I took four days off after the Newport Liberty Half Marathon to rest my legs. I did go to the gym on Tuesday to get some upper body weight training done (bench press and overhead press). My legs were too beat to do any squats.
This morning I woke up with my legs feeling much better. Still a little tired and a tad heavy, but I thought I could do some squats and a quick speed work this morning. I’ve been stuck on a plateau with my lifts for a while (tons of running is not kind to hypertrophy, and I slacked on consuming massive amounts of protein), so I decided to go for a 1-rep max to change things up. I was working on getting more reps in at 110 lbs for squatting, but today I did two sets of a single rep at 115 lbs. I didn’t do heavy working sets, rather just a few low reps because I could tell my legs are still tired. The barbell always knows the truth. You might think you’re good to go, but the barbell knows the real story. I did a some deadlifts as well (top set was 5 reps of 135 lbs).
The exciting part of today was the running. After the gym, I head off to the track in Astoria Park armed with a stopwatch because it was less cumbersome than my IPhone. I planned on doing another 1-mile timed trial to see how much I improved over last month’s 7:35. I accidentally ended up doing one really fast 1/4 mile (1:30), as well as the 1-mile timed trial. As usual, I started out too fast and I burned myself out after a lap. I was a bit disappointed with myself for stopping. I walked around the track to rest a bit and drank some more water. I calculated the pace I needed to run in order to PR and concluded that I could slow down by a fair amount and still safely PR. After cheering myself up with that fact, I steeled myself for one painful mile.
Ben once asked if I preferred a hard, but fast, workout or an easier, but longer, workout. He preferred the former. At the time he asked, I had no answer for him because I honestly had no clue. Whatever my workout was, I wished that I was doing the other one instead. Now that I’ve been running a bit longer, I know my answer. I definitely prefer the easier, but longer, runs.
Unfortunately my cheap little stopwatch doesn’t keep track of laps, so I glanced at my watch for the first two laps (1:40 and 1:43). The third lap I was in too much pain to look and forced myself to continue running when I really wanted to stop. I was having a mental argument with myself because a part of me really wanted to quit because I only wanted to run a mile and technically I already had by that point. Once I crossed the line to start the fourth lap, I told myself, “You might as well finish this up.”
For a little bit of time, I had a sliver of hope that perhaps I would break the 7-min barrier (this would be HUGE for me), but alas, this was not to be, at least not for today. When I crossed the black line delineating “You need to keep going” and “You’re done!” my stopwatch read 7:17. I’m really have with an 18 sec improvement in a month’s time. Around this time last year, I wanted to see how fast I could run a mile. I set the treadmill for an 8-min mile and I ran as I had never ran before on that treadmill. I pounded away and when the mile was finally over, I just about collapsed from exhaustion. I remember walking thinking that an 8-min mile was going to be the fastest that I could ever run. I really didn’t see how I could run any faster.
I was soooo wrong. A year and some training later, look at me! I’m knocking at the 7-min mile’s door.