Last week was Week 2 of my training cycle, and on the whole it was pretty satisfying.
The speed session I attempted on Thursday, though, had me re-evaluating things somewhat. For this session, I was supposed to run 2 miles easy as a warm-up (which I did), then the speed section was to be 5 x half a mile at 5k pace with quarter mile jog recoveries in between. Well, after 2 x half miles at 5k pace with the jog recoveries, I was totally exhausted and felt like I couldn’t do it five times! I amended the session and instead ran a few more miles and included 5 sets of 30 second fast strides (mostly with 30 second jog recovery in between, although one recovery was a little longer as I waited to get past a lingering icy patch before running fast again). The strides went well, although I felt tired on the run back home afterwards. I did cover the prescribed distance of 7.75 miles for the whole session (including the recovery at an easy pace), so that was good, and I did get some good speedwork done, even though it wasn’t the session I planned.
It’s gotten me thinking about where I’m at as a runner, and how I’m probably not in the shape I was in several years ago when I was training with Bellahouston Harriers – in those days I could’ve managed a tough session like that without too much trouble. I’d still have found it tough (it’s supposed to be!), but I could have done it. I don’t know…..I find myself pondering, is it because I’m getting older (mid-40s now as opposed to very late-30s / early-40s back then)? But then there are runners the same age and older than me who are still regularly busting out tough training sessions and awesome 5k times. Is it because I’m running at altitude here in Colorado as opposed to at sea-level back in Scotland? But I’ve lived here for nearly three years now and am well acclimated to the high altitude (although I’m sure I read somewhere that you never really run quite as fast at altitude as you can at sea-level, no matter how acclimated you are).
Was I just having a bit of a bad running day on Thursday? That’s certainly possible and happens to all runners now and then. I think it might be something to do with having less mental toughness and resilience for tough speed sessions these days too – partly to do with training on my own vs. training in a team setting when I trained with Bellahouston Harriers. Having a team of people around you doing the same workout, and the bit of competitiveness that kicks in, really does help, for me at least. It might be something to do with getting older in that I’m becoming less competitive, and being slightly less prepared to totally bust a gut in training sessions – I really want to enjoy my running and not have certain sessions become something to dread. With all that said, I’m definitely going to keep speed sessions as a part of my training to help me run the best marathon that I’m capable of. I think I just have to tone them down a bit in the meantime, and hope that I build up some more resilience for them again.
Like I say, though, it wasn’t a bad week’s training overall. I actually ran (and enjoyed!) a different speed session on Saturday, which was 8.25 miles with 6 miles of that being at marathon pace. This went great, and gave me a much-needed mental boost after Thursday’s session. My long run on Sunday was fantastic – 15.1 miles on a beautiful morning. Including my other runs I did complete the proposed mileage for the week too, which was 45 miles (I finished up the week at 45.65 miles). I only did one full strength workout this week instead of the planned two, but I did do core exercises after all of my runs except on Sunday. I also got back to cross-training, with a 45 minute indoor cycling class on Tuesday.
Onwards and upwards into Week 3!
Wishing everyone a great week!
Thanks for reading!
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