Yesterday Michael asked, "Have you noticed that your recovery runs have been slower than in the past? Have you worked on making that so?"
The short answer to both questions is yes. Last summer I had a very hard time building miles and training volume during my conditioning for the Twin Cities marathon. During my first 11 weeks of base building I only averaged 83 miles a week, with weeks 9 through 11 at 77, 72 and 73 miles. In retrospect, I did most of these runs at 7 minute pace or faster, and as a result I either cut too many short or was too tired to add a second run when I needed to. I think in the end I just didn't build my conditioning up with enough miles to make the most of the specific training afterwards.
For New York I felt I needed to get back to higher volume, and when I started my conditioning phase in the heat of summer I took a cue from the three weeks of easy, watch-free running the coach forced on me before starting the training cycle. I'd come out of this forced off-season feeling very fresh, and running slow when I needed to (without the pressure of the watch) seemed to be a big part of it. Why mess with a good thing?
My first 11 weeks of training this time found me averaging 94 miles per week, including one week of 70 miles when I was sick and working away from home. I don't think I could have managed it without the slow five milers on the treadmill at the gym and several days a week at slower than 7 minute pace. I don't know whether it's an age thing or not, but it's just what seems to be working. It also seems to have the side benefit of making the workout days go smoother, which would stand to reason. I also think it makes me less of a crank to be around, but I guess Kiera would be the better judge of that.
10 miles, 1h09m, 6:53 pace
Sleep: 8h, 8/10
Legs: 7/10 Holding back at first, tight quads at the end
Weather: So nice I'd feel guilty posting it
16 miles, 1h49m, 6:53 pace
Sleep: 7,5h 7/10
Legs: 7/10 A little fatigue towards the end
10/1/08 pm., 5 miles around 7:20 pace, 90 degrees