Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Coe Project Update: Halfway Into the Pain Cave

My summer project of speed is now at the halfway point and it is time for me to review my progress. Five full weeks down and five more to go. In general terms this has been tough. Duh. There are some positives and some things that are frustrating. By this point Mike has a solid feel for what the focus will be for the remainder of the project. It took a handful of workouts to determine where the biggest bang for the buck will come from. The date for the Farmer Mile has been changed too. A couple of extra weeks was added to the training. An 8 week schedule has now become 10 weeks. In a nutshell, this is what I know...

I have averaged just over 40 miles per week. I hit the track once per week during weeks 1 and 2 and now do work there twice weekly on Monday evening and Thursday morning. Monday is the grinder with longer intervals and target splits below goal pace. Thursday I get an easier session with shorter intervals and goal pace splits. My other days of the week have gone as planned with easy paced maintenance and recovery runs and a "long" run on Saturday of 10-15 miles. Striders a couple times per week, always on dirt or grass.

Inadvertently I have knocked out a few "streaks" since I began. That certainly was not a goal. It is the result, I think, of wanting to do as much work as I can to improve my chance of getting a good time on my mile. I am a 5 day a week kind of guy. Sometimes 6 if I need to push volume. Somehow I opened this project with a 13 day streak before taking an off day. Then it was a 14 day streak before the next day of rest. And then another 14 day streak of work. I began with the idea that I wanted a "shakeout" run the day before a workout. And a "recovery" run the day after a workout. With 3 workouts a week, well, that doesn't jibe out so easy. One of the more important lessons learned is that my non-workout days have to be easy. If not I pay for it on the track. And the track is where the work must be put in. On that end I took my rest day this past week on Sunday in hopes of being fresher for Monday. No running but I did bike 10 miles at a moderate effort level. I think it worked pretty well for me. Looks like I will be taking the next few Sundays off and hitting the two wheeler instead of lacing up the whips. 

The streaks and speed work have left me feeling physically beat up most of the time especially since beginning the twice weekly speed work. My body went from zero speed work to a few miles of near all out sprinting each week in short order. And doing it in the heat of the summer hasn't helped. Again, easy days have to be easy. Thankfully I have stayed on course in terms of being injury free. There have certainly been some aches and pains. That is to be expected when stepping outside the comfort zone. One thing that has helped in that regard is the maintenance work that is now routine. Before the project I wasn't a big believer in regularly taking time to do the little things like warming up, cooling down, stretching, foam rolling, form drills and strength work. But I knew to be successful at this I would have to be smarter than before. Now the little things matter. I feel guilty if I skimp on them. I also feel it in my legs. The lunge matrix and dynamic stretching are pretty much daily routines now. Form drills and strength work after runs have helped as have a couple of yoga like sessions per week. I am careful to warm up and cool down or I feel it. 

I have dropped a couple of pounds. My walk around weight is about 164# these days. The slight feeling of fatigue is a bit of a concern. I have experienced some trouble sleeping at times as well. Especially following Monday evening track sessions. Perhaps that is why I have long preferred to run in the morning. Last night I used some melatonin to help out. I think it worked pretty well. 

Adding much more volume will be difficult. Perhaps even ill advised. Instead, I will try to add some cardio with some bike work and using the pool. I have found that my dynamic stretching routine can be done in the pool and it becomes a relaxing strength routine with the resistance of the water. After 5 weeks I am able to hold pace a bit longer and I don't fall off the cliff quite as badly during intervals. My biggest challenge is the mental aspect of running fast. Track work is a very different beast from ultra training. The acute discomfort of track intervals is quite immediate. A couple of times my throat has hurt on Tuesdays from breathing so hard on Monday. In the middle of repeats I find my brain telling my body it can't happen. A glance at my watch and I can see that I am near correct pace but my Central Governor keeps persisting that I must slow down. One of the reasons for doing this was to work on breaking down that barrier. I haven't been successful yet. I do feel that baby steps have happened in that direction. I need more of those baby steps over the next 5 weeks. 

Week One
Monday 400m @ 1:07 and 3x200 (:35, :34, :36) 
Tuesday 5 miles @ 9:01 pace
Wednesday 5.5 miles @ 8:13 pace (8 strides)
Thursday 4.5 miles @ 8:16 pace (4 hill repeats)
Friday 5 miles @ 7:50 pace
Saturday 10 miles @ 8:55 pace
Sunday 7 miles @ 8:23 pace (6 strides)

Week Two
Monday 7 miles @ 8:06 pace (no speed per Mike)
Tuesday 6 miles @ 7:52 pace
Wednesday 5 miles @ 8:20 pace 
Thursday 5 miles @ 8:45 pace
Friday OFF
Saturday 12 miles @ 8:23 pace
Sunday 5 miles 8:29 pace

Week Three
Monday 2 mile w/u and 2 mile c/d, 1k ladder down splits 1k @ 3:27, 800 @ 2:41, 600 @ 2:04, 400 @ 1:20 and 200 at :37
Tuesday 5 miles @ 8:44 pace
Wednesday 7 @ 8:10 pace (8 strides)
Thursday 2 mile w/u and c/d, 10x400 target 1:20 w/ 1:00 rest period. Splits were 1:28, 1:18, 1:16, 1:19, 1:18, 1:20, 1:21, 1:22, 1:23 and 1:24. 
Friday 6 miles @ 7:56 pace
Saturday 10 miles @ 8:54 (6 strides)
Sunday 5 miles @ 8:25 pace

Week Four
Monday 2 mile w/u and 2 mile c/d, 2x800 (2:35 and 2:45), 400 @ 1:22, 600 @ 2:02, 2x400 (1:16 and 1:17)
Tuesday 7 miles @ 10:28 pace (EZ trail run)
Wednesday 4.5 miles @ 7:57 pace
Thursday 1.5 mile w/u and 1.5 mile c/d, 10x400 target 1:20 w/ 1:00 rest. Splits were 1:19, 1:20 (x3), 1:18, 1:20, 1:19, 1:18, 1:19 and 1:21. 
Friday 15.5 miles @ 12:09 pace (tough trail)
Saturday OFF
Sunday 5 miles @ 8:36 pace

Week Five
Monday 1.5 mile w/u and 1.5 mile c/d, 800 @ 2:38, 2x400 (1:20 and 1:20), 600 @ 2:04, 400 @ 1:22, 600 @ 2:02. 
Tuesday 7 miles @ 8:50 pace
Wednesday 5 miles @ 8:30 pace
Thursday 10x400 target 1:20 w/ 2:00 rest. Splits were 1:20, 1:18 (x3), 1:19, 1:18 and 1:19. Only had time for 7 intervals, had to get back to work, wicked hot and got sunburned too. 
Friday 3 miles @ 9:05 pace
Saturday 11.5 miles @ 8:08 pace
Sunday 3.5 miles 8:54 pace