Thursday, July 2, 2009

Back on the Horse!

Yesterday was my first real run since Mohican and it felt great to get back out there. I ran/jogged 6 miles with my running club on Saturday, but took it very easy. I’ve wanted to get back out there and run, my legs have felt great, but someone’s always yelling at me to take more time off, so I’ve taken it easy up until yesterday. I’ve always been a proponent of listening to my body. If I’m sore or too tired I’m never afraid to take a day off or a day easy. For those that follow my blog, it’s pretty apparent that I’m not afraid to take days off, in fact I probably take too many days off for someone running marathons/ultras. With that being said, my body was telling me to go out and run just a couple days after Mohican. My body felt much better after Mohican than it does after a marathon, and I’m usually back doing speed work three days after a marathon, so why the need to take so much time off? Well, because to non-ultra runners, regardless of what I say, have this belief that 100 miles must wreak havoc on the body. Even seasoned marathoner runners who do twice the weekly mileage I do on a regular basis, are adamant that I need to take more rest. We’ll people, I’m done listening to everyone else’s advice, it’s time to listen to what my body is telling me…”GET OUT THERE AND RUN YOU LAZY ASS!” I couldn’t feel better after yesterday’s run, not only did it feel great to get that heart pumping and legs moving, but all the stress I’ve built up at work over the last couple weeks was finally lifted off my shoulders.
So let’s finally get to the recap of yesterday’s workout. After a 1 mile warm-up we arrived at the base of a 300 meter hill (about 15% grade). The workout called for 8 x 300 meter hill repeats with a walking recovery back down to the start, sounded pretty easy for a speed workout. We completed the first 300 meter hill in under 0:55, which was a pretty good effort and we turned to walk down the hill. About a 1/3 of the way down we were all exchanging looks and we were clearly all thinking the same thing, “are we really going to walk all the way down?” About ½ way down we were all jogging to the start…it would be a running recovery the rest of the way. We typically only give ourselves 60-90 seconds of recovery so it seemed crazy to take a much longer recovery on such a short effort (300 meters). All the repeats clocked between 52 and 58 seconds and the recovery was anywhere from 90-100 seconds. I ran pretty relaxed the whole time but my cardio was getting taxed after 4 or 5 and the recovery wasn’t enough time to catch my breath. I was completely out of breath the last three and it took a concentrated effort to not slack on my pace. My legs felt strong the whole time (Mohican hills had me well prepared for hill repeats) but my cardio is a bit behind, tonight’s workout was a great workout to whip my cardio into shape pronto.
After the hill repeats we did a relaxed 3 mile recovery and I finished up with 8 x 100 meter strides on the track, just short of sprinting speed. I’m going to be doing some 5k’s in the next couple of months and I need to do these strides to remind the legs that they are not only capable of going long, but that they can go fast too J. I got a few laughs from my training partners when I expressed my nervousness about my first 5k race in some time, which I’ll do on the 4th. There response was, “you just ran 100 miles, I think you’ll survive!”
A 5k cannot be taken lightly though, if done properly you should be in immense discomfort ½ mile into the race and than force the body to, “pick up the pace!” I literally have to be yelling at myself during the race, “faster, faster, harder!” By the time I cross the finish in a 5k I’m in gut wrenching pain and discomfort, it’s a real mental challenge to keep pushing the pace. I hope my experience with marathons and ultra’s gives me the mental edge to keep pushing the pace and get the sub 18:00 goal I’m aiming for. One great thing about a 5k, unlike longer races, is that you recover very quickly. About a ½ hour after the race you feel pretty good and are typically ready for a nice extended cool-down.

For everyone doing a race on the 4th, Good Luck!

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