Saturday, August 29, 2009

Easy, Easy, Easy, Hard

Plenty of you have given out to me for not including sufficient recovery into my program, but I don’t think you have any reasons for complaints this time. After Tuesday’s 20-miler I knew I had to take it easy, because the one thing that it brought to light was the fact that I had not recovered from my two previous races.

Accordingly I took it easy on Wednesday and Thursday with only 8 and 6 miles respectively, and all at easy pace. Somehow the legs were still stiff and tired on Thursday evening, which prompted me to add an additional easy day and move my interval workout from Friday to Saturday. The fact that we had been dealing with the tail-end of Hurricane Bill during the week and gale force winds were blowing across the country all day didn’t exactly prompt me to run a workout during that time either.

On Friday morning I felt much better though and the legs started spinning again. I had gotten up 20 minutes earlier than originally planned because a certain toddler had kept me awake; when she finally drifted off to sleep again at 6 am I got up and left for a run. Work had organised a family evening on Thursday which went very well and had been highly appreciated by everyone, but it also meant I had eaten far too much at the BBQ and I added an extra mile to burn off some calories. Even though I hadn’t touched a drink, my stomach felt rather upset. Maybe BBQ isn’t the ideal nutrition. Despite that, the legs felt very good and I had to slow myself down on more than one occasion, so as not to wear myself out on what was supposed to be another easy day.

Saturday turned out to be dull and drizzly, but the wind had quietened down considerably and around 8 o’clock I went out for a set of half-mile repeats. I had been up for over two hours at that point, again thanks to that certain toddler in our midst. Because the marathon is only 14 days away I decided to err on the side of caution and only did 6 intervals. I wasn’t sure where the pace should be; going by my 1000s workout 2 weeks ago it would have been around 3:05 or so, and putting last week’s race into McMillan gave 2:48 to 2:56, but I’ve never managed to come even close to McMillan’s figures. The rest period between each repeat was 2 minutes.

Anyway, I was pleased to see the first one in 3:00 exactly, but the second in 2:48 left me stunned, but also completely knackered. I was really suffering on the third one, the second half was pure torture, but 2:57 wasn’t bad. The fourth one was even worse of course. I could not spin the legs fast enough, the quads were on fire and I knew this would be bad. I decided to call it a day and declare the workout a fail, because the second interval had destroyed me. I rationalised that you should call off a workout if it’s not going to plan, but was perfectly aware that I’ve never called off a long run, no matter what. Anyway, all this was going through my head while I was still doing the repeat, my mind was obviously not entirely focused on the task, and I was absolutely amazed to see me coming through in 2:56. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I had assumed, and somewhat reluctantly realised that I would have to do the final two repeats after all. The fifth one was bad as I didn’t push hard enough at 3:05. I tried to make up for it on the last one at 2:55, and that was that. I definitely could have done more but stuck to my initial plan and went home while I was still ahead.

I was rather pleased. Running them at an average of 2:57 was better than I had expected. In fact, I had even come close to McMillan’s numbers. I think that’s a first. Maybe it just shows what I can do on reasonably rested legs.
26 Aug
8 miles, 1:05:00, 8:07 pace, HR 140
27 Aug
6.1 miles, 47:58, 7:51 pace, HR 136
28 Aug
8.7 miles, 1:06:31, 7:38 pace, HR 143
incl 6x100 strides
29 Aug
7.5 miles, 54:46, 7:18 pace, HR 157
6x800 in 3:00, 2:48, 2:57, 2:56, 3:05, 2:55 (2:57 avg)


  1. Nice w/o, that should make you feel better. Stay on top of the training for the remaining weeks and you may surprise yourself.

  2. 800's are much easler on the track where there is an even surface, no undulations and you can check splits every 200m which would help you to avoid the 2:48's. Only 2 week to go - hope the reduced training doesn't drive you mad.

  3. Even for me, further behind in the pack, McMillian seems to optimistic. I can't keep up with his recommended paces either.

  4. Good 800s Thomas! I know 2:48 is quick. The three easy days worked well this week.