Back on the track for 5-10x1000 this morning, starting each rep on 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the wind buffeting against the house woke me before the gurgling of the coffee maker could, which meant it would be a long morning. Oh well, better today than during Saturday or Sunday's workouts.
An email from Mystery Coach made it clear that rather than an arbitrary number, the paces would depend on me finding and holding the appropriate effort, and that I should quit when I felt I had enough, be it five or all 10 repeats.
With the very strong cross-wind it made sense to run strong through the difficult 200 and to cruise and relax through the aided 200 during each lap, and since I was starting the even-numbered reps into the wind my guess was that they'd be a bit slower than the odds.
3:17, 3:16, 3:14, 3:16, 3:14, 3:14, 3:13, 3:15
Instead of checking every 200 or 400 to see what the pace was I just ran each by feel, trying to tune in to the feeling I had two weeks ago while running 3:22 or so. The wind was obnoxious, but the on-off rhythm it necessitated made the run an interesting challenge. After getting through number six feeling pretty smooth, I started fighting against the headwind to keep up the momentum on number seven. By the time I finished the first 400 of the eighth rep I knew I'd be calling it for the day, and after seeing the time slip back a bit when I finished the deal was sealed. The heart rate was at exactly 120 when I timed it for 15 seconds after resting one minute, which is hopefully a sign I didn't stick it out for too long.
This week and next week are without a doubt the most dangerous two weeks in my preparation for New York. I feel like I have about all the fitness I'll muster for this training cycle, so the natural inclination is to use it. During this period the sounds of fatigue can still be audible, but they can often be muted by the noise coming from adrenaline and a general sharpening up. I'm trying to tune in to them, but it's obviously getting more difficult. The first mile of th 8K two weeks ago is a good example of this, as was the fast start to last week's 7 mile effort. In both cases I probably could have gotten the same or more out of less, and recovered more quickly to boot. I don't think I'm doing myself any favors when I dig in too hard, too soon during workouts or races, and it's certainly a habit that can prove disastrous when carried over into the marathon.
I need to be more mindful of easing into the workouts. Perhaps more importantly, I need to remember that just because I'm in the kind of shape that will stand up to punishment, I don't necessarily have to push things to the edge in order to see gains at this point. I think Lydiard's sharpening is more about bringing the fitness you already have to the surface while getting the body rested and fresh. rather than just blindly piling on intensity because the body will take it. Mystery Coach has certainly told me as much, but as he's mentioned, he's not the one running the workouts.
All right...I wrote it, now I just have to do it.
8 miles, w/8x1000 on 5 minutes in 3:17, 3:16, 3:14, 3:16, 3:14, 3:14, 3:13, 3:15
Sleep: 7h 8/10
12 miles, 1h25m, 7:05 pace
Sleep: 7h 8/10
Weather: Very nice