Monday, September 1, 2008

The Temple of My Familiar

Well, the last couple of weeks have been fantastic, in that we've had wonderful running weather, my various ailments seem to have abated, and my distances and times seem to be returning to what they once were (at least during a short window last year where it felt like I was making great progress). Even my old, simple hip flexor flare-up is back, but in a comforting, non-performance-inhibiting sort of way.

Here's a recent recap.

After the great 17-miler last Sunday, the week took shape this way:
  • Monday - 15 mins elliptical; circuit training; core & stretching
  • Tuesday - 5 easy miles on the trails
  • Wednesday - 8.5, with 4 at tempo pace
  • Thursday - 12 miles, general aerobic pace
  • Friday - 5 easy miles at lunch; stretching
  • Saturday - 5 easy trail miles, 6x100 strides plus recovery at the track
  • Sunday - 15 miles, with 11 at goal marathon pace

That's my second consecutive 50+-mile week, and the best part of all is that I feel tired, but healthy. The week was true to the scheduled Pfitzinger 12/55 in spirit, but I have shaken things up a bit. I put in the LT run in place of a VO2 max workout (5x1000), which I thought would be too much in light of recent racing and the need to be ready to run an MP workout over the weekend. Also, adding a sixth running day of very easy 5-6 miles seems to be helping me bump the mileage up without adding undue strain on my body.

The 12-miler on Thursday made me feel like I'd really accomplished something notable, since it required my getting up at 4:00 and out the door by 4:15-ish, in order to make it back before anyone woke up. It was the kids' first week of school, and I wanted to minimize any disruptions in the morning routine. Though I was pretty exhausted (with a client-development social outing until pretty late that night), I felt proud of having pulled off a tough run in the midst of a solid training week before most people were even out of bed. Even my 2:55 Philly friend was impressed, though given his talent level, he just doesn't have to run as much to obtain excellent results.

The run yesterday involved an easy first mile, with a gradual settling in to a goal MP of about 8:15 per mile (3:35 equates to 8:12 per mile). The first mile was a little slow, then things got pretty consistent. I chose the least hilly course near home, but there was still some variation. It was breezy but sunny, and it got pretty warm towards the end of the run (high 70's). The workout called for 12 miles at MP, but I decided that 11 would do in light of the following factors: the slight niggle in my right hip flexor; the fact that I felt the beginnings of a cold; and, most importantly, based on my route, that 12th mile would have been uphill, throwing off the MP anyway. I ended up averaging around 8:05 for the 11 miles, with miles 10 and 11 coming out to 7:45 each. My HR stayed under 160 (except on some hills) nearly the entire run, another great sign of improved fitness. I got home to an empty house, so I had time to stretch, eat and take an ice bath. Other than that old familiar hip soreness, I feel great.

Yesterday's MP run has re-vitalized me, given that I didn't (and still don't) really know what my goal MP should be. Whatever it could be this time around, I'm not planning on pushing the envelope. I've decided that no matter how great I feel leading up to Chicago or how well my two 20-milers go (and surely at least one will go not-so-well), I'm shooting for a 3:35 marathon, a 13-minute (or 30-second per mile) improvement over Burlington. If everything is perfect, I will run a 3:35 pace through 20-miles, and if I feel great, I'll pick it up a little bit and make a run towards low 3:30's. The mantra this time around is to pick a conservative race strategy and stick to it, no matter. I want to run the last 10K of the marathon at or faster than my overall marathon pace for the day. The only realistic way to do that is to run the first 20 miles conservatively. If I can run 3:35-ish, then a Boston qualifying time would feel within reach. Another disappointing effort (for whatever reason), will result in another large chasm between my actual performance and that elusive BQ time.

Except for the Reach the Beach relay on September 12-13, I don't have any races coming up, though I may throw in a time trial where Pfitz suggests, but only if I'm feeling close to 100% healthy.

The only other thing to report is that I have put together the fundraising piece of the 40 at 40 birthday run. I'll be raising money through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. If I can raise $10,000 (which seems unlikely), I can restrict the gift for glioblastoma research. Otherwise, it goes to the Jimmy Fund, and will still likely do some good for people suffering from Cancer.



Billy said...

ESG - I'm very happy to hear that your fitness level is coming back to what it once're still eons ahead of me right now!

I'll be rooting for ya to PR and eventually, BQ!

trainingforsub3 said...

Glad to hear about the productive and healthy week! Good luck at your relay race. If you can get through that healthy, things should be looking pretty good for a PR in Chicago.


Tom@RunnersLounge said...

Just found your blog and it's great to come across someone knowledgeable about running.

I share the same regard for some of your favorite running books. I've learned the most from J Daniels and Pfitz.

Good luck with your training.

You're welcome to join our supportive running community at