Friday, October 21, 2016

The Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials

“The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many day, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”

After the US Half Marathon Championship last April(photos above), I took a down week, then got back into gradually building my endurance and base.  My coach and I agreed that I could handle an increase in my mileage, and that summer was the time to do it, with minimal to no racing at all during this period.  The goal was to get used to 120 mile weeks.  Time to toughen up and work hard, plain and simple.

This period, from May through August, was the toughest training I have ever done.  I was tired all the time(including too tired to type on this blog).  There were days where I woke up exhausted, barely able to get out of bed...and yet somehow I got out the door and ran another 12-20+ miles on any given day.  I doubled nearly every day, 4 days a week minimum(no fewer than 11-12 runs).  I also somehow managed to work full time at the running store, and work on my personal coaching, and occasionally give my mom a phone call.  In addition, I have taken on a role as a volunteer assistant with the Mary Washington University Cross Country and Track Team.  So, I haven't had enough time/energy to get to this blog until now(and right now I have been tapering well for an upcoming race so I actually have the time and energy).  But I like to keep the blog going, because for my own documentation as well as for others to see the periods of change my training has gone through the past several years.  It helps me get better.  And, I appreciate the followers of this blog and hope it helps those reading.  One thing I love about this blog is that I can go back to 2011 and look back at a bad race I had or what race I was happy with, how I trained, etc.  It is an online storybook of data and memories, all connected to each other.  You can see the process of adaptation by looking at the periodization of higher mileage, then higher intensity, etc.  This year, for instance, is by far the most 100+ mile weeks I have put in.  Over the past summer the shortest I would run in a day would be 6 miles in the morning and 6 miles in the evening-those were the easy days, the recovery days.  I have the training outlined below, up until this past week.  I highlighted the long runs of each week, and the hard workouts as well.  You can see why I crashed in September, and that the rest/recovery was essential.  The physiological effects of running high mileage are that your body cannot fully recover, so that if you race during high mileage training, you will most likely not run your best.  However, if you can get through it, and once you begin to add rest and recovery, therefore allowing the body to absorb the training you have put it through, the adaptation process begins.  Your body reconnects the damage you put it through, and rebuilds back stronger.  Then, you roll the dice, and you race.  You have the strongest aerobic system behind you, and all you need is a little bit of luck and careful tapering.

5/09-5/15: 110 miles (no runs over 12 miles, hill repeats, drills, strides)
5/16-5/22: 120 miles (long runs: 16, 6 x 5:00 fartleks, drills, strides)
5/23-5/29: 120 miles (long runs: 14, 17, 20, hill repeats, drills, strides)
5/30-6/05: 116 miles (long runs: 17, 18, 6 x 5:00 fartleks, drills, strides)
6/06-6/12: 120 miles (long runs: 15, 16, 20, hill repeats, drills, strides)
6/13-6/19: 120 miles (long runs: 14, 18, 20, 6 x 5:00 fartleks, drills, strides)
6/20-6/26: 120 miles (long runs: 20, hill repeats, drills, strides)
6/27-7/03: 120 miles (long runs: 14, 15, 18, 6 x 5:00 fartleks, drills, strides)
7/04-7/10: 120 miles (long runs: 15, 18, hill repeats, drills, strides)
7/11-7/17: 120 miles (long runs: 20, 6 x 5:00 fartleks, drills, strides)
7/18-7/24: 100 miles (long runs: 20, 4 mile tempo: 20:45, hill repeats, drills, strides)
7/25-7/31: 100 miles (long runs: 15, 18, Track: 6 x 1600m w/ 400m jog: 5:17, 5:09, 5:12, 5:05, 5:04, 5:02, drills, strides)
8/01-8/07: 115 miles (long runs: 16, 22, Track: 8 x 1200m w/ 200m jog: 3:51, 3:48, 3:49, 3:48, 3:47, 3:47, 3:46, 3:45, drills, strides) 
8/08-8/14: 115 miles (long runs: 16, 20, Track: 3200m: 10:13, 1600m: 5:05, 800m: 2:35, hill repeats, drills, strides)
8/15-8/21: 112 miles (long runs: 14, 15, 24 miler - 2:32:00, Track: 800m: 2:33, 1200m: 3:47, 1600m: 5:03, 1200m: 3:48)
8/22-8/28: 68 miles (no long runs, Track: 600m: 1:45, 800m: 2:25, 1200m: 3:37, 1600m: 4:50, 600m: 1:46, South Lakes 10K: 2nd place, 32:08) 
8/29-9/04: 120 miles (long runs: 15, 18, 26 miler - 2:43:00, Track: 12 x 400m @ 70 each)
9/05-9/11: 100 miles (long runs: 16, Track: 1600m: 5:01, 2400m: 7:30, 1600m: 4:56, 800m: 2:22)
9/12-9/18: 60 miles (Philly Half: 11 mile tempo run(5:20-5:30 pace), strides)
9/19-9/25: 57 miles (long runs: 28 miler - 3:05:00) 
9/26-10/02: 82 miles (long runs: 24 miler)
10/03-10/09: 92 miles (long runs: 15, 18 miles @ 5:50 pace, Track: 6 x 1200m w/ 400m jog @ 3:38 avg)
10/10-10/16: 90 miles (long runs: 16 miles w/ 15 miles @ 5:30-5:40 pace, Track: 6 x 1600m w/ 400m jog: 5:11, 4:57, 4:57, 4:55, 4:56, 4:59)

It just dawned on me that  I have averaged over 100 miles/week for the past 6 months.

and this week:

10/17-10/23: (mileage projected to be mid 50's) 
Track on 10/19: 6 x 800m w/ 400m jog: 2:28, 2:27, 2:26, 2:24, 2:23, 2:22

At the end of August, I tested my fitness a bit by jumping in the South Lakes 10K on a humid day with Thomas Curtin(13:27 5K guy), in which he won and I finished about 100 meters behind.  Then, once September rolled around, my body was beginning to show signs of how far it had been pushed.  My heel was starting to give me trouble.  The week of September 5-11 was the last 100 mile week I have done.  On Sept 18, I had to pull out of the Philly Rock n Roll Half Marathon, and I had some pain on the bottom of my left heel.  I was on edge.  I had to back off, and recover.  It wasn't that bad, but I could tell I needed to rest.  I took a few days off, and reduced my mileage quite a bit.  My goal was to get my body to recover and let it adapt to the training.  For some time I pondered whether or not I should tackle another race.  Did I need to just call it a season and start over?  I thought about the race I am entered in.  A race I could place well in next weekend.  But am I ready?  During the time I had the heel/plantar trouble, my training partner Conrad unfortunately got injured to the point where he was unable to run.  So, Conrad was broken down, and I was just barely hanging on.  I was walking on very thin ice.  On Sept 25, my good friend Aaron Anderson joined me in a long run where he ran about 23 miles and I finished 28 miles, my longest run to date.  As October came around, I was able to get on the track again and did some 1200m repeats & 1600m repeats.  I did a quick 18 miler, and then 1 week later an even quicker 15 miles.  This week, I did some 800m repeats, and felt good to get a final dose of speed in the legs.

Overall, I feel good and have decided I would be completely stupid to not run the race I entered, which is next weekend.  If you look at my running on paper, it says I am a great half marathon racer with 1:06 speed, but the marathon is a difficult event for me to translate.  However, I do feel like I have the advantage of being the faster half marathoner in this race.  If I can stay close to the leaders, I know I'll have the speed and strength to be comfortable at the slower pace.  We'll see.  I have entered in next weekend's Marine Corps Marathon. 


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