Yes, I’m a proponent of doing less, scaling back (also see “Let’s Be Realistic: It’s Okay to Scale Back”), starting small, and that whole family of kinder, gentler approaches to working out. But hello, I’m training for the Around the Bay 30K on March 31. That’s less than three weeks from now.
And the furthest I’ve run in recent weeks is 24K (or was it 22K?). And that’s the furthest I’m going to run. Because my running coach, Linda from Master the Moments, has me working on intensity over distance. I confess that I have told her more than once I’m worried that I haven’t done the distance. She assures me that I can.
It’s an approach that I’m not used to. Usually when I’m training for a distance, I make sure to cover that distance at least once, even exceed it sometimes, to feel confident that I can do it. But this training cycle I went to India (where I only got in one treadmill run) and I’ve been doing a lot of treadmill training this winter, and when I got back from India I got slammed with a cold, and just generally life has been harder than usual so I’ve needed more sleep.
So when I got back from India Linda switched things up. First, when I had that cold, she had me doing ONLY easy runs. “Just get back into it,” she said. “Get your legs used to moving again.” It felt like permission to do something that I needed to do. What it accomplished was that it got me moving where a more daunting commitment would have had me saying “forget it.” Linda is smart that way.
But I expected that when the cold went away (it’s just started to subside and not quite all gone), she would be upping my distance again. But instead, two weeks ago my “long run” was 45 minutes (Anita did 24K with the Running Room). Then this weekend it was an hour: 30 minutes easy, 15 minutes moderate effort, 15 minutes hard effort (Anita did 26K with the Running Room).
She increased the intensity on the in between runs too. For example, I was assigned 6x800m repeats at a hard pace (I managed 4x800m), with a warm up and cool down to equal 8K (I managed 7K).
Here’s the thing. I’m doing it but I’m feeling nervous that it’s not enough. Again, Linda reassures me that I will finish. Switching up the paces, especially with the hard effort at the end, reminds me that I have more than one gear. I have done 30K before (heck, I’ve done 42K before), and I wasn’t nearly as fit when I did that, so in some sense I know I can do it. Also, I was having IT band issues manifesting in my knee before India. Now nothing. Mind you, that only kicked in at 20K, so I guess we’ll see on race day.
And here’s the other thing: I am enjoying the training and feeling strong. Yesterday I went out for that 60 minute with the increasingly difficult paces, and it felt amazing. It helped that spring was in the air. I’m going to need to strategize my Around the Bay a bit, breaking it up into 10K segments. I am a little concerned that I won’t be able to keep up with Anita, who is a machine right now, clocking the mileage in preparation for ATB.
But I guess we will see how it goes on race day. I’m less keen to do 10-1 intervals than she is because, to be frank, though I can look forward to the rest intervals, I find it hard to break my momentum and restart it again. I realize there are pros and cons, but psychologically I fare better with a walk-through-the-water-stations strategy than a 10-1 interval strategy.
Have you ever done a long race on training that puts intensity before distance? if so, how did it go?