Saturday, October 30, 2010

Taper Time

(with Jay and Aaron, my partners in crime at Richmond, shortly after our 19 mile run and an amazing breakfast at Le Peep!)

The completion of this morning's long run (19 miles with the last 3 at MP) signalled the start of my taper for Richmond with 2 weeks left till the big day. I find the taper a weird phase. On the one hand it's something to look forward to, a celebration of the bulk of your hard training coming to an end, recognition that you've done your work and now it's time to relax and prepare for the race. On the other within days you typically start feeling sluggish and guilty for not running so much! For that reason a couple of workouts will be thrown into the mix just to keep the fitness levels up and remind the legs and lungs of the faster paces. For me, a 60 minute tempo on Wednesday and a 14 mile run later in the week with a couple of miles at MP. Then in the days leading up to the race I will do a workout on the Tuesday with some race pace and faster miles in the middle.

Significant runs since the 12 mile tempo were 21 on the Sunday on the roads with the last 5 in the low 6s, a cut down 5 mile tempo on the track (28:20) which was harder work than it should have been due to the freak humidity we had for a couple of days and then yesterday's 19 with the last three in 5:50,5:44,5:51.

16 weeks ago I started out on my training plan for Richmond. Since then I have run 66,60,82,56,70,70,56,73,80,67,85,61,82,84,70 and 83 miles, hit every planned long run and workout and set a new 15k PR. Now it's time to consolidate all that hard work and make sure I do things right for the next couple of weeks and be ready to roll at Richmond.

Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

12 mile AT tempo

This morning I headed out dark and early for probably the hardest and most important workout of the run in to Richmond. On tap was a 12 mile AT tempo. I was having to do it alone and wanted it to go well to keep the confidence high so the adrenaline was pumping a little as I got going this morning. I made myself get up at 3:30 to grab some breakfast so that I could practice for race day. I also took a couple of gus to practice getting them down at race pace.

I had set up a 2.75 mile loop which was generally flat and fast but had a grinding low grade ascent near the end of each loop, trying to simulate the terrain at Richmond. It was dark and I couldn't see much but there wasn't much traffic so I pretty much had the roads to myself.

I was conscious in the first mile of not looking at my watch as I wanted to get into a groove early on at a pace close to what I would hope to run at Richmond and I wanted that pace to feel familiar and easy. So I was happy to hit the first mile in 5:55. However, at this point I wasn't feeling all that great, I seemed to be needing to work quite hard, and when I went through mile 2 in 6:10 (uphill) I was a little concerned. However as I gradually woke up and the legs warmed up I got into a good rhythm and soon was knocking the miles off between 5:45 and 5:50. I eventually finished the 12 miles in 1:09:39 with a significant negative split and felt pretty fresh at the end.

After a day of sitting at work, the legs were definitely tightening though. It was nice to go and get a massage after work and get some of the kinks out. As I sit here Friday night I can definitely feel the effects of the workout. Tomorrow is a nice and easy day and looking forward to a good group for our 20 miler on Sunday.

Hooray for weekends- I am determined to do a bunch of stuff with the kids this weekend. My focus has been pretty intense on training the last few weeks and it is important to keep everything in perspective and not let that dominate your life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lung Strong 15k

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to reveal my goals for this race later in the week. Well, blog update paralysis took hold and I haven't got round to updating this thing until now. I can say that I did meet my undisclosed goals yesterday in the end. I ran a solid race to come 5th in 50:55 by my watch, 50:50 by my chip while covering a distance of 9.49 miles (as opposed to 9.33)- why are all the races I run so much longer than advertised!

This was a 29(or 34) second PB for this course and looking back I've been pretty fit when I've run this race before so this did confirm that I am getting in ever more decent shape as I approach Richmond. My coach was happy with the result mainly because it underlined his confidence in my current fitness. I'm not a very self confident person and this is no better exemplified than with my running. I often feel that I should be capable of running faster based on my workouts and consistency of mileage over the past twelve months but I tend to set myself pretty unambitious goals. So Saturday we came up with a plan that I would attack this race a bit, however the start developed. In other words I was going to dictate how the race went rather than being reactive. If I fell off my goal pace so be it, at least I would have given it a shot and at the end of the day the goal race is Richmond not the 15k.

As it happened I was able to maintain my goal pace throughout. Helped over the first 6.5 miles by the company of John Compton- an example of someone who typically I would not have gone out with as I would have been afraid the poace would have been too fast- I held it together once John decided enough was enough and went up the road.

So that's my last race before Richmond. Also last week Jay, Spada and I hit up PDS track to do 10*800 with 200m jog recovery. We nailed this workout bringing the times down from 2:37 to 2:30 by the end. My other 'stressor' for this week was the 18.5 I ran this am. My legs were complaining as I headed out into the dark and colder temps but helped by the company of Megan H, Chris B and Anne F I was able to finish this at about a 7:20 pace. Another week down, 83 miles this week. I get a rest day tomorrow before a 70 mile week including some turnover on Wednesday (16 400s) a long tempo on Friday (12 miles) and 20 on Sunday.

(Lisa and the girls were invited up to Blowing Rock on Saturday morning leaving me home alone this weekend. So I was able to hang around a lot longer after the race yesterday and then go to Brunch with a bunch of CRC members without having to rush back to the house. Once I got home I was feeling pretty zappped so was able to turn the football on and snooze all afternoon on the couch- bliss! Don't get to do that ever so I took full advantage!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5 weeks out

It's a Sunday, 34 days till Richmond, I've done my planned mileage and workouts for the week and am taking a much appreciated day off from running. Yesterday I completed what will be the longest run of this cycle- 24 miles- at a shade under 7 minute mile pace. I ran a 10 mile Tempo run on Tuesday in 57:29. The previous week I ran 8 1000m repeats with a 200m jog recovery at an average of 3:14. I'm working all my systems hard and getting my required miles in in between. Things are progressing nicely and I just need to hold it together for the next three weeks before the countdown to Richmond begins.

It seems like you have to be running well and consistently in Charlotte at the moment or you'll be left behind! Everyone seems to be hitting their workouts hard and racing well! Best example of this coming from Twin Cities last weekend where fellow bloggers and regular training partners Caitlin and Bill both ran races to remember, one an amazing marathon debut clinching an Olympic Trials berth by a mere 4 minutes (!), the other yet another solid performance from a highly experienced marathoner who had faced adversity in his training this time around but pulled it out on game day. Inspirational, motivational.

On the docket for next week is another 80 mile week with a 10*800 workout with Jay on Wednesday and the final race of this year's Grand Prix next Saturday, a 15k classic race on the Charlotte running scene. This will be my final race before Richmond and with 2nd place in the Grand Prix sewn up I have some specific goals I would like to meet for this race. More of that later in the week. In the mean time, have a good week everyone and keep rolling!