Monday: Masters swim (2750yd)
It was another hard workout today. The group in my lane was a little different than usual, and I think they were a little faster. That meant I was really pushing myself. The last few 50s, I was desperately pulling and kicking as hard as I could and was barely keeping up with the pace. I was just exhausted. And that’s good—I did (barely) hit all the intervals, but I feel like I pushed myself to the point of failure during this workout:
8 x 50 (closed fist)
6 x 100 @ 1:45
6 x 75 @ 1:15
6 x 50 @ :50
50 (cool down)
I also got some good advice on my stroke. Kick more from the hips (and increase my hip rotation to help with that) and put my hands in the water more to the side to keep them from crossing over when I rotate my shoulders. Plus, the coach said my stroke looked really good overall which was both surprising and encouraging. I honestly think I’ve become a better swimmer even after just a couple months of masters once a week. It’s magic.
Tuesday: Run—800m, 8 x 400, 800m
I wasn’t sure how I would feel for my first official workout in my marathon training. Long gone are the days where a swim workout is a recovery day for my legs, so I wasn’t fully rested up. I also needed somewhere to do this workout. It’s the very tail end of high school football season here in Utah, and I needed to find a high school that was out of the playoffs so I could run there after work and not be interrupting. My first two choices won their playoff game last weekend (boo!), but Brighton High School (which is both somewhat nearby and is Rob’s old high school) lost, so I headed there after work. I had some trouble with my pace the first couple and ran them way too fast. It was a bit windy which threw me off. However, I got that under control and was very consistent with the rest of my reps, even if they were about five seconds faster than they should have been. I’m not sure if I should welcome running faster than I need to or hold back and stick to my training plan. Here are my times for each 400:
1:27.77, 1:30.73, 1:34.88, 1:36.42, 1:35.77, 1:35.36, 1:35.72, 1:33.04
This workout was harder for me than my paces show. I felt like I was really pushing it the last 150 of most of my reps (probably in large part because I turned into a headwind on the homestretch). Each rep was tough, and I was barely catching my breath before starting out again. However, I kept nailing my paces, even when I subconsciously adjusted my pace down to match my performance on the first several 400s. Basically, I didn’t feel like I felt good, but I was running like I felt good. Weird.
Usually, I take my rest day a little closer to the weekend, but it worked out to put my rest day in the middle of the week. I was glad to have a rest day after my speed workout the day before, and I was feeling pretty tired after a hard few days. I was pleasantly surprised, though, that I had very little soreness. My previous two track workouts resulted in massively sore quads and calves, so this was an improvement. And it made me very glad I took the time to add some speed work into my routine before my plan officially required it.
Thursday: Run—3 miles (22:35)
First tempo run in the books! Actually, tempo runs are the workouts that I’ve been most worried about. I’ve been doing 7-9 mile long runs most weekends for the past couple of months and haven’t had any trouble hitting the marathon training paces. And I had a few good speed workouts over the past few weeks. But I haven’t been doing much middle distance fast-ish running. So around lunch time, I changed into my running clothes and headed outside. (Side note—today was the first day I wore my long sleeve top and capri pants, and I almost didn’t think to pack them… I saw a few snowflakes dancing around right as I was starting my run, so I’m glad I brought them!) After a little warmup, I headed off on my run. I started off too fast, but I checked my pace pretty quickly and slowed down. My pace varied some, but it was mostly in relation to the grade and wind direction. It was a pretty tough run. My legs felt a little heavy, and I started getting a side cramp about a mile in. I managed the cramp well enough that it didn’t ever get to the “hot, dull knife stabbing into my ribcage repeatedly” stage. And I just focused on my turnover and breathing. It was a short run, so I didn’t have to feel great. I was able to tough it out. Again, I was faster than my goal pace, and again, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or if I should be holding back. I finished the three mile run in a 7:31/mile pace when my plan called for a 7:45/mile pace. I finished up with a short cooldown jog and five flights of stairs to make it back to my office. The stairs were a mistake.
Friday: Swim—Masters swim team (2100yds)
I convinced a friend of mine (OMG I MADE A FRIEND!) to go to Masters with me. Like me, she’s a triathlete without much prior swim experience. We had the option of doing a workout or practicing starts. Starts would have been fun, but since I don’t plan on racing anytime soon, I did the workout instead. It was essentially a ladder set that we did twice with a hard, negative-split 200 in the middle of each set. It was tough, but not as hard as other workouts have been. I think that’s because this workout included more rest time than usual. I have a pretty quick recovery rate, especially for harder, shorter distances, so having 20-40 seconds to catch my breath after a hard 200 leaves me in a better place than nearly constant 50s. Oh, and I focused on some of the form tips I got on Monday. I’m feeling very positive about swimming right now, and it’s exciting.
Saturday: Run—10 miles (1:22:38)
I woke up pretty early and headed to Rob’s house. I fueled before my run with one bottle of water, a breakfast burrito (courtesy of Rob), a small bowl of Rice Krispies, and some sort of dessert bar at the coffee shop across the street where I mapped out my route (Rob’s Internet wasn’t working). It was cold when I started on my run (about 36°), but it was sunny, so I just wore a cotton t-shirt and some running capris. I got a little warm partway through the run, but if I had worn less I would have been too cold at the beginning. My route is not flat. There were very few points throughout my run where there wasn’t a noticeable incline, either up or down. Up until a few months ago, I spent most of my time avoiding hilly runs whenever possible, so I’m still acclimating to running hills. I felt strong until I hit the circle around the park which has a couple of short, but steep, pairs of inclines and declines. That little loop always gets me. After that, I started to drag. I was still able to hold my pace pretty well, but I wasn’t enjoying the scenery anymore. I was counting down the streets until it was over. Mile 8 was the roughest. I was still going uphill but was tired, being near the end of my run. Once I hit the final decline, I knew I was almost there and didn’t have trouble pushing through because, well, it’s hard not to push through on a moderately steep downhill. I finished with an 8:15/mile pace overall, which actually probably is too fast. But I know my dad will be running at least that fast when I visit my parents next weekend, and I wanted to be prepared.
Sunday: Bike—15.76 miles (1:05:26)
It was cold when I left for my ride. It was only 36° and the sun wasn’t up in full force yet. So I decked myself out in cold-weather cycling gear—long tights, knee warmers, toe caps, headband, big gloves, and my Gabba jersey. I was surprised how much my legs were feeling my run from the day before, but it was a nice ride regardless. The fall scenery is beautiful here in Utah right now. It had been over a week since I had been on my bike, and I was happy to be reunited with it. My toes were a little cold, but other than that, I was dressed perfectly for the weather. We’ll see how things are when it gets even colder…
I don’t usually include any sort of overall reflections for a week of training, but because this was my first week of marathon training, I think it’s appropriate. My runs this week were all faster than the paces I laid out in my plan. I’m not quite sure what to make of that. I’ve read enough about training for marathons that I know faster isn’t always better. I know that “racing” every run can lead to injuries, and I know that recovery is important. However, I also know that with this particular training plan, almost all of my runs should be hard. The cross-training is where rest comes in. I didn’t give 100% in my runs this week. I was tired at the end of each of them and was glad to be done, but I didn’t feel the need to collapse on the ground after any of them. It’s been a long time since I’ve run based on pace and not just based on effort, so I’m a little unfamiliar with how to do it. And it doesn’t help that I really don’t have any solid times to base my “marathon” goal on. I really don’t know where my current abilities are, and I don’t know how fast they’ll improve. I think I could improve quickly because I have a lot of experience as a runner and I’m just now taking it seriously again for the first time in years. However, I could also not improve all that quickly because my running base may mean I have less room to improve before reaching my peak. This makes me glad that this first marathon will be literally a training run. I’ll have a much better idea as to what I can accomplish if I decide to race an open marathon sometime in the future.