We now join our story in progress…
After completing four weeks of Not Injured, I have dared to assemble a tentative plan for 2016. The first part of the plan is that I won’t be running any full marathons until September’s Ventura Marathon, which will be exactly one year from my last one. I really thought I’d be doing three fulls in 2016 – Surf City, Mountains2Beach, and then Ventura – but this last bout with injury has me skittish about jumping into marathon training before my body can handle it. I’m am enjoying my strength training and still building mileage on this midfoot strike, and I want to be in the best shape possible…before I ruin it with marathon training. Ha. Or at least minimize the damage. So until then, it will be three half marathons before the Ventura full: Surf City in February, Hollywood in April, and then my goal race Mountains2Beach in May.
Despite knowing that I’ll be running a half marathon in four weeks, I’m still kinda winging it. Not only am I unsure about my goal for this race, I don’t even really know what my training paces are yet, so there’s no real plan except to continue to strength train, get my mileage up, and throw in a tempo run and/or some fast miles. This coming from a woman who is used to a three-phase schedule made up of base building, sharpening, and taper. Um, OK.
The second piece of the plan is that I committed to working with Trainer through racing season. We had been month-to-month, but after three months I now have enough information to know that I want to continue on this route of strength-speed-agility work. Unfortunately for me, once I told him, and I thought we had this nice bonding moment, it seems as if Trainer has ramped up the workouts a bit. Was he holding back? WTF. After a day of horrible drills, we then did another hill workout. Have you ever done warm-up exercises on the side of a hill? Did you know that you can do lunges and butt kicks sideways and on an incline? Ugh.
I also met with FMC this past weekend, and we settled into a mileage cap of mid-30s for my half marathon training, as well as ramping up the tempo runs. While I was training for marathons, my tempo miles were done at half marathon pace, but now…eeks. 10K pace!
So I have the bones put in place for a training schedule, but the question has been my training paces. When I finally deemed myself Not Injured, I finally threw in a half marathon pace (HMP) mile into my first “long” run of 8 miles since being injured, I figured 9:09 was a good number to shoot for. That means I’d do a solid 2:00 half marathon, which would be a PR on that course and, while certainly ambitious coming off injury just a month ago, seemed like it was doable. Or at least aimable. I ended up running the HMP mile in 8:58. The following week when I upped my long run to 10 miles, I decided to do two HMP miles at 8:58 pace based on the previous week. I ended up doing those in 8:40 and 8:41. Well, this is interesting. So three weeks ago, I added another HMP mile to make it three, aiming for the now adjusted pace of 8:50, and I did them at 8:51, 8:22, and 8:25. Is this a fluke? A result of lower mileage? And what then is my HMP?!?
These past couple weeks I decided to dial the speed back. While adding another two miles to my long run to total 14 (all this speedwork has me a little panicked about not having the legs to go the half marathon distance), I aimed to do eight miles at goal marathon pace (MP) for Ventura, which is 9:33. I did my MP miles in 9:02, 9:06, 9:13, 9:02, 9:08, 8:53, 8:55, and 8:57. I went from doing 12 miles in overall average 10:06 pace to running 14 miles in overall average pace 9:40.
Even this past week’s cutback was a mixture of pain and results. I usually love cutback week. It means less mileage, less intensity…yeah, no, apparently not any more. I had a brutal leg day with heavy weights, but far worse were these hateful sprinting drills. Two days of these things. Anyway, come long run day, I planned to do 10 miles easy-ish. You know, base pace, so not slower than 10:30. I averaged a 9:40 pace.
I am befuddled.
So now you can see why I finally committed to working with Trainer for the rest of the racing season. Not only am I no longer injured (this is still scary to say), I am stronger and, if these past four weeks are anything to go by, seemingly faster.
Keep strength training and add some miles is the Plan I have for Surf City in four weeks. About as close to No Plan as someone like me can get…and it continues to be fluid. Who am I?
Hope everyone has a great running week!