Friday, February 21, 2014

To Run Faster, You Have to Run Fast

Sounds pretty logical, right? But when you're trying to increase your mileage by including more long runs, well intervals and fast tempo sessions sometimes have to take a back seat. Problem was, with four weeks until Maroondah Dam 50k, I was feeling old, slow and broken down.

My 42k long run at Arthurs Seat last Monday had gone OK, but the rest of the week I could barely raise a jog, so I decided to have a rest for a couple of days, and since it was a lower mileage week, try and run a quick 32k on the Saturday.

The first part of the run felt great, but it was pretty humid, and by the 17k mark, I knew the day was not going to end well. At just short of 25k in Mt Eliza Regional Park I was done, and collapsed on a bench for about 20 mins, before finding a kindly stranger who let me borrow their phone.

Just short of 25k, and far from home. The phone call of shame

I made the call of shame to Allie, asking her to come and get me, and waited sheepishly by the road while pondering my current abysmal form, and wondering what I could do about it. Fortunately we had a night booked at the Hilton South Wharf the next day, so I put it out of my mind, and decided to just enjoy our little getaway.

South Wharf, Melbourne

We checked in about 2:30pm on the Sunday afternoon, and did some shopping at the DFO outlet stores for a couple of hours. Obviously, I headed straight to the Adidas shop, and picked up a new running singlet which I don't need, and some gloves which I do, as they are on the mandatory gear list for the Heysen 105 later in the year.

Running back along the Yarra after a lap of the Botanic Gardens

We then went for a leisurely jog along the Yarra River down to the Botanic Gardens, and I ran a fast lap of the 4km Tan Track, still feeling pretty ordinary. Then we ran/walked back slowly, just enjoying the evening, and trying to avoid the crush of people heading to the Bruce Springsteen Concert at one of the nearby sports stadiums. It was about 8k all up, although I was still pretty tired from the day before.

The Boatbuilders Yard - great food and ales

We had a great casual dinner at the Boatbuilders Yard bar by the Yarra, feasting on a dips platter, prawns & steak sandwiches, before finishing the evening off with a few drinks at the hotel bar, then an in-house movie on our comfy king size bed. We watched the new Hunger Games movie, or rather we watched about 30 minutes of it, before both passing out!

 Being fancy at The Hilton South Wharf lobby bar

After attacking the buffet breakfast like savages the next morning, we did a bit more shopping (yes, more running gear), then checked out and headed home. It was great to get away together sans kids, even for just a short time, and I arrived home feeling somewhat refreshed, and ready to tackle the week's training.

I ran an easy 5k on the Monday, then instead of my usual hard intervals on Tuesday, ran my 14k trail loop, starting off easy, then working home fast, trying to get the speed back in my legs. On Wednesday, I had planned a 30k long run, but instead, decided to return to my 18k trail loop, which was my standard Wednesday hard run in the lead up to both Yurrebilla and 30/50 last year.

Despite the ever present pain in both achilles, I pushed hard early to try and set up a fast run, and felt solid through the early and middle stages. The cooler temperature was a welcome change from our recent weather, and despite a low patch at around the 11-12k, I finished the run well, and recorded a PB for that loop, averaging 4:26 min/km, compared to my previous best of 4:32 min/km.

The Granites Bridge, Sweetwater Creek on my 18k loop

I was pretty happy to run my first PB since about October last year, and it has given me the boost I needed after feeling pretty low last week. Obviously my recent lethargy has been a combination of things: more longer runs, hot weather, higher overall mileage, and probably a too quick increase in workload in my rush to get ready for Maroondah Dam after the injury.

A PB finally - first since October!

Whatever the case, I'm feeling a lot better about things, and maybe MD won't be the total disaster I was starting to expect after all.