Miles and Tempos and Core–Oh My!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because nothing exciting has been happening and partly because I’ve been stacked with school work. A lot has changed since I last posted. First and foremost, I graduate in 3 weeks!! I cannot even begin to express the excitement and pride I’m experiencing. Also, my training has changed a great deal. After two terrible races and being unable to hit the splits in workouts, we decided to take a step back and focus on building a strong base. With that being said, I officially decided to forego the rest of track season and instead will be doing road races in preparation for cross country. Lastly, due to the major setback I began reading Matt Fitzgerald’s new book “How Bad Do You Want It”, which I will touch over a little later (potentially my next post) but HIGHLY recommend for every runner who wants to transform themselves into a mind beast.

As far as my training, after racing Pomona-Pitzer Invitational my coach eliminated workouts AND cross training (gasp!). I was on pure mileage and expect to only run between 7:15-7:45 on my runs. During the five weeks of mileage I ran 60 miles per week and supplemented with core. Honestly, I thought I was going to go crazy from boredom the last week of 8 miles every day and the one 12 mile long run. Last week was my first week back on the track and I instantly felt a difference; not only did I feel stronger, but my core was engaged as well. The workouts for the remainder of the week went well, that is until my 14 mile long run.

Until Sunday, I do not think I ever ran 14 miles, and definitely not at the given pace. I survived the run but not the pace, which is my main goal for this week’s long run. I’ve been feeling the toll of the 14 miles all week, but have been able to work through the fatigue on workout days. I find this extremely important because I feel this is where you build strength–being able to overcome the fatigue on workout days and still hitting the pace. I attribute my ability to hit the splits on Tuesday purely to my club team because I honestly do not know whether I would have been able to hit them if I were on the track on my own. Not only are they motivating, but they fuel my competitiveness; allowing me to push myself when I feel there’s nothing left. Yesterday’s tempo was extremely nerve wrecking for me. It was a 4 mile tempo, similar to the previous week, but at 6:20 pace rather than last week’s 6:40 pace. I wasn’t nervous so much about the drop in pace, I know my coach wouldn’t give me something I couldn’t do, instead I was worried about how heavy and tired of was on my run the day before. The previous run was miserable. I could hardly hold a decent pace and every part of my body was tight. Luckily it did not affect my workout and I was able to average 6:23 pace. The three seconds off the average really got to me. 

I decided to do the tempo down in Santa Monica where I knew it was flat and not stop lights. To get to the boardwalk I had to run in the bike lane for about half a mile and a cop felt so inclined to follow me threatening to ticket me if I did not get out of the bike lane. I found this extremely upsetting. First off, I told him I’m doing a tempo and asked him to leave me alone. Secondly, the available sidewalk can barely hold two people side-by-side, which to me makes me a safety hazard which such a pace. I do understand the officer’s point of view. Okay, I get it, it’s dangerous yada-yada– well that’s the risk I’m willing to take, just as he makes the decision to put on his uniform and badge. My encounter with him completely threw off my rythmn; I went from 6:17-6:20 for my first three miles to 6:38 on the final one. That’s a huge deal because I cannot allow myself to fade that much during the final mile. Needless to say I was peeved!

Since I’ve started workouts up again, I’ve notice my pace on recovery days have been suffering. I’m torn between listening to my body and easing the pace or really pushing to make sure I hit the given pace. I know pushing through will make me stronger, but it may also make my workout days more difficult. My body is going through a lot of stress with the changing in training as well as intensity, so I’ve been searching for balance. Though I am tired I know the work I am putting in will only make me stronger.

Just Keep Running. XOXO

Ashlee Powers