Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week of 11-26-12: 71 miles, 1500' gain (Phoenix Marathon Training Week 1 of 14)

Monday: 8 miles, :54, treadmill.  I was going to run on a flat road, but it was quite cold out by the time I was able to run, so I just did it on a treadmill at the campus gym instead.

Tuesday: 16 miles, 1:42, track.  This is probably the most simultaneous miles I've ever done on a track (I can't think of any other workout more than 15 miles).  The goal was actually 20 (2 warmup, 16 workout, 2 cooldown), but I cut out the last 2 miles of "workout" as well as the 2 miles of cooldown, given that I absolutely and totally blew up.  The run was supposed to be 2 miles warmup at 7:00 pace, 8 miles marathon pace, 1 mile threshold pace, 6 miles marathon pace, 1 mile threshold pace, 2 mile cooldown, any pace.  However, I miscalculated my marathon pace at 5000' and wound up going about 12 seconds per mile too fast.  This, coupled with lack of fitness, led to a spectacular blowup, so I cut it slightly short when I literally felt like I was going to pass out from running myself into the ground so hard.  My goal pace in March is roughly 6:13s, as based on my current 5k fitness (calling myself 17 flat shape right now, as my 2 recent times of 17:30 and 17:29 were on quite hilly courses with about 150' of climb at 5000', ie about 31 seconds slow each).  In any case, 6:13 for marathon would be about 6:32 here at altitude, but I stupidly used a treadmill conversion that I'm used to doing instead (10-15 seconds faster than flat here) and chose 6:20 as pace.  This was too fast.  The first 2 miles of warmup were fine, if not a hair fast (6:55 ish a piece), the first 8 miles of marathon pace were OK (6:20, 6:21, 6:15, 6:20, 6:19, 6:19, 6:20, 6:20) and then the 1 mile of tempo was 6:01 (would've been better with 6:05 to 6:10).  These first 9 were really honestly OK, even if the 9th mile felt forced.  Up until then, however, everything felt controlled.  After that 9th workout mile, though, I had a hard time settling back into marathon pace.  Mile 10 was a 6:24, and I figured it was just a result of having intentionally slowed after the tempo mile, but mile 11 was also a 6:24.  4 seconds per mile isn't major, but I was trying to run 6:20s, so it was worrisome.  Mile 12 slipped to a 6:25 and mile 13 slipped to a 6:29.  At this point, I was hitting the wall badly and I felt like I was going way too hard.  I was running the workout at 4:00 PM and hadn't eaten since 11:30 except for a small 200 calorie snack, so I was running out of gas, getting dizzy, and developing a headache.  I had brought a powerade to the track, but some young kid there with his parent had picked it up and thrown it way into the infield, so I couldn't realistically get to it without stalling the workout and I figured it was too late to salvage the last few miles anyway.  So, I just decided to opt for a grueling last threshold mile as mile 14 of the workout mileage (not counting the first 2 of warmup).  Sadly, at this point, running what felt like threshold netted me exactly 6:20, the pace I was mistakenly aiming at for marathon pace at 5000'.  I finished the run, literally nearly fell over from exhaustion and tied up legs, swigged the entire powerade, and went home.  I will never make this pacing mistake again, as that was truly mindbogglingly awful.  I think if I was in race-shape, I could've handled it, but just starting the training cycle, it was way too much to screw up my pace by 12 seconds per mile.  I realize this description is absurdly long, but I hope it will be helpful to me in the future.

Wednesday: Off.  Pretty beat up from the day before and didn't get home until 8pm.

Thursday: 12 miles, 1:22, 500' gain, out and back to and on Orchard Drive/whatever it's called north of Bountiful (400E I think?).  This seems likely to become a standard route during the winter.  My right hip was actually still slightly tweaked from Sunday's run (big climbing still seems to irritate it every so slightly, so I will mostly avoid this in the future) and I was generally a little sore from Tuesday still, but not bad.   Went out in :42 and back in :40, but effort felt pretty consistent and quite easy for sub-7 pace on a slightly hilly course.

Friday: 13 miles, 1:26, flat, treadmill.  Ran at campus gym because it was rainy and unbelievably windy  outside (I've become quite lazy with regards to annoying weather).  First 6 at a hair over 7:00 pace, last 7 averaging about 6:15s (roughly goal marathon pace), although just to have some fun I made the pace quite variable  I through in a few 5:00 pace surges, slowed it down to 6:40s a couple times, just generally had fun with it while averaging 6:15s.  Oh, and hip wasn't bugging me at all.  I'm not really sure why, but it really does only seem to get irritated by steep climbs.  Oh well, running 15:00 pace up steep mountains probably isn't the best way to train for a low-6:00 pace road marathon anyway. :)

Saturday: 17 miles,  2:01, 1000' gain.  My place up to Orchard, all the way to the end of 400 E, left from there, a little less than 2 miles of a loop in North Centerville, eventually onto Main Street, a little detour to stop at a grocery store to buy a candy bar (I had a dollar in my glove pocket and I was starving), back on Main until it runs right next to 89 in South Bountiful, and back on that.  Last few miles were spectacularly unpleasant, but given that my Thursday run was very late in the day, I did 41 miles in under 48 hours.  Given that my endurance is currently not where it was in early summer, I guess it could be expected that this would make me a bit sore.  Overall, these are the kind of runs that make the big improvements in fitness, so while it wasn't super fun, I'm glad I got it in.

Sunday: 5 miles, :40, flat.  Nice and easy loop around North Salt Lake with Holly after getting in some runs at Snowbird for the first time for the year earlier in the day.  Winds were absolutely insane, which was pretty annoying.  Legs felt surprisingly good, but my energy levels felt a little off (usually happens after spending time doing anything physical at 10k' for the first time in awhile, ie skiing).  Also of note is that my legs felt surprisingly strong for my first day of skiing for the year.  Usually they absolutely suck the first couple times out, but I really built up some strength this year, so I was capable of skiing pretty hard right from the start.

Totals: 71 miles, 1500' gain.  A good opening week to my marathon training.  This is about the lowest mileage week that I would have, ideally, over the next 3 months or so, but anything over 70 seems pretty solid.  In hindsight, it would have been helpful to not have dropped my mileage so low over my 3 rest weeks, but at least my legs were very well rested coming into this week.

Music is Ravel's Scarbo from Gaspard de La Nuit.  Beyond being very unique and well-written, this piece is one of the most fiendishly difficult compositions ever written for the piano.  It took me a very long time just to play the first movement (Ondine) semi-reasonably well 5 or so years ago when I was still semi-seriously playing, but this movement is considerably harder.  I'm going to be seeing a Debussy and Ravel concert this upcoming weekend which I am excited for.

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