I've been planning on taking a down week here for a while, and I think this is going to be the week. I've been steadily increasing mileage and/or intensity for over two months, and I've yet to take anything resembling a light week. I had some issues w/ my calves last week (which thankfully feel much better now), and although my quads feel OK, my glutes were really sore after the hill workout. Additionally, I've had a lot more going on at home recently and I haven't had as much sleep as I'd like and at times I feel a little drained. So with that, this week is going to be a really light week.
The good news is that over the past week, the pace of my easier runs has actually picked up while at the same time, my HRs have been coming down - so that's nice to see. Yesterday was supposed to be my long day, but being that the hill work was pushed to Saturday, I didn't feel comfortable running long w/ the soreness I felt on Sunday, so I just set off for an easy run figuring I'd call it quits whenever I felt the need. Much to my surprise, I felt a lot better during the run than I expected and I clocked a 7:17 pace for 8-miles w/ a HR down in the 140s (which is pretty low for me these day). This follows my 3-mile warm-up run on Saturday before the hill work where I averaged 6:54 w/ only a 145 HR. I both cases, the Pace vs HR data is definitely an improvement compared to most of my previous easy runs.
I got a good night's sleep last night, and my soreness has definitely improved - but I'm STILL forcing myself to take the down week.
In regards to the 'race' - my coach wants me to run a 5k just to see where I'm at. It will help to set paces for upcoming workouts and give me a chance to get out there and get some racing experience. (even though 5ks are not really the focus) I found one in my area this Sunday, October 12th. Obviously there is no 'training' for this thing, I'm just going to go out and run. I don't know the course at all, I have no idea what the size of the crowd will be, and I have no idea how many 'obstacles' (i.e. walkers, slow moving bozos that start up front, etc) will be in the way - but it really doesn't matter. The main idea for this race is just to get a ballpark pace figure so that we can setup workouts going forward.
This will be my first legit road race. I did do a 5k a couple of years ago, but that was a 'fun run' on Easter, and I hadn't so much as gone for a jog for the 5-months prior to running it - so I can't really call that a 'race'. (although I did run 2-miles the day before just to make sure I could run!) So this will be the first real race for me. Based on my 17:44 effort for 3-miles a few weeks ago, that would put me at about 18:22 for 5k. On the plus side, I'll have the race day adrenaline, but on the downside I won't be running on a nice level track - so I don't know which takes precedence. I'm going to try and keep it in check for that first mile, not go out too fast and just see how it goes from there. I imagine that after running 2 or 3 of these things, I'd do a much better job of pacing myself, so I won't be too disappointed if I make some errors judging the pace - I've really got nothing to compare against so I'll just run by feel and hope for the best.
9/5: 8-miles @ 7:17, HR - 148