Oh, this week. Literally nothing happened in my life outside of running so we can skip right to the training stuff. This week I upped the intensity a little bit, with a tempo run hard hill repeats as my workouts for the week and my long run now up to 8 miles.
My “low” for the week was…I don’t know…most of it. My head was just not in it this week. I felt like I was on another planet and I just did not want to run or train or care about my fitness at all. Both of my workouts for the week – my tempo run and my hill repeats – were in that murky territory of “well, nothing went wrong so I can’t call this a bad run, but it didn’t exactly make my day.” I was tired, I didn’t want to be out running, and all I could think about each time was being done.
Which conveniently brings me to my next point:
I am ready to give up on early morning running. It’s just not working out for me. There are things I absolutely LOVE about morning running – namely, getting it over with for the day and not having to worry about squeezing a run in after work, which is SUCH a good feeling – but early morning exercising is not a good fit for me. I hate it. I’m way off the paces I need to hit, running doesn’t feel good, and I’m getting increasingly afraid that I’m not having effective workouts and thus sabotaging my training. I’m tired of waking up earlier than any human should have to wake up simply to go out and have a mediocre workout. Mad props to all my friends who can do their training this way, but I’m throwing in the towel as soon as the temperatures go down a few degrees. It’s just not for me. As much as it sucks to run after work sometimes, I think it is better for me. I need that jolt of energy and invigoration after a long day of sitting on my ass in front of a computer, and when I run in the evening I feel great, my muscles are looser and I typically run really well. When I got off schedule last week and had to run in the evening/late morning, my paces at the same effort level suddenly plummeted. I gotta do what I gotta do to avoid gnarly heat, but otherwise I need to stick with what works. There will always be downsides. The body wants what it wants.
As of now the temperature forecast is looking marginally better for next week, so I’m hoping to do my weekday workouts in the evening. Next week is also a cutback week which means I’ll do more easy running and softer workouts. That should make any late day heat a little more manageable.
My “high” for the week, somewhat surprisingly, was today’s 8-mile long run. While admittedly I haven’t really been enjoying my easy runs lately, it was actually nice to just relax and cruise along at an easy effort this time. It ended up being a fitting way to cap off a good weekend, and the weather was wonderful!
Once again my long run was the longest I’ve run since the marathon, and reaching the 8 mile mark brought me to one of the routes I used to frequent during marathon training. It was…oddly sentimental. The last time I ran this route was when I was cranking out long tempo runs during my Pittsburgh build-up, and I’m just now building back up to running that distance as a long run, let alone at a fast pace. I’ve been super anti-long distance lately, but I have to admit, being on these roads made me a little nostalgic for the days when I was regularly busting out 10 mile tempo runs on a Tuesday night like it was no big thing. It’s not enough to make me throw all my plans to the wind and rush to a computer to sign up for the nearest half marathon, but being on the other side of the coin now, I can really see how when you’re in the thick of marathon training it’s easy to forget that you’re doing some pretty badass things on a day-to-day basis. No, running 10 miles at your race pace on a random weeknight is not something everyone else does. It’s kind of intense, actually!
Another fun development from this week is that I am now registered for 3 out of my 4 races (registration hasn’t opened for the last one yet), which made all of this start to seem slightly more real. Here is my race schedule:
Sunday, October 30th – Pumpkin Run 10K (Lighthouse Events Winter Series Race #1)
Sunday, November 6 – Milwaukee Running Festival 5K
Sunday, November 20 – Elf Run 10K (Lighthouse Events Winter Series Race #2)
Sunday, December 4 – Badgerland Striders’ Indoor 10K (Pettit National Ice Center Track)
There was a slight snag in the plans, as the Pumpkin Run was originally scheduled for October 23 but they had to move it back a week. This will give me an extra week to train, but it also means that there is only one week in between my first and second races. This isn’t a huge deal for me – the MRF 5K was always going to be more of a workout/shot in the dark type race since that is not the distance I am specifically training for. But it may require an adjustment in strategy for one of both of those races.
I have my eye on race 4 being my peak race and using the other ones to build up to it. In addition to having the most time to train and prepare for this one, racing on an indoor track (perfect weather conditions, 100% flat and no course surprises) should enable me to crank out some hella fast miles. But hey, if a giant PR is meant to happen sooner in the season, I’ll take it. I’m taking each chance to race seriously because you just never know what’s going to happen over the course of a season!
In other news, I am also signed up for a 10K in a couple weeks. My hometown in Iowa hosts a half marathon/10K race as part of its annual New Bo Arts Festival every Labor Day weekend. My mom and I ran the New Bo 10K last year and I had such a fun time (despite oppressive heat and humidity) that I just had to come back for another round! Obviously I’m not in racing shape yet, so Laura and I have talked about using this as another time trial. I really want to see how I’ve progressed with a month of training now under my belt, and I’d love a shot at an age group award again this year. Normally I wouldn’t care, but the awards for this race are ceramics hand-crafted by local artists and they are sooooo cool! I won one last year when I came in 3rd in my age group:
As I said earlier, this coming week is a cutback week. Unlike marathon training where cutback week = less miles, my cutback week is about the same mileage but the running is easier. I have a progression run workout but everything else is easy running and strength training.