This weekend I will be participating in the closest thing I’ve had to a race in a long, long time. I will be running as far as I can within a one hour time limit, then I will submit my time towards a 12-man team effort. Each member of the team will be setting off at a different time throughout the day (somewhat replicating the actual long-distance relay that this virtual event is replacing). I have a 7am leg, a little early compared to normal race times, but early enough to get it in before I go to work, and since I usually run early in the morning anyway it suits my routine.
Although it is going to be impossible to replicate a race environment without other runners to race against, and with, I am excited to test myself over a long distance, as I am in the midst of one of my better blocks of consistent training, ever.
I started turning things over at a greater volume at the start of the lockdown (about 12 weeks ago) by simply running more miles, and dedicating several sessions a week to strength and cross training.
Now, as I reach a mini peak before the one significant run on my calendar, I feel as if I’m reaping the benefits.
In the last seven days I’ve turned over 52.5 miles, with some meaty sessions within.
A session of 3 x (0.45, 0.25, 0.15) had me moving at high speed, improving my leg turn over and boosting my power. I must point out that for such a low rep, relatively simple workout, it was mightily tough, and that surely was the point.
There was also a slightly longer session, with active recovery, which had me doing 5 x 0.6 mile, followed by 2 x 0.4 mile, with 0.25 mile of steady running between each rep. This had me expanding my tempo pace, and walking that aerobic threshold line.
And of course, in between, were those all important easy runs. The magic of the easy run became all too clear to me when a steady 8 miles after a full day off felt so demanding on my legs. After 2 weeks of running every day, the day off (although I’m sure it will be beneficial in the long term) left my legs feeling stiff and heavy. In comparison, I had felt sprightly and strong on my last tempo run, and this was surely because I’d put an easy run in between that and my interval session the previous morning.
With the right balance of workouts, I’ve found that running everyday isn’t half as demanding as it sounds. In fact, it’s been downright rewarding.
I don’t know how close to race pace I will be able to push myself on Sunday, but I’m looking forward to finding out. The work has been put in, and I’m ready to see what kind of results that work will facilitate. Saying that, there’s still more work to be done, still more progress to be made. Running is an endurance sport, and not just when it comes to races. Training may be planned by week, but gains will mostly be made on a much larger scale, in months, years even. Although things are going well now, I know all too well that harder times will come.
For now I’ve just got to be sensible, worship the recovery run, and enjoy it all while it lasts.