4 weeks in and now I’m starting to feel the effects of increasing volume and intensity. (I’m also probably feeling the effects of being almost 40 and going on water slides and being up all night with sick kids the weekend before.) There is always this week in every 4-6 week block where the workouts are a struggle and the whole thing makes you question why it is you have taken up competitive running as your hobby and this was my week. But after I struggled to finish my 57th mile of this one, I recommitted myself to this endeavor, because I know in my heart of hearts that I love this sport and it’s just a matter of time before I’m where I left off and then some.
The week started off ok, but I was stuck on the treadmill for my speed work again. It should have been an easy workout – 12 x 400 at 95 with 1:00 recoveries. It was relatively easy, but a little into the 5th one and I felt a tweak in my butt and with that little tweak, my sciatica flared up for the remainder of the week. Ugh. After this run I had several spots of tightness all up and down my right leg. I worked them out all week with self-massage and applying heat and cold. I decided to run really easy and short on Wednesday, not a pleasant slow 5 miles! On Thursday, I planned to do an easy 7 (hourish), but by 5 things were pretty tight so I bailed and ellipticaled for twenty minutes instead in hopes it would be good enough to do my tempo on Friday and it was. After that, I continued with my ab rehab work and my single-leg squat routine all week. Fingers crossed, but it’s been feeling better all week.
My coach called for an 8 mile tempo at 6:50 pace. I did a 5 mile continuous cutdown last week, starting at 6:50 and ending at 6:33 so I knew a longer continuous tempo at 6:50 was definitely doable. I did a two mile warm-up and got going. I was on the treadmill, so I decided to set the pace at 6:53 for the first 2 miles and then 6:49 for the last 6 to average exactly 6:50 for the whole thing. The pace wasn’t bad, really, but by 5 I was started to get really tired and by 7 I was completely 100% done. I could not go on without risking really hurting myself. I know I’m done when I get to less than a mile and don’t get excited to nail it. Normally, I can do “one more mile” and can even up the pace for that last mile, but not on Friday. 7 miles and I was toast. Jogging a 1 mile cool down at 8:30 pace was even hard!
Saturday I actually felt good despite lots of hills and wind (and jerky drivers – they are the WORST by my mom’s house!) Sunday, it was 18 at the start of our long run – it’s been under 20 and/or horribly snowy for so many long runs in a row, I’ve lost count! We were all not thrilled about it, but we set out and I wasn’t feeling great at first, but was hanging in there until almost 10 and I just started to feel horrible. Sometimes during longer workouts I get shaky and weak feeling (bonking? After just 10 miles?) I just wanted to phone this one in, but my training partners wouldn’t let me and they dragged me (crying, actually! UGH!) and made me get it done. (Love you, ladies!)
On my way home, I thought about this week and despite the struggles, I improved significantly even from the week before. I ran the most miles this week that I have since September! I had one of me longest and best treadmill tempos ever. I had my fastest long run since September, too! For these improvements, I am grateful!
On comebacks … It’s hard to be the out-of-shape one of the group. It’s hard to know what used to be easy and is now almost impossible. It’s hard to struggle to keep up with friends and with your expectations of yourself. But it’s all just a matter of time before you’re right back there. Patience! Faith! Commit!
Mon: 7 easy around 8:30
T: 9 with 12 x 400 at 95 (set tm at 6:19 pace, with last one a little faster) with 1:00 rest.
W: 5 easy around 8:30
Th: 5 easy around 8:25 + 20:00 elliptical
F: 10 with 7 mile tempo in 54:51 (6:50 pace)
Sa: 7 hilly windy, but outside miles!
Su: 14 more hilly and windy miles around 7:30 pace (we had conflicting reports – 7:28 or 7:30 average)
This week: maintain patience and be grateful for improvements no matter how small!