Week 9 of Run Less, Run Faster

Another week done! I’m pretty happy with how training is going so far. The next coming weeks will be harder as intensity ramps up.

Monday – Cross-training

A one-hour Vinyasa Flow class at Yoga to the People in San Francisco. The room is on the fifth floor and has beautiful views and many half-naked men (men love yoga in San Francisco), which I quickly stop noticing once we get started. They close all the windows so it gets warm FAST. I’m dying. I don’t want to do “Bikram” Vinyasa.

Lake Merced

Lake Merced

Tuesday – Key Run #2 Tempo Run (1 mile easy, 4 miles @8:00, 1 mile easy)

Running is a wonderful way to get to know a place. Although I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and often go back, there are still many places that are unknown to me. RLRF’s plan for a 4-mile tempo run was perfectly timed for exploring the 4.5 running path around Lake Merced located in the southwestern portion of San Francisco. The running path is nice wide sidewalk that goes around the perimeter of Lake Merced. On one side you have a view of lake. I wish the path was separated away from the streets and car traffic, but it was only on one side and the path never crosses a street so you can run uninterrupted. This path is what I can San Francisco flat – all elevation changes are gentle and under 100 ft. If you’re used to pancake flat running, you’ll complain about the inclines as you go around the lake. If you’re used to running on hills and mountains, you won’t notice anything and wonder why people complain that this route is “hilly.” I liked this route as a change of pace, but it’s a little too far from downtown SF (takes about an hour to get to by public transit).

Surprise, surprise! I actually did the easy one mile warm up. I was concerned about hitting the paces for the tempo run because I’m not the best runner when I’m by myself. Alone, I’m good for either going fast (speed work) or slow (long runs). I actually managed to run close to the intended pace of 8:00 min/mile. My mile splits were 8:03, 8:07, 7:57, & 8:17 (average pace 8:06). For the cool down, I walked a half mile to the bus stop to get back to where I was staying.

Saturday – Key Run #1 Track Repeats (2 x 1600 @7:13, 2  x 800 @3:28 with RI 60 secs)

Off to the treadmill once more! I did the mile repeats in 7:04 (8.5 mph) and the half mile repeats in 3:22 (8.9 mph) and 3:24 (8.8 – 8.9 mph). I took extra long rest breaks (around 5 minutes) because it was so hot in the gym. At the end of each interval I felt nauseated. The feeling went away as soon as I stopped running. I wanted to make sure I got through each interval, so I quietly walked until I felt that I could run again.

After the long run in Central Park. Keeping cool with Headsweats visor.

After the long run in Central Park. Keeping cool with Headsweats visor.

Sunday – Key Run #3 Long Run (20 miles at 9:08)

Sometimes I think the hardest part of marathon training isn’t the long runs, but getting up early in the morning to do them. This was my third 20-miler and I didn’t feel daunted or intimidated by what was waiting for me. I had done this before and it was time to do it again. The New York Road Runners (NYRR) hosted another supported long run in Central Park (6 – 20 miles). A running club, New York Flyers, provided pacers from 7:00 to 11:00+. At the end of each loop (the start area), NYRR provided additional water, Gatorade, and gels for the runners, as well as plenty of water stations all over the park. I wanted to complete this long run at a 9:00 min pace, but in August the relentless heat and humidity returned with a vengeance. My plan was to start with the first 9:30 pace group (I figured the pace groups would start fast again) and then after a mile or two slowly try to catch up with the last 9:00 pace group by the time we were done with the first 6-mile loop, start and stay with the last 9:00 pace group for the 5-mile loop, then move to the 2nd 9:00 pace group for the second-mile loop by not stopping and waiting at the start, and do the last 4-mile loop with the first 9:00 pace group (again by not stopping at the start).

The first two loops went exactly as planned. The third loop I didn’t quite make the second 9:00 pace group because I stopped to take out my IPhone to listen to music. The cords were tangled up and it took me a while to detangle them. I ran the third loop “alone” but I was never really alone because these supported runs are popular and there were tons of runners out on the path. For the last loop, I was on my own again because I wasn’t quite hitting a 9:00 pace, so I was in between the first and second pace groups. I didn’t want to wait for the second pace group so I took off. Although I kept my eye out for the turn so that it was just a 4-mile loop, I missed it because by this time, I’m tired and so out of it and once again, I was doing the 5-mile loop for the third time. By the time I realized I missed the turn off, I said, “Screw it,” to myself and decided to do a 21-mile training run because what’s an additional mile when you’ve already done 20.

I finished the run in 3:14:34 (9:16 pace), which is slower than what I would have liked, and a bit slower than what RLRF wanted. Still, it was a good training run. It was faster than the last time I ran 21 miles in Central Park, last Sunday was warmer too, and I didn’t fall apart the last two miles as I did the first time. I felt a lot more comfortable and stronger this time around. I probably could have ran a bit faster.

For recovery I rubbed Dragon Ice, a muscle relief cream with menthol, all over my legs and got a (bad) massage. Today, one day later, my legs feel good. I could go running if I had to, but I’m taking a well-deserved rest day.

10 thoughts on “Week 9 of Run Less, Run Faster

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