This past week featured the heaviest volume my marathon training cycle will see. My goal was to push through feeling tired and see what happens. For most of my runs this week, I started off feeling sluggish and ended them feeling really good, a pace that I would consider marathon pace. I also realized that when I questioned what kind of shape I am in last week that I was falling back into my old ways- speedist, judgmental, and insecure of my abilities. I was relying on a time to define the shape I am in when in reality, I feel in excellent shape.
Yes, much of my fitness is aerobically based as I have done very little work on the track. But to return to a healthy routine of running, I had to let go of time expectations. Next week, I plan on running that 5k but going into it with the goal of running in control, even if it means going out slow. And even if it means running a slower (for me) time than I am used to. Looking at the bigger picture, I am training for a marathon and not a 5k so whatever time I run will be a good test of my new mindset rather than an indicator of my fitness, at least for a 5k.
I know that with this approach, I will eventually get faster as a result of knowing my body and how it best responds to training. The difference is that with this approach, it may take a few years to figure it out versus intense training with quicker results. Whether it’s my naturally high resting heart rate or just a stubborn body, I now know that 1. it takes me a while to warm up (about 30 minutes) and 2. short, intense speed work tends to break me down more than long, slow distance or tempo runs.
How the week played out:
Monday: Easy 30 minutes with James. Heart rate felt a little high so I took it down a notch.
Tuesday: 40 minutes with James driving next to me on the roads at night.
Wednesday: 73 minutes solo on towpath. Was going to do tempo but the humidity was really high so I used this as a longer run to just flush out the system. Did 5 strides afterward.
Thursday: 40 minutes solo at night. Last ten minutes were at a decent clip.
Friday: 50 minutes solo at night. Last twenty minutes were at the same decent clip.
Saturday: 80 minutes with 45 minutes at tempo effort. This tempo went 100x better than last week on the same route. I was arriving at the same spots (so essentially same pace) but the run felt a lot easier. Weather was cooler so that was a factor on top of lots of positive self talk.
Sunday: Double long run day. I ran for 1 hour 53 minutes in the morning and then 67 minutes in the evening on the hilliest section of the Akron course to simulate running long, tired. Heading into the second run, I was exhausted due to morning run and yesterday’s tempo. However, once I started I was re-energized. The second run actually felt better than the first one. I’m puzzled and encouraged at the same time. Maybe I took too much rest (no nap though) or maybe I’m ready to go? 3 hours total for the day.
Total: 8 hours, 13 minutes