Weekly Summary – 110 miles in 11 runs. Lower volume with a recovery block but two fantastic workouts: a huge “special block” on Wednesday and a great fartlek on Sunday. Less than a week to Houston Half!

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Lunes, 2 de Enero, 2017 – 9am: Easy run on Matt’s loop. Kind of miserable out – drizzle and about 42F, but not too windy. Felt surprisingly decent. 37’ at 8K and then back a bit quicker. Finished with 8x strides. Total run 12M+ in 1h27.

XT: Back/hips

4pm: Easy run out/back on MVN. Felt very good. Started out with Mariana slow for first 2.5km and then solo. Running quicker on the way back and ran a little pick-up the last 500m or so ~3’20s and felt relaxed. Nice. Total run 5M in 35’.

XT: Hips.

Martes, 3 de Enero, 2017 – 8am: Woke up naturally earlier – good sign! HR also way down – another good sign! Definitely beginning to recover from the absurdly high first 10 days of this block, just in time for a last big one tomorrow. Another somewhat miserable day out, though. Grey and around 40F and rain, heavier than yesterday. Got quite cold on the way back as I was wet and the wind picked up. Ran out/back on MVN. Quicker than I expected ~4’30s out, 4’10s back and very relaxed with a big one tomorrow. Finished with 5x strides which felt very good.

Total run 9M in 63’.

XT: Back/hips (1x, no weight)

3pm: Ran earlier with an early day. Easy out/back on MVN. Felt a bit sluggish for whatever reason. At least it wasn’t raining! Total run 5km, 3M+ in 20’.


Miercoles, 4 de Enero, 2017 – Sparknotes: SPECIAL BLOCK: 8am: 14km steady in 42’22 (3’01.6/km, 4’52/M, 63’50 HM pace). 11:30am: 22km continuous with 10km moderate (35’11) + 12km at marathon pace (38’05 – 3’10.4/km, 5’06/M, 2’13’55 marathon pace).

7:15am: Up early for the last big workout before Houston Half (10 days out)! First “Special Block” of the season. Goal for this one was to tap both the half marathon and marathon stimuli: in the morning, running fresh, a continuous run at half marathon effort of 12-14km, then in the afternoon, a longer workout with 10km moderate and then 10-12km at marathon pace. This would effectively give a great HM stimulus in the morning, running a big chunk of the race distance, and also give a great marathon benefit from the PM session by running 10-12km at the end of an already very taxing day. I’ve done similar workouts to this before and they are extremely challenging, so I take the recovery afterward very seriously (and take the few days leading up to the workout a bit lighter).

I planned to start this workout at 8am (the same as the Houston Half start) to get my body used to getting up early (around 4:30am). I had only a nature valley bar and black coffee in the morning and then headed out a little after 7am. The day was nearly perfect, with light wind and temperatures in the upper 40s already. I can only hope Houston brings us similar conditions!

I used this session as a real practice for race day morning – trying to time everything just as I would at the race, from waking up to warmup jog to drills, strides, changing shoes, etc. I did 2M in about 14’, my legs already feeling good from just 2 “light” days before and then did drills, a few strides, 200m in about 35 and then got started. Ran the workout in the Tracer.

I did this workout entirely on the 1km wheel-measured loop I’ve used for a lot of running. I actually quite enjoy this as I can really get into a rhythm and run super consisently when I’m feeling good (see the splits below). I tried not to obsess about the splits as I had at the beginning of the 6x3k workout, but instead focus on the effort and make sure it seemed appropriate now that I’ve run a few of these.

I felt pretty decent to start off, running very consistent the first 5K to come through in 15’13 (all km 3’01-3’03). I had a bit of a rough patch around 8-9km where I had some sloshy tummy and stopped very quickly to pee (~30 seconds), but felt much better after that. I tried to accelerate a bit at 10k (30’21, 15’08 second 5K), but even grinding a bit harder I was running the exact same splits. ~3’01-03.

It wasn’t until the very last km that I really entered a terminal gear and was able to run much faster, but not in a way that was at all sustainable. I ran 2’57 for the last km to come to 14km in 42’24.

Cooled down very short home.

A big takeaway here is that I think there is a point in the race where I’ll need to increase intensity just to MAINTAIN pace. Whether this happens 10km into the race or 4km from the finish is unclear, but, just like a 1M race, I think that “increase intensity” point somewhere after half way is going to be super critical. And also knowing that that will likely come with not an increase in pace, but simply a maintaining of pace is good to know ahead of time.

I also think this is a good indicator both in terms of pace and HR about what I should shoot for on race day. I am amazed by the consistency of the splits – all between 3’01-3’03 (except the last “kick” km). I think this is the sweet spot for me right now and that is right around 64-flat (3’02.0 pace). I think going out any faster than that in the first 8-10km is dangerous, unless I’m really going to be in no-man’s-land. HR was also very consistent in the 177-179 range for the majority of the workout. This will probably also be a good thing to keep an eye on (or maybe just look at retrospectively.

All told, a very solid morning! I think that’s probably the fastest I’ve ever run for 12km (a bit faster than I ran at the Alexandria 12k last year!), which is always exciting. Calves were definitely a bit shot and feet were sore (especially outside of my left foot from 56x 90deg left turns on pavement), but came back and tried to relax until PM session.

AM Splits:
Time Split HR Rep
1 km 3’02.7 (3’02.7) 160
2 km 6’05.7 (3’03.0) 175
3 km 9’08.9 (3’03.2) 177
4 km 12’10.4 (3’01.5) 179
5 km 15’13.2 (3’02.8) 178 (15’13.2)
6 km 18’15.3 (3’02.1) 178
7 km 21’15.7 (3’00.4) 177
8 km 24’17.9 (3’02.2) 177
9 km 27’20.3 (3’02.4) 178
10 km 30’21.1 (3’00.8) 178 (15’07.9)
11 km 33’24.2 (3’03.1) 179
12 km 36’25.2 (3’01.0) 180
13 km 39’26.8 (3’01.6) 180
14 km 42’23.5 (2’56.7) 182 (15’03.2)

11:30am: As always, started workout #2 about 2.5 hours after the end of workout 1. I took in limited carbohydrates during this time: only half a nature valley bar and about 14 pretzels.

There’s definitely a mental trick to convincing yourself that this is the first workout of the day and it’s just another day. It’s very much a “stay in the moment” kind of session, both in terms of not looking back and seeing all the buses you’ve jumped over so far and not looking ahead to see how many buses remain. I think I’ve gotten the hang of it as much as one can.

I did a very short 1km warmup out to the bike path. Ran this whole workout in Clifton 2 (size 9). I planned to do 4x5km loops, with an additional 2km if I felt up to it. The first two would be moderate, while the second two + would be at MP. I knew that this last 10-12km would be both the most beneficial and the most painful of the day, but I tried not to think about them.

I did drills but no strides after warm up and just got started.

The first 10km were all anticipation. After a few minutes, I knew I’d be able to run this pace for 10km (as would be expected), so it was just this weird feeling of not really being challenged but just having to get through it. My legs were a bit tired and it felt harder than it would have normally, but there was no doubt in my mind I’d get through to the MP work. I just had no idea what it would feel like once I started accelerating.

I actually tried to gradually accelerate during the 9th km so that I didn’t have to make a big sudden gear change right at 10km. I think it felt a bit harder than I expected, as the first km was only 3’15, but after that, I was very consistent 3’10-12 through the first 5km.

This felt very hard and required quite a bit of focus, but I stayed very much in each kilometer and each one that went by was a huge positive reinforcement – like, hey, one down! That wasn’t so bad! I knew that during these session, I’d often experience a drastic change in effort, a bonk or muscular failure somewhere during this last 10km and so I was trying to keep myself on the very conservative side of the red line. At 5km, I was almost sure I could maintain the pace all the way through 12km.

I picked it up a tiny bit around the halfway mark, and actually still felt quite good all the way through maybe 8km or so (running more like 3’08-10/km). But fairlly quickly at about 9km, I started to feel really weak and like I was on the razor’s edge of bonking. Suddenly, I was thinking about just stopping at 10km, even though I’d been sure I’d be able to finish 12km just a minute or so earlier. I eased up the effort, though, and ran 1km much slower (3’15 to 10km in 31’50, 15’46 second 5k) and then I knew I’d be able to hang on for another 6+ minutes.

The last 2km were similarly tough. I tried not to push in km 11, but ran 3’12 before really trying to push in the last 1K to see if I had anything left. I somehow managed to find that last gear and ran the last 500m or so quite hard probably <1’30 to finish with a 3’04 for 38’05.

The big error I made here was not taking a second gel at 6km. This is one fueling modification I’ve made to my marathon plan in the last few years is adding a last gel after 30k. I used to just do 10, 20, 30km, but I now usually do something like 10, 20, 29, 36km. That extra gel can really help in the last 5km and in a workout like this, where it really feels like the last 12km of a marathon and the depletion is probably comparable, that tiny difference probably has a significant impact.

One last thing is that the HR data are really interesting from this run as well. The HR was MUCH higher than the mornings HMP session and much higher than I recorded during either my 2h15 in the fall or the 50K. I’m not really sure what this means, but it’s just very interesting. That last 1km was 188 BPM avg which is alarming close to my measured max (196).

All that said, this was still a fantastic run and by FAR the best I’ve ever felt and run at the end of a special block, and probably the best overall special block I’ve ever run as well. This has been a huge stimulus (both this workout and the last two weeks, 325 miles in 2 weeks!) and I am extremely excited to let all this great work sink in freshen up a bit before Houston.

Cooled down VERY slow and short ~6’00 for 1km. Ethio, lots of hydration. Pretty brain-dead and a bit of that unpleasant too-much-caffeine, not-enough-food feeling. Lazy afternoon with the cat.

Total mileage for the day 27M+.

T-15 min, Gel #0
Time Split HR Rep
5 km 17’46.0 (17’46.0) 160
10 km 35’11.0 (17’25.0) 165 (Gel #1)
11 km 38’25.8 (3’14.8) 177
12 km 41’36.3 (3’10.5) 179
13 km 44’48.4 (3’12.1) 181
14 km 48’00.9 (3’12.5) 181
15 km 51’11.9 (3’11.0) 182 (16’00.9)
16 km 54’21.4 (3’09.5) 183
17 km 57’28.9 (3’07.5) 182
18 km 1’00’37.9 (3’09.0) 183
19 km 1’03’46.0 (3’08.1) 185
20 km 1’07’00.7 (3’14.7) 185 (15’48.8 – 31’49.7)
21 km 1’10’12.7 (3’12.0) 186
22 km 1’13’16.4 (3’03.7) 188 (38’05.4)

Jueves, 5 de Enero, 2017 – 9am: Very sore this morning after the big one yesterday! Feet in particular are quite sore. Cooler this morning, only around 30F, but not too windy. Ran very easy out/back on MVN, stayed on grass as much as I could. Very slow to start and better as the run went on, which is always a good sign. This is day 1 of recovery block, so only 60min of jogging today and tomorrow. Total run 8M- in 60’.

XT: Back/hips.

PM: OFF. Recovery day 1, so no PM run.

Viernes, 6 de Enero, 2017 – AM: OFF, no run with recovery block day 2. Legs and feet feel much better than yesterday!

XT: p90x.

3pm: Easy run out/back on MVN. Felt good as is at this point expected in these rec. Blocks, despite the huge effort the day before yesterday. A bit chilly at 30F with moderate winds in my face on the way out, but dressed well. Out 4M in 27’ and back quicker 4’0x/km, but very relaxed. Stopped at black squirrel and did 9x strides, which felt pretty good. Grass still a bit wet, so a bit slippery in spots, but otherwise good. Jogged home. Total run 9M+ in 59’.

Sabado, 7 de Enero, 2017 – 9am: Woke up naturally a bit earlier – good! Was thinking about doing some longer strides but the weather was cold ~22F and very windy and snowing, so I decided not to. Just ran easy/mod out-back on MVN and then 4x strides at black squirrel. Total run 7M+ in 49’.

XT: Back/hips

3:30pm: Ran on the treadmill as it snowed and iced over this afternoon and I didn’t feel like killing myself. Felt fine. Ran from about 8’00/M down to 6’30/M for first 2M and then did a few long “strides” setting it at about 4’40-20M for ~150m. Total run 3M+ in 20’.

XT: Hips.

Domingo, 8 de Enero, 2017 – Sparknotes: Fartlek 17km in 53’26 (3’09/km) w/ 1k @ 2’54, 2k @ 6’02, 3k @ 9’05, 3k @ 9’02, 2k @ 5’50, 1k @ 2’50, with 1km mod between all @ 3’33 (avg).

7am: Today was the last “orange” (medium) workout before Houson in 1 week! Got up early around 4:45am but snoozed until just after 5am, felt really tired and didn’t want to get out of bed. Pitch black, of course.

Had some coffee and a nature valley bar and then began the workout a little after 7am to mimic Houston start time. Felt very good once I’d woken up a bit!

Ran this whole workout on the treadmill in the gym as the roads were totally iced over and you could barely walk across the street without eating it. The running was at 1.5% incline and then gym was 70F according to thermostat (which was probably also helpful since Houston is supposed to be a bit warmer/more humid than we’ve had here).

Workout was a fartlek with 1k, 2k, 3k, 3k, 2k, 1k quick with 1km of recovery between each one (moderate, not jogging). We’d hope to go up the ladder around HMP and then back down a bit quicker.

Ended up going very well. First km was quicker on purpose ~2’54 and then the first 2k/3k were quite manageable at around 3’01-02/km. Nice on the treadmill to just be able to set the pace and zone out!

On the second 3km, I tried to accelerate a bit after the first half of the interval and ran the last 1km in 2’57 for 9’02. That last 2km was definitely the hardest interval as I really tried to be aggressive and went out in 2’57 and was really hurting already but just kept pushing to come back in 2’53 for 5’50. Finally, the last 1km was tough but mentally much easier as I knew it was so short and it was the last interval. Negative split for 2’50.x.

The total for this was 53’26 for 17km which is 3’09/km avg – very good for this type of workout!

Cooled down short on the tm still about 2km and then leg circuits. Total run 15M+.

1 km 2’53.5 (2’53.5) 175 (2’53.5)
2 km 6’21.4 (3’27.9) 163
3 km 9’24.1 (3’02.7) 174
4 km 12’23.1 (2’59.0) 177 (6’01.7)
5 km 15’54.4 (3’31.3) 167
6 km 18’56.9 (3’02.5) 174
7 km 21’59.1 (3’02.2) 177
8 km 24’58.9 (2’59.8) 178 (9’04.5)
9 km 28’30.5 (3’31.6) 169
10 km 31’32.9 (3’02.4) 176
11 km 34’35.3 (3’02.4) 177
12 km 37’32.4 (2’57.1) 182 (9’01.9)
13 km 41’10.9 (3’38.5) 172
14 km 44’08.1 (2’57.2) 180
15 km 47’01.0 (2’52.9) 184 (5’50.1)
16 km 50’35.8 (3’34.8) 174
17 km 53’26.2 (2’50.4) 186 (2’50.4)

XT: Legs circuit. 3 sets of [step up (15x each leg), overhead lunge (24x), dynamic lunge (24x), squat (12x)]. No weight today to give the legs a bit of rest this week.

4:30pm: Busy afternoon running some errands with Mar. Got home and got in a great little nap and then went outside – finally the streets were cleared! Ran out/back on MVN. Felt okay but very cold ~20F and super windy. Dressed very well though so not too bad. Very surprised to see how quick I’d run as I didn’t look at the watch until I got back. Total run 5km, 3M+ in 22’.