After having a tough time last week getting my training started due to a calf injury (strained left soleus), I seem to be back on track (at least for the time being). The past week started off rather poorly, but ended well. Without further ado, heres week two (Hey, it rhymes!).
Week 2 (6/30 7/6)
This is what SmartCoach had scheduled for me:
Monday An 8 mile run. My first run of the week goes poorly; possibly because I ran too soon after a dinner that included two large bowls of salad (and I also ate two bowls at lunch). I felt like I was working fairly hard, but my splits slower than I expected (all around 6:30). My legs never seemed to loosen up and my calf was a bit tight. I had hoped to end the month of June on a higher note. The most redeeming aspect of the run was the presence of fireflies.
Tuesday An 8 mile run. I was able to hold an extremely consistent pace, but it was even slower than the day before (every split I took was 6:31). My start of July is even worse than my end of June. I had planned on making this my tempo run for the week, but after a couple of miles it became apparent that my speed just wasnt there. Even after I decided not to push the pace it was still a struggle both physically and mentally. My calf was a bit stiff, but it did loosen up after a few miles. After two sub-par runs in a row, Im feeling tired and flat.
Wednesday An 8 mile run. I was at my school for the day to get set up for summer classes. I attempted to do my usual sets of pull-ups and chin-ups and I simply quit about half way through because I had no energy. I ran 8 miles again and it was slow for the third straight day. My body felt drained. On a positive note, the weather was wonderful and I ran with Chris Flynn (who won the last 5K I raced). It was nice to be able to talk to someone and get my mind off the pace so I could simply enjoy the running. Im hoping that Chris (who is actually teaching in my regular classroom for the summer) and I will be able to train together regularly once we start teaching next week.
Thursday An 8 mile run. I drop my girls off at swim team practice and head out for yet another 8-miler. I had decided to pretty much pack it in for the week, just do slow recovery runs, call it my cutback week, and try again the following Monday. My warm-up and first mile were pretty quick (6:15) and easy, however, so I decided to push the pace and see if I could make it a tempo run. The next four miles were 6:10, 6:07, 6:03, and 5:57. Its hardly a banner day in terms of times, but I gladly take it after the previous three and I believe it to be fast enough to count for my weekly speed session (even if SmartCoach recommended a very tough 5:47 pace for my Week 1 tempo run). I am not ready to declare my slump over after a single run, but it sure was a relief. Also, my left calf flared up briefly (for about 100 meters) near the halfway point of the run. When I arrive back at the pool to pick up my daughters I am treated to a few delicious slices of watermelon (from melons that had been used in silly practice relays).
Friday Another 8 miler (that makes five in a row). This turned out to be a nice recovery run while my daughters were at swim practice. It was humid but I still managed to run relaxed at a pace that averaged a little under 6:20. Im glad to have more bounce in my legs.
Saturday A 16.5 mile run. This run went much better than expected. I wanted to go even farther, but I decided to stick with what SmartCoach recommended for my first long run in two months (since the Frederick Marathon on May 4). Since its only Week 2, I have the time to build up at an appropriate and gradual rate. I spend about four hours of the morning on my feet as a timer at my daughters swim meet. The mornings early rain clears by the end of the meet, but it leaves a high humidity in its wake. After the meet, I didnt have a full lunch, but instead I down a Clif Bar and some trail mix. I popped a nuun tablet in my water bottle and put another Clif Bar in my shorts because I like to get practice taking fuel and fluids on long runs. I didnt bother taking a shirt, however, since I knew that it would simply become soaked and heavy within the first few miles given the humid weather. I went out and settled into a comfortable pace I hoped I could maintain. I was surprised that my first mile was a fairly quick (for a long run) 6:25, but I ended up running relatively steady as my fastest mile (two) was a 6:20 and my slowest (thirteen) was a 6:30. After such a poor beginning of the week, I was thrilled to have such a strong performance. When I got home I ate some Kashi Go-Lean Crunch cereal and jumped in an ice bath. Later on my wife and I had a wonderful walk through downtown Frederick.
Sunday A 2500-meter swim in the afternoon and an hour of easy bike spinning at night. Its my cross-training day, so I swim slow and untimed laps in the afternoon and then some very relaxed spinning on my bike trainer after the girls go to bed.
This week had me very worried early on. Three poor days in a row was a huge psychological blow. It felt like I was completely sapped. I know that there are many people who would be very happy if they could run my slow pace, but that wasnt providing much comfort; I want to continue to improve as a runner and find the edges of my potential. Im extremely grateful that I was able to bounce back and end the week well. Im hoping that I will be able to recover quickly from my first long run.