"Yes - and yes, I suppose"
I haven't run more than 15 miles since June and on Sunday I started getting tired after 10 miles, so to run almost 40 miles on Saturday may well be a BAD idea. However, I'm going to do it anyway. The Achill island ultra is still only about a quarter of the Spartathlon and the way I see it, if I can't run 40 miles (ok, 39.3) on Saturday then I won't be able to run 153 exactly a month from now. Besides, last year in Belfast I promise Donna I'd run her race this year.
Being hampered by injury actually has one advantage: if I went into that race in good shape I might well have been tempted to race it as a win might have been be a possibility (obviously, that depends on who's turning up). Since that possibility can now be ruled out, I can run as slowly as I want without any regrets.
I'm not overly keen on mantras and memes, but that one caught my eye because that is exactly attitude I have decided to adopt for the Spartathlon. I haven't done the training I wanted to do and I will still be far from peak fitness when the start date comes round far too soon but I will give it a go and if I fail, so be it. There's only one way to find out.
If I cripple myself in Achill, I guess I'll have to fall back to option B, namely going to Greece for a holiday instead.
Anyway, I took it easy after the weekend. It was a no-brainer because my quads were hurting, almost certainly because of the mountain run. I was really surprised by how much they hurt because that run had gone so well and I had not felt tired at all. I had initially toyed with the idea of doing 2 workouts during the week, another mountain run and intervals on Tuesday and Thursday. Then I figured Thursday was a bit late considering that race on Saturday so maybe a Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back workout pair would be an option? However, with the legs hurting as they are, that idea got dumped (I probably just about avoided doing something really stupid here).
What I did do on Tuesday was to run in some extra layers to get some heat adaptation going. However, as it turns out, even wearing 3 layers on top, including a running jacket, won't make you feel particularly hot if you're an idiot and don't wear a hat. In fact, once it started raining I started to feel distinctly cold instead! It's still a bit early for heat adaptation (it only lasts for about 2 weeks), so I guess a bit of experimenting wasn't that bad an idea; that way I might get it right by the time I actually need to.
On Wednesday morning I did that one weekly workout that was left in the schedule, a set of half mile repeats. Last week I had done 4, this week I increased the number to 6 and slightly lowered the recovery from 0.5 to 0.4 miles. Initially I resolved to run a bit slower than last week, just trying to hit the 6:30 to 6:40 window rather than surpass it but once I got into the workout I actually started to speed up, unnoticed. Once again, the 2 websites I'm using for data upload report very different numbers:
Movescount: 6:43, 6:32, 6:35, 6:40, 6:25, 6:26
Strava: 6:33, 6:26, 6:30, 6:35, 6:17, 6:21
And, like last week, the strava numbers are the ones I remember from the watch during the workout, so I guess that's what I'm going with (plus, they sure look a lot better). I'm still flabbergasted how the same data set can be reported so differently. It hurts my technical background.
The real difference, however, was how much better I felt this week compared to last week. I could not have done 6 repeats last week; in marked contrast, this morning I definitely would have felt capable of at least 2 more. This is also reflected in the HR, last week it went all the way up to 181 and today it peaked at a much more acceptable 173. I certainly have already gotten better at running at 6:30 pace. How that translates into efficiency gains at ultra pace is debatable - however, I am convinced that this is a very valuable workout and ultra runners would in general improve if they added more speed work into their training repertoire (btw, that's a note to self).
The hip is fine. Every now and then I can notice a bit of a twinge, but that's it.
- 24 Aug
- 8 miles, 1:09:17, 8:40 pace, HR 138
- 25 Aug
- 8 miles, 1:09:56, 8:45 pace, HR 143
- 26 Aug
- 9+ miles, 1:17:18, 8:30 pace, HR 144
- incl 6 x 800 @ 6:33, 6:26, 6:30, 6:35, 6:17, 6:21 pace