Week 6 of Run Less, Run Faster

I had an amazing week of training!

Tuesday – Key Run #1 Track Repeats (2×1200 @5:22 with RI 2 min & 4×800 @3:31 with RI 2 min)

I ran this workout on a treadmill because it was hot. There’s only so much suffering that I can handle. I warmed up for a half mile at 6.0 mph. I ran .75 miles in 5:10 and 5:11 (8.7 mph, the second set was a second longer because I tapped down to 8.6 for a brief moment to give me a very quick break). I even followed the appropriate rest interval of 2 mins kinda. . . it was 2 min and 15 seconds long. After the first two sets, I took a longer break to recover before doing the 4x800s. The intervals were completed in 3:22, 3:23, 3:25, and 3:23 (8.8 – 8.9 mph). The rest intervals were 2:15, 3:23, 3:25, 5:00. Aside from the first RI, the rest intervals were longer than prescribed.

Thursday – Key Run #2 Tempo (1 mile easy, 5 miles @8:05 pace, 1 mile easy)

Because of Saturday’s long run and the fact that I don’t do tempo runs well by myself, I decided to do this on a treadmill. When I run by myself, I have exactly two speeds (fast or slow); I need at least one person with me in order to run anything in between 7:00 and 9:30 pace. I walked briskly to the gym as my warm up (.7 miles in sweltering heat). I was already sweating when I arrived. I had a couple things in mind before I stepped onto the treadmill. Because running on a treadmill at a given pace is “easier” than running that same pace on the road, I compensated for it by running faster so that it was equivalent effort. The other thing is that I knew mentally it would be very tough to run 5 miles at the same pace on a treadmill. I decided to break up the run into different segment. The first mile I ran at 7.8 mph, then I had a quarter mile break of running at 7.5 mph. I ran another mile at 7.8 mph another quarter mile break at 7.5 mph. I did the same set again for the third time. Then I ran a mile where I alternated between 7.8 mph and 8.0 mph every .125 mile. The last quarter mile, I started at 8.0 mph and gradually increased the speed  to 8.5 mph. I completed 5 miles in 28:22 (7:41 pace).

Breaking up the tempo run into different sections with different paces made the workout go faster for me. Rather than stressing out about running on the treadmill for 5 miles, which is not something I have a lot of patience for, I simply focused on the segment I was on. I have a hard time running on a treadmill for five miles, but I can definitely run on a treadmill for a mile.

Saturday – Key Run #3 Long Run (20 miles @9:28 pace)

Thank goodness for NYRR and their supported long training runs! Every year NYRR offers three long training runs (2 untimed 6-20 mile training runs and 1 timed 18-miler) with pace groups ranging from 7:00 to 11:00+. Having people around, even if it isn’t a race, makes the runs more pleasant and go by faster. For the untimed training runs, the route consists of one 6-mile loop that includes the infamous Harlem Hills, two laps of the 5-mile loop, and one lap of the 4-mile loop for a total of 20 miles. People are free to stop at any point, but usually people end at 6, 11, or 16 if they’re not doing the entire 20. There are water stations, port-o-potties, and cheering volunteers on the course. At the start/end point of the loop, Gatorade is available, along with Gu, bananas, and pretzels.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to join the 9:00 or the 9:30 pace group, but it ended up being that I didn’t have a choice. As I was in line for the port-o-potty, I could hear the horn blasting every 20 seconds to release each pace group. I barely made the last 9:30 pace group. I settled in and ran in the pack. Unlike NYRR races where the start of the race is congested and you see runners trying to surge ahead of the congestion, in a training run, you run in a congested group and very few people are trying to get past the congestion. It was like there was an invisible wall in front of the pace leaders. I didn’t want to start too fast, so I stayed with the pace group. The first mile was completed in 9:01. When Garmin beeped out the first split, my thought was, “Thank goodness, I didn’t go out with the 9:00 pace group.” The pace leaders decided to slow down a bit, but I saw that the first 9:30 group was just ahead of me. I decided to continue running around a 9:00 pace and catch up. The second mile I ran with the other 9:30 pace group that was also running too fast. For the third mile, the pace leaders decided to slow down, but I was feeling good and decided to continue running at this pace. Once you’re no longer with a pace group, although there are several other runners, the route is not crowded at all. Enough runners to make you feel that you’re a part of something, but not packed in like sardines either.

I cruised the first six-mile loop and saw that the last 9:00 pace group just left. I quickly gulped a cup of Gatorade and ran after them. I spent the next 5 miles being the tail end of the group, which was just fine with me. When I finished the second loop, I was tired, but felt good. While I waited for the group to start the third lap, I set myself up to listen to some music for the the rest of the miles. The bright bouncy music from The Piano Guys lifted my spirits and I actually ran a few sub-9:00 miles.

IMG_2950The last loop was supposed to be a 4-mile loop and I was really looking forward to the end of the training run. As the pace group took off, I quickly fell behind. I knew there was no way I could run with the group, but I was running well enough to have them in my sights. I wanted to be near the group because I didn’t know where the transverse turn off was and I didn’t want to accidentally run the 5-mile loop again. As I ran, I thought that the 4-mile loop looked like an awful lot like the 5-mile loop but 1) a good portion of the 4-mile loop overlaps with the 5-mile loop and 2) I was brain-dead tired from all the miles of running. I was really looking forward to seeing the 19 Mile mile marker. I glanced at my Garmin and it said that I was at 19.5 miles. I thought I must be really tired and out of it because I missed the 19 Mile marker. Finally Garmin beeps 20 miles and I decided to stop even though I wasn’t at the end of the loop. There was additional distance because I didn’t run great tangents (something I don’t worry about for a training run). I knew the end would be around the bend, so I calmly walked. After a few minutes, I saw the 19 Mile marker. Shoot, the pace group accidentally had us run the 5-mile loop for the THIRD time!!!! Mentally I groaned because the end was a mile away. Objectively not far, but considering how tired I was it felt like it was a hundred miles away. I considered walking the rest of the distance, but thought it would take too long. As drudged up the energy to lumber another mile to the finish line. I completed 21 miles in 3:15:07 (9:18 pace, including the breaks at the loops, but not the walking break right before the last mile).

I’m really happy with how well my training went last week. I feel like I’m back to my old level of fitness and now I’m getting stronger and faster.

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6 thoughts on “Week 6 of Run Less, Run Faster

    • Thank you, Sarah! This is my first marathon, so I’m having fun figuring things out (even if it is in the heat). Gah, another scorcher this week! At least I don’t have to do another 20-miler.

  1. WOW! What an awesome week – you nailed it! So cool that NYRR does those long runs. Can’t believe they messed up on that last loop and made you run an extra mile – evil!! Great job.

    • The supported long runs are so great. It makes the long miles easier to do. As I did the last mile (21st), I kept muttering to myself, “This is good training. This is good training.”

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