Week 10 was a pretty solid week of training. It started off a little shaky, as after the previous Saturday’s Cow Harbor 10K, the back of my right leg was a little stiff. I feel like I’m constantly battling these minor aches, and usually on my right leg. They’re usually not anything enough to stop me from running, but just enough of an imbalance to annoy me. I much prefer it when both legs are equally sore. That’s just means I’m tired. Not injured.
After taking the day off after Cow Harbor from running (doing an upper body workout and volunteering at a NYRR event instead), I had another day off scheduled for Monday. I usually don’t feel like I need two days off in a row after a 5K or 10K so I decided to do an easy run on Monday. Looking back, maybe I should have given my legs another day to rest. But when faced with the choice to run or not run, you know what I’d choose.
As previously mentioned on this blog, I am following NYRR’s Marathon Virtual Training Program.
WEEK 10 (Sept. 17-23)
Monday I ran 4.64 easy miles in Central Park: running there, making one circle around the bridle path outside the reservoir, and coming home. If I want about a 4.5 mile run, that’s usually my route (either the bridle path or the path around the reservoir itself). When logging our runs, we have to indicate our effort on a scale of 1 to 10, with 3 being “easy.” I actually rated this day a 2 – easier than easy. I kept it super slow, running an overall 9:55 pace, starting out at a 10:14 mile and increasing to 9:38 by the end. I was still sore from Cow Harbor so I didn’t want to push it.
Tuesday I had an easy run of 5 miles prescribed, which is exactly what I did along the Hudson River Path, but man, it was tough. I ran this even slower than the day before, at an overall 10:09 pace, the first mile at 10:38. Crazy. I never do runs slower than 10:00 anymore. It was very humid and I don’t think I slept enough the night before but mostly, my legs were still fatigued. It’s amazing how much a race can affect you. I run 6 miles all the time with no issues, but the minute I run 6 miles a bit faster than usual, I feel it for days. I write down the pros and cons of each workout and under “pros” that day I wrote “I got it done.” That about sums it up.
Wednesday was another easy day: a prescribed “AYF” (As You Feel) run of 5 miles. I ran 5.81 miles in Central Park (an exact 5 mile route is hard for me to accomplish there, unless I want to walk part way, which I don’t). As an AYF run, I could run this at whatever pace I felt like, and wound up at an average 9:41 pace – still easy but not super-fatigued easy. I started out slower and sped up as I progressed. Although not terrible, the back of my right leg still had a dull ache running up the back side of it. My left leg felt great. My left leg could have competed in the Olympics. So every other step felt good, at least. I gave this one a 4 for effort, so only slightly harder than “easy.”
One good thing that came out of this run was a sweat-stain smiley face on my shirt.
Thursday was one of those days I had to switch it up. I had a tempo workout scheduled, but I decided to swap it with Friday’s “Flex Day” and just do a Fitness Blender upper body workout instead of a run. My right leg was feeling a little better but I thought that maybe giving it one day of rest and holding off on the harder workout would be best. I’m glad I followed my gut, because my leg felt better the following day.
Friday I did the tempo workout scheduled for Thursday. There were unusual instructions for this one: it was suggested we do it on a track to induce boredom. They wanted it to be monotonous for us. It was explained that there will be stretches along the marathon course that will be flat and dull and seem to go on forever (assuming they’re mostly talking about the long Brooklyn stretch), and we need to get used to this. I didn’t really mind because I like going to the track, and honest to god: I never get bored while running.
I ran to and from Riverbank State Park for this workout where, I was relieved to discover, as well as use, their public bathrooms.
Here’s the prescribed workout:
- Warm up: 2 miles @ 9:24-10:00 pace
- Tempo: 3 miles @ 8:15-8:39 pace
- Warm down:* 3 miles @ 9:24-10:00 pace
*I usually call this a “cool down” but the program uses “warm down” which, frankly, sounds kinda weird.
I’m happy to report that not only did I hit the paces for this (tempo miles of 8:21, 8:25, 8:21), but I felt… really good. My right leg felt better and the tempo paces weren’t all that hard to maintain. They were slightly faster than my “marathon pace” (at least, what this program is telling me my marathon pace should be) and a healthy-feeling kind of fast. It’s an odd pace for me, as it’s faster than my normal easy-to-moderate pace, but slower than any of my recent race paces. So that weird middle ground of “comfortably hard.”
At one point, a whole line of soldiers in fatigues walked along the track. I tried getting a pic while running but I didn’t want to stop or be obvious about it.
That was the best I could do. And I have worked extensively as a freelance photographer.
Saturday I had a “regular run” of 5 miles. I ran 5.64 miles in Central Park, where, again, I can’t seem to run an exact 5 miles. “Regular” runs are a little faster than “easy” runs – in my case, between a 9:12 and 9:24 pace. (This pace range might change from week to week depending on how I’m doing.) I ran this one at an average 9:16 pace, so pretty much right where I needed to be. I got faster as I went, running the first mile in 9:36 and the fifth in 8:58. My right leg felt even better today and under “cons” I wrote “none” so it must have been a good run. Honestly, I am writing this exactly one week later, and I cannot remember this run.
I guess that’s how I know I’m training enough.
Sunday was more memorable. This was my long run. Ah, the long run. It’s my favorite. I had 13 miles prescribed, but this was the day I was supposed to make up the skipped “Pseudo Long Run” of the previous week and do 19 if I wanted. So I planned on 19.
One thing I’ve dearly missed these past couple of months is running regularly with the Harriers. They have their own marathon training plan which I hadn’t known about when I started NYRR’s plan. Their hard workouts are Wednesdays and Fridays, while mine are usually on Thursdays and I generally don’t want to do two hard workouts in a row.
But the Harriers have long runs on Sundays and the one they were doing today was a “donut run,” meaning they were going to end up at a donut shop. Count me in. They had planned on 7 miles, so my plan was to run 12 on my own and then meet them at 9am and run the 7 with them. And then eat a donut. Or two.
To have completed 12 miles and wind up at our meeting point of Tavern on the Green by 9am, I would have had to leave my apartment at 6:45 that morning. After eating breakfast, walking my dog, getting changed, and doing my warm ups, it was more like 7:05.
I wound up running 10 miles, all at a fairly slow pace that hovered between 9:40 and 10:00. I kept having to stop myself from going faster. I was a little worried the Harriers would run their 7 miles at a pace faster than I was used to and wanted to save my energy. Toward the end of the 10 miles, I actually used a Central Park public bathroom for possibly the first time ever. It was right off the loop on the west side, just north of Tavern on the Green. It was fine. Glad it was there. Hmm, that’s twice in one week I needed a bathroom on a run. I’ve never needed one during a race. Please god don’t let the marathon be the first.
At 9am, I met the Harriers making the donut run and we started out going through the park a bit, then west through Manhattan to make our way to the West Side Highway. The large group had somewhat broken up and the smaller group I was running with consisted of maybe 7 or 8 of us. I was relieved that their pace was fine – it was a little faster than the 10 miles I’d just run, but it was mostly a totally doable 9:00-9:30 pace range.
I started talking to a couple of the runners and, just like on my way down to Coney Island with Fred’s Team, the conversation made the run go by that much quicker. Before I knew it, we were at Houston Street. We made our way across that and wound up at the lower east side’s amazing Supermoon Bakehouse.
I finally decided on the peanut butter and jelly donut. It was $5 and worth every penny.
Runners & donuts – the perfect pair.
The Harriers who were left assembled for a group shot. I had worn my Percy Sutton 5K “Harlem” shirt that day. I may not wear race shirts on race day, but I do wear them.
I had come in short in mileage that day, running a total of 17.16 miles instead of 19. Initially, I thought that maybe I’d take the subway home but get off 40 blocks south and just run the rest of the way home. But after sitting for a while, I just didn’t have it in me. So I settled on being happy with 17.16 that day.
This was a good week that started out shaky but couldn’t have ended better.
Week 10: 46.26 miles
Let’s see one more shot of that donut.