Monday, July 6, 2009

The triple double

After a couple of days of easy miles following the half marathon in Seattle, I had to make up for lost mileage in a big way.  I was scheduled for an 85 mile week last week and was only up to 18 by Wednesday.  So, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday became double workout days.  

The logic behind the double is that it's easier on your body to run two times per day than to do the same mileage in a single run once you start hitting a mileage threshold.  According to Brad Hudson in his recent book "Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon", that threshold is 70 miles per week.  He says trying to sustain a regimen where you average more than 10 miles per run puts too much strain on your body since you're never really able to get in truly easy runs.  70 miles per week is about the point where I see the first double in my schedule.  

I was pleased to finally get some energy back this last week.  The week before I had been plagued by allergies or some unknown ailment that left my running flat, gave me a case of the dizzies and had my nose plugged so I couldn't breathe.  All of this culminated in the migraine I had the afternoon after the half marathon.  It wasn't until I came out of the fog that I realized just how miserable I had been!

I mentioned a while back that my afternoon workouts on my double days were no longer straight-up easy runs.  I now had 5 minutes of goal marathon or half marathon pace thrown in my second run or cut downs and strides.   I had been somewhat anxious to test out how I would feel doing these little speed sessions in the heat of the day on tired legs.  In all 3 workouts where I had these 5-minute sessions, I was pleasantly surprised that I felt great and exceeded my pace goals.  

While exceeding pace goals might seem like a good thing, it isn't necessarily smart.  Sure, I can bust out a 5:47 minute pace for those 5 minutes when I'm supposed to be running at half marathon effort, but is that helping me?  No, probably not.  While it is often a good idea to ditch the Garmin when running effort-based workouts, I sometimes have a hard time modulating my effort without the feedback.  Those 5 minutes at 5:47 pace felt like half marathon effort to me--really.  I know that's not my half marathon pace, I proved that last weekend, but unless I look at my Garmin and work on slowing myself down, I just keep zooming along at the wrong pace.  So, I will be working on controlling my paces over the next few weeks.

Speaking of technology, Wednesday was a sad day for me.  The wristband on my Garmin 405 snapped at the base of the bezel.  There was no fixing it and the store where I bought it would not take it back.  I was luckily able to get Garmin to agree to send me a new one for free even though it was a couple of months out of warranty.  I am still waiting for the replacement to arrive and using a spare 305 in the meantime.  The 305 is a good machine,  but the satellite reception stinks.  I got stuck in a continuous stride on Saturday during my workout when I lost satellite reception and the distance countdown hung up at 116 feet.  I kept running and running waiting for the beep to sound indicating the stride was finished and finally clued in that something was amiss after about a quarter mile.  After clearing out of the trees and finding my sats, I was able to resume my workout (because I couldn't possibly continue without a functional GPS:).           

I had one quality workout last week on Saturday morning as part of my long run.  It was the workout that was originally scheduled for Tuesday before my coach rearranged my schedule so I could hop in the half marathon.  The morning workout was 14 miles with 30 minutes broken up into 1, 2, 3, and 4 minute efforts with the 1 minute segments at 3k effort, 2 minute segments at 5k effort and the 3 and 4 minute segments at 10k effort.  The jog in between each was half the segment time (e.g. 30 seconds for the 1 minute, 2 minutes for the 4 minute segment).  The progression looked like 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2.  This was a fun workout.  I ended up averaging: 
  • 5:52 for 10k effort
  • 5:45 for 5k effort  
  • 5:30 for 3k effort
I felt strong despite windy and warm conditions having gotten a pretty late start that morning. The evening run was nice too, because my pace was set to moderate rather than easy which meant I didn't have to feel guilty about running faster than 8:30 minute pace (this is my target easy pace, but I never seem to hit it).  I had 5 minutes at GMP again and ran it at 6:08 pace on surprisingly springy legs.  I went out later that night and danced right through the end of the 4th of July with DG and my friends in Davis. 

I was proud of myself for making sure I got all of my core and strength training in last week.  I had slacked off on this for the two weeks prior and had only done the workouts once per week.

I face a couple of 90-mile weeks next including some tough workouts before I get ready to race another hilly half marathon in San Francisco at the end of the month.  I'm making sure I load up on the carbs these next few weeks.   

I also found out last week that I won some prize money for being the first female masters finisher in Seattle though I have no idea how much.  It is ironic that I will receive payment for a race I did last week before I even hear back from anyone in Serbia about the 2000 Euros I won there.  Will I ever see the prize money from that race?  I'm not holding my breath.   



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