Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"This Should Feel Easier"

I kept thinking this to myself as I rounded the turns of my one mile course while trying to edge the pace down each mile by four seconds as instructed. I was to start at 6:14 and end up at 5:50 for the seventh mile, then follow with a 1200 as fast as I could manage. I wanted to blame the heavy trainers or the extra clothes to handle the cold (well, 29 is cold around here), but I'm sure last week's illness and the resulting dismal training is to blame. By the fourth mile, which was close to 6 minutes I started to feel my breathing getting ahead of me. The legs felt stiff and my stride felt chunky, and I just couldn't relax and enjoy the effort. I remembered my 7 miles around 6:06 pace two weeks ago, and while today's workout wasn't really any harder I was definitely suffering more. By the end of the 6th mile I was about to call it, but the last 400 downhill put me back on pace. Mile 7 was the same way, though my breathing was certainly heavy enough at this point that I knew a 1200 was out of the question. I had imagined before I started the workout feeling like I was holding back for all 7 miles, then surging forward with a 1200 at about 5:05 pace or so. Instead, I had struggled just to finish the first 7 miles and was now standing in the dirt taking my pulse. A 152 confirmed I was working harder than I should have been, though by a minute the pulse was down to 120. After a half mile of jogging I decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt the 1200, now that I had my wind back. This ended up with me going completely anaerobic within 200 meters as I sprinted like a nitwit instead of slowly building into the effort. Finally, at just over a quarter mile I realized I was completely over the edge and just called it. So much for the data collection, it will have to wait for another day.

I don't imagine this would bother me so much if not for the fact that I have my one shot at a 10K best coming up on Sunday. Two weeks ago it felt like I was moving up the ladder at a good amount of speed, and that by the time the race came around I would have three weeks of progressively faster and more relaxed running in the bank. Now I feel like I'm back in that first week, and I have to wonder about just how fast to go out come race day.

The other issue is my achilles, which I'm keeping a close eye on. It was fairly sore the day I got sick, and it's felt tight enough towards the end of my last few runs that I'm probably running more conservatively than I have to. The coach had originally planned 200's today, but made the switch to the 7 mile effort plus a 1200 after hearing the achilles might still be an issue. While I think I'm out of the danger zone, I would rather be a little cautious right now at the beginning of the season rather than be nursing an injury all spring long.

My wife Kiera posted about her own trail run in the snow yesterday on Angie's blog. Kiera and Angie often run together on the weekends, and Angie also has some nice photos of the recent snowfall in Tucson.

Training: 9.5 miles, 59:14, 6:15 pace. 7 mile progression: 6:11, 6:10, 6:06, 6:01, 5:54, 5:52, 5:50, followed by aborted 1200 (400 or so)


Mystery Coach said...

I am very curious on what other readers would recommend for Mike to do at this point.

The Track & Field Superfan said...

I remember reading in "A Clean Pair of Heels" that under similar circumstances Murray Halberg just did easy milage until everything was clicking right again, which is my gut instinct.

I'd also stretch and ice that achilles as many times per day as physically possible.

Michael said...

I don’t know if it is coincidence, but after racing the CIM in December I’m also suffering an achilles problem. I’m gearing up for London in April and have a little more time to play with though. That said, my coach has me running a 10-k race this weekend, unfortunately the course won’t lend itself to a PB.

With respect to your coach’s question, I don’t know what to suggest… don’t know all the variables either. You were considering a February marathon, right? Which goal (10-k or marathon) has greater priority? Getting sick will undoubtedly set you back, but you might be able to surprise yourself, as long as you stay healthy, the work you’ve put in, and can continue to put in, will bode well.

Best of luck.

Mike said...

Michael, sorry to hear the achilles is still giving you trouble. Mine seems to be back in check at the moment, though I am being cautious. The February marathon was a possiblility early on as more of a "fast-finish" mental workout, but I've decided to just carry on with shorter races this spring instead. There's a 5K 3 weeks after this race, then perhaps a half marathon in June, followed by more shorter races through May.

Michael said...

I managed to get in for a massage on Monday, which helped my achilles. I was aware of it yesterday but it didn’t flare up but was sure to ice it once home (& stretched later in the evening). With your strength from CIM, it’ll be fun to watch your progress this spring. There is also no better way to take your marathon to the next level then with a solid 6+ months of shorter races. Any decisions on the 10-k?

Evan said...

Responding to mystery coach's question: I'm guessing that Mike wants to try and run a good 10k this Sunday, and that race is the overwhelming priority for the week.

Given the sickness, the upcoming race, and having probably worked a little harder than ideal 5 days out from the race I'd say nothing more than 4-10 miles of easy running each day.

A few strides on Thursday and Friday at 3k-5k pace for turnover and mental reassurance that the legs are still good. If the race is the priority then erring on the side of going too slowly in training is the way to go. 7:30s will feel slow but that's the point. 4 days out from a race it's time to go slower than you think you should. (IMHO. YMMV)

Abadabajev said...

Response to Mystery coach's question

It really is very simple. As far as I know, the Lydiard plan is a long term affair. Mike has mentioned many times, that he is conducting a 3 year schedule and therefore, a 10k race does not make or break Mike. I say stand on the side of caution, and skip the 10k race. It is extremely early in the new year, and I do not want to see Mike blog along with injuries. Mystery coach, you have to watch Mike carefully. Mike is a freight train. Full of energy and full speed ahead. I noticed Mike performed some 400x20. As far as I know, perhaps I skipped a few blogs, but Mike did not ease into those 400m. Remember Lydiard; ease into it. This is perhaps where the injury occurred.

Mike's marathon pace was 6:00 mile. This 10k coming, he should avg 5:15 per mile. The difference is too large to ignore. However if Mike decides to do the 10k, I wish him good luck and please please please take care.

Eric said...

You can't do both, so pick one. If you want to read about what will probably happen to you if you race, read my entries from April 2006, a few days after my first 5k of the year.

I'm very curious to see where the mystery coach is taking us with this exercise...