Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hard, easy, repeat...

That is the mantra of any athlete in training and attempting to improve their performance. The hard part seems obvious but the easy can be just as important so that your body can enjoy the benefits of the effort without being broken down by next hard effort. Many of us (myself included) just like to coast along putting in the miles but avoid the really hard efforts because, well ... they're hard. Actually it's usually never close to as hard as your evil runner try's to tell you it is. Whether it's a bunch of repeats on the track or road; or a hard effort in a race, it's never that difficult when actually doing it. The hard part is turning the doorknob, getting out the door and just getting started. Once committed the workout or race just unfolds as it should and you can debate with yourself afterwords whether you put in the effort it deserved or not.

Take my Friday workout for instance. I ended up doing a 10 mile run including 5 miles at tempo (1/2 marathon) pace during the run. The key for getting this run done as planned, after waffling and switching runs around all week because I was 'tired' from my race, was simply to decide to do it on Thursday and then begin preparing for the effort. Preparations began with good snacks that evening (and some bad snacks too ie. ice cream) and then getting a good sleep than night. The next day at work I was careful to hydrate all day and avoided the big lunch and sweets at a retirement party late in the day. Instead, I headed out early from the party so I could get my my 'workout' in before supper. The run went well, starting with an easy 2 mile warmup on a 5 mile out and back route from home along a highway with good wide gravel shoulders. The numbers (mile splits) according to the Garmin were 657, 658, 707(hill), 654 and 655 for a total of 34:53 for the 5 miles. It was work and I needed to keep my focus on my breathing and running rythm but was not overly 'hard' while my heartrate hovered around 155-160 or 90% of max. Finished off the run with 3 easy jogging miles and was happy to arrive home where the cold beer awaited!

Today, Saturday was time to apply the easy part of the equation, where I like to think I'm good at for the most part. It's a trait of many runners to run their 'easy' days too hard and then compromise the effort for the next 'hard' day and I sometimes get caught in that trap myself. However, today was a day to sleep in, have a nice relaxed morning breakfast with several cups of coffee before venturing out into the beautiful day. We had some fog at first to keep things a bit cool but the temperature hit 25C (77F) later in the day. My run was just an easy jog around town along the back streets and trails with a stop at a friends to check on his backyard project. Total of 7.5 miles at 8:20 pace which was just perfect. The legs felt good today, no problems with the achilles but my hip was a little sore after the run for a bit (now ok).

End of week 16 of 18 for the Wineglass training program with a total of 48 miles; down a bit due to a missed long run last weekend with the race but this is taper time and we won't sweat it too much.

Now it's time to prepare for the next 'hard' run which is tomorrow's long run with Andrew over in Maine. I actually don't consider these long run's hard unless there is some extra pace work mixed in but am thinking of springing a little trick on A in that regard if he's up for it. It's something I've seen before and just re-read and it might be nice to 'practice it' before the big day. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to my latest mad plan...

3 comments:

Island Girl Runs said...

Hello. Thought I'd drop in to say I liked your post. I always look for easterners on the directory 'cause I'm one too. (At least I was one for the first 20 years of my life). Now I live in Edmonton and try to get home once a year or so. Check out my blog if you get a chance. Not much going on there currently, but you may enjoy reading back some of my archives.

Wish me luck on my next race - Melissa's in Banff Alberta next Saturday. My sister is coming from NFLD to run with me. Hoots a plenty, I'm sure.

Mr.Cornelia said...

That's a very motivational intro!Instead of reviewing books, maybe you should write one :)

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