Anyway, back to the training. I have now made it through 3 out of 4 weeks of hill training. After one week I thought this would become a real challenge and I started hating the drills, but actually came round to it. I can see some clear improvements; the hope now is that improvements in hill drills will lead to improvements in running.
Thursday was easy. So easy in fact that the HR was below the lowest number in the spreadsheet that I use to calculate my VDOT numbers. But considering what the next 3 days had in store, I was definitely in need of all the recovery I could get.
Friday was the third hill drills day of the week and the fifth in 8 days, something I’m sure I had never managed before. The level of consistency is probably the main reason why I can see such a clear improvement, though I am aware of the fact that doing a lot of drill primarily makes you good at doing drills. Nevertheless, I like the fact that I now can do all drills for 4 minutes without a break and without feeling like I’m about to collapse. There is still one week of drills left; I won’t extend the time but will try and keep an eye on my form instead.
Last Saturday I had changed the program, replacing a marathon paced effort because I thought that since I’m not going to run a marathon I don’t need as many marathon paced runs. It is still important to run a certain, reasonably small, percentage of your training faster than race pace, so they won’t drop out of my training completely and yesterday was one of these days. Sandwiched between the warm up and the cool down were 7 miles of marathon effort. The blustery wind made this a bit tricky; I ran most of the first half close to 6:30 pace with the wind at my back and the second half between 6:50 and 7:00, fighting against the wind as well as the mounting fatigue. The result was slightly conflicting; while the perceived effort seemed a bit higher than marathon effort, the HR of 160 was lower; in all likelihood I wasn’t too far off. Of course this makes me think about my present marathon PB, which was at an average pace of 6:51 – as much as I had to fight tooth and nail for it at the time, it feels a little bit soft now.
Anyway, Sunday’s long run marked the end of the week, and for once I didn’t have to put mental quotes around the word long, 20 miles always qualify. It’s the first 20 mile training run in quite some time. That feels a bit strange, I used to run 20 miles or more week after week after week, but with the marathons and ultra I ran towards the end of 2011, the need for long training runs was diminished (in fact, it would almost certainly have been counter-productive). Going into a long run with pre-fatigued legs is always a bit of a challenge and I started dragging around mile 12. For once I actually took the emergency gel that I usually carry in my pockets but normally bring back home. It may have helped me to get all the way around the lake still in decent shape. That’s good, because Donadea is only 4 weeks from now and while I won’t start that one with already tired legs, 50K is definitely a distance that demands respect.
I even resurrected one of Mystery Coach’s favourite torture instruments, the ice bath. As soon as I got in I remembered just exactly why I had been putting this off. It literally takes your breath away when you lower yourself into a tub of cold water. The muscles all tense up, you’re hyperventilating, and between my high-pitched screams I could hear Lola asking Niamh if Dad was alright. But once you survive the first minute, the rest is actually easy.
I definitely deserved the scones afterwards. Thank you, darling. Very much appreciated.
- 19 Jan
- 8 miles, 1:05:13, 8:09 pace, HR 134
- 20 Jan
- 10.75 miles, 1:38:06, 9:07 pace, HR 144
Hill drills: 4x30 sec sprints; thigh drive (4 mins); ankles (4 mins); high knees (4 mins)
- 21 Jan
- 10 miles, 1:10:04, 7:00 pace, HR 153
incl. 7 miles @ 6:44 pace, HR 160
- 22 Jan
- 20 miles, 2:38:09, 7:54 pace, HR 144
Weekly Mileage: 76.75