This question popped a couple/few times in comments last week. Do I plan on tapering for Chuckanut, is it a training run or a race for me?
Let me backtrack a bit. On a second year of my running I was training for a marathon, and signed up for every half-marathon I could find within a driving distance (what was a lot in NYC area) to run it as either as training or effort runs. Then same happened to marathons when I turned to running ultras. Basically as move up a notch in “how long” the goal race is, I realize how bad I am at shorter one. I have not a single fast-twitch muscle in my body. I also have no lung capacity. Thus racing shorter distances, although certainly should be a personal challenge, had mentally become divided into “training runs” (a.k.a. Hagg lake) and effort run – what I’d like to do at Chuckanut. I guess the way I named it is to calm myself down before the day of the race. I mean, somehow racing for me means “die or run PR” type of thing. Since I can’t do it, but I do get really hard on myself, I picked a different word. In reality it means I want to run well at my level of readiness for the moment, but not use taper or recovery. How is that? Oh, and the division usually goes also by how long I will travel to a race. The further it is, the better I try to run to satisfy the finances/time spent.
That been said, I usually have a modified taper in weeks before “effort runs” and no taper at all before “training runs”. That was why last weekend I did 15 miles as a long run (and not something in over 20 category). I also tend to take an extra day off (or cut one double off) the week of the race. So here how it is going for me now.
Monday I ran 6 morning miles with Charlie (back to roads with this stupid time shift!) and 4 at night with a full body weight lifting session (I included legs even though don’t do much of it on Mondays because of upcoming Tuesday track workout).
Tuesday was same 6, same Charlie in pre-down hour, and 7 more at the track with Red Lizards. I read on their website they would do 11x600m repeats with 20 sec on walka-jog in place (or rather in small circle). My plan (from Scott) called for 6x3min with 1 min recovery. I figured I’ll see how it goes. Coach Rick had written that that 600m repeats are basically a 4M tempo run, thus done at tempo pace. He has this SMLTE paces set up as in “short intervals, medium, long, tempo, easy”. All of them are based on 5k, 10k and so on pace (as in “10 sec faster than that”, “5 sec slower than that”…you know how it is). I have no idea of my pace in those distances. I mean, last time I raced a 5k, it was a cross-country one 4 days after WS100 4 years ago. So I asked Rick on the warm-up if I run these days 600m in 2:47, what it means for me tonight (and please, don’t tell me in lap pace either, I don’t look at my watch unless I hit the stop button at the end, and I don’t even know how to retrieve times later, so I memorize them!). He said 15 sec slower, what makes it 3:00 to 3:05. Below are my splits:
#1 – 2:50 (uh-oh, slow down!)
#2 – 2:57 (better)
#3 – 2:56 (c’mon!)
#4 – 2:55 (no good, but feels wonderful)
#5 – 2:55 (hey, we can talk during these intervals, no burning lungs!)
#6 – 2:55 (I think it’s cruise control)
#7 – 2:54 (yep)
#8 – 2:53 (all I do is think “leg turn-over”, and it’s working?)
#9 – 2:50 (is it because I planned only on 10?)
#10 – 2:50 (10 should be it, I suddenly feel the pain in my left hip crease at the injury)
#11 – 2:51 (I can’t leave Kelly all by herself out there, when everybody else is done!)
None of them felt out of the limit. It was fun and EVRYBODY talked and said many encouragements on the way passing each other. I am feeling more comfortable with folks and know at least half of their names now. I just have to leave right after…
Wednesday – slept in and missed the double of the day exactly because of that hip pain coming back again. I think it was a good call, and hopefully by tonight I can jog short on treadmill at the gym after a light weight routine.
Thursday and Friday should be most likely shorter than normal too, definitely not wise to do 9M on Friday before the race.
I am driving to Bellingham after work on Friday, where Michelle and Eric graciously invited me to stay over at Michelle’s parents’ house. Should be fun good conversation night! I wanted this weekend to be a family trip and take boys and Oleg (who is back) to our friends in Kirkland, but I keep forgetting we have a dog now, our car is not equipped to travel with him, he is a puppy and the friends have a baby. So I was really thankful to the guys for letting me know they have an extra sleeping spot!!
There will be so many friends to see at Chuck, I am psyched for that, totally!!! All is good. I believe my training is developing nicely, and this 50k fits really well into the schedule as a check-in on progress. I just hope I don’t mess up with eating/drinking cycle on the run (or before, as a matter of fact, because there are not too many bushes there), and my hip and shins hold within threshold limits. And please, no rain, I had enough at the Hagg!!