This winter has been more severe than the past couple of years. We’ve had very cold temps and regular wintry precipitation for the past month and a half, and while I can objectively look at the calendar and try to rationalize that it really hasn’t been that long, it feels like a small eternity. It didn’t start out feeling that way; a month ago I prided myself on bundling up and running in the single digits like it was no big deal, and a month ago it wasn’t. But, now? It’s starting to slowly chip away at my resolve. The non-running, book-loving part of me is happy to have had a real winter, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of lazy afternoons on the couch with my books gazing out at the winter wonderland. Also, if I’m being totally honest, I’m relieved to have a “real” winter in the midst of a growing alarm for the climate. The runner in me, however, is ready for some sunshine and t-shirts. I keep telling myself I’ll be stronger for all this time I’ve spent training in the cold, and I’ve sworn up and down that I will under no circumstances complain about hot weather. I’m not sure that the two extremes compare for me, though. I like warmth, I like summer, and while there are certainly dangers to be aware of in the heat, I feel comfortable in it. I’ll circle back in July to confirm this heat love.
Seasonal yearnings aside, training is going well. I’ve been running mileage in the low 50’s for the past couple of months, and have been feeling good and strong. This Sunday marks 12 weeks until my next big goal race (Cleveland Half Marathon), and I’m ready to keep digging in. Here’s what this past week looked like:
Monday – 6 miles easy
Tuesday – 10 miles with about 5 miles of hill repeats
Wednesday – 6 miles easy
Thursday – 10 miles (3 mile warm-up, 3 x 7:00-7:10, 1 mile easy, 1 mile at 6:30-6:50, 2 mile cool down) *
Friday – Off
Saturday – 15 miles with 2:00 surges at 7:00 pace after mile 4
Sunday – 5 miles recovery
(52 miles total)
*Actual splits: 3 x mile – 7:13, 7:08, and 7:00; faster mile in 6:35
It’s taken me a few weeks to adjust to doing slightly longer long runs. I had been holding them in the 12-13 mile range, and those extra 3 miles made a big difference mentally, or maybe it was pushing over the 2 hour mark. I realized that if I reconfigure my route to not hit any of my regular loops until later in the run that helps a lot. Otherwise I end up feeling like I’m circling forever, or that I’ve run a lot farther than I have. The 2:00 pick-ups also made this week’s run fly by. I felt like I had just finished the surge and would look down to see that it was time to go again. I’ve been focusing more on all those little extra things (strength training) and have noticed that my hips aren’t tired or achy towards the end of these long runs like they used to sometimes be. Progress!
Overall I’ve been feeling good and recovering completely from all my runs. No lingering tiredness or heavy legs, though I’m more than happy to go to bed most nights. I usually try to get up in decent time for my weekend long run, but for the second easy weekend run I don’t set my alarm and let myself wake up naturally. Maybe shuffling around the grocery store after 15 miles is an underrated recovery strategy. I mean, it’s been working out okay for me, and what screams recovery like a cart full of treats?
Thinking warm thoughts,
*Feature image credit: mpburrows