Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Territory

With a long run tomorrow of 1:30-1:45 I'm guessing I'll end the week with 70-75 miles. It's hard to believe this is the fourth fairly easy week I've taken since the marathon, but after trying to rush things the third week with a few hard runs my body put me back in my place for a fairly pedestrian 11 day stretch. Here's how this week looks so far-

Mo: 4 miles, 7:09 pace (easy Christmas slog)
Tu: 10 miles, 6:52 pace
We: 12 miles, 6:52 pace
We: 6.2 miles, around 7:20 pace (easy w/ Running Shop gang)
Th: 6 miles, 6:49 pace (chilled to the bone, quit early)
Fr: 11 miles, 6:43 pace w/1 mile at 6:05
Sa: 8 miles, 6:55 pace

The paces are drifting down, though I'd prefer to see them back in the 6:40-6:50 range by now. Other than taking an easy day on Christmas and ending the run on Thursday early due to wussiness it's been my best week since the marathon, but that's not saying much. The lungs are feeling good again, but quite frankly the hip flexors and lower abs are a bit more creaky than I would like. I still don't have the forceful knee drive in my stride, and even when I'm moving along I'm aware my form isn't quite as effortless as it seemed in the weeks leading up to the race.

In addition to showing his intelligence in recent posts here, Mystery Coach has been smart enough to not assign any workouts since the race, as he knows full well that I'd probably do myself in by digging a little too deep, too early. I'm hoping this will change next week, and seeing how the body cooperates after tomorrow's long run will probably decide when the green flag drops.

Trying to continue a racing season after a marathon is new territory for me, and the emotions are a bit mixed right now. In the past it's been almost fun getting a little out of shape and diving back into base conditioning. I remember laughing with Lucas about this back in February while dragging myself through the first few long runs after the marathon. Being at the bottom and struggling along slowly for a few weeks makes one appreciate being at peak fitness, and knowing in the back of my mind that those faster days are only a few months ahead made it worth the humbling aspects of starting over.

This recovery is quite different, and I've been struggling with the feeling that with each passing day of fairly modest running (or not running) that I'm getting further and further away from the fitness I'll need to race well in the spring. Of course conventional training wisdom disputes this, but it still feels like I'm marking time and wasting away. Hopefully by the end of next week I'll feel like I'm moving back towards being race-ready.

Training: 8 miles, 55:20, 6:55 pace


Andrew said...

After the Wineglass marathon, I took 2 weeks off and then still had to run 4 weeks of recovery running before I could start my program. I assumed I'd just need two weeks of low mileage but I ended up having to repeat a recovery week twice.

My point is it took 6 weeks before I could get "training" again the way I wanted to. Your PR effort might be requiring something similar from you. You're listening to the signals and responding. Doing great.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Mike, you're doing great. You've already got your mileage back up over 70. After you add in a few weeks of speed work you'll be ready to rock & roll!

Take care,

Mark from New England

Mike said...

Thanks Andrew, I guess it could always be worse. That nagging feeling that I'd already be over this if I were 30 (I can say this to you now that you're 35 too).

Mark, it's good to hear from you. When I look at the miles over the past three weeks it's definitely been an upward trend, so that must be good.

Eric said...

You guys need to get a weekly bridge game going. You're not that old!

You're at your 28th day following the marathon. I'm really happy to see that you pulled things back and got some recovery.

So when are you starting your stretching routine?