I think getting sick for two weeks was maybe the best thing that could have happened to me. Can't believe you are reading those words? Well, I can't believe I am typing them. But I wonder if it's not true, as I had the best run yesterday.
Not that I would wish getting sick on anyone, but I can't help but notice that after not really running for almost two weeks, I have come back feeling stronger than I have in a while. Yesterday's 10-miler is a good example. After doing six miles on the treadmill the day before - alternating 6.0 pace with 3.2 at 10-percent incline, I wasn't really thinking of running yesterday. So, I was a bit surprised when I woke up just feeling like I could do something. I scanned over my training plan and saw that (holy crap!) my Thursday runs had bumped up to 10 miles while I was down and out. With a long run moved up to Saturday and the need to rest for that, I just decided to go ahead and try to juggle my week's workouts. I thought I would give the 10-miler a try.
So, I parked at the Y and opted for my famous wagon-wheel running plan. That's where I park in the middle of the wagon wheel and then run the spokes out. For yesterday that meant attempting two miles out and back twice for eight miles and then another mile out and then back for the 10. The beauty of the wagon wheel is that it gives you ample opportunity to call it quits if you just aren't feeling it. Also, mentally, breaking everything up into such short segments is refreshing too. I mean, I am at a point where I can almost always run two miles.
So, I started my run yesterday and was pleasantly surprised at how refreshed I felt - even after having done the six miles the day before. Because I had decided before I started that I would walk a minute every mile, I was surprised when some of my mile splits came in under 10-minute miles. Here's the breakdown:
1 - 9:55
2 - 9:52
3 - 10:11
4 - 10:04
5 - 10:16
6 - 9:47
7 - 11:18 (walked for three minutes to eat a snack)
8 - 10:24
9 - 10:01
10 - 9:52
And that's with one-minute walk breaks every mile! All I could think was I wish I had run this good for the 17K a couple of weeks ago. Ah well.
Anyway, not that I want to get sick every training cycle (which lately seems to be what happens), but it has gotten me thinking about how maybe I need to incorporate more rest breaks into my training.
When I was getting ready for my half marathon early last year, I had one of the best training cycles to date, and it incorporated a down week every three weeks. I discontinued that when I started marathon training, opting for a more steady progression of mileage, but I think I am going to go back to that three week cycle for my next race after the 50K. Everyone is different, and I realize that it may just be that I do best with weeks built in where my mileage is reduced. How I feel now after two weeks of nothing seems to indicate that anyway.
Speaking of rest, I have to say I am also looking forward to taking some time off of running after my marathon in the fall. I have spent several years going from one training plan to the next, one race goal to the next. I think my body needs a break. I am not quite ready to give it to it yet, but after my September marathon, I am definitely planning on 3-4 weeks of rest. I'll still do something of course, but I plan on seriously reducing my miles and concentrating more on cross training for a bit. I am hoping that incorporating a larger break like that after several years of going, going, going, will allow me to shake off some of the minor injuries that have been plaguing me lately and jumpstart my running again. We'll see.
In the meantime ... Happy Running!