Sunday, August 20, 2017

Training log - Week ending 8/20/17

This week was 50 miles of running, 38 "miles" of pool-running and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

Week 3 of the hard 6 is done.  The star this week was my first "25x400" workout - it's 25 repeats of 400m each at 10K pace with a "floating recovery" (not a jog) of 100m between each (targeting around 30 seconds for the 100m recovery).

Physically, it's an extended lactate threshold workout - you alternate 400m above LT and 100m below it.  Mentally, it's a head game - since you never truly take a break - you just downshift/upshift again and again and again.  While trying not to think about how far you still have to go (just like the marathon).

I was fairly happy with how the workout went.  It was quite humid, with the track wrapped in a warm fog, when we started the workout  I started the workout cautiously, willing to pull the plug if I ever felt like I was in a hole.  But I didn't start struggling until the last few repeats, and by then I was close to done.

Anyone who wants to geek about the workout can check my Garmin entry or training log report, and note how the recoveries got a bit longer as the workout progressed, and dipped at the end, when things got hard.  Having done this workout several times, I feel that the recoveries might just be the hardest part of the workout - it's just so easy to ease off the gas a bit too much.

It is absolutely hilarious where the mind goes during that workout.  Towards the end, when I had just a few 400s left, I struggled with the fact that I had two more 400s left in 94 seconds each (plus a final 400 hammered).  Having that much left was unbearable.   However, an 800 in 3:08, followed by a hard 400, sounded much more reasonable.  So I reframed the workout that way.

As we all know - tough runs often result in lousy, emotional math.

***

It was still quite humid for Saturday's second go at the 4-3-2-1 workout, though not as thick as Wednesday.  Respecting the conditions, we backed off the pace for the workout, though we ended up holding a faster pace than I had first predicted- only slightly slower than what we held two weeks ago.  Despite the humidity, this edition of the 4-3-2-1 took much less out of me than the previous did.  A good sign.

When doing MP work, I usually pay attention to a) my perceived effort, b) my pace, and c) my heart race.  I like to use all three as limiters to make sure I'm not overcooking the workout.
During Saturday's run I was a bit concerned at how high my heart rate got at times - completely out of sync with my perceived effort.

I worried, and then I shelved my concerns.  While I often like to use heart rate as a limiter for MP workouts, my coach has told me before that in extreme humidity or cold, heart rate can be distorted, and isn't the best metric (this view is shared by Jack Daniels, among others).  I've definitely noted this in extreme cold, when my heart rate barely budges during intervals and tempos.

Here, my perceived effort was definitely not matching my heart rate - the effort felt much easier than the heart rate indicated, and my pace seemed objectively reasonable.  I wouldn't have had the same concern I was overdoing things if I wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor.  So I decided that, in these conditions (humidity, heat, caffeinated gel that wasn't agreeing with me), heart rate was a flawed metric.  How good I felt post-workout and the day after seems to support that view.

(tl;dr version - for the n'th time, don't get hung up in the metrics and the overthinking.)

Dailies 

Monday: In the morning, foam-rolling, yoga, and 7 "miles" pool-running; 4 "miles" pool-running  at night.

Tuesday: 10.5 miles very easy (9:16) plus drills and strides, and then upper body weights and core.  2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 12.5 miles, including a workout of 25x400m - first 24 repeats averaged 1:34, with 100m recoveries averaging 32 seconds; last repeat in 85.     Followed with injury prevention work and 1250 yards of recovery swimming.  Sports massage at night.

Thursday: In the morning, foam-rolling, yoga, and 8 "miles" pool-running.  4 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night

Friday: 10.5 miles very easy (9:26), followed by upper body weights and core.  3 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 17 miles, including a workout of 4, 3, 2, and 1 miles at marathon pace, with ~1 mile easy in between (we took a bit longer after the 4 and 3 mile splits to top off our water bottles). Splits were:
4 mile in 27:54 (7:02/7:01/6:55/6:56 - average pace 6:58)
3 mile in 20:49 (6:56/6:58/6:55 - average pace 6:56)
2 mile in 13:52 (6:59/6:53 - average pace 6:56)
1 mile in 6:43
Followed with injury prevention work and 750 yards of recovery swimming. Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday: 10 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling midday.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Training log - Week ending 8/13/17

This week was 65 miles of running, 30 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

The week started out cautiously.  Though it never seems that hard when I'm doing it, the "4-3-2-1" workout that I did last Sunday always takes a lot out of me the first time I run it.  My guess is that it's the combination of a) 10 miles of marathon pace work (a hard effort in itself) with b) the distance - 17 miles won't feel long by the end of the cycle, but at that time it was the longest I've run since last December.  (that record has since been eclipsed by this Sunday's long run)

So, I was tired on Sunday.  And, frustratingly, I dealt with some insomnia Sunday night - a feeling that my body just could NOT turn off.

I've learned through hard experience that this insomnia is my early warning sign that I'm overreaching.  I've also learned (again, the hard way) that when I'm starting to dig a hole, the proper response to to back off, not to fight through it.  The quicker I get out of the hole, the better.

So, Monday became even easier than normal.  I wore a belt for pool-running, and kept the effort very easy - just wiggling my legs in the water.   Thus, what would normally the equivalent of an easy run instead became an extended ice bath.

[why didn't I just take the day off?  Because I truly believe that gentle pool-running with the belt works far better for recovery than pure rest.  At least for me.]

[and I'll also note here that one benefit of pool-running with the belt is that I can take the off day that I need and still log the "mileage" that my type A personality demands.  Ugly, but the truth.  Know your weaknesses and work with them.]

I slept far better Monday night, which was a good sign, and felt much better on Tuesday morning, though still a bit tired.  To be stay on the safe side, my coach and I agreed that I'd back off of the pace for Tuesday's workout.  The prescribed workout was 4-5x1200m.  I'd normally run each in 4:2x, but instead I bumped myself back a "group" and let them set the pace - that ended up being a range from 4:40 down to 4:31 for the fourth repeat.

By the fourth repeat, I was feeling pretty darn good, and ready to go for a fifth.  However, my coach split that into an 800 and 400 instead, which I ran at my normal effort.  End result was that I felt great physically and positive mentally after the workout - unquestionably a far better result than if I had gutted out four repeats at my normal pace.

And the rest of the week went very well, with a solid tempo on Friday, and a good long run on Sunday.  All very positive.

I'm clearly in good shape.  The trick now, for the next several weeks, is not to get greedy and try to build even more fitness by hammering workouts, but instead to refine and carefully reinforce the fitness I currently have.

Dailies 

Monday: In the morning, foam rolling, yoga and 8 "miles" pool-running with the belt. 2 "miles" pool-running in the evening.

Tuesday: 11.5 miles, including a track workout of 4x1200 plus 800, 400 in 4:40, 4:36, 4:36, 4:32, 2:54, 82.  Also did injury prevention work at the gym and 1250 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam-rolling at night.

Wednesday: In the morning, 8.5 miles very easy to yoga (8:55), yoga, and then 4 miles very easy (8:40) plus drills and strides.  4 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday: In the morning, 9 "miles" pool-running and upper body weights and core.  Another 3 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Friday: 11 miles, including a 4 mile tempo on the track in 25:16 (6:25/6:22/6:21/6:08).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 10 miles easy (8:58) followed by drills and four strides, and upper body weights and core.  Foam rolling and 4 "miles" pool-running in afternoon.

Sunday: 21 miles progressive, split as first 7 averaging 8:51 pace, next 6.5 averaging 7:43, last 7.5 averaging 6:52.  Followed with injury prevention work and 500 yards recovery swimming.   Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Training log - Week ending 8/6/17

This week was 62 miles of running, 28 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.  (edited to correct the long run - I accidentally left in the long run from two weeks ago...)

I generally think of the 14 week cycle as a few weeks ramping up, then 6 "serious" weeks, followed by taper.  This is week 1 of the serious 6.

It went fairly well.  If you measure workouts by how I felt and how fast I ran, then I had three good workouts this week.  Which is both good and paranoia inducing.

I've done enough marathon training to know that there's a very easy trap to fall into - where you run your workouts just a hair too fast, and get just a bit overconfident.  You accumulate just a bit too much fatigue, and race day fails to live up to the expectations set during your cycle.  And the worst part is - you can't know for sure if this is happening until race day.

The only protection is to be cautious, perpetually mindful of how hard you are working during the cycle.  Asking "do I need to be working this hard?  Can I work a little less and get the same benefit?"
That mindset is completely opposite from the ethos bandied around running sites that whomever works the hardest or cranks out the most mileage runs the fastest on race day.  But it's the best way for the type A personality to marathon train.  Marathoning is about being very patient and cautious for both the cycle and the first 20 miles of the race.

I don't feel like I pushed stuff too hard this week.  But I need to be very careful to ensure that I don't get too enthusiastic (especially given how positive I felt after my workouts this week), and continue to train with what will feel at times like excessive restraint.

Dailies 

Monday: In the morning, foam rolling, yoga and 8 "miles" pool-running. 2 "miles" pool-running in the evening.

Tuesday: 12 miles, including a track ladder workout of 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 in 90, 3:01, 4:29, 5:57, 4:25, 2:49, 83.  Also did injury prevention work at the gym and 1250 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam-rolling at night.

Wednesday: In the morning, 8 miles very easy to yoga (9:07), yoga, and then 4 miles very easy (8:50) plus drills and four strides.  A massage at lunchtime; 4 "miles" pool-running at night..

Thursday: In the morning, upper body weights and core and 9 "miles" pool-running.  Another 1.5 "miles" of pool-running (lightning shut down pool) and foam rolling at night.

Friday: 11 miles, including a long intervals workout of 3200, 1600 in 12:24 (6:18/6:06) and 5:56. Followed with injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 10 miles easy (9:05) followed by drills and four strides, and upper body weights and core.  Foam rolling and 3.5 "miles" pool-running in afternoon.

Sunday: 17 miles 17 miles, including segments of 4, 3, 2, and 1 miles at MP with one mile easy recovery between each. Splits were:
4 miles - 27:30 (6:52/6:54/6:53/6:51 - average pace 6:53)
3 miles - 20:36 (6:55/6:54/6:47 - average pace 6:52)
2 miles - 13:43 (6:53/6:50 - average pace 6:52)
1 mile - 6:37 (allowed to go faster on the last mile if we wanted)..  Followed with injury prevention work and 500 yards recovery swimming.   Foam rolling in afternoon.