Since I decided to run the Pozo 5K on the very first day of training, naturally, the smart runner would take the next day to rest and recover. The race put a lot of stress on the body, especially with a short and fast distance like the 5K. I could have run the next day, but experience showed me that I would be risking injury. As it was, I already felt the ever so slight twinge on my left achilles. I take that as a welcome sign to rest. I scratched the 5 miler yesterday, even though it was supposed to be a slow fiver. I was tempted, but had to be smart. For that, I gave myself a pat on the back. Great job listening to the body.
Today I ran the prescribed 3 x hills: run up as fast as I might and jog back down, 3 times. Hal Higdon said to look for a grade that takes about 2 minutes to crest, or 400 meters of distance. I was never involved with track in high school, so it took me a bit to get used to the jargon. Roughly 400 meters is equivalent to 1/4 a mile or one lap around the track. Thank goodness for the old Garmin, I can set up a 400 meter distance anywhere I want. There's a nice little hill by my work and after a warm up of 1.40 mile at 10:02 pace, I began the hill repeats. Hal said to run the hill as if you are running a fast 400. I did the best I could. I told myself that technically this was the first run of the week, so I better ease into it. Had I ran the 5 miler yesterday, my legs would have been primed so I could have gone a tad faster. Seeing that this was the first run it was better to err on the side of caution. Didn't want to hurt the ankles or the knees--they are the ones benefiting from this hill training, besides other muscle groups.
In the first repeat, I took the hill at a sustained and even effort. I focused on getting the knee up and running tall, as if I am a puppet with a string on top of my head. The last 50 meters seemed the steepest. That was where I felt the quads burned. Then I jogged back down to the bottom of the hill as my heart rate went down and I was able to slow down my breathing. In the second repeat, I got overzealous and I ran it harder and faster. My running felt out of control, I didn't even make it to the last 50 meters, because I slowed down, and you guessed it. I had to walk. I wanted to find out how it felt to run hard on a long hill. It reminded me of the painful 5K--that awful feeling when you want to give in and stop, but can't because, well you can't wear that race shirt if you don't finish. At any rate, on the last hill repeat, I decided to run it the same way I ran it in the first repeat: even and controlled. It turned out, the first and the last repeat, ended up being the same pace and not once did I glance at my Garmin. The middle repeat, we'll just say that was a throw-away experiment. Not running the hills like that anymore. Well, maybe I can save that kind of effort for shorter hill sprints. After the 3 hill repeats, I ran back to work as a cool-down, 2 miles at 9:02 pace. Overall distance today: 4.66 miles. Not a bad way to start the day.
I am satisfied with this morning's workout. I felt like I could have run some more, probably because I was well rested. But I knew I had to stop. Tomorrow, Thursday, will be an easy 3-miler. Friday will be a rest day and I will stick to that no matter how good I feel. The weekend is going to be the harder workout. Saturday is a 5 mile pace run, otherwise known as my marathon pace run. I'll explain the "marathon pace" run on Saturday's blog. I consider Sunday's workout as a hard run, but it's not because of the mileage. It is because it is a long run that is supposed to be run 30-90 seconds slower than my marathon pace. For 10 miles, I am supposed to take it nice and easy. It is hard to hold back when you feel so good. I am sure the pace run on Saturday will tire my legs out on Sunday, so I will be forced to run slow, whether I want to or not. That sly Hal---he sure knows what he's doing.