|THIS is tapering???? says Terzah the Tortoise. :^)|
My alarm woke me at 4:30 so I could get to the gym when it opened at 5 for my Tuesday speed workout.
This was only the third time this entire cycle (including the lead-up to the Detroit half-marathon) that I've gotten on a treadmill. The weather has been amazing, warm and calm and clear. It's been fantastic to train outside so late in the year. But today marked the second week I've done the Tuesday workout on the treadmill. I typically have to get up earlier on Tuesday than any other day. I like running in the dark, but only when I can let my mind wander and the miles flow by at a comfortable pace.
And Tuesday paces.....aren't comfortable. Darren's had me doing increasingly faster-paced workouts--and it was getting hard (by myself, in the dark, groping to light up the Garmin to see my heart rate and pace) to push my legs to the point where the heart rate stayed above 170 or higher as long as he had asked. So I asked him if I could do these inside, and he said yes, provided I keep the incline at 1%.
Here's what he had me doing between 5:30 and 6:45 a.m. today:
After a warm-up and some strides:
2 miles at HR 160-165 (two min active rest)
then 3 x 1/2 mile at HR 170-175 (two min active rest after each)
then another 2 miles at HR 160-165 (two min active rest)
then 3 x 1/2 mile at HR 170-175
This is how that translated into pace:
1st 2 mile--paces between 8:00-and 8:47
1/2 mile--6:58-7:30 pace
1/2 mile--7:05--7:30 pace
1/2 mile--7:05-7:30 pace
2nd 2 mile (the disappointing one; legs felt like rubber)--huge range between 8:27 and 9:30; I was able to ramp back down to 8:47 in the 2nd mile and still keep HR at or under 165, but just barely
1/2 mile--6:53 (!)--7:12 (happy with these; not sure why they stayed fast when the 2 mile preceding them was so slow, but I'll take it)
The total with the warm-up and cool-down came to about 9 miles. I was proud of myself...and pretty much ready to crawl back into bed.
BUT it was time to meet Colleen for the last of our four pre-California International Marathon weight sessions.
Another blogger with a hamstring issue emailed me last week to ask what Colleen is having me do to keep my own occasional right-hammy flare-up under control, so I thought I'd share that here. The answer is: a lot of hamstring-strengthening exercises and a lot of glute exercises. And by "a lot" I mean A LOT more than I've ever done before.
Today, for example, we did hamstring curls on a special bench designed for that purpose, raising the weight with two legs, then lowering it with one. We also did two sets of hamstring curls on a Swiss ball (with a small weighted ball between my knees to bring my adductors into the game). We also did balancing lunges with my back leg dangling from a rope loop. We also did bridges and clam shells for the glutes, and side walking with my ankles bound up in one of those rubber band ropes. There were also upper-body exercises and calf strengtheners.
Between all of those, we did LOTS of core--side planks, crunches on and off the ball, curl-ups on an angled bench...You've probably done or at least seen most of what we do. It's just that with Colleen, I do much more of it.
Finally, throughout the workout (not just at the end), we stretch, especially those hamstrings (though we do it gently).
Colleen has had hamstring issues a lot of her career, too, and she said that whenever she slacks off the hamstring exercises her issues return. When her hamstring is sore, she says, she eases into the work, maybe lifting only ten pounds with the "bad" side--but weight training is part of what she does. Always.
That's a good lesson for me. I've always found weight training dull, and even when I've been faithful about it, I've never trained as hard as I have with Colleen. It's been an eye opener.
So after getting my bootie kicked twice, first by a world-class coach and then by a world-class runner (who is a fantastic personal trainer; I recommend her to all my Colorado running friends), I went to the dentist, squeezed in an hour nap....and then went to work.
Taper ain't never been like this before!