a good strong fifteen

Yesterday morning I ran about 15 1/2 miles in the Redmond Watershed.  Although I was tired at the end, I could have done another couple of miles pretty easily.  Feels like good progress.

Last week I felt conflicted about whether to increase my distance, or whether it was time to up the quality of my runs.  That means doing hill workouts and some speed intervals.  For now, I’ve decided to try to do both :).

This means I’ll try to do one or two ‘quality’ runs (hills or speed) during the week, and then scale my long run distance based on how I’m feeling.  My first taste of this was last Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Tuesday, I did three five minute accelerations in the course of a 4 mile run.  It felt really hard.  I was probably not going much faster than a 7:30 to 8 min/mile pace.  That’s 60 to 90 seconds per mile slower than I would have done a similar group before the accident, which can feel a bit discouraging.  On the other hand, the only way to get faster is to try.  And I know it will take a while to recover my strength and speed.

The day after the speed workout was interesting.  I’d done a long early-morning swim workout, including timed 100 yard intervals.  I’d made plans to run with my friend Ben afterwards, but I felt really tired.  I guzzled down 20 oz of Gatorade, hoping that the electrolytes would replenish some energy.  And they did – slowly.  The run was a 5 1/2 miler, at recovery pace (probably 9-10 min/mile), and it was difficult going.  And the following day started out slowly too, although I was able to include some short hills on that run.

With that in mind, I had no idea what to expect yesterday, setting out to run 15.  Ben and I went pretty slowly (I definitely slowed him down).  We ran most of the way at just shy of a 10 min/mile pace.  The thing I need to remember is that this is exactly the way training is supposed to work.  Mixing in quality workouts during the week is part of the plan.  And so is slowing your pace way down, when you increase the distance.

It’s hard to develop the patience and restraint to do things this way.  But it’s definitely on plan.  I don’t know how I’ll feel this week when I try to mix in some hills or speed, but we’ll see. 

Don’t know what this means for my training ramp, or when I’ll be ready to do 26.2.  I do know that this is the way to build to a race effort of reasonable quality though.

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