October 24, 2010

A "little" 10-miler

Yeah, I know "little" doesn't apply when talking about a 10-mile run, but it was worth a shot, right?
Along the bike path where I ran in Euclid Creek Park
I ran 10 of what was supposed to be an 11-mile long run yesterday, through the park. This whole "long run" concept has me reeling a little, mainly because my training schedules are so completely ad hoc. I've signed up for a half-marathon a month for the last several months, and plan to do the same throughout the 2011 running season. This schedule makes the standard "take a day off for every mile you race" recovery period moot. Combine a 13-day recovery with the suggested 10-day taper, and I would only get one real long run in between races. Considering how quickly my thyroid condition literally drains my strength if I don't actively work to maintain it, a single long run between races will not suffice.

I am still working out how my body reacts to racing, and to runs of various lengths. After the Towpath Half Marathon earlier this month, I decided I would spend just the following week recovering, before focusing on the Cleveland Fall Classic on November 21. My definition of recovery is similar to tapering. Each lasts a week, during which time I refuse to run longer than a short 3-miler on any given day (that being the farthest I can currently run without next day repercussions). I also refuse to run 2 consecutive days during these weeks. While I eventually would like to run 5-6 miles, 5-6 days a week, I now only manage 3-4 days: usually two 3-5 milers and a long run of varying length. I am supposed to add a barefoot speed mile in on the off days, but that hasn't happened with any regularity, yet. What this really means is, taper and recovery are not much different from my regular schedule. The main difference turns out to be how much I say I want to run, not how much I actually do run. 

It's all just an experiment, anyway. November's race will be my 3rd half marathon, so the data is still inconclusive on how best to prepare and recover. Thus, while I may be slightly disappointed when I don't hit my scheduled runs, I am also completely ok with listening to my body and not pushing things too hard. Considering the run schedule is arbitrary, I don't lose any sleep.

Near the top of Euclid Creek Park, about where I turned around 
Yesterday's run was a steady uphill of varying grades, for just over 5 miles, then downhill on the way back. I did not run it non-stop. My S1 gave me some issue toward the end, which is why I cut it short. My toe taping worked, for the most part. My fueling plan worked perfectly. My electrolyte plan still needs work, but at least I now have one. Taking all that into consideration, I still ran at a 12:26 average pace, which is a good 20 seconds per mile faster than my last half marathon pace. If the Cleveland Fall Classic is as flat as I hear, I believe I have a good chance of hitting my goal pace (and a new PR) of 12-minute-miles. I have 2 more long runs and 3 more weeks to work that out in, before race week taper. Guess I'll see what happens...

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