Friday, November 2, 2012

Hitting my training peak

This week is one of the toughest on my training schedule. In addition to a planned 70 total miles, I've got two of my hardest workouts on the calendar as well. For Thursday, the plan was to run the infamous gradually declining tempo runs, the full workout, at a 6:45 pace. Here's how I described this workout last year:

A set of tempo runs that gradually declined in length. I would start with a 22.5 minute tempo run, take a break, then do 18, 13.5, 9, and 4.5-minute runs. The breaks would also gradually decrease in length: 5, 4, 3, and 2 minutes. 
Tempo runs are done at a fast enough pace to get you to VO2 max fairly quickly -- 7-minute miles in my case. By taking breaks between each tempo, you can increase the amount of time you spend at VO2 max and therefore increase your fitness.
The difference this year: I've upped the pace to 6:45, and instead of the flat greenways of Fairfax, VA, I'd be running it in hilly Davidson. I've tried a shorter version of this workout a couple times this year and never quite made my goals. How did I do this time?

Here are the numbers:

Leg 1: 21:45 total time, 6:47 pace, 145 feet of climbing
Leg 2: 18:41, 6:45, 39
Leg 3: 13:44, 7:03, 174
Leg 4: 8:59, 6:31, 23
Leg 5: 4:32, 6:40, 16

Overall my pace for the intervals was 6:47, with 397 feet of climbing. That's more than the total climb for the Rocket City Marathon, but in a space of 10 miles. Suffice it to say that this course is much tougher than Rocket City will be. My slow leg, Leg 3, involved almost 200 feet of climbing in 2 miles.

Note that I still didn't get my timing perfect -- Leg 1 was a little short and Leg 2 was long. It's tough to figure out exactly how long to run using the Garmin because the timer resets after every mile. But overall I consider the workout to be a big success.

The next test will be on Sunday when I have to do a Marathon Pace workout: 8 miles warm-up, 40 minutes at Marathon Pace (M -- 7:15 miles), then 5 at Tempo Pace (T), then 20M, 5T, 5M, and a 2-mile cool down. That's a total of nearly 20 miles, with 10 of them at marathon pace or better. If I can pull that off, then I think I'm close to being ready for my big PR effort at Rocket City, which is now just over 5 weeks away.

In two weeks I'll be doing my last "long run" -- an easy effort at Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon, where I'll be pacing my friend Dustin in his first marathon.

So Sunday will be a huge test -- I'll try to make time to check in after that run, too.

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