In many respects, this was a breakthrough week (yet not without its challenges) as I went sub-5:40 in all three of my 1600 repeats, had an awesome tempo run, and again surpassed 100 miles amid feeling very run-down on Monday, having lots of yardwork (including a truckload of mulch to spread), and suffering a lower calf strain mid-week that, fortunately, quickly cleared up with ice and Advil.
I'm now finding that my "default" speed is up considerably. Several times this week I looked down at my Garmin 205 to find that I was cruising along at 6:55 pace or faster when I was supposed to be going at a semi-easy pace of 7:20-7:30. I guess this is a good problem to have, but I need to be sure to run easy on my easy days and run hard on my hard days. Pacing control is critical to a successful training program.
Bottom line: If I'm able to run the Cleveland Marathon and I don't break 3 hours, it's because I ran the race stupidly. Guys who run 100 miles a week and do their quality workouts--all of which I'm doing--break 3 hours. Over the past year I've averaged about 80 miles per week--no reason I shouldn't cross the line at Cleveland over 2:59:59.
AM: 5 miles easy.
Felt very run-down from the previous weekend's miles and chose not to do a second run to allow for recovery and for me to mow our lawn for the first time this spring.
Total miles for day: 5
AM: 9 miles
Felt much stronger when I woke up and considered a track workout but decided to wait until Wednesday for my repeats.
PM: 6 miles up-tempo
Total miles for day: 15
AM: 9-mile track workout
3x1600 at 5:39, 5:38, 5:37 with 400 recovery.
What most surprised me was that I managed to run my best time on the third repeat despite feeling really tired from the previous two. Seeing my repeat times go down each time was very encouraging. I am going to make every effort to go to the Solon HS track next Tuesday to run with Mark G., Kam L. and the others but that will require cutting away from work 45 minutes early and so that may be difficult.
PM: 6 miles easy
Total miles for day: 15
AM: 8.5 miles
Right Achilles hurting badly after the first step. Battled through it but by the end of my run I was feeling pretty discouraged. Began ice and Advil rehab immediately afterward.
PM: 5 miles on the treadmill
Like an idiot, I elected to go for a second run even though I was still hurting from my Achilles strain but not as badly as in that morning. I thought the treadmill would be a good option since it would provide a flat surface to get in the day's volume.
Total miles for day: 13.5
AM: 9.5-mile tempo run
I woke up with my Achilles feeling much, much better, but decided to forgo a tempo run...but then plans changed. When my GPS signaled I was 3 miles into my run, going at an up-tempo but not total tempo pace and not feeling any pain in my Achilles, I decided to take off. For the next 6 miles I held steady at about 6:10-6:20 pace on a hilly course, feeling good the whole way through. It was awesome. The stress of the previous day clearly worked to my advantage--I had energy and lingering aggravation to expend and I did it during my tempo run.
PM: 4.5 miles easy
Total miles for day: 14
AM: 18 miles at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Met Connie G., Bob P. and Paul R. at 7:00 a.m. for about 6.5 miles on the Buckeye Trail (Pine Lane down near Boston Store and then back to Lock 29) and then went 11.5 with the 8:00 a.m. crew. I felt really good during the early run but then mid-way through the second run I started to struggle up the hills. This was not an easy route we took--Sound of Music hill, etc. I don't know whether I was tired from inadequate sleep from the night before or that my allergies were hurting me, but I struggled to get in the 18 miles and in the end the wheels about came off. I mean, guys who'd just run Boston were kicking my ass. I was glad when it was over, but aggravated that it was so hard.
PM: 4 miles at easy pace. Still felt tired but got through the 4 OK.
Total miles for day: 22
AM: Ran with the Southeast Running Club in Solon, arriving a little early for 3.4 miles before the 12-mile loop. My good friend, Ted F. from Moreland Hills, who paced me during the Burning River (and who is prominently mentioned in my upcoming Marathon & Beyond story), joined us for our 12-mile loop and looked pretty good. He has the strength to be an excellent distance runner and now, with continued commitment and focus, he'll be ready for the summer Buckeye Trail 50K and the Columbus Marathon. It was great to see him, and I hope he comes back next week. I added a little on in the end to finish the morning with 16.2 miles.
PM: 4.25 miles
Total miles for day: 20.5
Total miles for week: 105
Next week my goal is at least 85 miles with quality track and tempo workouts and 12 miles at marathon-pace (6:45) on Sunday. I may make a push for 100 miles again, but next week the name of the game is quality over volume. The following week I'll be back to 100 miles and then will start reducing for the Cleveland Marathon.