Monday: Swim—Masters swim class
Today, our workout had timed sets instead of distance sets. So basically, we’d do the exercise for the time listed and then do an easy 100 to recover.
4 x 50 @ 1:00 (distance per stroke)
4 x 50 @ 1:05 (closed fist)
3:00 whistle kicks
2:00 whistle kicks
1:00 whistle kicks
8:00 even paced
For the whistle kicks, we kicked up and down the pool, alternating between 75% and 95% effort based on the coach’s whistle. All I could think about during these drills while my legs were burning were the 1200 repeats I would be doing on the track the next day. After whistle kicks, we did two 8:00 swim sets. I really pushed in for the first one. I swam hard, stayed mentally strong, and focused on keeping my pace steady (though I actually had a small negative split!). I got exactly 500yds in the allotted 8:00, and I felt really good about it. I lost it a bit during the second 8:00 set. I knew I was supposed to build my pace, so I started off a bit slower—and then didn’t get much faster. I was tired and ready to be done, but I physically could have given more. I just wasn’t very strong mentally. I was frustrated with myself as I drove to work, but there’s nothing I can do about it except remember to tough it out better next time.
Tuesday: Run—800m, 4 x 1200, 800m
Both of the closest high schools won their football playoff games again, so I headed to Brighton High after work for my speed workout. It had been raining/snowing all day, so I was hoping to just bust out my four 1200s and then get home to a warm blanket. I pulled out the greatest motivation there is for a runner on days they don’t want to be running—the faster you run, the faster you get to leave. I got to the track and, sure enough, it was covered with an inch or two of snow. Wonderful. So I got started on my 1200s. Here are my times (my plan called for them to be run in 5:15):
I took 90 seconds rest in between each 1200, and I was struggling by the end of the third one. It was snowing pretty hard, with those big, wet flakes that get in your eyes and that make you cough when you inhale them. My hands were freezing, and my legs were getting heavier and heavier. But I remembered feeling like I had let myself down the day before while swimming, and I told myself I was not going to let myself get complacent again. The last 1200 was hard from the get-go, and it was only guts and mental tricks that got me through. But they were enough. I finished off the workout strong and headed home for a warm shower.
Wednesday: Bike—14.92 miles (55:33)
Fortunately, the weather cleared up beautifully on Wednesday for my bike ride. Cycling in wet, soppy weather is the absolute worst. However, cycling in cold, sunny weather is wonderful with the right gear. All morning, I was almost giddily excited about getting back on my bike again. I’m beginning to think that marathon training will reveal that cycling is my one true love after all. I rode the same path I rode last week. It was about 40° and sunny out—perfect for everything feeling crisp and cold but not overwhelmingly so. I rode a little farther than I did last week. I crossed a fun wooden bridge and, after a couple of turns, was greeted with a wall. This hill was short, but it must have been 10-12% grade at least, no exaggeration. About a quarter mile after the top of the hill, I ran into some construction on the path, so I turned around and headed back to work. It was a great ride, and I miss cycling.
Thursday: Run—5 miles (38:16)
I need to do something about my nerves. I spend the whole day prior to my Tuesday and Thursday workouts (speed and tempo) vaguely nervous and unsettled. Hopefully I get used to these “key” workouts and stop dreading them so much. It’s not even that I mind doing the workouts. I’m pretty sure the nerves are just flashback nerves because of running track for all those years. Anyway, I knew this out-and-back course was (mostly) slightly downhill on the way out and (mostly) slightly uphill on the way back. Because I don’t have a Garmin, I have to map all my routes out beforehand which means I always know the elevation for each training run I do. Knowledge is power, I suppose! With this in mind, I started out a little faster than my planned pace of 8:00/mile. I kept up the pace for almost the entire first half, just dropping it for a short time before I turned around. But on the way back, I was able to pick it up again. When I reached the long, slightly uphill stretch, I focused on keeping up my turnover. It was hard, but just comfortably hard. I never felt like I was straining. With about half a mile left, I turned up the pace and finished hard. I was very pleased with my 7:39/mile pace. It wasn’t that long ago that I felt proud about a 7:45/mile pace run with company at a lower elevation on a much flatter route. Turns out, focusing on running has caused some great improvements in my running. Who knew.
I spent my rest day driving up to Idaho and playing with my little nieces and nephews. I needed this rest day to recover for my long run.
Saturday: Run—13 miles (1:42:22)
Again, lower elevation does wonders. I know “raced” this long run more than I should have. It was a hard run, and I felt completely spent afterwards. But it was a great opportunity for a confidence-boosting run. I’m going to write up a recap of the weekend during which I’ll discuss the run a little bit more. Here, I’ll note that while the lower elevation unquestionably helps me run faster, it does not make my leg muscles any more used to running 13 miles at a 7:52/mile pace. So I was stiff and sore that entire day and the next day. However, I was expecting some knee pain because I had some at the end of my 10 mile run last week, and I didn’t have any pain at all. I’m guessing that’s because this route didn’t have any really jarring downhill sections like my route in Salt Lake City does.
Sunday: Bike—30 minutes
This was a recovery ride before I drove back to Utah. It helped me get my legs moving and start working through some of that soreness and stiffness. It was a windy ride, so going out was no fun, but coming back was a lot of fun. Plus, I got some bonus flat-changing training when I got a flat in my rear tire. It was annoying, but I always try to think of flat tires as a chance to practice a skill I’m not very good at instead of a frustrating, bad experience. And generally, when I remind myself to take that mindset, I don’t mind changing flats very much.