Stuck

Week in review:
79 miles
2 hard workouts: 200m track workout, 2x3 miles at tempo
One off day

Last week I had a little bit of a breakthrough (i.e. not being INCREDIBLY slow, just sort-of slow), and I was excited to continue with that progress this week. Except it didn't happen. Both workouts I had I was pretty much exactly the same speed as last week. A little frustrating, especially since I really WANT to be faster!!

First workout: 8x200 faster, 200 fast. Faster is supposed to be 35, fast supposed to be 55. Every single time I came through the fast 200, I saw 38.x. Seriously? I'd reset my mind during the "recovery" 200, vowing to make the next 200m repeat faster. I thought about my form, arm swing, etc. I also visualized perfect, powerful form when running (in hopes that it might translate). But no matter what I did, I came through in 38's.

Total time for the 2 miles was 12:36.

As I told Jerry, that seems so... pedestrian. I'll be trying to race a 5k in 41s or so this spring. And I can only muster 38s? 41s don't seem like they'd be possible...

But, I guess it doesn't really matter - I ran as fast as my legs would carry me & truly tried to get every second out of them. Guess that's all you can ask for. I just WISH I could be faster! It's frustrating to realize that you have no ability to bring it down. I realize it'll be a while until I can get that ability back (if I ever had such an ability), since I haven't worked on it in over a year and a half...

On to workout #2: 2x3 miles at tempo (goal sub 6)
Result: 6:05 average, 6:08 average. The first repeat I let myself lose it the last mile. I allowed myself to hurt. Not acceptable. I reset myself for the second rep, reminding myself to embrace the pain, trying to endure as much "uncomfortableness" as possible. I only have two opportunities each week to really test myself (and considering the 200s aren't really that taxing on the legs or lungs (because I can't move myself fast enough to get there!), it's really just this workout - so I have to make it count. I was mentally stronger on this one, but just couldn't squeak out any additional seconds. At least the second tempo segment was 2 secs/mile faster than last week (but just 2 secs? really?)

So -- a somewhat frustrating week in terms of progress, but I also understand that it's a process and that improvements sometimes come slower than you'd like. I'm reminding myself to be patient, that I'll get back up to speed soon enough -- in the meantime, all I can ask is that I give my best in the workouts I'm given.

And smile, because I'm still having a lot of fun chasing dreams :)

PS - I've polled facebook, but I'll try here as well. I cracked the glass on my garmin, so it's only a matter of time before water sneaks into the display & it dies. Because I've become SO dependent on knowing distances/paces, I know I need to seek out a new one fairly soon. Any recommendations? I'm considering the 110 (garmin) - I just want something simple & small. I haven't done much research on Nike's option or the Soleus option. Any advice?

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

5 comments:

  1. I have/love the 110, but I don't think it'd be right for a more serious runner.

    There's no "current pace" on it--just an average over an interval. For instance, if your interval is a mile, the pace displayed will be your average so far for that mile...so if you run the first .5 at 9 min miles and the next .5 at 6 min miles, your pace will never show 6 min miles--it will only decrease from 9 min miles to an average 7.5 min mile ending pace.

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  2. Somewhere just before the Trials, I read some website/blog that recommended your blog. I have totally enjoyed following your marathon pursuits over the last few months, so I was blown away in this post that you talked about your key workouts this week being 200s and tempos. These are exactly the workouts my coaching 'adviser' has me doing - even though I am at a much more pedestrian level than you! :)

    I remember first starting with 12x200 and trying for 40/60 and how hard that was. My adviser suggested to first focus more on the speed and then second focus on the fast recovery. So now I am doing 16 200s under 40 with a couple dipping into 37 and 38. The jogging recoveries are closer to 68/70. I was advised to keep the recoveries a bit longer until I develop 36 second speed (since I am at a more pedestrian level:).

    I remember one of my observations I had: "making it through reps 9-16 is a b**** it feels like there is not enough oxygen in the world!! But once I make it through the workout and cool down I feel great again." It is a tough workout aerobically, but muscularly it leaves you ready for the next training run/workout.

    Some of the things I am told to remember is to "keep my knees up"; consciously thinking that as I go through each 200 helps, as well as thinking about the movements I do in some of the basic running drills.

    Anyway, take it all with a grain of salt, I just wanted to share what I have learned of that workout and to let you know to keep at it - you'll get that speed back before you know it!!

    PS sorry for the long comment and please just interpret this as the enthusiasm of another avid runner.

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  3. I want to get to the point where I'm running 79/wk and consider myself "stuck." ;) I have every bit of faith that one day (SOON) you'll wake up and have the fresh, fast feeling in your legs and those times will come easily.

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  4. Hi Nichole - See, I told you I read your blog! :-)

    Good job yesterday under tough conditions - I think your speed will come back, just have to keep plugging away. That's what I'm telling myself anyway...

    See you around-
    Amy

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  5. Danny - THANK you for posting here - I thought about that the next time I did a speed workout and think it helped (and I was faster... so perhaps it did make a difference!!)

    Hailey - ha, you're funny. You'll soon be to the point where 80ish/week is pretty normal (scary as that is). But yes, can't wait until I start to feel "faster". Amazing how long the body takes to recover from a big race effort (take this in to consideration when coming back from your ultra!)

    And Amy -- thanks for replying here! Love to hear from you here!! Congrats on a PHENOM Human Race result. What's next for you? Can't wait to see!

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