My main goal was to maintain a 12 - 14 mile base early on in training. Over the winter our pace group from last season met up every Saturday for a 10 - 12 mile run. It felt really good to go into this season with a solid base. I ran 14 miles two weeks ago and it was pretty darn easy feeling! Who ever would have thought?!
I knew I wanted begin incorporating hills again but not too soon. Since the Columbia Gorge Marathon, I hadn't really tackled anything hilly and was feeling pretty nervous about it. I decided to ramp up my mileage to 14 miles on flats and then drop back and ramp up again but start to hit more elevation changes. Our run up to Forest Park the other week felt amazing! I remembered it being much harder than it was. This was some awesome validation that my fitness is improving.
I'm a little disappointed that we're not running in Vancouver this weekend because I'm ready for elevation again. Our sponsor, Brooks, is going to be visiting us so we're going to be at the Portland store. Vancouver's route would have been hilly, but next week is Vista Hill/Council Crest, which is about a 1,000 ft climb over 2 1/2 miles plus 7 miles of rolling hills up top, so I'll get my fill then.
My other goal is to log a few more runs in the 16 - 18 range because I felt those distances were the most beneficial. They still tire you out and increase endurance, but the chance of injuries doesn't seem quite as high. Maybe next season I'll incorporate a couple 20 miler's but not this season!
The longer distances seem to really take a lot out of you. Though I usually felt pretty good the day after towards the end of the season, I certainly wasn't doing anything but being lazy for the rest of that day! The 22 mile run we did was brutal but it was a confidence booster. I didn't end up running the 20 miles last year because of knee pain but did just fine on a trail for 22! It's tough for me, as a newbie still, to decide whether the 22 miles again is important. I think I'm going to max out at 21 on March 30th and call it good enough.
Another thing I've been trying to do is run every day after my long run. Usually these are called recovery runs but a lot of people are starting to call it an anticipation run. The distances are not supposed to be very long or fast, but I've been taking advantage of the sun when I can get it and they're often 5 - 6 miles, which is about an hour of running for me. These runs train the body to run on fatigued legs. Usually I feel really great and am not sore at all, but I am also still under the 15 mile distance!
Loving and taking days off is important! I've been consistently running 26 - 32 miles a week (depending on the week) so my mileage is at a good place for what works for me right now. I have been in the habit of running 5 days a week though and I'm trying to cut that back some weeks to 4 and only cross-train on the other day. Usually I'll run to yoga and back, or run for 15 minutes to warm up at the gym, so I'm trying to isolate those x-training days and stop running on all of them. We have two built into our schedule and one full rest day, but recently I've been taking two full rest days in a row because it felt pretty good!
With everything else in my life, I go in spurts. I'll run in the same place for a couple weeks and then find somewhere else. I'll take Thursday and Friday off for two weeks in a row and then take off Monday and Friday. I almost always take Friday off, even though my coach has us X-training. There's something about resting completely the day before a long run that feels good, but I've recently been seeing some training plans that have someone run a medium-long run the day the before the long run to deplete glycogen stores. It mimics the last XX miles of the marathon instead of the first. I don't think I'm ready for that yet, but I might try it out next season when I might be more time focused.
Right now, my Big Sur time goal is loosely 4:45. I'd love to run a 4:35 (a 10:30 pace) and so far all of my long runs average about 10:15, but it's those later miles that really can get you! After some of my longer runs I might feel better or worse about my ultimate goal time.
Alright, enough blabbering! Mostly this entry is just for me so I have a written down record of what I am doing, since I haven't been able to write about it in my hard copy training journal. I'm writing in it after every run but I don't have enough space to write out all of the details!