Sunday, May 28, 2017


Training for a big race is always a bit of a balancing act, trying to train as hard as you can while staying on the right side of recovery. I have learned the hard way that the saying that it's better to be 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained is indeed true, but you still need to push the envelope from time to time.

That's exactly what I did the last few days. The legs were a bit heavy on Thursday but felt surprisingly good on Friday morning, so I reverted to the usual Fast Friday routine of a few faster miles, though nothing outrageously fast. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the HR for those kind of runs; my normal limit is 155. However, Friday was a really muggy day and I could clearly feel the temperature rising as the miles ticked by when the humidity was already at saturation point. The legs felt good, so for once I ignored the HR and kept going, which resulted in a few not terribly fast miles but a rather high HR, though I honestly felt that this was no indication of my actual effort.

Whatever the excuses, a workout on Saturday will mercilessly reveal if you overcooked yourself the day before. In my case I had one of MC's famous pickup workouts on the program, with half miles at a fast, relaxed effort broken up by miles at a steady pace. The crucial bit about those workouts, and one I found hard to get my head around initially, is that the slower miles are actually the more important part. You're not exactly hanging around and the pace needs to be maintained, which teaches the body to recover under stress. If you're too exhausted to keep up the pace at the slower miles then you're finished. Don't cheat with a dead slow mile to hit the faster pace again on the next interval.

Anyway, I had a very big target window for my paces, 5:50-6:40 for the fast splits and 7:20-8:00 for the slow ones but thankfully I'm getting better at judging the effort purely by feel rather than the watch, so I just worked on running fast but relaxed on the fast splits and faster than jogging pace on the slower ones.

6:27, 6:24, 6:25, 6:16, 6:24, 6:27, 6:27 pace for the fast bits, steady pace 7:40-7:45 throughout. The HR was 161 for the first interval and 164/165 for all the other ones.

In the end I was pleasantly surprised by a few things: the effort level was never an issue, I could have done more but was under strict instructions not to exceed 7. The pace and especially the HR was incredibly stable, that's the best workout I've ever done in that regard. And the fact that I had at least one more interval left was great, that's how you should always feel at the end of a workout. My right calf felt a bit tender during the cool down as well as later that day, so it's good that I ended it then rather than pushing on further.

I had another feat of endurance that evening, attending the Guns n' Roses concert in Slane. I ended up on my feet for over 6 hours, with plenty of jumping around and quite a few miles of walking to and from the venue. But the old guys on stage were great, just as good a concert as the last time I'd seen them, about 25 years ago, well worth it.

I came home at 2 am (pretty good going, actually) and got a few hours of sleep but today, Sunday, I'm tired. To what extend that's due to the training, the concert or the lack of sleep is open to debate but 8 miles at snails pace was all I did today. You still try to stay on the right side of the recovery curve.

26 May
8.5 miles, 1:04:11, 7:33 pace, HR 153
   incl. 6 miles @ 7:21 (HR 160)
27 May
13 miles, 1:39:12, 7:37 pace, HR 152
   6:27, 6:24, 6:25, 6:16, 6:24, 6:27, 6:27 pace 800s, 7:40-7:45 miles "recovery"
28 May
8 miles, 1:08:07, 8:30 pace, HR 138

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