Monday, August 19, 2013

The Build-Up

The solitude and tranquil nature of this place re-captured my soul.  I felt alive.

My summer started off with shorter intervals working on speed and jumping in the mid-summer night's mile race.  The primary focus was to keep up leg speed before diving into the real training.

The week of July 15-21 I did a workout of 5 x 800 meters to get things going.  It was just a moderate effort, working down to no faster than 2:24.  I was to race the Rockville Twilighter 8K that weekend, which was cancelled.  At the time it was cancelled, I had a really good feeling, because I knew that I needed to continue to just train.  Besides the Midsummer night's mile on July 12, not racing for the rest of the summer was EXACTLY what I needed.  The workouts speak for themselves the past several weeks.  From there, I did a solid build up of workouts while also averaging weekly mileage of 95/week.

Below is my progression of workouts/mileage during the past month:

Week July 22-28: 107 miles/week
Track: 1 x 1200m: 3:45, 5 x 1600m: 4:55, 4:54, 4:57, 4:56, 4:57
Long Run: 20 miles

Week July 29-August 4: 90 miles/week
Track: 10 x 600m w/ 200m jog recoveries: 
1:57, 1:51, 1:48, 1:47, 1:46, 1:47, 1:47, 1:46, 1:47, 1:47
Long Run: 18 miles

Week August 5-August 11: 99 miles/week
Monday: 10 mile progression hilly route in Boyds(64:00)
Tuesday: 9 miles
Wednesday: AM: Track: 10 x 1000m w/ 200m jog recoveries: 
3:03, 3:00, 2:59, 3:01, 3:00, 3:02, 2:59, 3:01, 3:00, 3:03/PM: 4 miles
Thursday: 9.5 miles
Friday: 14 miles
Saturday: AM: Long Run 20 miles(2:17)/PM: 6 miles
Sunday: AM: 7 miles/PM: 9 miles

Week August 12-August 18: 84 miles/week
Monday: 6.5 miles
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: Track: 25:00 warm-up, 10 x 1600m w/ 2:00 min rest recoveries:
5:06, 5:05, 4:59, 4:58, 4:57, 4:57, 4:57, 4:55, 4:57, 4:56, 15:00 cool-down
Thursday: 13 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: Long Run 16 miles
Sunday: 13 miles

I can confidently say I am on a different level now in my training.  The difference really is in rest(which has been less than in the past).  These have been some of the best workouts I have ever done.  The 600s were the perfect distance to start the build up, and by doing the 200 jog rest gave me short recoveries.  The 10 x 1000m was a build-up from that by adding a lap to each interval, and by running close to the same pace.  Then the cooler weather broke through on Wednesday morning, and I did the best workout of my career thus far: the 10 x 1600m w/ 2:00 minute rests all averaging out to sub-5:00 pace.  If the weather is good at Philly in 4 weeks, I feel I can run very fast.  But I need a good day for it.

Blacksburg, VA(August 9-11):
Blacksburg is one of my favorite places to visit and train.  I have fond memories here when I was on the Virginia Tech Cross Country team.  On Friday I arrived and went to Pandapas Pond for an afternoon run.  The trails of the Jefferson Forest were exactly as I remembered.  I parked off Route 460 in the usual small parking lot and headed out into the forest.   There are miles of trails which have a series of ups and downs and different climbs.  I hadn't been here in 4 years, but I knew exactly where to turn.  Pretty soon, I was out in the middle of nowhere.  No cars, no traffic lights, no noise.  Sure, this is also why I train in Poolesville, MD, because of it's secluded/rural nature.  But nothing compared to training out here.  I need to come out here more often, I thought to myself.  The solitude and tranquil nature of this place re-captured my soul.  I felt alive.  And I re-discovered my joy for running more than ever.  This was truly, living.  I climbed up and down the hills, feeling my lungs take in all the fresh air they could get.  I pressed the pace on the way back to get in 14 miles that afternoon.

Saturday morning I got up early for a long run.  I decided to drive out to the New River trail, about 30 minutes from where I was staying.  The sunrise below was awesome.

The new river trail is actually flat, and is 57 miles long.  I started at Draper, pictured below, near milepost 6.  I headed out to milepost 16 and turned around to make it a 20 miler in 2:17.

Later that day, I drove out to the Blue Ridge Mountains to take in some awesome views.  I drove out to the Parkway to view the Devils Backbone, Elevation 2687 ft.

Saturday evening I did a second run along the Huckleberry Trail, which starts right near the Virginia Tech Campus/downtown Blacksburg.  I got in an easy 6 and felt quite good for having run 20 miles that morning.  The next morning, I ran on the trail again for another 7.  I drove back during the day, but stopped at Harper's Ferry that afternoon/evening to get another run in.  I got in 9 miles to finish up my 99 mile week.  As I drove home back to reality, I still had the above image in my head.

I will return to Blacksburg again, hoping sometime this fall.

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