Time to get training, eh? I guess so!
With Twin Cities 6 weeks away, I'm feeling a bit behind the ball. At this point in training for Napa I had already done multiple 16 and 18-mile runs, fast finish runs, and plenty of speedwork. I've basically been doing none of that this summer. Luckily, I think the quasi-training I did for the Ridge Run finally put me back in a comfortable aerobic zone: I just need to work on speed to actually PR at Twin Cities.
[Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post! Check out this photo of the Twin Cities finish! Awesome!]
In a (not so) funny little training quirk, I finally snapped back the week after the Ridge Run. Why couldn't that have happened a week earlier!? Ugh. I think the long effort, followed by a good rest week, pushed me back up to where I need to be to actually train seriously. How can I tell? Well, sorry to be gross, but my veins are huge: this is my indicator of fitness. Yes, weird, I know. But when I'm in shape, I can tell by my veins in my legs and arms! They're here (gross), so apparently so are my running legs.
In my post about training for marathon #2 I highlighted five things I'd be doing more of in preparation for Twin Cities:
- More days running each week
- More cross training
- More strength and core work
- More injury prevention
- Try something new like Tennis Lessons or swimming to prevent too much repetition
- Better recovery
For the most part, I'm doing quite well on these. I'm running just as much as I did last training cycle, but not skipping days, and have added two days of cycling (cross training!) each week for more aerobic work. I'm doing a lot more yoga than I did all winter, so strength and core are definitely better (I could/should do some more focused core work, though). I consider yoga to be somewhat of an injury prevention technique, but what I MEANT by that was to be rolling out more. I haven't been doing that at all; however, I didn't actually NEED to do it before Napa until I'd been really training for 4 months already. With 6 weeks, I might not actually get to that point! Recovery is also on the up — I actually won a huge container of Recoverite, which I used to think was silly, but I've been drinking it after hard runs and I think it's probably a good thing. Better than not eating anything (but cheez-its) to replenish the muscles.
The following is my (pseudo) training plan for the next six weeks. Mile repeats might be replaced by Yassos, and track workout and tempo runs might be switched sometimes, but I do try to get a good combination of both. I've been thinking about doing long runs on Fridays so I can actually enjoy a good bike ride on Sundays, but we'll see how that goes. If I do long runs Saturdays I can do two speed workouts (tues/thurs) in a week, which I think is pretty beneficial at this point.
You can see the second half of week 4 (as the weeks count DOWN to race day) is easy: I don't have time to do a full 3:1 work:rest week situation, so I'm abbreviating my rest to four days, then another hard week and a half before really tapering. Hopefully that's enough of a taper, and enough hard work. We'll see how that plays out...
My biggest challenge at this point is the weather: I am TERRIBLE at running in the heat. I don't wake up early, so I have to wait until the evening, which is problematic if I'm doing anything social, or get lazy. I'm feeling enough pressure that laziness hasn't really been a problem, so I don't mind doing my runs in the evening, but with the sun setting earlier and earlier I can't fit in my LONG runs in the evenings. Last weekend I did my first long run (16 miles) and didn't get out the door until 10 am: big mistake. I was SO HOT the entire time, and even running with my hydration pack (NERD!), I was not comfortable at all. I drank nearly the entire thing, and would have been much better off running at 6 am to beat the heat. Lesson learned. Next weekend, I'll be an early riser (I hope).
I'm trying to keep high hopes for the race, but also feeling like I'm too far behind to realistically PR (especially not by 5 minutes). I'm curious to see how this week and next go — I'm still feeling slow, but like I could ramp it up pretty quick. Stay tuned!