Weeks 5+6 for Ottawa Marathon (race: Hot Cocoa 10K)

As far as running is concerned, this has been a pretty good winter in south western Ontario! Last year I had to slog through a bunch of terribly cold and snowy runs and while I like to think they made me stronger and more determined, I’m much happier to run on clear roads with good footing. There have only been a couple really cold days this winter and with the right gear it’s been no problem to get outside for a run. Sunshine makes a huge difference mentally, so I’ve been trying to run on my lunch breaks as much as possible.

I’ve lined up a few races in preparation for the Ottawa marathon, which is now 16 weeks away. The Chilly Half is 4 weeks out and I’m hoping I’ll be able to run sub-1:10 which is the cut-off for complimentary entry to Ottawa. There is going to be quite a competitive field this year with both Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet running in addition to a group of Speed River guys. There should be hopefully some guys for me to work with for a fast time. After that, it’s another 7 weeks until the Yonge St 10K which is a fast, downhill race – I’m expecting a big PB but more importantly a good workout and fitness check 5 weeks before Ottawa.

Because I hadn’t run a race since September, I signed up last minute for the Hot Cocoa 10K in Port Huron this past weekend as a rust-buster and a no-pressure way to check where I’m at. If things didn’t go well, I could adjust accordingly but if I had a good result, it would boost my confidence going into the Chilly Half in a few weeks. Conditions were less than ideal on race day with snow and ice covering much of the course but I was still able to get in a solid effort and a decent result. I ran 32:07 over 9.5 km (short course), edging out Jerome Recker of Lansing, MI (who ran 2:23 at CIM this past December) for the win.

Anyway, that’s the rambling part of this post. Here’s my training!

2015-01-19

Week 5/22

M: Rest
Tu: 60′ easy (9.2 miles @ 6:38/mile).
W: [AM] 30′ easy (4.6 miles @ 6:38/mile). [PM] 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.6 miles @ 6:18/mile).
Th: 60′ easy (9.3 miles @ 6:31/mile).
F: 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.4 miles @ 6:27/mile).
Sa: Workout 1: 2E, 4x 1T (5:25, 5:29, 5:21, 5:33), 5x 2x 1kmN (3:21, 3:30), 8x200mR, 2E.
Su: Workout 2: 2 hours easy (18.9 miles @ 6:25/mile).

Total: 7.5 hours, 69.8 miles.

The plan was for this to be an all easy mileage week but Saturday was forecast to have temperatures ten degrees warmer than the rest of the week, so I pulled a workout from Week 6 forward. It didn’t work out well as I struggled to keep the 4x1T (threshold) miles under 5:30/mile (compared to 5:20-5:24/mile in the previous week’s workout) and then I couldn’t get any speed going on what was supposed to be a set of 5x1km at interval pace. I threw in the towel after two km at 3:21 and 3:30 and cooled down. Definitely a disappointment but I had trouble picking up the pace last time for this style of workout 4 weeks ago. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but I think trying these tough efforts early in the morning when it’s dark and cold out are just harder mentally to pump out so since then I’ve been trying to get to work early and workout in the late afternoon.

To finish off the week’s target of 7.5 hours of running, I went out for a two hour run which felt smooth and controlled. I counted that as another ‘workout’ that was planned for Week 6 so I’ve had to shuffle things around a little bit in the coming weeks.

Week 6/22

M: Rest
Tu: [AM] 30′ easy (4.6 miles @ 6:38/mile). [PM] 60′ easy with 6x 30-second strides (9.6 miles @ 6:15/mile).
W: Workout 1: 1E, 6M (34:02), 1E, 6M (34:02), 2E.
Th: 60′ recovery (8.4 miles @ 7:14/mile).
F: 40′ easy/recovery (5.9 miles @ 7:03/mile).
Sa: ~10K race (11.5 miles with 9.5km race in 32:07).
Su: Rest

Total: 6.5 hours, 55.8 miles.

The workout I ran on Wednesday was one of my best so far. The pace felt controlled and steady. This was an improvement over the last marathon-paced workout I ran where the 6M and 4M intervals were run at 5:51/mile and 5:46/mile. More Miles and faster pace at roughly the same heart rate (but better road conditions). Coming up in the next two weeks, I’ll try to run the same pace but for 12 miles straight.

I was a bit short of my target for this week. I wanted 7.5 hours again but I’ve been nursing some soreness in my left hip/glutes that I haven’t been able to sort out yet. It’s bothering me even while walking around so because of that and the snowstorm on Sunday, I decided to take the day off. I’m looking forward to a massage next week to hopefully get that fixed up.

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