Greetings from sweltering RVA - where the "feels like" temperature topped triple digits this weekend! (Whew) It's made for some super sweaty runs, that's for sure. But enough about the weather - let's get to the training.
This week was a recovery week for me. When crafting my schedule I had slotted this week to fall 9 weeks out from Erie. Like any recovery week, its goal was to give my body some time to absorb the last few weeks of hard training (70, 79, 86 miles each week, respectively), and to recharge my batteries a bit before plunging into the last big block of work before taper. I had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this week: I'd sleep in!! I wouldn't have to do any doubles!! I had a "short" long run of only 16 miles - what would I do with all that extra time!?!?!
Well, the week finally arrived and while it was nice to sleep in a bit and not have to do any doubles, the week was surprisingly difficult and left me feeling kind of...flat. This has happened to me in past seasons as well. I often do not feel as well on recovery weeks as I do during heavy training. Not sure if it's just my body being jolted a bit out of its regular daily-grind rhythm, or if the sluggishness comes from the body absorbing the gains and making adaptations. In either case, rest weeks have proven to be not so easy - both mentally and physically - and I have to remind myself constantly that my fitness has not disappeared when I'm dragging my tired legs up a hill in an "easy" 8-miler. We all know that rest is where the magic happens, where we make our gains from the training. But it can be so hard to take that much needed rest when it can leave you feeling more tired than you felt before! I know that it's just a phase, that my body will adapt and I'll feel better once I get the next week going. We'll get to that in a second, but here's how this past week shook out:
Monday - 9.7 miles (8:09 avg. pace) Ran this with a friend and I was dragging. I'd done pace miles (6 of them, 6:47 avg) on Saturday's run and they went terribly. My legs were still very fatigued on Monday so this run was not great.
Tuesday - 7.5 miles (8:21 avg) Ran a friend's tempo with him and felt surprisingly good. Most likely because it was not MY tempo! I love running other peoples' workouts with them - it's much more fun than running my own. :-)
Wednesday - REST. Ahhhh. I did my core work class at the gym in the morning but it was nice to sleep in and not have to get up at the crack of dawn for a run...though I felt oddly bereft to not have done my early morning wake-up-and-run routine. I taught BodyPump later in the evening.
Thursday - 10.1 miles (7:10 avg) Tempo time! Ran with two of my speedy guy friends from a new location! It was awesome to run somewhere different where I didn't know the route. It gave my mind a break and didn't give it a chance to anticipate (and dread) the hills. It was a cool(er) morning in the upper 60s with limited humidity so that was awesome, but unfortunately I was feeling the effects of the rest week and still felt sluggish. Though I was sucking wind big time on the run, I was happy to have a decent 4-mile tempo with splits of 6:21, 6:20, 6:32, 6:26.
Friday - 8.7 miles (8:34 avg) Recovery run. I had an opportunity to run the first few with my father and I jumped at the chance. I haven't been able to run with him that often since I do most of my training in the super-early-morning hours. It was nice to catch up with him and run easy while enjoying the relatively low humidity. Still feeling sluggish so my legs were grateful that I kept it easy. Taught BodyPump again later in the morning.
Saturday - 16.3 miles (7:35 avg) Long run with my group. I was expecting to feel pretty awesome on this run (It's a rest week! I had a recovery run yesterday! I'm hydrated and fueled up!), but instead I felt like death from the start. It was definitely not a confidence building run. I kept having to reassure myself that yes, everyone has a run/several runs/a week of runs that don't feel great and don't go quite to plan. I know that my fitness is there, but it sure seemed to be hiding on Saturday. I struggled through this run but got it done.
Sunday - 8.0 miles (8:25 avg) Recovery run. Legs still felt sluggish so I decided to run to the track and do some laps since it was a) flat and b) had no cars to worry about and c) had a water fountain. It was back to humid and HOT so I was grateful for the proximity to water! I used the time to listen to my BodyPump track list and practice cueing - had anyone been at the track they would have gotten a kick out of hearing me shouting out loud while I pretended to coach my class! All while running laps, of course :) But, hey - it was a good time to rehearse! Later in the day I taught my BodyPump class at noon and then competed in some parent swim relays for my stepdaughter's swim team. (P.S. - if you want your Oiselle shorts to double as a bathing suit bottom make sure to double-knot the drawstring. :-) I remained decent, but lost valuable relay time due to shorts adjustment!!)
Total: 60 miles
So with this (not so easy) rest week behind me, I am looking onward and upward to this week when I get back to some heavy training. I've got 86 miles on the schedule and two workouts: a fartlek-style workout and a shorter tempo. I'm looking forward to getting back in the groove during these next few weeks - but I know that sub-3 won't come easy. It's time to buckle down and get to work, folks!!
Anyone else out there feel worse during a recovery week? Give me your favorite mantra/saying for getting through the last tough weeks of marathon training before taper!