So, my efforts to regain some semblance of racing fitness before the SLO half went quite well this week. I fit in a 5 mile hike, another 4 miles of walking, and 25 miles of running for a total weekly mileage of 35.87 miles (a high water mark for the year).
Every runner has their own approach as to how they regain fitness best, but for me, I like to focus on increasing my total mileage by not caring about the pace on the slow/easy days (or walks), but make sure I fit in a few key workouts at target paces.
This week, I fit in three hard running workouts, which feels like quite the accomplishment.
Hard Workout #1 (speed): Track Day (total mileage: 4.98)
-1.37 miles jogging warm-up. 0.30 walking/stretching. 0.36 drills & build-up lap.
-The meat of the workout: Intervals including 2 split 1200s (800 @ 80%; 200 jog; 200 @ 90%) with a 3 minute jogging recovery interval; Followed immediately by a last 800 @ 80%. Actual paces: 800@8:19/mile; 200@6:33/mile; 800@8:41/mile; 200@7:03/mile; 800@8:12/mile.
-Final effort: 3X100 strides (avg 7:00) w/100 RI
I'd never done these split 1200s before and they are *tough* but in a good way -- digging deep into that final 200 is mentally difficult, but physically not as impossible as it seems like it should be. I may try to fit in another session or two of these before the race.
Hard Workout #2 (strength): 4 Mile Intervals w/H (total mileage: 5.45)
-0.53 jogging warm-up (11:40/mile).
-1st mile at 8:51. 3 min walk R/I.
-2nd mile at 8:57. 5 min walk R/I.
-3rd mile at 8:56. 4 min walk R/I.
-4th mile @ 8:59 (slightly short due to a watch snafu). 5 min walk R/I
After we finished the last interval, and while we were walking back to the cars, I realized my key had fallen out of my zipper pocket. We'd run a large loop, and my key could have fallen out anywhere along the way. We did some cursory searching near the bathrooms by the cars as I'd used them before the last interval, but we didn't find it, and the reality of the terrain we'd been on and the distance we'd covered meant that I just didn't have the time to search carefully everywhere it might be.
So, I borrowed H's phone, called E, and asked him to bring me my spare key. Then, I walked around some more to cool down, and I did some pushups, dips, abs, and stretching. Finally, I headed back to the gravel by the cars and idly scanned the ground... and then I saw something SHINY! It was my key. Immediately I looked up at the sky and said a quick thanks. I could feel my Dad with me so clearly at that moment. I managed to get E on the phone before he got on the freeway. Disaster Averted!
Hard Workout #3 (distance): 10 Miles w/G (total mileage: 10.2)
I've been doing weekend long runs with a good friend of mine, G, who is training for the Oakland Half. This was her longest run ever, and she did a great job. We typically average somewhere just sub 12:00/mile including walk and water breaks. Today was no different. Around mile 3, I needed to peel off to use the restrooms. These restrooms are about 0.15 miles off the trail, so I bid G adieu, and picked up the pace, running hard to the restrooms and back to the trail. G had put some distance between us in that time period, and I ended up running 2 (unexpected on my distance day) good solid miles catching back up to her (9:49 and 9:58).
All in all, this is the best running week I've had in a long time. So that feels great! Here's to hoping I can string several of these together over the next few weeks.