During this past week, I did something slightly controversial, but also had the best long run of my running career.
Still, Christmas week and the long run in the middle of the week, followed by a tempo run on the weekend threw me a bit out of the loop. But I suspect I’m not the only one.
Last week I definitely felt the effects of post-holiday blues, long-run recovery, and generally everything that made getting those runs in the first part of the week a miracle (a bit exaggerated, of course). I also opted for a pool-run versus landlubber flopping one day. The main motivation was to avoid exacerbating some knee twinges that I got from attempting knee exercises the day after a tempo run… my own fault.
I’m lucky to have a pool in my backyard, which means I can take advantage of this form of cross-training whenever I need to. Aqua jogging is the most boring thing EVER, but it gets the job done. The problem is, while I do much of the same movements as while running, and can get my heart rate pretty high, there’s no way to rack up mileage for the jogging. There are some equations (for example, a mile for every ten minutes of intermediate to strenuous jogging), but many runners say you should log the only the time and call it a day.
Coupled with that first problem, if I am aiming for a certain mileage during a given week, I really want to reach it. I also don’t take the days off that I should, necessarily. So, I post my log this week with the caveat that five of my recorded miles are aqua-jogging, and if you discount those, I have 37.6 miles for the week. But I’m, not discounting them.
I am choosing to count the water miles, because looking back at my log, I’ll want to be able to see the effort I put in (and even if there was no foot on road action, I did put in the effort of an interval session). Also, in checking, I’ll be able to see that I logged aqua miles this week, so I don’t feel as though I’m lying to myself about my training; it’s a tricky situation though! The good news though: the knee felt better already after one easier day, even if I was sore as heck! Water jogging uses different parts of the legs muscles.
The non-controversial exceptional run of the week was my long-run today (Saturday). I actually usually post my running logs on Sundays, but I’m so darn pleased with my run today, that I had to blog my update today, so that I could talk about it: 20.1 miles in 2:44: 24. 8:11 mpm pace overall.
I’ve learned a few things over the years, and one of the things I’ve learned is that in training for a marathon, getting in the distance is not enough. One has to train the body for the speed over that distance. Because I’m looking for a serious PR in February, I’m trying some things this training cycle (while being super cautious, because I don’t want to injure myself this time!). So, today, I went out for a tempo long run. I don’t know if that’s the right name (correct me if there’s actually a name for what I did!), but basically, I did a 4.5 mile warm-up, eleven miles at tempo, and a 4.5 mile cool-down (with some change). I knew it was going to be a good run when my warm-up miles all came in at 8:35-8:44. Topped with an optimal fueling plan (hydration at mile 5.5, 7, 9.5, 11, 13, 15 and 17; Gu fuel at mile 5.5, 11), the rest of the run was excellent. 7:40-7:50 mpm, maxing out at 7:35 mpm average on mile 12. I finally slowed down at mile 15 to a steady 8:40 average. The last two miles were hard, but doable.
I don’t even know if this is interesting to you, as a reader, but I’m noting all these things for myself too, because this is one of those training runs that I’ll look back at during the marathon taper, and try to reassure myself that an 8 mpm overall for the marathon may be possible! It’s too early to get my hopes up, and I know this run was the result of a lighter workout effort this week, but I’m ready to put in some hard training these next few weeks. I need to be careful (always careful), but I hope that if I play my cards right and am not afraid to take aqua jogging days or my rest days, I’m in for something good.
A great positive note to start the year off on. Hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot:
Monday, 12/28-easy 4.9
Tuesday, 12/29- the aforementioned 50 minutes of torture in the pool, aka aqua jogging
Wednesday, 12/30-easy 5.6 miles
Thursday, 12/31- easy 6.99 miles (seriously, had I known, I’d have gone for the extra .01); the first 3 miles with the bro.
Friday, 1/1- Happy New Year! rest from running day, but a lot of work getting all the Christmas decorations packed away and cleaning the house; nice evening walk with the family
Saturday, 1/2- the above gloated about long-run
Tomorrow, Sunday, I have a nice swim in the pool and/or a bike ride planned.
That’s all, for now. :o)