Saturday, September 16, 2006

Can I Have That Minute Back?

"I'm glad that's over" is the first thing that came to mind after finishing the run this morning. 16 miles, with ten miles at 6:40 and 4 miles at 5:58, plus one mile of warm up and one mile of cool down. A few days earlier I was looking at my schedule and thinking that perhaps I should increase the amount of time at marathon pace at the end of the run, which seems comical now since I couldn't wait to be done with the four assigned miles.

Marathon pace felt strangely like tempo pace again today, and I blame it on starting the workout "in debt" from the 7 miles of marathon pace yesterday. This is the point of these back to back days, with yesterday's run helping to dial in the first 10K of the marathon and today's run acting as a rehearsal for the last 10K of the big race. I have to admit it shakes the confidence a bit to look at today's workout (and the effort it took to complete it) by itself, but with yesterday's run in mind it makes a little more sense for me to feel a bit spent.

As I tried to hold pace during the second uphill mile of the pacework today, I couldn't help but think that running 6:40's during the 10 mile lead-in (instead of the planned 6:45's) cost me a bit. I probably should have taken advantage of the luxury of theat extra minute (50 seconds really) to relax more before the four mile pace effort, but for some reason the legs just felt like running that pace. I usually take this as a good sign, but there is a danger of running faster daily paces than I can recover from.

As I've started to look ahead to the anaerobic phase and the taper for the upcoming marathon in December I'm trying to focus more on recovery. Looking at my old logs, I'm exploring the possibility that I went into each of my last two marathons a little tired. While it's easy to blame the anaerobic work I did towards the end of the programs, I'm starting to think that perhaps saving most of my marathon pace work for those last six weeks did me in a bit. The long, marathon pace time trials (I'm talking about the 12-18 milers here) might have started too abruptly. Moreover, I worry that perhaps I didn't fully recover from the longest efforts (15-18 miles) at a cellular level, and the body couldn't bounce back enough to get the necessary supercompensation I was looking for from these efforts.

Keeping this in mind makes me more confident about working in more specific pace work early, and gradually upping the amount of marathon pace at a level that I can hopefully bounce back from. I feel this type of running is probably closer to what Arthur Lydiard was talking about during the marathon conditioning phase, and while I'd like to be running a little more now, I'm leaving myself some room to up the volume as the program continues.

The best part about being done with the "double-header" today is that I can go into the weekend without the stress of a long run or an effort on Sunday. Instead, I'll be finishing off the week with a recovery run, which will give me time to get home early so Kiera and Angie can hit the trails for their own run. I'll no doubt be spending the rest of the weekend painting and trying to convince my daughter that she really doesn't want to go back to Chuck E. Cheese.

Good weekend and good running to you all.

Training: 16 miles, 1:44:57, 6:34 pace, with 10 miles at 6:40 followed by 4 miles at 5:58. Last 4 were taxing


Phil said...

Mike ... go back and look at where you were at this time leading up to the R 'n R marathon in June. You're running much stronger now. You'll continue to have your rough days, but overall you're doing great.

Have a great weekend with your kids.

Mike said...

Thanks Phil, I'm looking forward to a few days off. I'm back to working 5 days a week like a normal guy now instead of the 4 day work week I've had for the summer.

You are right, the average paces really are much faster if I go back and look at last year, so that's something. If I only dig myself into a hole once a week or so I should be fine.

Thomas said...

I remember a few guys telling you to add more recovery into your program. Of course, the only way to ever find out what works for you and what not is try-and-error. I guess as long as you learn from the errors, you're making great progress.