I went for the first bike ride in a couple of months on Tuesday. The temperature was in the high 40’s. Having not even really ridden the trainer or anything I was in for a wake call. The pace was not blistering but I could really tell that my form was off.
The four of us got off of the trace and hit the biggest hills around (still not much). There were a few surges but also nothing to write home about. However, I could really feel the fatigue in my legs. I never took a pull. I never surged ahead. I just stayed in the draft. I enjoyed the ride but it reminded my of how far off my bike gets in the winter. After about 35 miles I started to get cold – my feet and hands were hurting. I also started to think a lot about food. This is never a good sign. I was fantasizing about a big hot bowl of soup. I could almost taste it. Sam also started to talk about food. When we stopped for water he called ahead home to have a couple of pizzas put in the oven and some hot soup on the stove. I went over to his house after the ride and chowed down. Then I warmed up next to the fireplace. It was a good end to a cold bike ride. There is a big hilly bike ride on Thursday but I don't think it would fit into the training plan (I'm just not up for it).
If you remember, a few posts back I talked about how many bike rides you can have while training for a marathon PR – the answer was zero. So what was I doing? Well, the BIG volume portion of my training plan has come to an end. I was able to point together a couple of 70 mile weeks and now I move into the intensity phase of the program.
The program will switch from the high volume comfortable pace portion to a FIRST (Furman Institute) high intensity phase. There will be 3 challenging runs each week consisting of hard intervals, hard tempos, and long runs at marathon or near marathon pace.
I did the first short run I have done in a while. It was actually shorter than I had intended. I want to run 5 miles at sub 6:30 pace (7 miles total with a mile warm up and a mile cool down). When running at intensity I tend to run by pace and not heart rate or feel – just by pace. This has been slapping me in the face the past couple of runs. This intensity is really testing me – I should be able to run these paces but they have been putting me on the ropes. My running course is slightly uphill for about 6 miles. This is what has been putting it to me. So this faster run today was cut short. I did the warm up mile at 7:30ish and then picked up the pace. I ran the first mile and turned around. The mile was at 6:29 pace but felt much too hard to continue an additional mile and half before turning around. However, the next two miles, after having turned back, were much faster (and slightly easier). These next two miles clicked off in the high 6-teens (like 18 and 19). I need to be a little smarter when doing these run. I need to get the necessary mileage without blowing up.
This course that I run is also part of the Steam Whistle 12K that will be taking place on the first. Looking at last years race I averaged 6:39 pace. The first two miles were 6:34 / 6:35. Then it looks like I blew up a little – the next two miles were 6:49 / 6:54. Then the turn around and running slightly down hill brought the rest of the miles at 6:40 or less with the fastest being 6:31. Knowing that the race is faster on the ‘back’ portion I need to settle on a hard effort on the out and really push the pace on the back. I’m not looking forward to the intensity but I am looking for a PR.