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50k training: week 4

This week had some enjoyably hard efforts, as well as some of the coldest runs that I have ever done. I am ready to invest in some warmer mittens for running, although I hope it will not turn into a Murphy's Law situation where I buy nicer mittens, only to not need them because the rest of the winter season ends up being mild.

Here is my week in a snapshot:

Monday: 3*2 miles @ tempo pace with 3 minute jog recovery (avg ~6:45 pace)

Tuesday: 3.76 miles, 40:50 (Local Holiday Lights Run with the family)

Wednesday: 6 miles, 56:01

Thursday: 3 treadmill miles, 30:00

Friday: 7.2 miles, 59:00

Saturday: 18 miles, 2:30:01

Sunday: Rest

Weekly Total: 47.2 miles

I had some anxiety going into Monday's workout, as I am not used to running longer workouts for race distances beyond 5k. By the end of the last rep, comfortably hard tempo pace had turned into some straining, although that would make sense for being at 1 hour race pace for 45 minutes total. I expected to be around 7 minute pace, but I surprised myself when I checked the paces at the end and saw miles in the 6:4x range. I am an advocate for learning to feel paces and limiting checking the watch in workouts; Monday was a great example of how not checking my pace allowed me to run faster than I would have thought that I could.

I do need to learn how paces in the 7 minute range feel and that will take some practice. I had hoped to run close to three miles at 7:30 pace in the middle of my 18 mile long run, but ended up at 7 minute pace. I was able to stay in the low 8 minute pace range, despite the temperature being in the single digits and the wind chill hitting negative temperatures! The run marks my new coldest run, but I was fairly comfortable after the first two or three miles. My face was extra cold for awhile, as I took my face gaiter off due to sweat buildup early on, only for the gaiter to freeze before I could pull it back up! That was a new experience.

The camaraderie of that long run made a huge difference as well. The group was not as chatty as usual, but complaints about the cold notwithstanding, I had a lot of fun and a lot of gratitude for some guys who were willing to run my tempo section with me, then pushed me to keep the pace steady for the next 5 miles to the finish. The course has rolling hills, but I held on and barely avoided getting dropped at the end of the run. There are few things more satisfying than a well done hard effort with friends.

Post long run selfie (once I was safe in the warmth of my home again!)

I got to run with my husband pushing the double stroller at a local Holiday Lights Run on Tuesday night. We may have had more fun than the kids, but my son may very well be biking next to us by next year. It was quite cold, but we stopped to carol at two houses (yes, all 100+ people!) and I am grateful for the coordination efforts of some local running groups, as well as a local mountain biking group. The sense of community was so welcoming and had me in the holiday mood.

Holiday Lights Run with the family and 100+ runners!

I have continued forcing myself to slow down on Thursdays, which is easily achieved on the treadmill. Having a short and easy run is a great segway into a weekend of longer, harder runs. If we do not slow down and take it easy, we will not be able to run hard days as well as we might like to. Rest and recovery should be important parts of a training cycle, not afterthoughts, and I highlight that in the training programs I provide as a coach.

Friday was a character building day, as I solo'd my way uphill through 30+mph wind gusts that seemed to occur every time I went uphill.... and I had chosen a hilly route. I do not usually listen to music on runs, but I was in a bad mood after missing my morning alarm for my usual group run and putting a playlist on got me out the door, which was the most important thing.

Well, I have another promising week of fun group runs, as well as some exploring while my family goes on a mini-vacation this week.

Enjoy your miles!

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