Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The fast stuff takes its toll

I'm sitting here trying to remember if I was feeling this bad after the first week of my Lydiard hill phase. Running fast feels much harder than running up hills, or at least it does today. Looking at the comments on my blog after my 10K time trial, and reading Nobby's email had me feeling like I ran my first Lydiard anaerobic/track week too fast. Any doubts I had vanished after today's long run.

I was due for a bad day, and in hindsight I really set myself up for it. I originally planned to make today's long run a marathon pace run for the second half, in leiu of the longer time trial this week. Somehow this seemed sensible to me, even though it was planned for just two days after my previous 10K time trail that I ran pretty close to all out. For the first half of today's run I was planning on running 7:15 pace or slower, saving myself for a 6:00-6:05 pace for the way back. However, about 8 miles into the run I started to realize that attempting this workout, this close to the last long time trial and during a long run was probably not a good idea. So I started planning in my head how I could keep this run easy and still fit in two more 16 milers, one day of intervals, two time trials, and a day of strides into the rest of my week (my training weeks end on Sunday). I might have mentioned before, but this week includes three 12+ hour days at work, so I'm really struggling to fit life in, much less training.

With some creative math, I realized that in order to keep an easy/hard rhythm during these four weeks, and get a decent amount of recovery, the answer was simple. Each week needs to be 8 days long. This wasn't the answer I was looking for, but I did get a chuckle out of it. I decided instead to be a little less rigid about where I place my harder days, which in my mind gave me license to take it easy and try to enjoy this long run without gunning for marathon pace or even the usual 6:40-6:50 pace I have been running. As I hit the half-way point and turned around, I skipped my first gel, thinking that at this more relaxed effort I wouldn't miss it. By the time I hit 17 miles I did eat one gel and had a drink, and noticed that I was starting to feel kind of sloppy. My strides were starting to get shorter and a little choppy, and my legs were feeling a little tight and a little sore (I'm sure from Saturday's 10K effort). I struggled home, no longer really enjoying the run, which was my plan after putting off the marathon pace work, and I finished with a still-respectable 7:07 pace.

So now I face a dilemma, as I really stank up this run. I didn't run easy enough (or I wasn't recovered enough) to be real fresh for a marathon pace workout tomorrow, and I couldn't run hard enough to get the workout done today. I'm left with a fair amount of work to do this week, and I guess I'll just hope to feel better tomorrow.

When I emailed Nobby Hashizume about what kind of effort Lydiard is asking for during the time-trials, his response was "All the time trials should be 'challenging, but controlled'. Remember, it's ALWAYS better to underdo anaerobic training than overdo it." Wise words indeed. I think I dug myself into a little hole, but I'll try to keep Nobby's words in mind as I slowly dig myself out of it.

Training: 22 miles, 2:36:27, 7:07 pace


tb1 said...

Hi Mike,
Please take the following comments with a grain of salt. I'm just a recreational runner that enjoys the euphoria that running brings. Remember that in any endeavor (e.g., business, athletics, investing) all of the action is at the margins. With that being said it sounds to me like you are where you want to be (at the margin). With the little I know about Lydiard and your training history, the one thing that Lydiard stressed that sticks in my mind is that his methods are "guidelines" and the actual miles and intensity must be gauged by the athlete according to ability and age. The danger lurks in solo training without somebody to assist you in gettng the most out of each workout. But I don't see any type of cheating attitude in your blog. So you had a bad day. Recognize it, analyze it, then, like you said, slowly dig yourself out of it. That's all you can do anyway. Besides, at your age the body will adapt to the speed workouts quickly. Good luck. I'm looking forward to the positive blogs in the coming days and weeks.

Mike said...

Hi tb1, your comments are appreciated, and you make good points. I'm really a recreational runner at heart too, but meanwhile I am struggling to find a way to reach my potential while I can. I feel I am getting the discipline to tough out the workouts, I'm just worried I get a little carried away and maybe put myself at risk of injury. I'm sitting here tonight with a foot that's a little swollen on top and what still feels like a small tweak in my abductor. I'm agonizing over how to still get the three quality workouts in, plus the two 16 milers, and fit it all in by the end of Sunday. I hope you're right about adapting quickly, I just hope I can stay one step ahead of the workouts!