Somehow, it’s been a week already since Ragnar! We were exhausted for the first day or so but are pretty much mended and back to normality again. Whilst I haven’t yet got into a hot shower without appreciating it or stretched out in bed and not sighed in bliss, I am flipping MISSING it and still buzzing from all the fun.
Let’s start this post with a quick summary of this week’s training.
– Morning: Ragnar Leg 1. 4.3 miles in 9.44 pace (including a lot of stop-lights)
Early evening: Ragnar Leg 2. 6.6 miles at 9.14
Very early morning (1.30am) – Ragnar Leg 3. 5.7 miles at 9.11
– Lunchtime – Ragnar Leg 3.9 miles at 8.46
I had both Sunday and Monday off to sleep, sit on the sofa, eat incessantly (RUNGER!) and give my aching legs a break.
Tuesday: 8 miles with 6 at tempo
Looking back, this was ridiculously silly. My legs felt more or less mended, just a little tired maybe. But I have Rock n Roll San Jose next Sunday (5th) and I wanted to push on, so I ran 8 miles which consisted of 2 x (1 mile normal, 3 miles tempo). My tempo miles were hilariously slow – averaging about 8.50. All I could do was laugh and realize I’d overstretched it! But secretly, whilst recognizing this, I was dismayed. (FORESHADOWING!!)
Thursday: 2.5 miles super-easy
Learning from Tuesday’s mistakes, I went out for 3 easy EASY miles whilst listening to my new e-book ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ by Haruki Murakami. I love the book, I loved the easy run, I loved nearly slipping up in the mud from the season’s first rainfall and I loved not feeling guilty when I cut the run short to go home to the loo. Bliss.
Which brings us to:
Friday: 11.75 long run at 9.22
I would usually include this in next week’s summary but it’s important for what I’m going on to talk about. I wanted to do 12 miles alternating normal and faster miles, which is what I often do in preparation for a race. It has always worked really well for me. Usually I’d expect slower miles at 9.20 – 9.30 and faster miles at 8.40 – 9.00 pace. But today, after the first two miles where I hit those paces, everything slowed down to a slow crawl. My faster miles got up to the 9.30s and my slower miles went up to 10.
My overall pace wouldn’t be so bad except that I had WORKED FOR THIS. With the level of work I did, I was hoping for an average pace of 8.50 – 9.10.
Which brings me to something I’ve been noticing for a while.
I am getting slower.
At the start of the year, I was training hard for a 10k and Half Marathon PR attempt. Training was awesome – I was getting faster and faster each week and I felt like I was flying. Even though the week before the half-marathon was fairly dire, the solid training I’d done for the 10k carried me through and I ended up PRing at both of them. I felt amazing.
However since then (March), my running has lost a lot of impetus. I did some trail races which I LOVED and then the summer was more about me maintaining my fitness as we focussed on the Husband’s Ironman.
But over the past month or so, I’ve really upped my training game, using the same home-made ‘plan’ that I used in the Spring. And whilst I’ve seen glimmers of speed, the majority of my running has been fairly slow and solid and unremarkable.
I am getting slower.
I have two options here.
The first option is to consider some of the other training plans around. I’ve always believed that you get faster by practicing running faster and it’s worked for me so far. However maybe I’ve just done too much tempo work and my poor legs are knackered. Growing in popularity are the plans that involve training slower and racing faster. Jen has been using the MAF plan and making some remarkable progress. Angela just published a post about how she is doing something similar. I’m happy to jump on a bandwagon that looks like it might be helpful so I’ve ordered this Matt Fitzgerald book and I’ll see what that teaches me.
The other option is to just accept it and to go on enjoying running – my lack of progress doesn’t seem to be making me particularly grumpy and is not taking away the pleasure I get from running.. I’ve quoted this before but the lovely Sara from Running The World: Sweden said so succinctly:
‘I’ve come to the conclusion that running a 10k race 30 second faster, or so, won’t make me happier. But running in beautiful places will. That’s quite an insight which has completely changed the way I run, and made it more fun and more meaningful.’
So for now I’ll do some reading and enjoy the views along the way.
I’d welcome your thoughts!