It turned out that Sunday's mountain trail run took more out of me than I had expected. The next day, I felt tired, my resting HR was 60. That was 5 beats higher than normal, so I knew I was beat. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) took me down Tuesday, two days after the race. That was expected, I was waiting for it. I usually feel that after a hard race. Tuesday my resting HR was 59, still tired. Today it was 57, still 2 beats faster than normal. I had two choices: either rest up or do my planned 5 x 800s Yassos tonight. I felt like I should since I haven’t run a day since Sunday and had to nix Tuesday's long run because of DOMS.
All in all, I was smart about not doing anything after the 10K. It was a good decision to rest up for 2 days. I am listening more to my body’s aches, pains and slight twinges most especially when it clamors for more rest.
Because I chose to rest yesterday, I did well on my Yassos tonight. I was all over the place but I consider it a success since my goal was not to go over four minutes. I even had enough in the tank to do two more 400s after my Yassos. I felt a difference from three weeks ago when I first ran 4 Yassos. The effort tonight was easier, breathing was under control and the pace was faster yet comfortable and manageable.
3:55 (7:51) 156 bpm
3:43 (7:27) 165 bpm
3:48 (7:37) 161 bpm
3:57 (7:55) 163 bpm
3:40 (7:21) 163 bpm
1:44 (6:38) 162 bpm
1:46 (6:41) 160 bpm
Back to the topic of step back weeks. Stepback means pulling back on the mileage to give the body the chance to recover, get stronger and prepare for the harder weeks to come.
It worked out that the medium long run that I canceled was in my eyes, the least important of training for the week that I can afford to skip. Having said that, the Sunday long run is the most important. That’s why I was gung ho about tacking the miles at the end of my 10k last week. Mind you, I broke up the long run into two. It’s not the same as doing the whole thing at once like I am supposed to but, what makes up for it was the 10K was a race. In that sense, the trade-off was a wash.
While we are at it, let’s just go down the list. Let’s see what components of the training week are expendable, if you have to drop a training day for whatever reason. This are my thoughts only, you should follow what works for you.
Next to the long run, the second most important component of the training week is the pace run on Saturdays. This is what drew me into Hal Higdon's program. It is strategically placed the day before the long run on Sunday for a reason. Why? To hopefully tire you out and force you to run the long run slower than marathon pace (MP).
Let's talk about pace runs. If I want to succeed in running my goal pace on race day, well I have to practice that pace in the training runs. Makes sense right? Instead of leaving it to fate and hoping that I can miraculously hit that pace on race day, after all the adrenaline will carry me through. That’s what I used to think. If I keep practicing the pace in which I hope to run my marathon then the body will not be so surprised come race day. My hope is that it will remember that pace and maintain it to the end. So why not run all the training runs at MP? It is not a good idea to run MP for the long runs. The stress is too much on the body. So running it, reaching a max of 10 miles sometime in the duration of the training cycle will be enough, every 2 weeks or so with a stepback week. The training program prescribe it to be done the day before the long run, so it forces you to run the long run at 60-90 seconds slower than MP. The more important aspect of the long run is time on your feet, not so much speed.
The 3rd most important important component I think is REST and recovery. It allows the body time to heal, regenerate and get stronger for future stresses you are about to put it up against.
The 4th is the speed, tempo, hill workouts. If you want to get faster or improve, this is probably your #1. But if you are like me, sort of afraid of injury which is connected to speed, in my eyes, you can drop this workout if need be.
The 5th is the mid-week sorta-long-run. This is just ‘one more for the road’ type thing. Take it or leave it, since you already have the long run in the weekends. This is just what I call my "vitamin". You don't really need it, but it's there just in case.
Week 6 is well underway. It is shaping to be an enjoyable week. I have to learn to enjoy these kinds of easy weeks since, I've played hard last week and next week is going to be a challenging week.