13 miles - 1.5 mile warmup to the bridge near my house. Shook the legs out, caught my breath, and ran 10 at what I can describe only as a "low end tempo." Just tried to focus on running comfortably, yet deliberately. As I try to get a handle on a possible goal pace for a flatter, nontechnical 100, I'm just listening to what my body tells me. I listened to my breathing, kept my stride short and quick, and visualized my feet, ankles, knees, and hips as I ran. Tried not to look at the watch any more than I needed to, but was surprised to see the pace whittle down from a 7:45 down to a 6:28 for the last one.6 of the 10 were sub 7min. Damned flat roads, making me run fast. 1.5 miles cooldown home. Runs like these make me feel pretty good about my ability to train and improve. Still no idea about a goal pace, but I assume it's too early to tell. I'd wager somewhere between 4 min/miles and 40 min/miles is appropriate.
Adding an "official" warmup and cooldown helped for some reason.
AM - 6 miles - I felt my legs this morning. Not in a bad way, but I could tell that I had run the day before. Just an easy jog on the dirt roads to shake things out. I want to do a hill session tomorrow, so I'll just prep the legs for that.
The goal is to focus high intensity efforts and let the gratuitous volume sit at a distant second for the time being. To run a fast 100mile, I must first run a fast(ish) mile.
AM - 7 miles or so. Hill repeats at the Block House hill on the lakeshore. 1.5 mile warmup, then climbs of varying distances and grade. It's a fun hill because I can run up the Northern or Southern side. All 6 efforts were between 2 and 3 minutes, and had me chugging up the final cracked sidewalk to the top. Doing hill repeats solo is tough, so I was happy to stick with them all and still get quite a bit of intenstiy. Felt kind of weird to go there and not run the trails, but searching for a hill that has a long, runnable grade usually leads me to the pavement. Enjoyable workout in great weather. Actually got nauseous for a minute. Awesome.
Led one water aerobics class for an hour, then a 30 minute hike with Sam. We watched a storm roll in, then got rained out. More for loosening the legs than any fitness gains.
AM - 5 miles at an easy, watchless pace. This run felt quite easy and painless. A cold rain was coming down, but I had a waterproof shell on to keep me warm until I heated up from the inside out. A black lab followed me for most of the run, playing in the rain and sprinting ahead of me. No collar, no tags, and I have no idea where it came from. It was just wandering around, darting like crazy, splashing in puddles, and didn't have a care in the world.
PM - 4 hours of leading water aerobics. Not sure how long I can keep calling this training, but at least I'm not doing something stupid like assigning a mileage value to it.
5 miles of mostly off-trail running at the State Park. Steep grades and ground covered in wet leaves and logs made for slow going, but all the speedy road running lately had me craving dirt. My legs felt the burn during the run, but felt better than ever afterward.
4 miles - Crunched for time, so I just set aside 30 minutes for a run to clear my head. I didn't feel rushed, but really enjoyed feeling quick on my feet. Without much effort, my easy effort level got me down to a 7:05 mile. Getting excited over a 7:05 seems silly, but given the rather effortless feel of it, I'll just be glad.
13 miles - I'm holding off one more week before doing a long run. The springy feeling in my legs is just too nice to risk just yet. As an alternative to the 20-25 miles I had considered, I just chose to run for 90 minutes and take a GU every 30. Gel hadn't touched my lips since Leadville, and it's time to reconsider my fueling strategy. Whatever I did at my last two 100s wasn't totally wrong, but needs tweaking(ya know, like, not forgetting to eat for 4 hours.). I want to get in the habbit of checking the watch and taking a gel. I tried the "go totally by feel" approach, and it fell short. Sipping the bottle every 10 minutes or so and having a gel every 30 is a good starting point. I may experiment with calorie/electrolyte drinks, but usually don't like them.
This time around, I'm not making any assumptions. I have the time and the drive to find out what kind of training and fueling works for me. Though I've finished two difficult 100s, I don't think more of the same is going to be what takes me from the back of the pack to the front. I've learned how to run fast on no food, bonk, and hike for a whole day on nothing but soup. I'm glad I did it, but I'd love to leave my more inconsistent days behind me.
9 hours of miscellaneous core work and water exercise
7 days of running
I think my excitement about this week is mostly related to the mental breakthrough in training. There wasn't a time where I opted to lay in bed and let the run slip, and I focused on the workouts instead of the mileage. Lo and behold, I hit a reasonable distance for the week anyway. If I had to choose between a week like this, or three to five random runs that barely qualify as long runs, I'd take the consistent week of quality. Really happy with the way it turned out.
The plan is to play it cool like this for the next few weeks and creep up the distance on the long run.