For those of you who were concerned about me following my training plan at all costs, my behavior these last two weeks should allay your fears. I have been smarter than I ever would have expected with my training and recovery. While I have pushed my body in my workouts like normal, I have also altered my schedule as needed to allow for added recovery. I actually like this self-coaching gig for that reason. I have set myself some guidelines for key workouts, but the rest of the schedule can be modified based on how I feel, last-minute work and life crises, etc. Admittedly, this is a relatively easy task when I'm only running 50-60 miles per week. However, I like that I am getting into the habitat of critically thinking about what's important in my schedule, and being willing to make a change that might involve reducing my mileage for the day or week.
All of this follows Coach Tom's point from months ago that I don't have to worry about being a slacker. My concern should be about over-doing it. So, I view everything in that light. I have to say that it is a lot easier to justify a change when I wrote the plan. I don't have to second guess whether or not the change will upset some grand training scheme or harm my fitness in any way. I am the only one who really cares (aside from Coach T, of course) whether or not I follow the plan. I feel a strange sense of freedom in that.
Last week I actually took two days off and this week, one day. Last week, it was just because I could. I decided that I have 6 months of killer work coming up, have ramped up my mileage quickly in the last month and could afford to take some down time. This week, I was feeling residual muscle soreness from my long run on Sunday, in which I ran 14 miles @ sub-7:00 pace. I was scheduled to run a hard 12-miler on Tuesday and knew that it wouldn't be smart to run on sore legs. I also got treatment from Dr. Lau that day. So, I ran an easy 8 with strides on Tuesday, rested Wednesday and did the 12 miler last night.
Last night was my first track workout in 3 months and I had fun. It was straight from the Speed with Endurance book:
2 miles warm up + drills + strides + 2 x (1200/1600/1200m @ 10k) w/ 4 min jog rest between reps and 7 minutes rest between sets + 2 mile cool down.
This workout was a change for me in that the rests were pretty long compared to what I am used to with 10k reps. I really liked it. I ended up doing my repeats at 5:55-6:00 pace and, I think, because the rests were so long, it all felt very controlled and relatively easy. I also don't feel horribly beat up today. I am still trying to get used to my "new" legs, and it became clear last night that my turnover needs some work. I think the turnover will improve as I continue to do strides and form drills in my workouts and just keep up the faster running.
My next hard workout won't be until Sunday where I do 15 miles with some hill repeats. The hill repeats were going to be part of a mid-week workout, but I decided to lump them into the long run instead. It's fun being the boss of me.