Monday, May 19, 2014

Stretching the Limits

A lot of people have asked about my training, since I’m with a new coach. Without giving away too much info, here’s what I did last week:
  • Monday – 6 miles easy (did these on the treadmill as it was cold, snowy and icy outside)
  • Tuesday – 9 miles easy
  • Wednesday – 8x800 meters at the track (did each in the range of 2:55-2:57)
  • Thursday – 9 miles easy
  • Friday – 6 miles easy
  • Saturday – 33 miles via Waterton Canyon/Section 1 of the Colorado Trail (5,000 feet of gain on rugged trails)
  • Sunday – 10 mile tempo run (focused on finishing strong, with mile 9 in 6:39 and mile 10 in 6:40)
I hit a total of 82 miles last week.

That’s actually less quality than usual as I was still recovering from the Colorado Marathon last week and we decided to cut one quality session. Usually I do quality on Tuesday and Thursday, a long run on Saturday, and a long tempo run on Sunday. For example, this week (the week we’re in now), I’m doing track intervals on Tuesday, hill repeats on Thursday, a marathon-distance trail run on Saturday (24-28 miles), and a long tempo run on Sunday.

With 43 miles run over the past weekend alone, today is an off day. I’m not taking a step but may do some dynamic stretching tonight.

One thing I’m learning is that my focus is now on nailing my daily workouts and not on aggregate mileage as it used to be. In other words, I’m not paying attention to what my weekly mileage is or chasing numbers; I’m just trying to hit my workouts as they take a lot of focus and can be daunting at times. It wasn’t until Sunday that it hit me that I ran 82 miles for the week.

Another thing I’m learning is that you—and no one else—are your biggest obstacle to breaking through and stretching your limits. Not before Saturday had I ever done a training run beyond 30 miles, races notwithstanding. Over the past few years, my long runs have been in the 20-25 mile range. I’ve come to realize that’s too short. On Saturday, I stretched my limits. A training distance (33 miles) that had rattled my cage now seems doable.

And that’s not all. On the heels of Saturday’s 33-miler, never in a million years would I have attempted a 10-mile tempo run the next day. But my coach ordered it and I did it. It wasn’t easy, but after 5 miles things loosened up and I felt pretty good actually. It’s in workouts like these that you learn something about yourself. Today, as I rest and recover, I can look back on last week and know I put in a good one. And I'll feel the same way in a few weeks when I take a step-back week to recharge.

So far, all systems go.


  1. That is a pretty impressive week and definitely stretching the limits with that B2B on Sat and Sun. I am glad you posted this for other people to see what you are doing with this new coach. Strong work. This is a topic that is tough for me as I don't personally like to push things too much. I am back to my comfortable training regimen, but do OFTEN wonder if I am defining my own limits in doing my routine training. The one time I really did stretch the limits like this -- the summer of 2012 leading up to Leadville -- I wound up injured for the race and cannot honestly say that all the excessive training helped me. (Though I cannot say it didn't either.) It is fun to follow along and see how you react to this new approach.

  2. Quick question. Do you do any strength training in addition to your running?