Sunday, July 24, 2005

Asphalt is still not my friend.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 06:00, ate a light breakfast, suited up, stretched and headed out the door about 06:30. My goal was 22K/13.7M of asphalt trail at my proposed marathon pace, which is about 6:00/K (9:39/M).

The weather was ideal, 16C/61F and cool. It was still kind of humid, but not as bad as recent days. My ankle seemed to be fine, but my legs were pretty stiff, despite a day of rest on Friday.

After winding through town for about 1K, I took what my boss fondly calls “the most boring trail in Germany,” a straight out and straight back, asphalt-covered trail from my town (Stutensee-Friedrichstal) to the nearby city of Karlsruhe and back again. No arguments with my boss, I chose this trail just for this reason – part of training for a marathon is to train the mind as well as the body. My theory is if I can keep my mind occupied over this straightaway, then the marathon trail will be a piece of cake!

But the main reason I picked this route is that it is 100% concrete or asphalt trails. As early as the halfway point my legs were begging for mercy, hard streets are not my friend. The asphalt portions of the trail (80%) were the worst, they had crowned middles (sloping downwards on both sides from the middle) for draining the water off quickly when it rains. This trail is brutal on the legs. By around the 15K (9M) point my legs were sore from the pounding. I trudged on trying my best to ignore this, I knew it was nothing serious and I tried to remind myself that was the main reason I took this trail.

I was glad when I finally crossed the final highway and headed back into my town, my ankle was feeling a little weird again – no pain per se, but something not right. Having measured the trail with my bicycle on Thursday night I was able to monitor my pace at several points. I did a fairly good job maintaining my 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace, finishing the 22K/13.7M medium-long run in 2:09:09. This works out to an average pace of 5:52/K (9:27/M).

My legs were sore, really sore, worse than my 30K/18.6M long run a couple weeks ago. I tried to work in my woodworking shop later in the morning, but found myself having to sit down a lot, my legs were that sore.

There are a couple fairly logical reasons why my legs were probably kaput:

1. No extra days of rest after my half-marathon race last weekend.
2. An increase in overall running mileage this week.
3. I wore my new Brooks Radius running shoes for the first time on a longer run.
4. All of the above.

Continuing my self-evaluation, there are a couple other potential influences on my overall running this week:

1. I had at least 4 nights of inadequate sleep this week.
2. My diet is out of whack this week = junk!
3. I twisted my ankle last Monday.
4. I’m currently experiencing a total meltdown in my time management scheduling.

Today my legs are better, I want to do my weight training, followed by a short jog this evening. I am curious how I will feel after this.

Marathon Ponderings:

Taking a quick look at my spreadsheet I have 5 intensive weeks of marathon training before the door, followed by 3 weeks of tapering. Eight weeks until the marathon (Sept. 18)!

Next weekend is a 30K/18.6 long run on the schedule (July 30, my birthday), followed by:

- A 25K (15.5M) race on August 6;
- A 32K (19.9M) long run on August 13;
- A 22K (13.7M) medium long run on August 20;
- A 34K (21.1M) long run on August 27;
- A 22K (13.7M) medium long run on September 3;
- Tapering until marathon on September 18.

If I survive this than the marathon should go smoothly. This is particularly important for me, as I don’t know if I can find enough time to train at such intensity next year.

I like how your mind works...very methodical and detailed :-) And I agree that you probably needed some extra time-off after your HM. Hopefully you can take an extra day this week to let your body recover from the asphalt?
I can't believe how fast it's coming up, when I see the schedule before the taper like that I realize it will be here before we know it! That trail sounds brutal. But I think you are smart to train on it anyway, for the reasons you mentioned. Sounds like you have everything under control!
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