Spartathlon is your B race? To a 24 hour track event? How is that possible? Anyhow, best of luck with all of those races!The reason why I put Belfast as my main target is the fact that in 2017 the next world championship will take place and I want to make sure I am on the team! I am reasonably optimistic that I will be selected as only one single Austrian has run further than me in the last 7 years in 24 hours but a good run in Belfast would guarantee my selection no matter what. Spartathlon is a great race but a world championship would be greater still.
The legs felt really heavy on Thursday morning, so I decided to cut back the mileage for a couple of days. I still went ahead with the planned hill sprints that day but went home once I felt I had maybe two or three more repeats in me, and I kept the effort low for Friday. I also ruled out any second runs of the day on either occasion.
The hill sprints were very different to any other kind of training, pretty much all-out but only for about 10 seconds or so, and with long recoveries (walking back down the hill and a slow jog for a bit). It was a different day as well: when I opened the door I could see a myriad of stars in the clear night sky, something I hadn't seen in a very long time. With the clear sky came the cold temperatures but I was perfectly fine with that. Unfortunately it wasn't to last, by the time I was on my second hill sprint it was hailstoning; the combination of all-out hill sprints and hail stones made for an interesting multi-stimulus of pain! Still, it was all over very quickly and the legs felt fine for the rest of the day, something I cannot always say.
Friday's run was at the easiest effort in quite some time. I was quite pleased that the pace was still fairly close to 8-minute miles, something I had to work for a couple of months ago, now it is my recovery pace. The HR was exceptionally low. I can count the runs with a lower HR on the fingers of one hand, I think.
On Saturday it was time to rev it up again. I wanted to tweak the format of the fast day and instead of running 10 miles at a good effort I opted for 2 x 3 mile repeats at HM pace. The last two races indicated that the pace should be somewhere between 6:30 and 6:40, so that's what I aimed for. The weather has finally improved a bit, the wind has died down though we are still seeing the odd shower. It's also quite cold, about 3 degrees in the morning, but I like it cold anyway. All in all it makes for very decent running conditions. The first 3 mile segment went well but I probably ran just a tad too fast early on and started to struggle a bit towards the end. A rest interval did me some good and I managed the second segment better than expected and this one felt like I ran the correct effort.
The legs felt that effort the next day, of course, but it could have been worse. I gave myself the option of either 18 or 20 miles, depending on how I would feel towards the end. I started out reasonably well but towards the end of the big long climb I started labouring when at previous runs I had managed pretty much on autopilot, so I certainly wasn't firing on all cylinders. I managed just fine for the rest of the loop around the lake but I did opt for the 18 miles, in an effort not to overdo things.
When I was coached by MC he spent a lot of time stopping me from doing too much. In fact, I think I can feel strong vibes from across the Atlantic that I am indeed overdoing things already, so a little bit of holding back today was almost certainly a good thing. I am still in base building mode, though I've started the transition to the marathon training block, which will start in earnest early next month.
- 7 Jan
- 6.7 miles, 1:02:28, 9:19 pace, HR 131
- 11 short&sharp hill sprints
- 8 Jan
- 10 miles, 1:21:50, 8:09 pace, HR 131
- 9 Jan
- 10 miles, 1:11:12, 7:06 pace, HR 152
- 2 x 3 miles at 6:29 (HR 159), 6:33 (HR 161)
- 10 Jan
- 18+ miles, 2:21:38, 7:48 pace, HR 142