Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Need for Some Rest

Strange thing happened on Tuesday - I cut my 5-miler short about 0.4-miles because it didn't feel as easy as it should have.  I haven't done that in quite a while and I knew it wasn't a good omen for today's workout.

First sign of trouble today came when my first warm-up 200m came in at 29.3  I've been routinely hitting these in 28.4 - 28.7 w/o thinking about it and then having to purposely throttle back the second one (which usually ends up about 29.5)  Today I concentrated a bit on #2 to log a 28.6 - of course I didn't need to run a 28.x, but I felt like I just wasn't right today and I was looking for something to keep my confidence up.

I felt tired, but more than that, simply drained.  Last Wednesday I felt so strong right from the get go - both 200s came in under 29 and were very easy - and then I had to hold myself back on the first 400m just to keep it at 64 when I was trying to run a 67.  I felt none of that strength today.

The workout was supposed to be as follows:

warm up + 2 x 200m
400m:  62
7-minute break
600m : (first quarter 62, try to hold that pace for the last 200m)
7-minute break
200m:  sub-28
5-minute break
200m:  sub-28

Making matters worse, the 400m which is supposed to be nothing more than a "fatigue generator" for the 600m came in way too fast - and I have no idea how it happened.  I was running the first 200 w/ the wind and the 2nd 200 into the wind.  The plan was to start out about 29-30 w/ the wind at my back figuring I'd finish up about 32 into the wind.  Well, the first 200 came in at 29.x as planned, but somehow w/o me elevating the effort the second 200 came in around 30-flat giving me a 59.8 for the quarter.  This was way too fast.  I was fairly certain I had just blown the workout as I knew I wasn't feeling that great to begin with and the additional fatigue from the 59.8 would surely be another nail in the coffin.  

As I stated yesterday - based on last week's session I was confident I could go 1:31.5 - 1:32 on this 600m, but that was definitely out the window now.  Still, the fact that I somehow threw a sub-60 up there made me think I at least needed to put in a good effort.  

I started out OK, but after just 350m an overall sense of fatigue started to creep in.  As I came through the quarter I saw that my time was about 60.5, but I was fading pretty quickly at this point.  A 16+ second 100m followed, putting me at 1:17 through 500m.  It just got worse from there and I finished up in 1:34.2 - which I immediately classified as a total disaster.  Being that the 600m was the focus of the entire workout, and the fact that I knew something was amiss at the start, I saw no point in running the last two 200s.

In hindsight, this performance wasn't as bad as I thought - my first solid 400s came only last week where I was going 63 - 66 up until the final one at 58.  Today I hit 59.8 and came right back w/ a 60.5 to start the 600m.  Clearly, coming in way too fast on the first 400 contributed mightily to the issues on the 6, and it's probably a bit unrealistic for me to expect that because I ran a 58 last week w/ heavy fatigue that now just a week later I can start throwing up multiple 59-60s like it's no big deal.  That's a fast pace for me right now, and I'll consider this a bit of a wake-up call - "Mike, you need to respect that pace a little bit!"

However, there's no denying that I wasn't right today, and I only have to go back to pulling the plug on my 5-miler yesterday to see an issue.  A quick check of the logbook clearly completes the picture - last Wednesday: balls to the wall rep session, Friday:  8-miler @ 6:39 pace, Sunday: long interval session (where I 'inexplicably' struggled on the last rep).  Then throwing in today's session . . . . . that's a tall order in only 8-days.  

Taking it a step further - over the past 30-days, the total number of runs averaging over 7-minute pace: TWO.  One at 7:02, and one at 7:06.  Now, I'm not complaining one bit - these 6:45-6:55 pace runs have felt pretty easy, and the combo of the short intervals, long intervals, and aggressive long runs has led to incredible gains over the past month and a half, and if I had lightened up on just one of those previous three runs I probably have no problems today, but as the saying goes, "you can't train hard and race hard at the same time".  Today I was trying to throw a race pace 600m effort in the midst of a month and a half long "training boot camp".  

So - it's time to take a step back.  I've got 10-days before the first race.  The hamstrings feel OK, no aches or pains - physically I'm fine.  The next couple of days are going to be VERY easy, and on Saturday it's going to be a 3-5 x 1000m threshold effort followed by an EASY long run on Sunday.  I've pushed a little too hard before, a good down week typically does me wonders - I'll expect that to be the case again.  

The thing I can't do is get down on myself for having a bad day that really wasn't so bad.  If I add two seconds to the 400m and take two seconds off the 600m, it's on target - and that's even w/ the difficult week preceding the workout.  Of course this is much easier for me to say than it is for me to do.  No matter how I rationalize it, I'm still pretty pissed off!


Tue, 1/13:  4.6 miles @ 6:50 pace  (should have been 5-miles,  wasn't as easy as it should have been)

Wed, 1/14:  Reps:  2 x 200m (29.3, 28.6),  400m (59.8), 600m (1:34.2)


Ewen said...

I'd say you did the right thing to cut the session. Not having the coach at the track is always going to make things harder. Some athletes would have just run the whole session as scheduled and dug themselves into a hole.

You're in good shape. Do you think the fast improvement is making it difficult to judge pace on those early reps in a session?

Mike said...

Ewen - I think it's two things in regards to the pace - one is as you say judging it (I had no idea I was going that quickly in the 2nd 200 against the wind of the 400m). But the second one has been - even if I beat the target paces early, oftentimes I can still beat the target paces late - provided that I feel OK going in.

So what it comes down to is simply how do I feel. And every day except for today I've felt great. And when I feel great I don't mind beating the paces early because I'm confident that I'm OK for the whole workout. Today I knew I was in trouble during the warm up - I just didn't have it today.

Looking back at the logbook and yesterdays run, it became obvious why I didn't have it, and this isn't the first time this has happened. Typically I find myself making solid gains for a while, but if I don't schedule in a down week here and there, eventually my body tells me to take a down week - and it would appear that this is one of those times.

bricey said...

Try not to worry too much about today's session - there are always days like that. Running a 1:34 600 on tired legs and after a sub 60 400 is still a solid run. Youv'e been putting in some serious sessions recently and the boby has a way of saying 'its time for a rest'. I'm sure that if you take it easy over the next 10 days all will come good on race day.