Saturday, October 9, 2010

Finding my running legs again

By Mike

The NYC marathon is only 4 weeks away and I'm due for another check-in on my training. In my earlier posts I mentioned I was targeting a 3:10 and was in about "3:20 shape" and some point in the summer with months of training still ahead.

The last few weeks have been tough though. Training has not gone well since the end of August. Up until then it was great. I had absorbed about as much training as training as I could have and was due for 2 weeks of rest leading up to my half-iron race in Sandusky, OH (Rev3 Cedar Point). The only problem was that I had to move my apartment. We hired movers of course (no way I was planning on doing that kind of physical labor during my taper) but as luck would have it, our movers were shall we say... less than competent. I ended up doing 9 hours of physical labor on a Friday two weeks before a half-ironman. Needless to say I was completely fried. My legs felt like dead weights and I was unable to complete even basic recovery workouts for the 12 days that followed.

I still had a great half-iron (5:06) but it was about 10 minutes slower than I planned, losing most of that time on the run (actual 1:41 vs planned 1:32 run split). What seemed to kill me was my ankles... there was just no bounce or spring in my step. With each step I felt like my foot would "stick" to the pavement. I felt like I was at risk of falling on my face if my back foot would have taken just a millisecond more to come forward and support my forward body lean.

Since then I've been trying to get back into running... to find my running legs again. Of course getting sick with this cold/flu thing that's been going around has not helped. I ended up having to back out of a half-marathon tune up race I was planning on doing last weekend. I've probably done no more than 30 miles since Rev3 (4 weeks ago), with ~8 of those miles coming from today's "long run". I had to stop and turn around at about mile 4. My legs couldn't take it any more and the 4 mile return trip was a definitely a slog.

Yes, I admit the last 6 weeks have been tough. The positive thing is that at least my heart rate was low (relative to pace) during these last few runs so I don't think I've lost much cardio fitness. I've just been unable to maintain an effort higher than zone 2 or do anything more than 4 miles without great discomfort. I have 4 more weeks so who knows what will happen but I am very doubtful of my achieving the previous goals I set for myself.

I'm probably going to just continue training by feel and trying to put on as much mileage as my legs can comfortably handle rather than following any sort of training plan. We'll see what that translates to come race day so at this point I won't be making any predictions.

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