Thursday, September 15, 2016

Colour Code White

I find it hard to believe but the Euros are only 5 weeks away. That also means that right now I am in the middle of the hardest training weeks, and the schedule certainly reflects that.

Recovery from Dingle marathon went well even if the marathon itself didn't really, and I handled the back-to-back runs last weekend very well, so my basic endurance levels are very good. I had been feeling batter for the last few weeks and recently I noticed some objective numbers finally showing those signs as well. I do maintain a spreadsheet where I log pace and HR and compare that with an expected HR. There are three different colours to visualise the overall level. Ideally you want to be green when building base, white later on and red the weeks before the race. The months since Belfast have provided a consistent block of green - Tuesday's run was the first one since June in white! It certainly is a lot later than I would have expected or hoped, but at least some data points are finally catching up.

Training with the new coach was certainly very different to what I had been doing up to before. That was the intention, of course. I felt I had reached a plateau and was eager to try something new to see if my body would react to a different stimulus. There is a risk involved in that, of course, and positive effects might take longer to be achieved than one would hope for (i.e. it may well take more than one training cycle).

Things aren't just different on an overall level, there are things I would not have done on my own on a more detailed level. Left on my own, I certainly would not have put a 14 miler 4 days after a marathon. Left on my own, I also would not have run a speed workout 3 days before a tough 39 mile trail race, but that's exactly what the coach prescribed.

The speed workout itself provided a dilemma. Putting my 3:30 marathon into a calculator it gave me a 5k pace of 7-minute miles. Surely not! I decided to run the 5x1000 at 5k pace purely by feel, and that's exactly what I ended up doing. Tuning into 5k effort was tough, not having raced a 5k in quite some time. During the second repeat I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish but of course I did.

The paces for the repeats ended up being 6:09, 6:16, 6:19, 6:19, 6:17 with about 1:50 recovery, which I think is surprisingly consistent for a workout done entirely by feel, even if the first one was a bit quick (highly unusual, btw. Normally the first repeat would be the slowest).

Thursday was exceptionally easy, just three miles at recovery effort. Friday will be longer - it's basically part of  a back-to-back with the ultra on Saturday being the second part.

I expect to suffer on Saturday in Aherlow, from the distance, the unaccustomed hills, the fact that I go into it with tired legs already. I guess that's the whole idea! I won't be winning any prizes, that's for sure!
12 Sep
13 Sep
6 miles, 55:19, 9:13 pace, HR 129
14 Sep
9 miles, 1:14:57, 8:19 pace, HR 150
   5 x 1000 at 6:09, 6:16, 6:19, 6:19, 6:17 pace (1:50 recovery)
15 Sep
3+ miles, 29:18, 9:27 pace, HR 130

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