It blows my mind that I’m less than ten weeks away from the Badger Mountain Challenge. I’m not sure how much physical progress I’m making, but my brain has sure stepped it up.The weather here has been pretty awful for training. I’ve done several runs in single-digit temperatures. Yesterday’s workout was a 9-mile steady pace run. That’s too long for a work day, so I broke it into two runs. I ran 3.5 miles in the morning. It was 10°F. Last night, it was a little warmer, but I was running in freezing rain. My jacket was a sheet of ice when I made it back to the truck. In both runs, I warmed up, then I ran a few miles at tempo. I was shooting for 12:00/mile; in both workouts, I nailed it. Indeed – in the evening run, I managed 11:38/mile during both miles I was running at tempo.
I’ve grown so accustomed to running on the snow and telling myself that snow = slow. It does when it’s fresh snow, but when I’m running on packed snow I should be able to maintain a decent pace. I was very pleased that I was able to do Tuesday’s runs at the pace I selected. (I suspect I’m a little slower because I’m wearing YakTrax, but I doubt it’s much of a hindrance.)
This is a fairly intense week. Monday was a rest day. Yesterday, nine miles. Today, five miles. The calendar said “steady pace.” I adjusted my Garmin to permit me up to 13:30/mile when I was running; that worked out well as I averaged 12:33, 13:01, and 12:53 during those miles (that’s with a 4:1 run:walk ratio). Tomorrow is a threshold workout, so it’s hard for me to guess how many miles I’ll cover in the workout; my best guess is five miles. Friday brings a 3-mile easy pace run; I’m planning to walk it as fast I can, no running. That serves two purposes: one, I sometimes forget to walk fast during races; two, the following day I’m running the Nookachamps Half Marathon and I’d like to give my legs a bit of a break. It’s a short-lived break, though, because Sunday brings an eight mile trail run. (Saturday is supposed to be fifteen miles, so my options are either to run a little extra on Saturday or add those two miles and make Sunday’s run a ten-mile run. I’m still undecided.) After Saturday’s race, we’re heading to Whidbey Island to visit my parents, and on Sunday we’ll go to the mountain bike trails at Fort Ebey State Park. I’ll run, Jim will hike.
About tomorrow’s threshold run: I’ve been doing those on the treadmill, and I really hate it. I think I’d prefer to brave the cold & ice and try running it outside. I’m still trying to find an appropriate threshold for me. The book suggests 85-95% of max heart rate, with the first set being five minutes at that heart rate & three minutes of recovery, the second set is 2:1. Earlier workouts were 5:1, and I just couldn’t do it for five minutes, and a one-minute recovery isn’t enough. I tried lowering the threshold to 150 bpm, but I had trouble doing that on a treadmill. In my last few runs outside, my heart rate has peaked just below that; I’m not sure I can maintain that for five minutes. But it’s worth a shot – I’ll do anything to avoid another run on a treadmill!
For the past week or so, I haven’t been logging my nutrition. I’ve been trying to eat intuitively. It’s a huge change for me. I think I tend to over-reward staying below my calorie goals and ignore when I’m over (which is probably 80% of the time, at least). I weigh myself everyday – I still need to do that, because it lets me know how well-hydrated I am, and I fear I’d gain too much weight if I don’t monitor that. Over the course of a week, my weight was pretty much the same. I think I’ll stick with this for a while and see how it goes. I am a little concerned about not getting enough protein, but I find I’m making a mental note when I should add in a specific protein snack, whether that’s a can of tuna or a protein shake.
Last week, as I approached 100 days of training, I realized my IT band hadn’t been bothering me. It still gets twingy, but it’s not aching. And I can feel the PF from time to time, but it’s nothing like it was; more frequently, my feet just hurt from the stress of long runs. While I’ve stopped doing the hip & core workout – bad me! – I think I’m doing enough self-care to prevent these issues from cropping up. That’s good news. I don’t want to lose training time to an over-use injury.
I’m really looking forward to the half marathon this weekend, as it means running a course I’ve never run. I don’t expect a good race time, as I won’t be tapering. I’m also really looking forward to running the trails on Whidbey. All this snow is making me crazy – I haven’t run Candy Mountain in a couple of months, and I would rather be running the course of my A race than running on the bike path. But I’m hopeful I’ll be able to run the mountains starting next month, and I’m hopeful I’ll have enough time to prepare for BMC50K.