Monday, January 7, 2013

Spring Training: Week 1

I had so much documenting my training for the Columbus Marathon in weekly recap posts that I thought I'd do the same for my spring half marathons. The Spring Training posts will discuss my training for the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon on March 30 and my "A" race, the Wisconsin Marathon half, on May 4.

This week, in training:

Monday - 5 miles, hill repeats (6x: 2 minutes at 4%, 2 minutes at 6%, 2 minutes @ 4% with 4 minutes recovery)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4 miles, intervals (6 x 400 repeats) + RAW class
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: RAW
Saturday: Bodypump
Sunday: 7.68-mile run (outside!!!!!)

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People say that it's the taper period of any big training cycle that will make you crazy. Doubt yourself. Wonder whether you are even a runner. And while I went through my own manic period before Columbus, nothing has compared to this week.

This week being my first spent almost entirely on the treadmill, in the basement, at 5 a.m.

The weather here has been less than desirable, and a winter storm last weekend covered our street in a sheet of ice that refused to melt or become safely passable by car much less feet. While a previous version of myself might have toughed it out, the idea of traversing the precarious conditions at 5 a.m. in temperatures in the teens didn't sit well with me ... more Mark. So I resigned myself that it would be far safer to stick to the treadmill.

I will whine far and wide about my disdain for the treadmill, with my No. 1 complaint being that my pace suffers incredibly when inside. A 9:30 pace feels easy on the roads but I have to keep the treadmill at 5.5 to feel comfortable and 6.0 (10-minute pace) feels like a tempo effort.

Regardless, I toughed it out in the name of miles. I ran hills as the Lexington course is of the rolling variety, not minding much as it's hard to find good inclines suitable for repeats near my house. I did 400 repeats, feeling good that I was able to "crank it up" to 7.0 at the end.

But come Thursday, when I hit the treadmill after dinner for an easy-ish run, I freaked. It just felt hard, and I hated that my 2013 training log didn't seem to be reflecting my fitness level. I messaged a running mentor, crazed that my now slower pace would somehow become the norm and once I got back outdoors, I'd slip to 10:XX instead of speeding up to 8:XX. Oh so wisely, she explained the mechanics of running on the treadmill versus running outside and advised that as long as you don't rely only on the treadmill, you are fine.

Her assurance did little to assuage my fears, and I was a bit nervous going into my first long run of the cycle. The weather had warmed enough on Saturday that much of the ice had melted and what was left was more slushy, making it safe to head outdoors. Still, what if I couldn't do it?

I took it slow as I headed toward the park as I was sure it was plowed. I focused on form, breathing (tried nose breathing as Scott Jurek suggests in "Eat to Live") and footing. I told myself to not look at the MOTOACTV as pace didn't matter. It's all about time on the feet, covering the distance and feeling good.

And feel good, I did. I was surprised that once I got acclimated to the cool air, just how fantastic it felt. It was nice to look at ice-covered branches instead of peeling paint and see the sun rather than a dim light bulb illuminating my path. There was a god number of runners out, all courteous and smiling as they passed.

I had seven miles on the plan but had that rare, "wish you could bottle it" feeling that I could just keep going and going and going. I ran a bit farther but kept my bonus mileage to three-quarters. Denali was getting lethargic, and I didn't want to worry Mark with a delayed return. Nor did I want to risk injury by increasing my mileage too quickly, too soon.

I came inside, stretched and synced the MOTOACTV. Lo and behold, the average pace was 9:27 with the fourth mile at 8:59. So much for being "slow."


  1. That is a fantastic time! I can't remember, what training plan are you following?

    1. I'm following a big mish-mash of stuff - TLAM for long run schedule, sort of, and integrating speed workouts from Hal Higdon's Intermediate plan plus my own hill ones. We'll see how this goes ...

  2. Excellent time on your run! I should start documenting my spring 1/2 training, but it technically doesn't start until next week. Or later. My half isn't until Memorial Weekend.

  3. Yay! That is awesome! All that time on the treadmill would leave me doubting too. So happy you had a "just keep running" run and at the pace you wanted!

  4. Treadmills play mind games. I hate running on our home treadmill because I struggle to keep up what they are telling me is a 10 min/mile pace. On the gym treadmills or outside, that never happens.

    You're speedy and remember, this is just the beginning of training. Remember what a difference you saw between when you started marathon training and when you finished? :-)

  5. nice job on your 1st week of spring training! I always am so much faster on the treadmill than I am outside. For some reason I can kill it on the treadmill but outside, I look down at the Garmin and realize my mile times are horrible. So annoying.