Monday, February 16, 2009

Week 7: Review

Another excellent week weather-wise, making it an extremely pleasant for running. Tuesday and Wednesday saw a lot of rain, and Thursday was pretty windy but I was fortunate enough that my runs happened to fall into times where the weather died down a bit. By Friday, the mixture of rain on the previous days, the sun and the warmth we've been getting had melted most of the accumulated snow and the pavement was bone dry for the first time in a while.

As I had some stuff to do on Thursday, I ended up deferring my 8 miler to Friday so this worked out quite well. After about 6km of running on dry pavement and nearly perfect weather, I figured that I'd give a local trail a shot to make the most of it. During the summer this path is a great running route as it has a good set of lightly rolling hills, decent scenery and the soft gravel surface is a lot easier on the legs. During the Winter, however, it can be a bit hit and miss as it isn't plowed or salted (it passes through a conservation area) so the snow and ice quickly builds up.

Unfortunately, while the roads had been cleared by the conditions on the previous few days the trail was still pretty well covered. The first kilometer or so was pretty good, but after that point there was a good deal of thick snow as well as some icy patches in the low-lying areas that forced me to slow down significantly. As the only other way to get out was to head back the way I came, I decided to continue on. While it was a bit of a fight to get through it, with a little effort it wasn't too much of an issue. Naturally, my pace wasn't spectacular in this segment (averaging about 6min/km) but there wasn't much I could have done about that.

About 2.5km into the trail, however, I came up on a descent and when I looked down I realized that the river had spilled its banks from all of the run-off. As such, the next segment of trail was flooded by about two feet of water and going forward wasn't an option. Given the terrain behind me, however, it would have been a pain to double back. As such, I just figured out the bearing that I had to head to get back to the road and took off through the forest. The terrain between the trees was much better than the trail, as the snow hadn't been compacted by hikers and there was a lot less ice to deal with. Naturally, navigating between the trees, rocks and exposed roots was a little challenging at first, but once I got the hang of it I was able to maintain a pretty stable ~5:00min/km pace.

Once I got out of the forest and back to the sidewalk things naturally picked up, and I finished the scheduled distance with little trouble. Either way, it certainly wasn't ideal but it was nice to inject something a little different than the usual routine into the mix. I'll likely wait until the summer to try the trail out again, however, as proper training requires consistency and trail running doesn't really lend itself to that ;)

Other than that, things largely went as planned this week. I did have to move things around a bit for scheduling issues (aside from Thursday, I also swapped the Sunday and Saturday runs around). Given the discomfort in the leg last week, I held off on the walks again as their training value is limited so I'm more prone to give them up. Things were largely healed up but got a little aggravated again by the uneven terrain on Friday, but the discomfort is pretty much gone today.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 61.3km (38.1mi)
Walking: 1.2km (0.75mi)
Cycling: 80km (49.7mi)
Total: 142.5km (88.5mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 456.8km (283.8mi)
Walking: 120.9km (75.1mi)
Cycling: 565.0km (351.1mi)
Total: 1142.7km (710.0mi)

With the recovery week in the books, I'm now on to the second mesocycle of this training program which is intended to build my Lactate Threshold. As such, I'm scheduled for a total of 50 miles (80.5km) this week and will hit 54 miles (87km) the week afterwards. I'm also looking at my first 18 miler (~29km) on Sunday, which should be an interesting experience.

Upcoming Week:
Mon 50K Cycle
Tue 10mi (16.1K) w/5mi (8K) @ 15K pace
Wed 30K Cycle + 4mi (6.4K) Recovery
Thurs 11mi (17.7K) Steady
Fri 50K Cycle
Sat 7mi (11.3K) w/8x100m
Sun 18mi (29.0K) LSD

Aside from that, one thing I will have to do is start playing around with nutritional intake during my runs. I flirted with it a bit during half-marathon training, but as it didn't really provide much benefit there I didn't really push very hard. As I approach the 20mi mark, however, it is likely to become significant so I will have to take in some calories during my runs. Given the plethora of options on that front, I'm going to have to do some experimentation to figure out what works well for me.

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