January 21, 2011

Know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em.

Apparently, I can't count. THIS is my 7th week of Galloway's "Boston: How To Qualify" program. Not last week. "Only" 23 weeks to go. I spent quite a bit of time looking ahead, seeing the weekly mileage pile up and finally spinning myself into a slight panic attack when I saw that my peak mileage week (3 weeks prior to Grandma's Marathon) will be 47 miles. That is the week my LSD is 29 miles. My hands are sweating dripping buckets just thinking about what that's going to feel like. Luckily, I will have run 26 miles 4 Sunday's prior to this, with an easy 6, 12 x 1 mile repeats, and a little tempo work in the middle of a 7 miler on the Sundays in between each of these LSDs.

This probably wasn't the best week for me be looking so far ahead. I've been battling somewhat with burn out which I haven't felt in over a year. I managed to give myself permission to cut a planned 45 minute run on Wed down to 30 min. Granted, I did have a double-workout Tuesday this week - 6 miles in the morning and then just over 2.5 miles with our Galloway members later in the evening. Instead of waiting until Wed evening to run, I ran at 4pm, right after work. It may have been to soon. My HR was about 5-7 bpm higher than what it normally is at a 10 min/mile pace and wasn't recovering well during my 30 sec walk breaks. Not to mention my form. It just didn't feel right. My legs were heavy, I couldn't get my torso over my legs no matter how short I kept my stride. Then I went a little mental on myself. It was a pretty good beating. And this is just 15 minutes into the run.

Old Vera vs. New Vera
Internal dialogue: "Just get this 45 minutes over with", "Maybe I could run 30 minutes today at this slower pace and try the 45 minute session tomorrow", "So you're going to QUIT 15 minutes early?" I realized at this point that the 'old' Vera was resisting a change in the schedule because this would equate to failure and laziness. The 'new' Vera recognized that this was an old way of thinking - likely contributing to consistent battles with both IT bands in the past. It was within just a minute or so of becoming aware my old thought process was sneaking back in that I released this internal pressure which allowed to me to relax and push through those final 15 minutes. It was probably the hardest 3 mile run I've had in years. In my log, I rated my effort at a SEVEN out of 10 (usually this workout would be about a 4). I rated my enjoyment a ONE out of five and whined in my Notes section about how terrible it all was. What started as a snowball in the first 15 minutes turned into a mental avalanche at the end, crushing my spirit. I tried to keep reminding myself my brain that the next day would be better after a little more rest.

I managed to hold out until my lunch hour on Thursday to tackle the 45 minute session even though I promised myself I would wait until after my work day was over. Meh - what's a difference of 4 hours going to make? So, I gave into my Ego, grabbed my Lunar Glides (which I'm able to run in twice a week now - Woo Hoo!) and started off at that same 10:00 min mile pace. Five minutes in, I was already feeling 100% stronger, physically and mentally, relative to Wednesday. It was just enough to boost my confidence and carry me through to the end, averaging a 9:46 pace due to small negative splits between mile 2 and 4.6 miles (45 min). My HR response was much closer to what I would expect at these progressively faster paces, although I would have liked to see the bpm's drop a little further during the 30 second walk breaks. I rated my effort at a 6/10 and my enjoyment rating bumped up to 3/5. In the Notes section, I was sure to praise myself for letting go of my internal negative judgements the day prior and reinforce that my willingness to be flexible with my schedule got me through a tough run for which I was rewarded with a stronger, more enjoyable workout the next day. Okay I get it. "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em". Stay flexible to avoid fatigue, burn out and injuries. Accept there will be days like Wednesday when it's better to fold early rather the hold yourself to that day's planned session. Folding early Wed led to successfully holding a 45 minute run on Thurs with less effort and more enjoyment. Lesson learned!

I'm SO looking forward to my 14-miler on Sunday. Nice and slow, cruising along the beach. After this weekend, it's taper time! The Surf City Half is rapidly approaching and I'm getting really excited about this race. More on race day strategy and schedule modifications to stay on track with my Full Marathon schedule and incorporate our Galloway group's schedule at the same time coming next week. A little tricky - likely more lessons learned. I think we can all agree that it is through these lessons we continue to grow as runners.

Happy Friday!!


Greg Strosaker said...

Nice mid-week attitude recovery, Internet high-five given. Your training plan sounds intense - did I read things right, a 29 mile long run and 12x1 mile repeats? I guess I'd be interested in understanding the objectives of such runs - not to disparage them in anyway but many coaches would advise against such long workouts, and I love to see the different thought patterns that drive different training programs.

Vera said...

Hi Greg - high five! The idea behind the 29 miler is both endurance-driven and a confidence booster. Going into a race, you have the endurance to run a very slow-paced 29 miler so you'll feel like you have more to give in a 26.2 mile race. Remember, this is a run/walk/run program. There is not a lot of speed work in this program during the week. I add that myself only if I'm feeling strong.

Galloway mile-repeats are run at specific paces (depending on your goal finishing time) using specific run/walk intervals (3 min run/ 0:30 second walk). For example, I'm following the schedule for a 4:30 finish (10:20 overall pace). Galloway mile repeats are segmented into 4 parts (0.25 miles each). The first 1/4 mile and last 1/4 mile of each repeat are run in 9:30 and the middle 2 quarter-miles are run in 9:10. A five minute walk/slow jog period follows each repeat. So while some of this would be 'overkill' in other programs, it is consistent with Galloway training methods. Faster finishing times require 2-mile repeats (broken up into 1/2 mile segments) which I have done on my own just out of curiosity and for the challenge. :-)

I love it!! :-)