Friday is officially my rest day, a time where I can sit back and reflect on what I've done so far this week. I've patted myself on the back for allowing my body to rest on Tuesday and not fret at all about missing the midweek long run. On one hand, I did feel like I was a slacker, but I had to remind myself that I would only be putting the rest of the week in jeopardy if I push it, where I would be guaranteed lackluster performance for subsequent workouts. Glad I stuck to my gun because the reward was satisfying Yasso workouts with surprising two sets of 400s at 6:40ish pace. Believe me, that was a first. I thought my watch malfunctioned when I saw my splits. I still can't believe that I did two of those puppies after my Yassos. I was still on a high next day, I was so eager to see what my time trial would look like. I can't expect two great workouts back to back though. I ran a time trial the next day for a mile. Since I was working on fatigue legs, all I can manage was a 7:56 pace. The slowest mile I've ever posted. Admittedly, I was disappointed. Honestly, I could have waited until next week to run the mile, but I underestimated the effects of speed workout the very next day.
The harder training is reserved for tomorrow, my longest pace run thus far at 7 miles. I've decided I will run my route from my house to the cemetery and back. It's my usual 7 miler however, I've only run it as a recovery run and as a moderate run before. Tomorrow I will be tested to see if I can maintain a 9:09 pace for all of the 7 miles. I think the trick is to relax for the first few miles and put no pressure on myself. When I approach it that way, I seem to have better results. I don't know why, but pace runs never fail to give me the jitters.
Sunday will be a fun long run. I'm looking at two very different routes I can take. The first one is my favorite hilly Turri Road. It's a 9.5 loop. To get to the start of my loop takes an extra 1.5 mile so I know I will be overshooting the mileage by a couple of miles. My thought was to use the extra miles to warm up and cool down. The other route would be about 7.5 miles and would take me about the same time as the Turri Road course. The difference is, this is a mountain trail run that goes all the way to the top of Valencia Peak. It's much steeper that the 10K I ran this past weekend and there is much more hiking involved especially in the upper 4K just before the turnaround at the top of the mountain. Needless to say, the downhill is going to be super gnarly. Last time I accidentally came across some stinging nettles. If I do decide to run this course instead of Turri Road, I will be more cautious this time, although it did make me run faster....hmm....maybe I don't mind getting stung again...
I used to be afraid of hills. I didn't like the way they made my calves, achilles and quads feel. I shudder at the thought of that burning sensation that inevitably precedes a slow crawl. I know now that hills make you stronger. It's like speed work in disguise, in moderation that is. Too much can wreak havoc to your Achilles or calves. But again, consistency is the name of the game. I feel that I have gotten stronger and maybe just a tad faster due to my hill workouts. I can run my neighborhood hills all the way through without walking nor heavy breathing. The burning sensation is kept at bay now. These are signs that I've improved and it will only get better, I hope. I am embracing these hills workouts. They are a key component to my improvement. You should try it.