Thursday, September 20, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 6

(Sorry for slacking again on this post.)

Monday – Yoga  (Labor Day Gym closed! Bah!) Rest Day
Tuesday – Power
Wednesday – Pilates at noon + Evening speed work 10 x 400s
Thursday – Rest 
Friday –  Hills x 4
Saturday –  Tempo
Sunday – Long Run – 12 miles
Total Miles– 33.11M

This week marks the end of the first six weeks of my training–I'm a third of the way done! I can't believe that essentially I only have 12 weeks left to do the hard work. Well, not really because 3 of those weeks is set aside for the taper period, so really I only have 9 weeks left for the nitty gritty! I am feeling stressed out already! Somebody S-L-O-W- down time for me please!

Since Monday was Labor Day, the gym was closed, therefore my yoga class was cancelled. However our running club had a Club Workout/Breakfast Run that I was invited to which was the highlight of the day.  There was a 8, 6, and 4 mile hilly run that went on before breakfast that I would have been interested in partaking had I not ran the previous day.  Well that's the story I shared, when asked why I was not running.  Any other day I would have been tempted to run, but I'm staying true to my running schedule and take Monday as a rest day.

Wednesday Speed 
The Workout: 400x4 with 1/2 lap recovery between quarters. Plus, 400x6 with full lap recovery between quarters. My results: (6:59/6:46/7:02/6:42) + (6:59/6:27/6:43/6:52/7:02/6:50)
Notice anything different? Yeah! I'm loving it too. 80% of the laps were done under 7-minute/mile pace quarters. I couldn't be any happier. If this improvement translates over to the 10K at the end of September, that would be key that my training is working.

I'm doing everything right espectially by warming up properly. I've discovered that I do better with speed workouts if I warm up thoroughly. What a concept! I thought before that one mile warm up was sufficient. It was by accident that I learned this one day. I didn't want to be rude to a fellow runner so I kept going long after my mile was up. To my surprise, I did better on that night's workout. I did an experiment and the next week I tried it again and I performed better. The other thing I started doing differently was to slow the pace of the warm up itself. I started out at 11 minute miles and let the body gradually increase the pace. (Before I jumped right in the 9:30 range.)  I used to tire myself out right in the beginning, even before I started the actual workouts. With this slower pace, after the end of 20 or 21 minutes, I would only be at 10:38ish pace.

Friday Hill Work-Long Hill Repeats 4x
In order for me to take account of whether I am improving or not, the best way I thought would be to stay consistent and use the same hill for all of my long hill repeats. Bay Oaks has been my hill of choice because it is 2 miles from my house and that for me is my sweet spot for warm up. Any less is not sufficient. For optimum effort I don't mind the distance.  This is my second long hill repeat. Last month, I had great results and I was surprised to see the numbers I posted in Week #2, which is still early on in the training.

On Week #6, my 4x hill repeats results are (10:35/8:11/7:59/7:49/7:59). I ran a 2-mile warm up toward my hill. Notice that there are five repeats and the first one, 10:25 is crossed off?
There is a story to that. Let me explain what happened.

I got to my hill fully warmed up. I did my final stretches and gulped one final ounce of water, set my watch and turned off my ipod.  Just as I was getting ready for my repeats, I spotted a guy coming up the hill. He was going slow as he was probably near the end of his run. I thought, he was going to be in my way. Should I wait and let him clear out or do I just go along the side? I didn't want him to think I was racing him because I will actually be whizzing by him. I didn't want to get cold either by standing around, so I decided to go. In thinking all these out, I didn't even think about the pace I'm supposed to run my repeats. I got sidetracked and since I've been running short hills where I run them all out, well, this turned out to be just that. Halfway through the hill, I puttered out and my quads felt the searing lactic acid creep up fast. I started to slow down even though I was trying my hardest to run hard.  Why isn't my watch beeping to stop yet? By now for sure I've reached the two tenths of a mile. I got near the top and had to stop when I still had 0.02 miles left to go. I ended up walking to finish the first repeat. What did I do this week to be this tired? While I recovered for five minutes, the thought of putting this hill workout off for one more week crossed my mind.  But my schedule is full, I don't know where else I would squeeze this in. My mind still flooded with questions. Was this fatigue?  Could all those fast 400s done me in? I was so mad. I must have pushed the envelope finally.

After five minutes of recovery, I felt better. It must have been around this time when I realized that I could have ran the wrong pace for the long hill, not that I was fatigue. I thought, I would do a "do-over" and pretend this next hill was my first repeat. If my results were better then I would continue. I restarted my watch and put the bad repeat behind me. When I posted the next repeat at 8:10, I knew exactly what I did and got my confidence back to finish the workout.

The next few repeats, I consciously paid attention to the pace and even effort up the incline. I told myself this was not a sprint, but a controlled effort.  I was proud of the result because I managed to bring down the pace as the repeats progressed, with the exception of the last one. I was tired.
I was proud of myself for not giving up due to the bad first repeat.  I regrouped, did a fantastic effort coming back and  learned a good lesson. When I ran this same hill repeats while training for NY 2012 marathon, my results were: 9:09/ 9:37/9:17/9:51.   That's a big difference this time around with 8:11/7:59/7:49/7:59. I'm happy with the results. (By the way, I'm comparing my results with NY because that's the only marathon I've done that I've devoted a complete 18-weeks of training as well as it is the race that gave me a huge PR.)

Saturday Tempo
I wanted to hit my paces so I decided that for this workout, I will need all the help I can get. If it means suffering around the oval so be it. The track is quickly becoming my friend. Well, that was my initial plan. After more thought, running 36 laps around the track would be inhumane. I decided against it. Another option was to find a fairly long road, preferably no stop lights or traffic, where I can do my 6 mile tempo.  Turri Road came to my mind.

My Tempo Spot

It's almost long enough, I just have to add a quarter more to make a complete mile. The trouble was that last quarter had a little bit of a hill. It could be good because then I could recruit other muscle for the tempo.  That would prove a welcome change of pace.

The tempo run I planned is a 6-mile cut down where I would start at 9:45 pace and incrementally lower the pace each mile by 10 seconds. So by the time I get to the sixth mile, my pace would be at 8:55.  I was a little worried because I ran a great hill workout the night before, meaning I wondered how tired my legs would be upon waking up. Luckily, they were good, no soreness at all which meant I got the green light to run as planned. I don't have to think about revising the plan, or cut down on the mileage. Turri is not totally flat, even the 3/4 mile has some slight gradual incline where it is more noticeable as you are running it fast.  The first two miles were easy warm up pace from 11:00 to 10:23 pace. I picked up the pace as I near the end of the two miles including two 30-second strides. Before I started the repeat, I looked at the terrain and I knew that going up would be tougher and coming back would be easier since the downhills.   I told myself to take it easy on the return since I'd have to come back on an uphill. It's nice that I'm paying attention finally and giving this more thought, rather than just running like Forrest Gump as before.

For the most part I hit the paces right on: 9:41/9:34/9:20/9:12/9:04/8:38 and loving the results. I was glad my legs could do this today considering I had a tough hill repeat last night. Now for tomorrow's long run, that's another story. Two hard workouts back to back was a success.

Sunday Long Run

Thirds!  This kind of progression run, I performed 2 weeks ago for the first time.  I was hesitant and approached it cautiously. I was very nervous because I don't know if I was good enough to run it in 3 different paces. I've sort of run "uni-pace" all  my life. I ran one pace from the beginning to end. Well let me explain, I tried my hardest to maintain a pace, but I would eventually slow down and hit positive splits.  (That's when you run the first half faster than the second half.) In a race, if you can do the opposite, run the second half faster than the first would be the most ideal. You save your best effort for the finish and end strong.

The 12 miles today on paper is harder than two weeks ago since I assigned myself a hard back to back workout. It was going to be a test to see if I can handle it. I always approach these kinds of workout with some form of humility.  I find that when I do that, I am able to perform better.

First of all I decided to go back to Turri. I love the fact that I can use my car as an aide station.  I have all my nutrition in the trunk and I go for loops and come back knowing I have something cool waiting for me. Next time I will an ice chest and keep chilled bottles of water. Nothing tastes better than an ice cold water after running.

The first 4 miles was an easy pace. I decided to not shy away from the the little bit of hill while my legs are still fairly fresh, so I ran it nice and steady.  When I got back to my car,  my watch read exactly 10:30 pace for 4 miles. I was happy with that because I had that 1 mile of a steady uphill. I concentrated on the next 4 miles which turned out to be 9:18.  I was shooting for 9:25, so this was okay. The last 4 miles I dreaded. I knew it was going to give me trouble. It was the fastest of the set and I was aiming for 9:00 pace.  It always happens that the second to the last mile I end  up slowing down, I was at 9:18.  I thought I lost the pace, but I pulled it together in the last mile to run faster and finally I whittle it down to 8:59–mission accomplished! I am slowly learning the art of pacing and I can now speed up and slow down without thinking I will blow up in the end.

I've had a tremendous workout this week starting from Wednesday with the 400s. The Friday hill work turned out to be cool, when I almost lost it. Saturday was my first attempt to teach my legs pacing as well as the progression run on Sunday where I hit all my paces. I can't complain.  I am curious though to see how my legs will feel tomorrow upon waking up. They've been put through the ringer. I'll let you know.

'Til then, happy running!

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