Ideally this would have been a week off training but the Seville Marathon is only just around the corner…
The first obstacle to overcome was to recover from the 10K race I did on Monday evening. For some reason I had more DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) than I am used to in such a short race – perhaps the Half Marathon is the easiest distance to recover from because you neither go at full belt nor do you end up completely exhausting your muscle fibers.
The second “obstacle” was that I had agreed to go skiing in San Isidro for most of the week between New Year’s Eve and Reyes (Epiphany). My experience with skiing ranges all the way from absolutely hating it to finding the enjoyment of it slightly outweighed by the inconvenience, discomfort and cost of it all. This time was no exception: the first day was such awful weather that it was impossible to see where I was going and, more importantly, to be able to judge the steepness and direction of the slope – not ideal conditions for someone who has managed to avoid skiing for over 10 years. My aching legs did not help skiing let alone having to hobble about with bent knees in ski boots. By the afternoon I had decided that I would never ski again. One aspect of my character is that, no sooner do I feel like giving up than a resolve not to let something get the better of me kicks in. Luckily the next day was beautiful and I at least managed to finish on a good note.
Between the race, the long car journey and the snow, I didn’t run for 3 days straight which is probably the longest I have gone without running consecutively for years. I suppose the skiing counts as some sort of exercise, not that it matters much. I decided to do my three days of quality training on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – a slightly risky decision given that my muscles were still tender from the race and, presumably, the skiing.
On Friday I did two threshold runs of 15 minutes – as it was impossible to find a long flat course, the first 15 minutes were at a pace of 3:32 but the second (up hill) was much slower, at 4:17. On Saturday, now in Asturias, I went down to the gym in Villaviciosa to do 8 lots of 1,000m at 16.5 kph followed by 4 lots of 200m at 19 kph. I got there so early that the gym hadn’t yet opened and I was the first through the door which meant that I had to figure out how to turn on the machines. The workout was much easier than it should have been (my pulse only got as high as 168 bpm during the 1,000m sets and bear in mind that lately I have been doing 1km intervals at 17.5 kph) but I decided not to push my luck too much – it was still a good workout and I had a longish run planned for the next day. On the Sunday I ran 25km starting from up in the mountains around Villaviciosa which meant that I had to run the last 3 km or so up quite a steep gradient. I consciously ran at what felt like a very easy pace as this was supposed to be a “depletion run”, designed to improve my fat burning capabilities. I did the run on an empty stomach so you can understand why I was dreaming about turrón over those last few kilometers. I think the relatively intense three days served their objective of thoroughly tiring me out without injuring myself – in fact my legs are less achey now as I write this on Sunday evening than they were before the run. Now I feel all set to start another cycle of training for the Seville Marathon (not forgetting the Getafe Half Marathon in which I will have to get a good time if I want to qualify again for New York this year).