Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Special thanks to Mystery Coach for raising the hit count (as usual) with his "Ask the Mystery Coach" post yesterday. Keep those questions coming.

I had a bit of a sour stomach this morning as I headed to the track to do a session of 1000's. The plan was for 1-10x1000 at around 3:20, or whatever speed I could run comfortably fast at. I was set to run one repeat every 5 minutes, which meant about 1:40 or so of rest between intervals. An unplanned detour to the restroom at Sabino Canyon and three miles of warm up found me at the junior high track. I honestly hesitated a bit and stalled with a few strides, as stretching the warm up from 2 to 3 miles didn't seem to make me feel any better. Still, I'm usually a bit unsure of speed work before I actually get into the workout.

3:22, 3:20, 3:19, 3:21, 3:21, 3:21, 3:21, done

I never really felt great during the workout, as the legs just didn't feel fresh. Usually I can relax enough to drive the knees and really concentrate on a light and efficient foot-strike. Today I felt like I was really landing flat-footed, and more than a few times I felt myself struggling, with tight arms swinging hard in an effort to get the legs moving (not good). As I noticed how things were going I started to focus on the fatigue level, and 400 meters into number 7 I knew I was about done.

I think I might have needed an extra easy day between the long run and the intervals today, but it could have just not been my day. I was glad to stop before running myself into the ground, and there will certainly be other days.

Yesterday was an easy 9 miles, and that's it for today as it's time to goof off with Finn.

Training: 10 miles, 1:05:24, 6:32 pace, w/7x1000 (1:40 rest) in 3:22, 3:20, 3:19, 3:21, 3:21, 3:21, 3:21
Yesterday, 9 miles, 1:04:47, 7:14 pace


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike - sorry to hear about your stomach issues. Hope you bounce back quickly. I have some questions about what the rest of your week looks like, speedwise. Following the overview the coach recently posted, days 4 and 5 (Thurs and Fri) seem to have back-to-back speed workouts scheduled. Are you planning to do track repeats on both of those days? Or maybe some hill running on Friday? And after two days of speed, will Saturday's "steady run" contain any MP miles?

I'm actually training for the same marathon as you are, and have pretty much based my training on what you've been doing (lazy, I know...). But I'm not sure how to best approach these last few pre-taper workouts...

Mike said...

Hey anonymous. I'll tell you what I'm doing if you tell me what you've been doing (in general) over the past few months for long runs (or back to backs).

I'll give you a hint- After today I'm running easily until Saturday-Sunday, which will be my last back to back workout.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

A wise move cutting the intervals short given how you were feeling. If you can't put out the effort you need to, you are not getting any positive training affect anyway and just needlessly running yourself into the ground. Good call. I hope the spring is back in your step tomorrow.

Have fun with Finn!

Anonymous said...

Sure. My back-to-backs over the past couple of months have ranged from 8|17 to 10|20. This past weekend was 8 + a hilly 17. I usually do 5-6 MP miles on the first day and up to 8 on the second. MP for me is around 6:45 - I'm shooting for sub-3 at TCM.

I ran 6x1000 this morning with 600 rest. I felt pretty good during and after. I was thinking about possibly repeating this workout on Thurs, with shorter rest intervals between repeats. Are you taking it easy until the weekend because of how the workout felt today, or was that the plan all along?

Mike said...

Thanks Chad, it's always nice to hear from you. Hope you're right about the spring in my step.

Anonymous, it sounds to me like you are in really good marathon shape right now, and if anything I would caution you against doing too much during the last 2.5 weeks.

The coach was in the middle of rearranging things for me (for about the millionth time) because of my own scheduling issues (my wife will be out of town so the long run needs to be Sunday or Friday). We've talked about the last back to back being a 6 mile effort the first day, then a 20 miler or so with the first 10 a little easier than usual but the last 10 sharper. I tend to make good fitness gains from these workouts, but I can only cultivate it if I run easily in the days following them (learned this the hard way).

Keep in mind that the coach is using this particular pattern (a shorter and more drastic taper) because he's studied what has and hasn't worked for me over the past three years of marathons. How I react to different volumes and intensities could be world's different than how you do, so it's important to make sure to monitor your recovery during this crucial time.

If you're knocking out 8 or 10 miles at planned marathon pace during the second days of your back to backs comfortably, I'd guess that you're about as ready as you're going to get. Doing too much, rather than too little might be the biggest concern. Easy runs of some distance and some sharpening might be all that's needed at this point.

Good luck to you, and hopefully I'll see you at Twin Cities.

Mike said...

Oh, and I do think the main reason the back to back has been pushed to Saturday/Sunday (with only easy running until then) is due to some signs of me being a little over the edge of what I can recover from (sleeplessness, a bit of malaise and general grouchiness). The previous sentence could bring out a corroborating comment from my wife.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mike!

Although lately my pace miles have gotten close to the speed I'd like to run in the race, they haven't felt quite as easy as I'd like. So I'm thinking (hoping?) a little more sharp speed work might still do me some good. I will try not to cross the line though. I've seen the symptoms you describe in myself a couple of times during this training cycle. Scaling back the effort for a couple of days has done the trick for me both times. I'm glad you're recognizing the signs and reacting appropriately.

By the way, I think I've learned more in the past four months about how to run faster than at any other time in my running career (by reading your blog and training for this race). Whether I reach my goal at Twin Cities or not, I want to thank you for sharing your training. If I happen to see you out there among the masses, I'll definitely introduce myself. (I'll be the anonymous looking guy with the black bar covering his eyes...)