I wrapped up my hardest week yet in training, week four of a six-week endurance mesocycle. My understanding of the purpose is to lay a foundation of stamina on which to build later in training with an emphasis on lactate threshold. But it's led to many runs I've found almost lazy. I'm staying in the zone of what I'm suppose to shoot for, but I feel like my skittishness with injuries led me to err on the side of slower. That's OK for long runs and recovery, but it makes me worry I'm training my body to run slowly. This week featured a couple medium-long runs (14 and 11 miles), which I did a little over 7:45. Yesterday's 18-miler should have been at a similar pace. I wanted to go just a little faster and get a good idea of pace. I ran 17 of the 18 miles in Central Park, a course basically of rolling hills. Here's the breakdown of the Central Park miles:
Loop 1 (5 miles): 38:18. Pace: 7:39. The first 5-6 miles of a run are hard when I'm into distance training. It takes time to warm up and feel OK. This included a stop at the water fountain of about 30 seconds.
Loop 2 (4 miles): 30:39. Pace: 7:39. This is where I start to feel good and get into a rhythm. I decided to take a gel and get water at about 9 miles. Took ~ 45 seconds.
Loop 3 (4 miles): 31:01. Pace: 7:45. I was pretty much locked into a pace here. This loop was faster because it took me 1 minute to buy and drink Gatorade.
Loop 4 (4 miles): 31:17. Pace: 7:49. The last loop was mostly OK, although I started to fatigue some. I stopped to drink and dispose of the rest of my Gatorade, then took another gel at 16 miles. This proved a time suck because of a line at the water fountain. Still, I wanted to take a gel late in the run to jumpstart the recovery process.
Overall: 18 miles, 2:19:31. Pace: 7:45. My guess is, when you factor in the stops for water, etc, I ran at about 7:30-7:35 pace, not bad for a hilly course on a warm morning. More important, it felt comfortable. Taking a gel late in the run -- along with a chocolate milk immediately after stopping -- did appear to speed recovery.
5 miles, 40:10