This week started off with a good race, which is always nice. I learned a few lessons from that race (including the value of starting slow, even in a short race). The biggest takeaway for me was the demonstration that one does not need to train superfast in order to run fast.
To give more detail, I essentially ran four 84 second quarters back to back with no rest on Monday. In my workouts, by contrast, I've run very few quarters, with most of them at 88 seconds or slower. Much of my speedwork the last few weeks has been at 6:00 pace or slower, since I've been sharply limiting the amount of anaerobic running that I do (basically I try to only go into oxygen debt on the very last repeat of each Tuesday workout).
I've had two assumptions in the past: one is that it's best to train at a specific pace if you want to race at that pace; the other is that it's best to train at paces both faster and slower than your race pace. I don't think these points were completely disproven by Monday's race - one could argue that I might have run faster with a few more hard 400s.
But it also possible I wouldn't have run any faster (especially since anaerobic stuff seems to really fry me). It's certainly support for me sticking to the aerobic stuff that I thrive on, plus a very small dose of speed. In any event, running slowly in practice isn't hurting me on race day. And it's fun to show up for workouts when the goal is NOT to hurt.
Mile races really beat me up, so I kept the land running mileage low on Monday and Tuesday. I did add a second pool-run on Tuesday morning to balance things out. A massage on Wednesday confirmed that I was much more beaten up than I would be after a 5K or 10K. As much as I enjoy racing miles, I need to limit them.
Though we had great weather for the beginning of the week, by the end we were back to the standard DC heat/humidity - temps in the low 70s with dewpoints to match. I had another "4-3-2-1" workout on Sunday (intervals of 4, 3, 2, and 1 miles at marathon pace, with one mile easy in between), so this weather was poor timing. But, I just slowed everything down and made sure to refill my water bottle between each repeat, and it was fine. Yes, the air was thick and it sucked. But no asthma issues. Neat.