This week I didn’t cover quite as much ground as I had hoped due to a snow storm and then some general laziness, but I still got in a very productive week. I came through just shy of 60 miles – 57.19 to be exact – while logging in the cycle’s longest run. I got back to the weight room this week. I had been slacking on that & need to make lifting a habit again, so I plan on sticking to a Tuesday/Thursday schedule for now. I have also seem to have fully recovered from whatever my Achilles/calf issue was, probably thanks to my husband’s nightly massages.
Monday – Active Rest: Though it was a scheduled rest day, I felt the need to move to get the blood flowing & work out some of the kinks from the previous day’s hilly race. I did my warm up loop through the neighborhood at a very slow pace, then did a handful of strides plus drills & stretching. I followed this up with another slow lap for a cool down. Quads were a bit tight, but that was to be expected. All the other aches & pains from the week before seem to have worked themselves out. 4.5 light miles for the day.
Tuesday – Forced Rest: Due to yet another snow storm & the kids’ school being cancelled I was forced into taking a day off. I did lock myself into the workout room to dedicate an hour to the Bowflex & weights.
Wednesday – Speed Session: I really wanted to do this workout on the track, in fact I had really been looking forward to getting on the track since it’s been awhile. However, the track was buried under at least 6 inches of snow, so I had to improvise. I ran the loop through my neighborhood because it’s sort of flatish and the loop is three quarters of a mile. 2 miles warm up, 2K at half marathon pace, 1K at 10K pace (2 mins rest between each) twice over, followed by 6x 1 minute speed surges (because I did not feel like attempting to measure out 400m) with 45 second rests, capped off with a 2 mile cool down. This was a surprisingly easy workout and I think I will make some tweaks to it in the future. 10 miles for the day.
Thursday – Easy Run: An easy jog around to more or less work out any kinks from the day before. Threw in a few light hills, then hit the weights again. I am determined to fix my upper body strength issues! 6.5 miles for the day.
Friday – Free Run: My plan asked for marathon paced miles, but I was just not feeling it. It was a gloriously sunny day and not too frigid and I had been dying to get into the woods. So, I ditched my training plan and drove out to the state forest to do some loops around the reservoir. I tucked my watch under my sleeve and just went out for the joy of running. The trails were not in the best conditions since we’ve had a rather rough winter. I probably should have brought my spikes for the ice, or maybe my boots for the mud, or perhaps galoshes for the deep puddles. I also got to practice my hurdling for the all the downed trees. It was a mess. I ran slow through the tricky parts and ran fast when it was clear & had a blissful hour of running however I wanted. Covered 6.66 miles.
Saturday – Progression Run: I felt a bit guilty for blowing off the workout, so I made up for it by doing a mini-workout. I didn’t want to go too fast or crazy because I knew I’d have a very long run to do the next day, so I did what I call a “progression light”. I started off at a conservative 8:35 pace and ramped up each mile by about 15 seconds, finishing at my 7:15 marathon pace. This was a great little run to get the legs churning and the lungs working without over doing it. It was also a great exercise in self control & pacing. 7.5 miles with light hills.
Sunday – The Long Run: This was my cycle’s longest run, a whopping 22 miler. I toyed with the idea of doing my typical 24, but due to the low temps and fierce wind, I decided that 2 extra miles wouldn’t make or break my race, but would take up more time. The BAA site’s plan wanted this run to be 18-20 miles at “aerobic pace”, so for me that is 7:50-8:00 miles. I decided to take this run to the Farmington Canal Trail (a 30 min drive for me) since it is fairly flat and I’d have a better chance at actually holding the paces. It was about 20 degrees with the wind gusts giving it a “real feel” of 8! I was adequately layered, fueled up with a pouch of Hammer Endurolite electrolyte capsules and bee pollen tablets along with my hydration pack, and ready to go. The plan was to sip water every mile and take fuel every 5 miles. I started off with 2 miles to get going – and man was it tough! The wind kept knocking me around and I feared that my heavy legs would never wake up. The first two miles of the actual run were a bit rocky and not on pace. In fact, I didn’t even “click” until after mile 4, that’s how long it took to warm up. This was to be an 11 mile out and back (no getting lost, no real hills, no needing to think – just run). Once I was warmed up, I did do an awesome job with holding the pace; 4 of the first 11 were at 7:46/mile, while 7 of those 11 were under 8:00. At 11 miles I turned around and was smacked in the face with the wind. I thought the going out was bad – the going back was rougher. I was in a head wind almost the entire run back to the car, which made things a little difficult because I was getting tired. Then I discovered at mile 15 that my mouth piece on my hydration pack had frozen! I choked down my fuel without it, but opted to skip it at mile 20 since it was too difficult to take without water. I kept all of my return miles under 8:00 and finished my last two under 7:40, averaging a 7:53/mile pace for the whole run.
More than anything, this week was an amazing confidence booster. With only a month to go until the marathon, I am feeling amazing, strong, confident, and ready to crush it. But I also really had fun this week. I actually enjoyed running – something that I haven’t really felt in a while. I’ve been so hyper focused on the watch and the pacing and the miles that it’s lost some of the joy & become work. In the last few days though, I was able to find some of that joy again (an argument for more free runs!) I only have two more weeks of work (a few tempos, one hill session, one speed session, one more long long run) before I begin the taper. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and maybe Spring will show up during those two weeks.