It's typical for me to start getting less excited about hard runs during the last few weeks before a race. I don't typically write or talk about this issue, because I feel like the more I talk about it, the more it becomes reality, and so I like to use little tricks instead to move along.
I train hard, and my life, although very good, is rather complex as I work FT and parent FT. As my body gets fitter, I get more tired. It is a mostly happy tradeoff, one that I embrace and consider a normal part of training. Since I want to keep my running grounded, and not give it too much focus - because lets face it, family, work, friends will always take precedence to running for me - I don't make "sacrifices" like giving up on life stuff for more sleep, and so my body gets perhaps a bit more tired than it would on say 10 hours/night, no outside home work, you get the idea! To each her own, and this is what I do!
I am at "that" point in training right now. For today, my plan (on paper) was to run 15 miles, with 5 @ 7, and then the Fresh Pond 5 miler at a pace faster than last week's (6:39), then run easy back home. This morning I found myself dilly dallying and knew that I needed to mentally trick myself into getting out the door. So, I told myself that I have to go run the first 5 miles faster than last week (7:23), and that I can do only one loop (2.5) of the race if I wanted to. This lowered pressure got me out the door and once I started running, my mind immediately went into "well, lets see how 7 feels", except that in order to assure a 7 pace I had to go a bit faster because what if I get tired and have to slow down. The results was 5 miles @ 6:45 pace. There were 2 stops at lights, but they did not bother me. I felt OK, not super, but OK.
Once I got to Fresh Pond I had to wait about 5 minutes before the race started. My plan was to start easy, and stop after one loop if I wanted (because I had already done 5 hard miles). Lots of people showed up today and the path was cleared. We started and I felt the headwind, so decided to tuck behind the second pack from the front. They were moving @ 6:35 and although I felt that might be a bit too fast, I decided to keep it there with them. I hung out for 1 mile, but then they slowed down and I moved up, trying to catch one guy in front of me so I could draft him. The first pack was long gone, and I thought those were all the 2.5 mile racers. I caught and passed the guy on the hill at mile 2, and I was on my own thereafter. I felt pretty good so went for the second lap, telling myself that I could slow down if I needed to. At mile 3.5 I saw a blue jacket in front of me, a woman. I started focusing on her and almost caught her, making my last mile with a big hill a 6:26. So 6:32 pace for 4.95 miles. Interestingly, my HR for last mile got into the 190s, which is something I rarely see outside of a 5K, but this HR did not seem that uncomfortable to me, showing that my LT has been improving, and I have the ability to reach and hold a higher HR for a longer amount of time. This is good. I was super happy to have more people at the race, and have a woman who was faster than me who I could use as a rabbit.
After the race I changed my plan again, and decided that I would do a few 800ms back home. I ended up doing 6 of them for an average of 6:42 for 3 miles. Now, I have no delusions here and I know those 6x800 are not equivalent to 3 continuous miles, and the 10-30 secs rest intervals in between helped a ton. I made this decision to rest primarily because of where I am in training right now. While my body is strong and I do not have any niggles, I am tired, my immunity is surely lowered, and I wanted to protect my body from surges in cortisol, while assuring that my legs would get stronger and prepared to run 13.1 hard miles in 3 weeks.
So this is the story of how Ana-Maria went from not really wanted to run hard today, to having a run that evolved from meh to great to super (for ME). This was a run done after many weeks of 65-70 miles, a 31 day streak averaging 10+ miles/day, a last week that included intervals (4x1 mile @ 5:55-6:04), tempo (3x10 min @ 6:15-6:20), and a moderate progression (7:23) along with 5 other 30 minute runs. I am hoping that with a nice taper, these legs and this mind will be able to run a strong winter race! We shall see:)
Building a clock
8 months ago