Monday, March 30, 2009

Quantity vs. Quality - Do We Have to Choose?

Last week might have been the best week of training I've ever had. Given my relatively short and lackluster running "career", that may not be saying much, but it certainly felt good to get through it by hitting or surpassing target paces and mileage goals and feeling pretty healthy at the end. I seem to have found a balance between quantity (high mileage) and quality (speed work).

The week turned out like this:
  • Mon - usual non-running XT day
  • Tues - track repeats chronicled in the last post - 11+ miles total
  • Wed - 10 miles "easy", averaging 8:35/mile
  • Thurs - 6.2 miles recovery (was tired and cold, so I turned around a little sooner than halfway to 7)
  • Fri - 10 miles, with 1x3M at half-marathon pace and then 1x2 at half-marathon pace (which averaged out to around 7:03/mile)
  • Sat - 7 miles recovery in the morning (9:00 pace); 1.5 mile messing around at the track with my kids later on
  • Sun - 17 miles in a 38-degree downpour, with 13 easy and the last 4 progressively harder, until I finished below marathon pace

That's about 63 miles total for the week, which is pretty close to a mileage PR for me. Also, I've never done that much quality in a single week. Sunday's run was on one of the hillier routes around. Here's the profile:

The elevation ranges from under 300 feet to over 700 feet, and the climb at mile 12-13 takes one from a low riverside point up a hill with a lovely apple orchard at its crest. I'm trying to tackle all of the big hills in the area in order to have a fighting chance of staying strong at Sugarloaf. It was far from an ideal run, thanks to the pouring rain, the numb hands, the waterlogged shoes and some GI issues (which have been plaguing me a bit on these long runs recently; need to look into that). But the feeling I took away from that run, resulting from having had the tenacity to follow through with my plan, push past the discomfort, aggressively approach hills that were daunting to me just a few short months ago . . . all of that is adding an element to my marathon preparation beyond what I've experienced: confidence that I can keep my head and body focused on the task at hand for 26.2 miles (and hopefully requiring no more than 3:19:59 of such focus).

This week involves some "front-loading" in order to be slightly less fatigued for a half-marathon on Sunday. It's on my running club's Grand Prix circuit, and I hope to be able to score a point or two for the team. I'm also going to shoot for a sub-7:00 pace, which may greedy and unrealistic at the tail end of a second 60+-mile week, but I've been surprising myself lately, so I may as well give it a shot. If I crash, I can live with that, and may still have a shot at lowering my PR from February.

Here's how the week looks now:

  • Mon - the usual elliptical, circuit, core & stretching
  • Tu - 12 miles total, with 4x1 mile at a little under HM pace (maybe 6:45/mile)
  • Wed - 10 miles easy
  • Th - 8 miles (with a few hill sprints if the legs feel like it)
  • Fri - 8 miles easy
  • Sat - 5 miles very easy, with 4x100-meter strides
  • Sun - 2-mile warm-up, 13.1 miles at 6:59/mile and 2-mile cool-down

That's a nice round 60, before stepping back a bit next week. Then the plan is to string together three strong weeks before a 2-week taper.

Will keep you posted. -ESG


Billy said...

Awesome Ron...glad to hear you're progressing so well and getting in some quality runs. Looks like Hudson's treating you well.

Best of luck this Sunday - hope you come close to, or smash your previous PR. Looking at your workouts these days, wouldn't bet against it.

Unknown said...

Your training looks great! I think I bounced over here from Jerry Nairn's blog... I'm going for a 3:15 in May, but I'm not doing the miles you are... I think you've got an awesome spring coming up.


Billy said...

Still no race report. WTH.

Do I really need to go to the zoo that is MRT to read it?

Make something up. I don't care. Just write it!