This week was 66 miles of running and 6000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.
A bit of a departure from the norm this week - the normal Tuesday workout was cancelled because most of my teammates were racing a track mile on Wednesday. I'm not racing miles this summer because I feel they're too risky for me - I'm still close enough to my long period of injury to need to be careful. (and when I mentioned the possibility of racing a mile to my PT, he gave me a raised eyebrow that confirmed I was right in skipping it....)
So...that left me with a gap - what to do?
The answer ended up being fun and (I hope) productive. I've felt myself straining and tensing up a bit in workouts recently, so I took advantage of a relatively clear track and did a random selection of 400s, 600s, and 800s. With all of these, I focused primarily on staying relaxed while running fast, rather than pushing the workout hard or hitting a specific split. Also focused on my form, how I was breathing, was I clenching my hands or hunching my shoulders, etc. Think extended stride, rather than workout.
During my recovery between intervals (which was often a bit longer than I'd take during a "normal" workout), I would do some drills to nail in form.
It was definitely different, and I think very helpful. I ended up running about 4.5 miles worth of fast stuff, which is a lot. On the other hand, the "fast" was a second or two per lap slower than I'd normally run, and I also took extra recovery, so it ended up not taking any more out of me than a traditional workout.
This type of workout probably didn't do much for my fitness, but it allowed me to work on some other stuff. I'm really happy I did it.
Other than that, more of the same. We had cool weather on Friday, so I opted for a 5 mile tempo. (fun fact derived from browsing back in my training log - the last time I had run a 5 mile tempo was November 2, 2012....). I didn't feel great during the tempo, and it had some tough patches mentally, but my coach pointed out afterwards that I was right where I should be pace wise. So yay. And I was happy to get it under my belt. For one thing, I know that nothing gets me in shape like longer tempos - short fast anaerobic stuff fries me, while stuff at the middle to top end of my aerobic range does awesome things. For that reason, I love long tempos.
But I also despise and dread them, because continuous track tempos are always the toughest workouts for me, mentally. Intervals I only have to concentrate for 6 minutes or less, and then I can recharge; long runs are just fun, with changes of scenery and terrain, and gels to consume. On the track, the continual running in circles for 25-35 minutes starts to drive me a bit (more) insane and I have to visualize cruising on the towpath or MV trail to get through them. It's not the pain (tempos should never hurt) but the tedium that drives me bonkers. I was happy that the old mental tricks still worked against the long track tempo bugaboo.