It's been 3 weeks since IRONMAN Louisville (read the race report here) and I'm tired of watching my fitness slide. I have laid out my plans for 2018 and I am recovered so this morning it was back to work.
First I have to preface the "I am recovered" bit. My fatigue has returned to a state that will allow me to resume hard training. My left knee on the other hand, is still a bit cranky. I can ride my bike, no trouble at all but I can only run for about 20 to 25 minutes at a time before my knee gets really mad and won't let me go any further.
I'm planning another post about my goals for 2018 but, in the interest of brevity here, the first goal for the year is to go after a half marathon PR. My current PR is 1:18:56 and the course I set that on seems to have been a bit short. My goal race is the Sam Costa half-marathon on March 24th, 2018. That course consistently measures long by GPS. It's certified though and we all know GPS is not as accurate as the measuring devices used for certified course. All that being said my goal pace for Sam Costa, to ensure a PR, is a pace of 5:55 per mile.
I think I have devised a method to go ahead and get to work on the half-marathon PR despite the current situation with my knee. My official training plan doesn't start for about 4 more weeks and in the mean time the biggest challenge is to remember how to suffer like you have to suffer to run a fast half-marathon and getting my body used to running at those hard paces.
That being the case, for now I can do the warm up and cool down portion of workouts on my stationary bicycle trainer and run only the actual workout. This will allow me to go ahead and start teaching my body to run hard and right now 20-25 minutes at those paces will be enough to acclimate to half-marathon training.
I put this plan to practice this morning in my first real workout since IRONMAN. The meat of the workout was 5 x 1 kilometer repeats at or close to goal half-marathon pace. I allowed for a little wiggle room this morning as I am simply trying to remember how to run hard, how to internalize that discomfort and how to push through that wall of pain that stands between me and my goal.
I was pretty pleased with this morning's workout which looked like this. For a warm up I used the Sufferfest video Ignitor and my bike trainer. It's whole purpose is to get you primed for a big effort. This is a much better warm up than just slogging around for 15 or 20 minutes. Ignitor got my legs, heart, and lungs ready to get after it.
Once I finished the 21 minute video I changed into my running shoes and loaded up the running workout on my watch. Since I was already warmed up the workout started right away with the first hard km repeat. Half marathon pace is tricky. It takes good fitness for sure but it also just takes some practice to get your body used to that level of suffering. It's not unbearable but it does take familiarity to be able to hit it. For the first interval I hit right at a 6:00 minute pace and it felt really hard.
That left me wondering if I would be able to maintain anything close for the remaining 4 repeats. I m happy to report that my body adapted fairly quickly. That first interval was in a lot of ways the hardest and I ended up running a pretty good workout. The full set of intervals looked like 5:59, 6:04, 5:59, 6:05, 6:00. The 5:59s and 6:00 were all run one way on a 1 km stretch and the 6:04 and 6:05 were ran in the opposite direction so I'm guessing the disparity was due to the wind which was NNW at about 12 MPH.
I finished off with another Sufferfest video, Extra Shot which is a 20 minute race simulation. I took the intensity down to about 75% so that i didn't have to suffer any more but would get a descent zone 2/3 effort in as a cool down. I used the video to keep the power targets in front of me and make sure I wasn't just spinning mindlessly, being lazy, and wasting the 20 minutes on something that wouldn't benefit my fitness.
All in all I am pretty pleased with this workout and I'm happy to be back at it. I've got a ways to go but I've also got a while to get there. I'm also happy to report that my knee didn't bother me at all during the run which is great news because up until today, it would have so I am hoping I have turned the corner on this injury and can put it behind me and move on toward the goal on March 24th, 2018.
I'll be blogging thru the build up to this half-marathon training cycle and then through the cycle itself but if you are interested in following my workouts, check me out on strava