Week 7 was a HOT week. Literally. I sweat more in week 7 than maybe the previous six weeks combined. Luckily, it cooled off by the weekend. Unluckily, it’s hot again now in week 8.
But this post is all about week 7! I am following the 16-week NYRR Marathon Virtual Training Program in preparation for my first marathon on November 4th in NYC – just two months away! Gulp! Training is coming along great – I haven’t had any major aches or pains lately, KNOCK ON WOOD.
Monday was my usual day off from running. And after running 41.2 miles 6 days in a row, my legs were ready for a break. As I typically do on my days off, I did an upper body strength training workout courtesy of Fitness Blender. I really like their workouts for “people who get bored easily.” I’m still using 8, 10, and 15 lb. weights as I’ve done for some time now, but I wonder if I need to step it up because I’d like to be just a tad more muscular. I threw in some basic and side crunches at the end of each set. Easy day.
Tuesday was a prescribed “AYF” (As You Feel) run of 6 miles. The AYF runs are nice because you can run at any pace you’d like. Generally, I find the first day back after a day off a little tough, so I welcomed the relaxed workout. I ran the 5-mile Central Park loop that cuts across 72nd, starting and ending closer to home for a total of 6 miles. I started with a 10:10 pace, speeding up to 8:51 in the 5th. Overall pace of 9:32. Right around 9:30 seems to be my comfort zone these days. Under “cons” for this day I wrote “HUMID AF.” So yeah. It was humid af.
Wednesday was a “Regular Run” of 7 miles. Regular Runs are a little faster than easy pace. For me, it was suggested I run within a 9:18-9:29 pace. My Garmin only reports pace in intervals of 5, so I figured if I was somewhere in the 9:15-9:30 range I’d be fine. I ran along the Hudson River Path because it’s nice and flat, and wound up running an overall 9:14 pace, which was a bit more of an effort without being “hard.” Under “cons” I wrote “HOT AF.” Just to vary it up.
Thursday was a monster: 11 miles, including hill repeats. To be exact: 8 simulated Pulaski Bridge hills a quarter mile each. While looking up Central Park hill grades, I learned that Cat Hill, on the loop’s east side, is a near-perfect match to the Pulaski Bridge (one of the bridges on the marathon course). It also turned out to be the perfect location for an 11-mile run: 4 there, 4 on the hill, 3 home. I was nervous about this one. Hills are not my strength. I ran the first two Cat Hills conservatively, not focused on pace but just wanting to get up without dying. To my surprise, I didn’t die. In fact, the runs down the hill felt like an actual rest, so I recovered quickly from each one. I decided to try to get faster on each uphill, and for the most part I did, running the first in 2:26 (9:55 pace) and the last in 2:06 (8:34 pace). Coming down the 5th hill, I suddenly felt… great. Like my body had entered some kind of zen zone where I couldn’t feel pain. Is this a runner’s high? I’m still not sure. One thing that really helped was using the 3:2 breathing method: in for 3 steps and out for 2. Try it – it works. Under “cons” I wrote “Still hotter than hell” which was really the only negative. I think I lost about 10 pounds of sweat this morning.
Friday was practically a day off: a 5-mile AYF run. That’s it? I might as well stay in bed, am I right? It felt so easy that I did threw in an upper body strength training workout before my run. Fortunately, the humidity had broke – it was in the low 70s and overcast. A cool, autumn day compared to the hell I’d endured in the days prior. For some crazy reason, I felt GREAT on this run. I don’t know if it was the shoes (I wore my old Saucony Guides that I still wear about once a week and are still super comfy), or the two Clif Bloks I had before the run (I usually just have one), or the weather, or a combination of everything, but I started slow and kept getting faster and I didn’t want to stop – I only did because I was afraid I’d run out of time before work. Overall 9:24 pace.
Saturday was a scheduled 7-mile Regular Run and another day where I felt good and went faster than I was supposed to. What is happening? Am I… improving? I was supposed to run between a 9:18 and 9:29 pace, and despite a touch of leg soreness, I just blasted it, starting at a 9:11 and getting up to 8:26 in the 5th mile. Overall pace 8:57. I don’t think I’ve ever done a training run longer than 3 miles that had an 8-something pace. Just one negative thing that came out of this workout: the skin in the crease of my right pinky toe split – nothing horrible, but now I had this tiny cut on my toe. I had visions of my toe falling off and legitimately wondered how much I truly needed it. Luckily, some hydrogen peroxide – and taping it down with a band-aid for the next few runs – have managed to heal it.
Sunday was my long run: 17 miles. Only a couple of years ago, I would have never thought I’d be able to run 5 days in a row, no less than 5 miles each day, and then run 17 on the 6th day. I still can’t believe I’m at this point sometimes. After the previous day’s speed session and worries that my toe that might fall off, I made sure to keep the pace down on this, actively slowing when I saw that I was going too fast. My legs were a bit more tired than they probably should have been, and I knew my previous day’s hubris was partly to blame. My prescribed pace was 9:40-10:02. I averaged 9:37. Well, I tried.
I ate a lot on Sunday.
Week 7: 52.66 miles