Monday, August 10, 2009

holiday running...

For the past 4 years or so I have had an autumn marathon on the schedule and so my summer holidays have fallen in my training cycles. In 2005 (New York City), 2006 (Chicago), 2007 (Amsterdam) and 2008 (Chicago) I trained with the Hal Higdon plan and I tended to just either play it loosey goosey on holidays (tried, sorta, kinda to get my runs in) or I extended my training program overall with 2/3 weeks so that I could more or less take the holidays off. This year, however, my training changed. I took on the Pfitz, I became a lot stronger and a lot more dedicated to my running. This has taken, and continues to take, big mental leaps for me - taking myself remotely seriously as an athlete is a complete change from how I used to see myself. Going from someone who is pleased to finish races (and amazes friends by even competing) to holding myself accountable to certain paces and expecting some improvements and results as a result means putting myself out there. Put simply, over time my goal has gone from just competing to working hard and doing the best I can.

Sooooo - how does this work when a holiday falls in the middle of it all? I did not want to take 2 weeks of from running during our family holiday to Greece this year. However, I also did not want to affect everyone else's holiday by the demands of my taskmaster, the Pfitz. So I pfutzed it a bit. I added 2 weeks onto the 12 week schedule (so started 14 weeks in advance of Berlin). While in Greece I ran one week on schedule (my first week, the 55 miler) and used one of my wild-card weeks. For this week I ran the schedule for week 7 which is a step-back week (42M - the Pfitz knows how to chill). And well - you know how it went. I got the runs in, though quality was absent. Instead, it was all about just getting them done. I had hoped that, once I was home I would spring right back into my workouts but that has not proved the case. I had 9M with 4M at lactate threshold pace due on Sunday morning but whether it was the day of traveling beforehand, or the anticipation of everything I had to do for my 6 1/2 year old's birthday party, I just couldn't do it. I ran 2 miles to warm up and then managed 2.95M at 7:54 min/mile before collapsing in a heap. Obviously very disappointing but the first run of this training cycle that has had to go by the wayside.. I guess it happens.

I appear to have come back from my holiday with tired legs. Whether it was all that running in sand (man, how I hate that however pretty it looks) or the running in the heat, I don't think I've quite recovered. Also, my nutrition was not top notch - complex carbs were hard to come by - the only carbs I could take were white bread which doesn't really fit the ticket. Since coming home I've been trying to redress the balance and I think I'm getting back on track. My 8M with 5x600m at 5K pace (7:26, 7:18, 7:43, 7:06 and 6:54 min/mile pace) went well last night and this morning's recovery of 4M felt good. It's a busy week ahead with 11M tomorrow morning, 10M on Thursday morning (with 4M at lactate threshold - I want to get those LT miles in) and then a 20M race on Sunday. Yes! I've found one. Unfortunately it's a tough one - the Belper Rugby Rover is a cross country race with hills, mud, trails, sheep and cows.. Apparently the 20 miles are as tough as a flat marathon. However, it will just be good to get some more race training in. Plus I'm doing it with SuperSal so I'm going to have to have a word with her about pacing. She'll be bounding up those hills at 7:10 min/miles before we know it. Then next week I'm doing using my second silver bullet week as my son will be in hospital in London for an operation and I'm not sure how much running I can get in. I'm going to try to do the stepback week schedule again but will have to see how the land lies..

Wow my posts are so boring these days aren't they? Life is pretty crazy busy outside of running and so my brain is on the frizz. Lots of other people (I am catching up on your blogs, I promise) appear to be suffering with a case of the blahs and I think I've picked up a mild case myself. However - I promise to HTFU and just get on with it. And maybe wit and entertainment will make a reappearance?

8 comments:

ShirleyPerly said...

I too came back from my family reunion more tired than when I left, it seems (and I was pretty tired before!). Part of that I think is the traveling (airport, plane, etc) and the other is probably the unfamiliar diet, weather and routine. Give yourself a little time to adjust and know that every workout still counts, whether it goes according to plan or not. Good luck on your 20-miler on Sunday!

Susan said...

6:54? JESUS!

You are doing GREAT. You're a training machine. Job well done, I'd say. 55 miles while on holiday is INCREDIBLE.

Irish Blue said...

Petra,
Welcome back! You boring? I think not. You'll get your mojo back in no time, I'm sure of it. Good luck with the training and the upcoming race. Oh, and I agree with Susan...JESUS!! You're fast girl.

jeanne said...

no your posts are NOT boring. yes 55 miles on holiday is insane--insanely good!

you have a lot going on. Make sure you take time to be proud of yourself for all the gains you've made.

Hope the surgery went well. and good luck on your 20 miler, unless you already did it, in which case you need to blog it asap! :)

jen said...

I'm way behind but commenting anyway. :)

You did pretty darn good training while on vacation, and definitely give yourself some time to recover. I always think we need a vacation AFTER the vacation!

The question is, where are the pictures? Did I miss them?

Another question: You are planning your 6 1/2 year old's birthday party? Whaa? 6 months in advance, or is this a half-birthday? I'm intrigued. You are supermom indeed! :)

Keep up the great work my dear!! :)

peter said...

You have really kicked your accomplishment level up a degree, that's great. YOu have a lot to juggle, and I'm impressed you get your runs in. A 50+ Mile week. I went over 50 miles once in my life, and I have no kids to chase after.

Road Warrior said...

I love the change in focus, Petra. You've got broader goals in mind and you're making it happen. Just allow us mere mortals to be in awe every once in a while.

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