Posts Tagged ‘Running and Endurance Training’

The other day I was in the bathroom shaving, talking to my wife.  Baby Landry was snug as a bug in a rug, fast asleep in her “napper”.  Kayla was asleep on the cool tile of the bathroom floor.  It was not quite 7:30 a.m. and I had already returned from my 12 mile training run.

I had decided to push the intensity and pace a bit on my 12-miler this past Sunday, making it a “Fast Finish” Long run.  Where instead of just running 12 Marathon Pace miles, I would gradually ramp up the pace and finish with four increasingly fast miles finishing around tempo pace.

These workouts are one of my favorites as it gives me something to “look forward to” during the course of my long run.  It also trains the body to run at a quick pace on tired legs. 

It’s one thing to crank out a 6:30 mile on fresh legs.  It is another to do so after having run 11 miles already.  In a way, this workout is a confidence booster for me.

Splits over a hilly run came in just as I had hoped: 

7:22, 7:25, 7:13, 7:16, 7:12, 7:29, 7:20, 7:11, 7:09, 6:51, 6:30.

Confidence boosted.

As I was talking with Dawn I started thinking about just how tough the training week had been.

46.65 running miles at 7:15 min./mile average pace.

3 one-hour strength training sessions

1 16-mile ride on the tri-bike.

Over the past 30 days we had run over 180 miles climbing 5,675 feet of hills.

I remarked to Dawn that I couldn’t wait for marathon training to begin on October 18th as I needed a break.  That’s when it hit me.  I had been training harder than the majority of weeks leading up to a marathon.

I needed to back off a bit.

This is a tough lesson for any endurance athlete as it is so easy to get caught up into the vicious cycle of doing more, running faster, more hills, more tempo work, longer workouts, less downtime – more, more, more, more – more.

Instead of leading to improvement it will usually lead to something far worse.

Injury.

So, starting with Tuesday’s workout this week I put the brakes on our Tempo Run.  Instead of going all out like a crazy-man and trying to top the tempo run one week earlier where we covered 6.2 miles of hills in 41:41 (6:43 pace), I decided to find a comfortable rhythm and just “cruise”.

I covered the same exact course in 45:52 (7:24 pace), paying careful attention to the early miles and made sure I really coasted at the start to shake loose.

Wednesday meant a midweek 8+ mile run at moderate pace.  I failed a bit to really hold myself back and finished the 8.35 miles in 1:01:11 (7:19 pace).  Again, I just focused on dialing down the intensity and running smooth and relaxed.

The plan for the rest of the week is hill repeats on Thursday, a complete rest day on Friday (which coincides nicely with a Thursday night on Bourbon Street in New Orleans), 8 easy miles on Saturday and a 10 mile long run on Sunday.

Total mileage for the week will come in around 42 miles, a 10% reduction from one week ago, and a decrease in intensity of approximately 5-10% as well.

It is these weeks that are important to include in your training schedule so that your muscles have a chance to adapt and “get stronger”.  If all you are doing is constantly beating up your body with a series of hard workouts, you never allow those muscles to adapt to the new workload and grow stronger. 

They will just remain in a state of constant fatigue which will either lead to over-training and/or injury.

2010 Boston Marathon - Mile 17

So next week we will get back after it in an all-go-no-quit kind of way for back to back weeks, then a short taper week prior to the IBM Uptown Classic on October 17th.

The last two months have been all about putting ourselves in position to run a sub 40:00 minute 10K at IBM.  To stay on track, this week needed to be about backing off so that we show up on race day in the best possible position to take down that 10K time.

The last thing we want to do is to leave our race legs back on our training course three weeks early or worse, show up to the starting line injured and unprepared to give our best effort.

I’m preparing myself for a tough day on October 17th

I know there is going to come a time over the first 6 miles at IBM that I don’t think I can hold the pace.  I am going to wonder if my legs have another 6:20 mile in them.  It will be gut-check time.  Time to rely on all of the speed work and hill training we’ve done for the last two months building for that one moment.

I’m pretty sure Dom has that date circled on his calendar to take a quick peak in on me and make sure I am giving absolutely everything I have to hit that line with every bit of effort I have.

If I’m not fast enough, so be it. 

If I’m not talented enough, I’ll live with it.

I will pick myself up, dust myself off and start training the very next day to run the best marathon I have ever run on February 20, 2011.  Lady Marathon and I have a little score to settle in our best out of five rubber match we have been waging over the past three years.

But those are the only two excuses I’m willing to accept come race day. 

I foolishly brought a knife to a gun fight at Boston in April.  I vowed to never let that happen to me again.

1 minute, 47 seconds short

Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.