Friday, June 3, 2011

Smarty Pants

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.


  1. Your strange sense of freedom is great! Who says distance runners can't learn new tricks or know when to take a day off? Just this week I was reading some articles and "Speed with Endurance" was mentioned and I thought of you! I'm impressed with your work ethic and the quality you put in your key runs. Its been a long, LONG time since I wanted to train at a higher level. I was just invited as an elite masters for Twin Cities Marathon and this means so much to me. To be away from competitive racing and a recreational runner for 10 years and to have the opportunity to make a come back makes me feel young again. I also have you to follow, support and learn from to believe in the possibilities. Keep your "new" legs strong and run like the "boss"!

  2. I tend to push too hard so it's nice to hear that the FAST girls take it easy too. I fight the "slacker" mentality too but as I get older, I'm just going to have to relax a little.

  3. Now I'm concerned about you not following your new training plan. Seriously though, the relaxed attitude and adjustable days seem to be going down well. Some good distance at speed with the track session. Coach Tom would be happy with that one.

  4. Hi Willie, Thanks for the kind words and congrats on the elite status at TCM. I am glad that it is motivating you to train hard again, and I hope you seize that opportunity. Good luck!

    Meg, the rules apply to runners at every level and age: sometimes, you get faster by running less and slower. It's a hard thing to allow yourself to do if you're used to pushing all the time, but it's definitely a mental block worth trying to overcome.

    Ewen, It seems like I just can't please you;) The track session was a nice refresher for me. Since I'm in 5k training mode, I'll have many more of those. 10k and 8k seem to be the go-to paces for Squires, so I'll have a lot of similar workouts over the next 6 months. Hopefully, I'll watch the paces of those 10k reps fall steadily. I have a 10k planned in November, so I should be good and used to 10k pace by then.