Sunday, February 15, 2009

"It's Just Emotion"

I had a bit of a down week running.... mentally speaking that is. I had a disaster of a run for last week's long run and I found myself fretting about it. From an intellectual standpoint I know that you shouldn't put too much weight in any single run, however, emotionally I found it taxing that it was such a disaster. 

Which leads me to yesterday's longish run. Basically, it was a long tempo run. I ran 13 miles and after a 2 mile warm up ran 9 hardish miles and cooled down for another 2 miles. The bulk of the 9 miles was run at sub 7 minute per mile with a couple of uphill sections just over the 7 minute per mile mark. I had actually planned on running more of the run at tempo pace but I set myself a 13 mile limit and the distance to the road with a cleared bike path is about 2 miles from my house and was quite slippery. So I used that slippery section as my warm up and cool down area. The exciting part about this run was how good I felt... better than I have felt in a long, long time. I didn't feel myself struggling to maintain the pace whatsoever.

Today, I ran a nice recovery jog for six and a quarter miles. Which actually leads me to the greatest benefit of my gps watch.  The greatest benefit I find is on runs like today - runs in which the focus is to recover and keep my pace down. I seem to have a much better feel for faster paced running as opposed to slower paced running. The gps serves as a nice reminder when I start to pick up my pace too much on a day I should be recovering. It was warmer today than it has been as of late, so it was nice to just get out there today and the watch kept me in check.

So the week was pretty good overall despite early feelings of dread. Emotionally, I think I am back on track. I just have to remember not to make too much of any single run. This goes for the good ones as well as the bad ones.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A New Week, A (hopefully) Smarter Runner

After last week's follies, I decided to be a little smarter about running this week. I took Sunday off to recover from Saturday's long run and ran an easy 7 miler yesterday morning at about an 8:15 min / mile pace. Nice and easy.

Today was a different matter, but hey, I was rested. Today was an interval session:

10 min warm-up at 10:00 min / mile
6 x 800 m @ 6:00 min / mile with 1:30 Resting Interval
10 min cool-down @ 9:00 min / mile

Felt pretty good during the run - speed and stamina both seem to be right about where I would like right now. If only I could shake this nagging cold as my breathing could be a little better. Both runs were on the treadmill as we had rain this past weekend followed by a flash freeze down to -15 Celsius. This has made running on sidewalks impossible and the roads are pretty dodgy in places as well. I must admit that the -15 temps with wind have had more than a small role in keeping me inside as well. Given that I find it difficult to do intervals on a road as opposed to a track this is probably just as well anyway. 

So what's up over the next couple of days. Tomorrow is a cross training day - spinning at the gym. Thursday I am considering a 8 mile tempo run (1 mile warm up, 6 miles @ 6:50 min / mile, 1 mile cool down). Friday, if I run at all, will likely be some easy slow miles and Saturday I am looking to do 13 miles at about 7:15 - 7:25 min / mile as I try and add some pace to my longer runs.

I am now trying to ensure after each hard run that I give myself an easy day or a day of rest. No sense getting older if you can't get smarter. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Tough Week

I haven't posted in a few days. I have been fighting a cold and just haven't had much energy for running. As a result, I took Wednesday and Thursday off. On Friday morning, I got back into it and ran the following:

1 mile warmup @ 10:00 min / mile
4 miles @ 6:49 min / mile
1 mile cool down @ 10:00 min / mile

This was short of the intended 2 mile warm up, followed by 7 miles at tempo pace, followed by a 1 mile cool down. However, I shouldn't complain too much considering how tired I felt. 

Which leads me to today. Sometimes, you just have to realize that you need to rest after a hard work out. Despite running tempo miles yesterday, I set out for my long run today. It was, potentially, the worst run I have had in about a year. I had intended to run 20 miles at about an 8:00 min / mile pace, however, my body was having none of that and I actually ran 19 at about a 8:26 min / mile pace. I can take some consolation that the footing was extremely poor in the last 4 miles in particular, but in many ways I don't think I ever felt good on this run. 

Running is humbling that way. Last week, I couldn't have felt better on my long run and actually found myself reining myself in. A short 7 days later I found myself struggling to hold a much slower pace. The lesson, of course, is to get the proper rest between tough workouts and not blindly try to fit things in. Sometimes you know better, but still forge on when you shouldn't. Lesson learned..... again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A New Form of Torture

Last night I went to spin class and it was, in a word, tough. Heavy on intervals - by the end of it my thighs were burning. Which leads me to this morning's workout. I, in hindsight, probably shouldn't have scheduled an interval run the morning after having completed a spin class, but it is what it is. So this mornings workout went as follows:

10 min warm up @ 10:00 min / mile
1200 meters @ 6:19 min / mile
2 min resting interval @ 10:00 min / mile
1200 meters @ 6:19 min / mile
2 min resting interval @ 10:00 min / mile
800 meters @ 6:00 min / mile
2 min resting interval @ 10:00 min / mile
800 meters @ 6:00 min / mile
2 min resting interval @ 10:00 min / mile
800 meters @ 6:00 min / mile
2 min resting interval @ 10:00 min / mile
800 meters @ 6:00 min / mile
2 min resting interval @ 10:00 min / mile
5 min cool down @ 10:00 min / mile

My legs feel like rubber right now, however, tomorrow is a rest day at least.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Plan for This Week

Monday: Spin Class
Tuesday: 10-20 minute warm-up, 2 x 1200m (2 min. RI), 4 x 800m (2 min. RI), 10 minute cool-down
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 7 Mile General Aerobic run (read easy)
Friday: 2 mile warm-up, 7 miles at 6:50 min / mile, 1 mile cool-down
Saturday: 10 mile Recovery Run
Sunday: 20 mile Long Steady Distance

That is the plan for now, but as always, I may change this based on how I feel and whether or not the weather cooperates.

Recovery, Recovery, Recovery

I was unsure whether or not I would run today, however, -4 Celsius with hardly a cloud in the sky and very little wind, completely convinced me to get out there. Due to the perfect conditions, footing excepted, I went for a leisurely 9 mile run at an 8:20 min / mile pace. I felt a little tenderness in my quads from yesterday's 18 mile jaunt, but outside of that felt great. I think days like today are the reason I run - perfect conditions lead to a perfect state of mind.

So, what goes on in that mind on a longish run? To be truthful, not much. And I think that is why the weather is so important. I find that running is my opportunity to clear out my head. I hear how some people are able to solve some of the most pressing problems in their lives when out on a run. Not me. I think it just provides me with the opportunity to flush my brain and the opportunity to focus on nothing but the run is the vehicle for doing just that. Having perfect weather conditions like I had today is simply a vehicle to enhance the whole experience. Some people would consider this missed opportunity, I consider it my mental and physical maintenance.

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