The Road to Bluegrass 8/1

Oh, hello, August. I didn’t realize you were here already but you’re looking good.

August is, indeed, looking good but that’s about it. So far my week has looked like this:

  • I ran long on Sunday (more on that below) and went for a relaxing lunchtime trip across the lake on my friend’s boat. I grilled steaks and baked potatoes for dinner but I didn’t do meal prep. I did, however, buy chicken to marinate so I could do it Monday.
  • Since I did heavy deadlifts on Saturday followed by a kickboxing class THEN a 7-mile long run on Sunday, everything from my waist down was barely functioning yesterday. I used the elevator to get to the second floor and I wasn’t even embarrassed.
  • I didn’t do meal prep Monday either. Instead, I ordered a pizza for dinner.
  • This morning I accidentally (swear to god) turned my 4:30 alarm off instead of snoozing it. I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up again until nearly 7:00. There went my Tuesday morning run.
  • I brought leftover pizza for lunch today (since I didn’t prep anything) and I ate it at 10:30.
  • We’re going to a show tonight — I have class in the morning — We have plans Wednesday night. Therefore the first time I can run this week will be Thursday morning. WHEP.

In other words, this week hasn’t been my finest work and it’s only Tuesday. It happens, I guess. Let’s get on with the good shit.


So last week I tried something I haven’t ever done: I actually trusted my program.

That sounds silly considering I started running with Couch-to-5k and after completing the program, I tackled (and completed) 5k-to-10k. Although I successfully completed both programs, completion wasn’t achieved by following the rules exactly. There were runs I’d skip, others I’d fudge. Some I didn’t do exaaaactly right but I still did them. In the end, I was able to finish both the program and the appropriate races just fine so it’s not a big deal, really, but the thing I’m trying to get at here is that I didn’t do them perfectly.

And that’s okay.

BUT…

What if I told you that the program is written a certain way for a reason?

NOTE: Not this kind of program.

I learned that last week after I did my first-ever legit tempo run. Up until this point, every training program I’ve been on has called for them but I’ve always fudged it. I didn’t skip the run but I didn’t run it at goal tempo. When I considered actually sucking it up and doing it this time around, I was immediately discouraged. I figured out that if I want to reach my half-marathon PR goal of 02:30:00, I’ll need to average an 11:27/mile pace. If you look at my spreadsheet, you’ll notice that up until last week I was averaging anywhere from 20 seconds too slow to as much as a minute.

That’s a LOT, y’all (have I covered this already?)

Anyway, I figured I’m not going to get any faster if I don’t go out and push myself so I did just that. When I started running that morning in the park, my legs were already sore from the weekend’s workout, I was stiff because I was in bed just a short time before and I didn’t feel very focused at all. Then I numbed myself to my aches, pains and negativity, and just ran. No intervals and no plan other than try to average 11:27/mile.

After I had been running about a mile or so I looked down at my watch and noticed that not only was I running fast, I was smoking.

NOTE: Not this kind of smoking.

Like, 7:40/mile smoking. Granted, I didn’t do it for long (especially after I realized I was running a little too fast) but the fact remains that after running a mile I was still able to run at sub-8 pace without feeling like I wanted to die. That was encouraging to say the least.

Anyway, I leveled myself out and took a short walk break after getting a righteous rock in my shoe and then another after eating a gnat. In the end, I ran my 3 miles with an average pace of 11:05/mile. If that sounds like my fastest average pace during this program it’s because it was.

A few days later I went on my weekend long run. On Sunday I set out to run seven miles on the Greenway and even though I was still riding high because of my surprise pace earlier in the week, I had no intention of worrying about my pace during my long run. They’re called Long Slow Distances for a reason, no?

Without getting into the details of the long run, I’ll just say that while I was definitely worn out at the end, it was not a killer run. I kept a steady pace for the entire run and felt confident the entire time. When I made it back to the door at TITLE Boxing Club (my start/finish point), I stopped my watch and realized I averaged a 12:08/mile pace. Was it the 11:27 I need to achieve to reach my half-marathon PR goal? Not even close.

BUT (again)…

Looking back at my stats for this program, a 12:08/mile pace is the fastest pace I’ve kept for any of my long runs by about six seconds. Somehow I was able to achieve this despite it being the longest run I’ve gone on in well over a year.

Now, did going on a single tempo run earlier in the week cause me to get 6 seconds/mile faster in such a short amount of time? Probably not. Did it give me the confidence I needed to push myself a little more, even on those slow and low long runs? Hell yes!

Thanks, tempo run. We may have to hook up again.

I finished the week with only two runs totaling 10 miles with an average pace of 11:36/mile and I’m now officially past the halfway point in the program. Y’all, I see a PR in my future.

Trying to salvage what I can of this fragmented week, here’s what the workouts look like:

  • Monday: 5:45am Boxing at TITLE
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: 5:45am Boxing at TITLE with a FAST Mile afterward
  • Thursday: 4 Mile Run, 7:00 Kickboxing at TITLE
  • Friday: 3 Mile Tempo Run
  • Saturday: Cross-training (Phase 5, Week 7: Chest, Bis, Shoulders and Quads, 4 sets 8 reps at 45%, 4 sets 3 reps at 100%)
  • Sunday: Long Run — 8 Miles

Anyway. Don’t do anything dumb this week. And if you do, just keep moving.

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