Monday: Swim—30 minutes; Bike—30 minutes; 6-minute abs
I went to the gym for an easy swim and some time on the stationary bike. This was the first longer, easy swim I had done since I started Masters swim team, and I enjoyed it. The time went by quickly, and I felt strong through the entire swim. I’m not sure how fast I was swimming, but I swam the last 200 yards in about 3:30, and although I may have sped up some when I realized I was nearly done, I tried not to, so I suspect my overall pace was just a little slower than that. I periodically did “form checks” where I took note of how I was maintaining my form, and I think my form remained relatively good throughout. Then I hopped on the stationary bike for thirty minutes. It was hell. I find it kind of funny that I can go on four hour long bike rides and not get bored but that I can’t stand fifteen minutes on a stationary bike without wanting to chew off my own foot. This was the first time I’ve done any sort of brick workout in forever, and it was nice to practice two disciplines in a single day again. I also did some core work afterwards. When I’m trying to get three core routines in every week, it helps to start on Monday.
Tuesday: Run—800m, 3 x 1600, 800m
I spent all day Monday dreading this workout. No joke. I credit the speed work in my plan for helping me get fast, but I’m really starting to hate these days. I’m typically just wrecked after I finish them. I woke up around 7:00am, ate some breakfast, drank some water, and prepared myself mentally. Around 9:30am, I left in search of a track. The first high school was a bust (locked!), but a parent there suggested a nearby junior high without a fence around the track, which is where I ended up doing the workout. Based on my previous paces, I was supposed to run these in 6:50. However, I struggle with the longer intervals in this program, so I was hoping to hit 6:55, with two minutes rest between each repeat. Needless to say, I was thrilled with my actual times:
6:48.1, 6:43.4, 6:33.3
Clearly, I had forgotten to take into account the lower elevation in Idaho. My pace during the first mile felt easy and sustainable, so I pushed the second mile a little bit more. And I still felt strong. I was never gasping for air, and I felt nearly fully recovered after the two minutes. I started my final 1600 about the same pace as the first two, but after two laps, I stepped on the gas a bit. I pushed the second 800 hard and ran the final 400 in around 1:33. This was a very encouraging workout, even if I did benefit from the lower elevation. I struggled with my speed workout last week, so I thought this week would be a killer. Instead, it was a breeze. Just another reminder that you can’t really predict your performance on any given day.
Wednesday: Run—13 miles (1:44:58); 6-minute abs
Because the temperature was supposed to drop pretty significantly, my dad and I decided to do our long run on Wednesday. My dad, my sister, and I all needed to run, but we needed to run different distances. And so a plan was hatched. We’d all do a 5-mile loop together. Then my sister would drop off and my dad and I would run the loop again. Then he’d drop off, and I’d run three more miles. We started running at 9:00am, and while the day showed every sign of turning into a gorgeous one, it was still too early for that, and it was a bit cloudy and quite cold (around 30°). It had rained/snowed the previous night, so it was super slick for most of the five mile loop. My older sister took a little fall, and my dad and I had a couple of close calls. Needless to say, the ice limited our pace and also wore us out because we were using all sorts of stabilization muscles we didn’t typically use. We ran the first five miles in just about 41 minutes and dropped off my sister. The second five mile loop went a little faster because some of the ice was melting. But I was feeling it. The ice and my hard speed workout the day before were weighing my legs down. The second loop was a little faster—about 40:20. Then I dropped my dad off and headed off for the last three miles. By this time, the sun had come out and it was a beautiful morning. The section of the route I ran for the last three miles was not as slick as other areas, so I picked up the pace a bit and finished the route in just under 1:45 with a pace of 8:04/mile. I also did core work right before heading to bed.
Thursday: Swim—2500 yds
I woke up in the morning just so happy I wasn’t running that day. I went to the pool pretty early with a workout I made up about 15 minutes before leaving:
4 x 50 (distance per stroke)
4 x 50 (closed fist)
3 x 200 @ 3:20
4 x 100 @ 1:40
5 x 50 @ :50
6 x 25 with 5 seconds rest
I took a longer break between each different distance. I hit the paces well throughout the workout, but it was a tough one. The first of each of the different distances felt totally manageable and the last felt very hard. I was quite impressed with my ability to put together a tough workout. I will admit that I probably didn’t work quite as hard as I would have in a masters practice, but I swam much harder than I used to before joining Masters. If you are a triathlete and have the opportunity, and you haven’t done it yet, join a masters team. Seriously, I kept reading that bit of advice over and over again, and now that I have finally done it, I understand why everyone was recommending it.
It was Christmas, so I took it as a rest day. I ate tasty food, opened presents, and played with my little nieces and nephews. I was going to do some core work, but after the four little monsters children left, all I could fathom doing was sitting comatose on the couch.
Saturday: Run—10 miles (1:18:41)
My longest tempo run for the whole marathon cycle was scheduled for this week. It was only supposed to be run at an 8:00/mile pace, but I wasn’t looking forward to running that distance in 12°, which was the temperature when my dad and I took off. This time, the plan was to run the five mile loop twice—once with my dad and once with my older sister. For whatever reason, this run was a struggle. I went out a bit too fast, and my dad and I kept up a sub-8:00 pace for the first loop and finished it in about 39 minutes. Then I dropped him off and picked Danielle up. She let me set the pace because I was running further than she was, so I took the first (well, sixth) mile pretty comfortably and passed the mile marker in 8:15. So I knew I’d have to push the rest of the run a bit because this run was not coming easily. So we picked up the pace and hit the next miles within a few seconds of an eight-minute pace, either way. While it wasn’t nearly as slippery as on Wednesday, there were a few slick or snowy parts that forced us to slow down a bit. During the last mile or so, Danielle starting feeling it too (though she was still feeling better than I was!), so we struggled together for that part of the run. We did pick it up the last mile, though, and I finished with a pace of 7:52/mile. It was fun to run with Danielle again. Before this week, the last time we had run together was a couple of kids ago when she was pregnant with her second. She just had her fourth kid two and half months ago and was already out there running five miles in the freezing cold and snow in a sub-8:00 pace. She’s very impressive!
Sunday: REST; 6-minute abs
I was planning on taking a rest day on Sunday, and I was glad because I woke up with a nasty sore throat and some congestion. I can’t say I’m happy about picking up a cold, but I can’t say I’m surprised either. I decided to try to take the day easy, but I did do some core work to make sure I hit three days of core this week. My abs felt competent while doing the exercises, so I’m going to (finally) bump the time up to seven minutes next week.