Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The last few workouts before the race, Race strategy and goals for this weekend.

Last Friday, I went for my first test run, since the beginning of my sinus infection.  I mostly wanted to run, because I had been feeling blue....  Being sick stinks, but not being able to run really stinks.  I miss my daily dose of feel good endorphins.  I still didn't have a ton of energy, but I wanted to do a short test run, to see how I felt...

I headed over to the Wetlands Recreation area.  Instead of making my usual left turn to head out to the Sunrise Picnic Area, I turned right instead and ran through an area that I previously hadn't discovered.

When I first took off, I felt incredibly sluggish, and my right calf cramped up almost immediately..... Ouch. I stopped to stretch and I told myself "if you still feel shitty in  five minutes turn back around. "  But, once I was warmed up, I felt fine.  I took my time and just enjoyed the scenic views.

I ended up running two miles, and then I flipped a u-turn to head back towards my car.  I ran 4 miles at an average pace of 9:10 per mile.

Saturday 2/13- Rest.  I just want to ease back into training, and I'm not feeling the greatest.  I did watch the Olympic Marathon Trials.  OMG it was such an exciting race! The hot temperatures made for a very technical race. Desi Linden is my hero! She was trailing behind 1st and 2nd by over a minute at mile 17, and she was able to close the gap and end up in 2nd place overall.  I think she ran a very smart race.
Photo courtesy of 

Sunday 2/14-  7.6 Miles,  4 x 5 minute pick ups at half marathon pace.   I had wanted to do a short speed work session. I don't want half marathon pace to feel like a complete surprise this weekend.

 I didn't want to do this workout too close to the race either.   I had originally planned on just doing 3 x 5 minute pickups, but during the 2nd interval I decided to tack one more interval on.  I ran about 23 minutes to warm up, and I did a little bit of form drills before I got the workout started.  I chose a route that was slightly downhill because the race course has some significant downhill stretches.

The first two intervals didn't hurt too bad, but during the 3rd repeat I was starting to regret adding the 4th repeat on.  The 4th interval started on an uphill climb over a bridge, and I was dying at the end of that 5 minute interval...  During the first three intervals, I was giving myself a 90 second jog recovery period. Before the 4th interval I gave myself a longer break (2-3 minutes).

Overall I still felt a bit sluggish from being so sick, but I was able to hit my paces. I had been hoping to keep these intervals around 7:15 pace, and that was doable...  I then ran a 15 minute cool down.  I sometimes prefer to do intervals by time, as opposed to distance (400, 800, etc.). Here's what the data looked like:

In my head it doesn't seem so intimidating to run hard for 5 minutes, as opposed to being disappointed if I'm not hitting .5 miles at a certain time standard.

Monday 2/15 Rest, I did take my kids to Sunset Park to run around on the play ground, and to feed the ducks.  So I did do some run/walking..

Tuesday 2/16 6 x 400's.  This was the final speed work session of this training cycle.  The temperatures are now 74 degrees at lunchtime.  I was worried that the heat would bother me.  But, it wasn't so bad.  I headed over to Cornerstone park for my workout.

I ran about 1.65 miles to warm up. During this warm up I slowly jogged around the park, I also did some form drills and a few strides, I stopped my watch to stretch and use the bathroom.
Here's the data.
99, 98, 99, 97, 94, 99. The slower intervals had 180 degree turn a rounds so that slowed down my momentum some. I chose to run the intervals on a dirt gravel path.

I wanted to simulate the surface of the trail section of the race I will be running this weekend. These intervals also included a few uphill and downhill sections. Nothing too steep just some gentle rollers. I feel a little more confident after this workout.

Wednesday 2/17- 3 miles easy in the morning before work.  I didn't wear my Garmin.  I did  use Strava mobile to track my data. But, for the most part I was running by feel.

Tomorrow I have one more short run/weight training session.  I'm going to the gym mostly to stretch. I don't want to lift heavy and be sore for Saturday's race.

Race Goals and Strategy.
I have raced the Saints and Sinners Half Marathon twice before.
Saints and Sinners 2013 Race Recap
Saints and Sinners 2014 Race Recap

Each race had a different strategy.    The first year that I ran the race, I was hoping just to break 1:40.  I held back during the early miles, and I was able to finish this race strong.

The following year I had a much loftier goal of running in the 1:33's,  I didn't have the luxury of holding back during the early miles.  That race hurt, and I didn't fuel properly (no fuel really).  I ran a sub 1:35 but, I hit the wall hard, and the trail section was actually run slower than the previous year's effort.

 The Saints and Sinners half marathon course has a net drop of about 1200 feet, so it is very PR friendly, however  the trail section is something that you need to take into consideration.

The trail portion is four and a half miles.  There are five or six train tunnels that are several hundred feet in length.  You run into complete darkness, and it can mess with your head.  I also took a tumble at the turn around point at the last train tunnel during my 2014 race.  I need to be aware of my feet at all times during this section.  I don't want to fall again.

I think I'm going to go back to my original game plan of holding back during the early miles.  I'd like to think that having a larger mileage base from marathon training last fall, and by doing a few longer runs this winter has helped my endurance, and hopefully my ability to maintain a faster pace for a longer period of time.  I am worried that I haven't done a lot of speed work during this training cycle.
I did intervals about once a week.  But, Hal Higdon also had tempo runs, that I swapped out with hill workouts or longer runs instead.  I did also race a 5k and 10k during this training cycle, Before I became ill, my hip was starting to act funny (again), so maybe a whole week off was a good thing?

A goal- sub 1:34:51- This is my course PR on this course,  also I just don't think I'm capable of anything that much faster right now.

B goal- sub 1:36-  This should be doable.

C goal- sub 1:40-  I will be pissed if I don't break 1:40.

Thank you for reading and see you on the other side.