5k, my legs had started to bounce back from my runs closer to normal and there was still no pain or stiffness in the dreaded Achilles. It was time to move on, stop thinking of myself as a runner coming back from injury, and just thinking of myself as a runner who was training for a race.
It seems like the physical piece always comes back before the mental one does. Tuesday was a big day and I knew it. Funny how I was the only one at 4:45 a.m. in Avery Ranch who thought so – but that is why running is such a great metaphor for life – sure you can run with friends or with a running club, but most of the time the big gains are made on some unlit trail or street in the wee hours with nobody watching except for your conscience.
The first workout is an easy one to follow. The first mile is a warm up or “Off” mile, with the second mile one approaching 5K effort or “On” mile. Repeat the process Off, On, Off, On, Off, On until reaching 6 total miles.
To make the workout a bit more challenging run each mile whether it is Off or On a bit faster than the last mile of its type.
Or to put it simply, each off mile should get a bit quicker throughout the workout as should each on mile. Tuesday’s results:
Off Miles: 8:06, 7:58, 7:53
On Miles: 6:10, 6:04, 5:58
Not the fastest I have ever run this workout, but it was a rock-solid effort dropping pace by just about :06 per mile regardless of whether we were talking about the “Offs” or the “Ons”. The whole point of the workout is to help you run race-pace miles in a controlled environment. With the alternating easy miles or recovery miles thrown in, you can get right back to training the following day, or in my case only 12 hours later – without the fear of aggravating something or winding up injured. Key concerns for Masters ( Over 40 years old) runners.
For the afternoon workout I decided to keep it short in distance and just roll up and down over the hill route for 6 miles. In a few weeks these workouts will stretch out to 8 miles each and turn Tuesday into a 16-mile day.
With the temperature now 75 degrees the p.m. run was a solid progression in: 7:30, 7:22, 7:21, 7:16, 7:13, 7:00.
Nothing glamorous, nothing overly impressive – just a solid training day. The kind of day that makes all the difference come race day.
The next week is going to prove to be a bit challenging with Momma Bear traveling to Spain for a week. Landry will be “helping Dad train” this weekend as she puts it. I’m not sure how long she will be content riding in the jogging stroller, but we’re going to give it a shot.
It might mean some early mornings or late nights on the TRI bike trainer in the garage with the baby monitor next to me – but we’ll consider those workouts mental toughness training for half-ironman at the end of our race season.
Right now it just feels good to be training again – and not too far off of where we want to be/need to be heading into the season. As the weather heats up here in Austin, we should be as well. Going to be an interesting summer race season. We’ll be a bit of an underdog at some of the upcoming events in our age group – but that’s just the way I like it 🙂