Monday, March 3, 2014

ABN Amro CPC Loop Den Haag Half Marathon Week 8 / 9

Monday: 8 x (2' @ 3:10, 2' @ 6:00)
Tuesday: 12' + 8' + 10' + 5' @ 3:38, 3% incline
Wednesday: -
Thursday: 15K with downhill section in 57'
Friday: 1K-3K-2K-1K-2K-1K @ 3:25 (except penultimate @ 3:30)
Saturday: -
Sunday: 40' @ 4:00

It's been a bit of a hotch-potch week as I have had to improvise around a long weekend to Asturias followed by a last minute trip to Mexico (which, in the end, didn't happen). Although it is not ideal, I scrunched up all my quality training so that, by Tuesday evening, I had already done all that I had planned for the week! Not only it is tougher psychologically, but I'm not sure that the body reaps as much benefit from training sufficient time to rest and adapt in between. Tuesday was the third hard session in a row and, as a result of this and a miscalculation of the pace at which I was to run, I didn't manage to complete it as intended: instead of running 10K at 3:30 with a 3% incline, I ran it with a rest in between shorter sections at 3:38. I have completed this workout at 3:38 recently but 3:30 was way too ambitious: this is faster than my current Personal Best time for 10K and I am supposedly peaking for a Half Marathon, not a 10K.

Wednesday was a well earned rest day, 5 hours of which were spent in the car going up to Asturias. During practically the only hour of good weather the whole long weekend, I ran down from the house in the mountains to the beach, 15 kms away.

It just goes to show that you use very different muscles running on the flat from up or downhill. Over time I've become convinced of the importance of training as many muscle fibers as possible so that, during a race, when you are down to the last dregs of muscle fibers they have at least had some conditioning. I believe that there are several ways to do this: running on tired legs, high intensity running, weights, plyometrics and hill running. Having said this, I've been very lazy about running hills lately. My legs haven't felt so achy since recovering from the last Marathon I ran! In spite of this, I decided to do another hard workout the next day, in the gym down in Villaviciosa.

Considering the gym only costs about 4 euros you can imagine that it is not the best equipped. As usual, all the running machines were occupied and I was a little nervous as I had promised my wife to be back at the house by 12:30. It just so happened that somebody was finishing up, so I was able to hop on his treadmill without much waiting around. I put it straight up to 17.5 kph and started my first set. Just as I was getting to the end of it, the belt suddenly slowed down and stopped and it was at this point that I noticed the thick black clouds of smoke billowing out of the place where the motor had been: I'd set the thing on fire, literally! I'm not sure that the 4 euros covered the damage I had done but, even so, my neighbour kindly offered me his treadmill while he continued his uphill walking workout on another machine which said "walking only" (the exact same make as the one I had just killed, by the way). He did say "Try to leave us with at least one working treadmill!". With all the fireworks out of the way, I finished the workout at a faster pace than I had done previously, only having to drop back down for one of the sets.

After a pretty intense start to the week, I needed another day off on Saturday (in any case, I'm starting to taper now for the Half Marathon on the 9th of March) and I was still a little stiff on Sunday, so I only did a 40 minute run. As often happens, I find it surprising how much better I can feel after doing a recovery run when I feel too tired to run at all: this morning I feel full of beans and ready for the race ahead. It hasn't been the best preparation I have done for a race but neither has it been the worst. I'm hoping that - weather providing - I can take advantage of the cool sea level conditions in the Hague to knock 4 seconds of my Half Marathon time and come in at 1:18:XX.

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