Marathon Training – Week 6

This week was a doozy!  39 miles – a mileage increase up from 24 last week.   But I’ll get to that in a second.

Let’s talk about speed work.   I have to be honest, nothing about speed work has ever sounded appealing to me.  It’s running on a track, it’s running really fast, and it just sounds friggin’ hard!  Since I started this training, I’ve been dreading this week.  The week that speed work starts.  More than anything, I’ve been a little worried that I wasn’t going to be able to complete the workouts within the target paces.  What if it was too hard?  What if my current goal was too aggressive for my current level of fitness?

I’d picked the 4:18 target time based on the last 10K I ran, which was 59:05.  According to the race equivalency chart in the book, that converts to a 4:37ish marathon, so that gave me an idea of where I’d be starting at.  I knew that I wanted to improve, but I wanted to make sure I chose a goal that was realistic.   Looking at the 4:18 race equivalency times, with the exception of the 5K, all of the race times would be PRs for me.  So, I know I definitely chose a goal that was going to be a challenge.  But was it too much?  There isn’t a magic formula or calculator for that one.

But I chose that goal and and then I put it out there in this blog for the world to see.  If I picked something that was too hard for me to do, it’s not only going to be a tough pill for me to swallow, but everyone who reads this will know that I failed.  (That’s REALLY going to suck, so I’m going to remind myself what typing that blog is going to feel like the next time I don’t want to hit the track.)  So, this first speed workout was really an indicator to me if I was completely off the mark with my goal or not.  I’m not minimizing all of these easy runs I’ve been doing for the last 5 weeks, but building up to 24 miles a week isn’t a huge stretch for me.  It’s tiring as hell, but it’s not that hard.  Especially at the easy pace range.

Oddly enough, I actually really enjoyed my first speed workout.  It was 12 x 400 meters, with a 400 recovery after each, at a 8:33 – 8:55 pace (or a 2:10 lap.)  I preset the workout on my Garmin, which was a huge help.  You can define repeats, which include a split interval and then the recovery lap.  There are several options you can chose to define the intervals.  I chose distance and then set a goal pace range for each split.

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The nice thing is, the Garmin keeps track of the pace you’re running for each lap and will buzz until you settle into the target pace range, which was helpful.

I think I liked the track workout because it’s mentally much easier to deal with because I know and can visually see where I have to run to.  I always have to know where the end point is, whether it be for a run, a lifting set…if I’m doing something I have to push myself on, I need to know when and/or where it’s going to end so I can focus on getting to that point.  When I was running those fast laps, it was HARD.  But I could see the point on the track I had to get to and then I could run SLOW. At one point, I lost count of the laps and became convinced I’d mis-programmed my Garmin with extra laps.  But I didn’t, I think that was my unconscious trying to get me to stop.  Here’s how I did:

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I was able to keep within my pace range for ten out of the twelve laps, and I was only a few seconds off on the two I didn’t.  With regards to my lap times, Garmin really gives you a lot of information.  I have a “time” for each split, but then there is also “moving time.”   Looking at the “time” column, I only had three splits at or below the 2:10 time.  Assuming that’s the best indicator of my lap times, then I was a few seconds slower than my lap goal for most of the workout.

So, I wouldn’t say this was a perfect track workout for me.  Not knowing what to expect with the workout, I was trying to make sure I didn’t push too hard at the beginning of the workout and lose steam at the end.  As I ran my cool down mile home, I did think that I’d expected to be more tired than I was.  In hindsight, I think I probably could have pushed myself a little more.  But overall, I’m pleased with how I did.  More importantly, I was able to do the workout either at the pace/time or very close to the pace/time goals I’d set for myself.  So, while I don’t doubt the goal I’ve set is going to be tough, I’m not AS worried that its out of reach.

Ok, so that was Monday’s run.  I also worked out with my trainer that evening and felt surprisingly strong despite my morning training.  The rest of the week was pretty tough.  A fifteen mile increase in weekly mileage is no joke.

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Tuesday:  REST DAY!!  It was so wonderful.  I never wanted Tuesday to end.

Wednesday:  I actually woke up feeling more achy and tired than I’d been on Tuesday.  I think the Monday workout actually kicked in today.  This was supposed to be my tempo run day but I was feeling off, so I swapped in my Thursday 4 easy miles and hit the treadmill in the early evening.

Thursday:  Tempo run.  My target pace is 9:50 but since it was so disgustingly humid, I did it on the treadmill in the early evening.  5 miles at an average pace of 9:46, plus 2 (warm up and cool down.) I followed the tempo run with a workout with the trainer.  This was definitely a little much.  I don’t think I’ll ever plan to do a tempo run right before a gym workout again.  I sweat so much during that workout that I couldn’t stand the smell of myself in the car ride home.  I know that’s gross, but we’ve all been there.

Friday:  8 easy miles first thing in the morning, although they sure didn’t feel so easy in the humidity and after my run and workout the night before.  This was a hard run! Between miles 2 and 3 I tried to talk myself into cutting it short and extending my Sunday mileage, but I knew I’d been even more tired on Sunday, so I stuck it out.  I will say this, after a full day of work, I was SO ready for bed at about 7:30 PM.  I was TIRED.   I ended up hitting the hay at 8:15.

Saturday:  8 easy miles and I felt pretty damn good after getting a full night’s sleep. Saturday is running group day but most of the group was doing 10 miles, so I had to do the last four solo.  The last two miles were awful and I had to take a few walk breaks, but the overall run pace stayed in the easy run mileage range.

Sunday:  4 easy miles and I was OH SO very happy that I didn’t decide to cut the run on Friday short.  I took it nice and easy on the treadmill because I’ve got Monday speed work.

And that’s week 6!  I conquered my fear of the speed workout, logged 39 miles (my highest weekly mileage is 40), and still had energy for silly poses with running group friends.

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Debra

Running for Medals. And Bacon.

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