Monday, October 26, 2009

Approaching Goals

Another great week of training, no injuries, and felt strong the entire time. I was only a couple of miles from hitting 60 for the week. We have an elliptical at work which I have been taken advantage of. I didn’t like the mechanical feel of it at first, but over time I have adapted and now feel a little extra kick in my stride. I setup a random course with hills with a 40 minute workout at 9 mph average - Low to no impact, work the cardio, and work the legs.

I almost didn’t do my speed work, but after a 5 mile run in the middle of the week, I was feeling really good and decided to go for it – Ultra style. I did 5X400 meter and 3X800 meters. My 400 meters is 1:27 per repeat which is normal, and my 800 meter repeats was a little slow at 3:14 (normally at 3:00). This will improve as I do more speedwork. My long run was a lot nicer this week (weather wise) and the 30 miles felt strong. Usually the third week in a demanding cycle I feel tired and the long run I get fatigued after 20 miles. I don’t know what’s going on, maybe it was the 6 weeks off from running last July and Aug, but I feel stronger then ever. 24 miles into my long run, a group of runners going in the opposite direction on fresh legs on the 3 mile oval dirt track were going at it with a strong pace. I look across the field and told myself to see if I could keep up with them and cross at the half way point at the other end of the track. I picked my pace up, checked my watch, and was moving with a comfortable 7:20 min / mile. With 24 miles already on the legs, I would be surprised if I could hold onto this pace very long, but decided to turn my brain off and go with the feel. Before I knew it, I was passing the halfway point as they were approaching. This felt good, but it wasn’t enough as the competitive juices started to flow. This is not the thing to be doing on a long run, but it just felt right. Ok body, lets see if you can beat them back to the starting point. A little self doubt crept in and wondered when the legs would hit the wall and the pace suffers. I looked across the field and saw the group traveling down the back stretch like an unstoppable force. With one mile to go, I dropped the hammer and told myself just go with it. I now had a 7 mpm, legs feeling good, HR only in the 160s bpm, and getting good air. As I crossed the starting line in good form, I looked down the end stretch and the group was just rounding the corner with 300 yards to go. I dropped my pace back down to my normal long run pace of 9-10 mpm as a big smile came from within - Man did that feel good. The group was done for the day as I made the turn for another lap. Now, lets see if I can finish this 30 in one piece, which I did and felt good.

The best part of the week was last Thursday night when my son Josh (13) and I went for a 3 mile warm-up run before hitting the weights. Josh did Cross Country for his school and finished in the middle of the pack. It was his first year and wanted to use it for cardio training before wrestling started. His racing time was about a 9 min per mile. It was cool and dark, but our ¼ mile loop around the yard has just enough light from the house flood lights to light the way. I had my Polar on as I let him lead and set the pace. Compared to pre-season, Josh had a strong pace but I expected him to slowdown after the first loop. I was pleasantly surprised to see him pick the pace up and stay true for the remainder of the laps. I kept encouraging him and he responded by digging a little deeper. That was one of the fastest runs we had together. After our workout, I downloaded my Polar and was in amazement – Josh maintained a 7:30 min/mile pace. He asked me what happened and how was that possible? I responded that he didn’t think about the distance and just ran for the moment. When it’s dark, you don’t focus on how far it is until the next turn, you just think about what’s in front of you. The same is true for me where my night runs are faster compared to during the day. Training plans are like that also which if you only think of the race 3 months away, then you think you can relax for a day or two. If you think of your daily and weekly goals, you tend to work harder each day to achieve your goal. Hence the need for a long term goal, but success is in the details of the daily goal.

I’m looking forward to an easy / recovery week before starting my 3 week training cycle again.


lindsay said...

i've definitely given in to "oh well what's the harm in taking an extra day off, the race isn't for another x weeks". very true about needing the short and long term goals to keep focused. i hope to work on that on my next attempt at marathon training. this one seems to have fallen apart on me and i'm just holding on for sunday/race day now.

i love that you have a 1/4mi loop in your yard! nice job to your son for a solid run and surprising himself.

DawnB said...

The elliptical is my favorite at the gym, great advice in regards to your explanation to your son. I so need to be in the moment Hopefully I will follow during Sunday's race.

Sounds like you are back on track and doing great.

Beth said...

Glad you are feeling strong and training well. I have a 14 year old son who ran cross country, so I totally get the bonding time while running or heading to the gym. Enjoy your easy week!

Honky Lips said...

Great post. I need to do some speed work one of these years.

Cool that you run with your son.

X-Country2 said...

What a great story about your son. Good for him! I can't wait to have kids and run together.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Your comment about running in the dark and just focusing on what is in front of you is so very true.