Monday, May 30, 2011

Training log - Week ending 5/29/11

This week was 32 miles of “real running” and 32 “miles” pool running plus 3500m of swimming -- training log is here.

The week started off a bit annoying, between the high heat and humidity that’s hit DC, and a persistent nagging soreness/stiffness in my right foot (peroneal tendonitis/plantar fasciitis). I never felt the foot while running (just before and after), but it was still enough for my coach (who admittedly has much better judgment than I regarding these things) to banish me from track on Tuesday, exiling me to the pool instead.

I was annoyed. Not because I was concerned about losing fitness by pool-running, but rather because I hadn’t really felt like doing a hard workout. The scheduled workout was 3-5x(800m, 400m jog, 400m) – I had thought that in the newly hot and humid morning, I could just do 3 sets, keeping the effort relatively easy. However, as I’ve noted before, pool-running workouts need to have more intervals, with shorter recovery, and higher perceived effort, in order to accomplish the same as land. Thus 3-5x(800m, 400m) became an ordeal of 8x(3:00 very hard, 1:00 recovery, 1:30 very hard, 0:30 recovery). And yes, 30 seconds recovery into 3 minutes very hard sucks, no two ways about it. But I got it done, and had some good company for it.

Having completely lost patience with having to sit out workouts due to the darn foot (between travel to Kansas, medical stuff, and foot, I’ve had exactly one land workout in the past 3 weeks), I got myself in for dry-needling on Wednesday afternoon, where she hit every trigger point from the spine to the foot on the right side. True to my past experiences, the process itself was mentally difficult, and my leg felt like hell for 12 hours after. But then it was fine, and the soreness /stiffness completely gone. At her advice, I had scheduled a follow-up A.R.T. appointment on Tuesday, and another dry-needling on Thursday. Since it’s too late to cancel the A.R.T., I’ll go ahead with it anyway, but no need for the dry-needling.

On Friday, I got to tempo, in lovely heat and humidity– my first workout in these conditions. The workout was 2x3200m – I deliberately made an effort to hold back, and felt fluid and easy for the first 2 mile repeat (6:35/6:30), Then I felt good on the second until about 5 laps in, when my breathing started to choke on me again. I tried to fight through it for a lap, then stepped off the track to re-establish my breath, before hopping in to complete the final lap with Jessica (we had been running together when I stepped off). Splits for the second “2400m+400m” were 6:39, 3:19, (break), and 1:35.

I’m annoyed with myself here too – in retrospect, it clearly wasn’t asthma, since I had used my inhaler twice before the run. Rather, my breath started to tighten and then I started to hyperventilate, and instead of backing off even more and working through it, I stepped off.  I know how to handle these breathing issues – back off, relax, re-establish, and then regain the pace – I just need to execute. This is mental, as much as physical. And as my coach pointed out, I need to be better about starting much slower than I think I need to.

At least I managed to redeem myself on Sunday with a decent long run in lousy conditions (temp 73, dewpoint 68) – I forced myself to start slow, to take water breaks though I felt like a wuss for doing so, and to be patient and relaxed even near the end. Funny how running is so much more fun when you’re smart about it.


Monday: An hour of easy pool-running in the morning (“6 miles”) plus foam-rolling+stretching+injury prevention exercises.

Tuesday: In the morning, 4 miles easy on the track (8:24 pace) and then “9 miles” in the pool, including an intervals workout of 8x(3:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 1:30 hard, 0:30 easy). Strength-training plus foam-rolling and stretching in the evening.

Wednesday: In the morning, 8 aerobic miles outside (8:00 pace), followed by 2000m of swimming breathing drills (most with the pull buoy, some without). Dry needling that afternoon.

Thursday: In the morning, "6 miles" of easy pool-running (50 minutes) followed by strength-training. Foam-rolling and stretching at night.

Friday: In the morning, 7.5 miles on the track, including a tempo intervals workout. The prescribed workout was 2x3200m with quarter-mile jog; actual was 3200m in 13:05 (6:35/6:30), then 2400m in 6:39/3:19, then 400m in 3:15. Followed with "4.5 miles" (45 minutes) easy pool-running (normally I’d do 10 miles on track, 2 in pool, but I swapped to 7.5 on land, 4.5 in pool to stay safe . Foam-rolling plus pilates class in the afternoon.

Saturday: In the morning, 1500m of swimming breathing drills (some with the pull buoy, some without) and then "3 miles" of easy pool-running. Upper body strength-training plus foam-rolling+stretching in the afternoon.

Sunday: Long progression run of 12.5 miles, averaging 7:54 pace (albeit with 3 water breaks – it was 73 degrees with dewpoint of 68). Paces were 8:42 pace for first 4.5 miles, 7:51 for next three, 7:23 for a half mile, 7:05 for 3 miles, 6:56 for half mile, 6:40 for half mile, 6:00 pace for final 200m (keep in mind that the second half was downhill). Odd splits are due to a) my habit of hitting lap only every few miles (at a mile marker) during long runs but b) sometimes reflexively hitting lap at any mile marker. Followed with “3.5 miles” in the pool – 35 minutes easy pool-running (would normally do 20 minutes, but was covering for the shortened long run).


  1. Sorry to hear your foot and breathing were a problem but it looks like you had some strong activity, regardless. Today's run looks very nice!

  2. you have one of the toughest mental games when it comes to this sport of anyone i know. i know you don't think so, but the cold, detached way you can examine your training and speak to what went wrong, what to do better, etc, is awesome.

    also, this heat? WTF? DC is fired, I'm going back to Jamaica, where the weather is the same but at least there were daiquiris.

  3. I agree with Katie- you have a very tough mental game. Your progression long run is awesome. Faster pace than my half marathon! :-) I'm amazed that you then proceeded to run more in the pool. Nice week, and I hope the foot gets 100% healed soon!

  4. Thanks guys.

    Katie and Elizabeth -- it's funny, I think I'm really not all that tough. The way I see it, we all have our own individual struggles, and being tough is making yourself do the things that you don't want to do or aren't naturally inclined to do.

    Most of us think of toughness as going to the track in bad weather, or getting a long run done no matter what, or finishing a race even though it hurts. And that is toughness if you were disinclined to do those things.

    For others, toughness and discipline is fighting the temptation to push too hard when you really shouldn't, or resisting the compulsion to prove something to yourself. And that's an equally hard battle, and something I fail at. A lot. I'm trying to discipline myself to relax, if that makes sense, and I'm pretty mentally weak in that area.

  5. Awesome week! I'll be in the pool for a while and would love the company!