Thursday, June 16, 2011


I ran 10 miles this morning, just like I did on Tuesday, the previous Sunday, the previous Friday, and the previous Monday. All of my times were between 1:34 and 1:37, and I'm very happy with the mileage and the consistency of pace, especially since the weather on those runs included "August" type heat, rainforest-caliber humidity, and a couple gorgeous, perfect mornings mixed in as well. The difference was that today, even more so than on some of days that were worse in terms of weather, I felt like a lumbering, somewhat bipedal dinosaur trying to awkwardly shuffle through the tar pits of the Mesozoic Era.

While scientists have debating for years about the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs and
their cretaceous cohorts, I think I can solve the riddle of my dead legs a bit more easily: poor planning and overtraining. I'm running the Philadelphia Marathon in late November. I have absolutely zero interest in long runs during the hottest part of the summer, but I've been trying to build my base up by increasing the length of my regular runs to improve my overall weekly mileage.

I've succeeded; my 38 miles last week was my 2nd best ever, eclipsed only by the week in late February where I did my 18-miler as a last-ditch attempt to "catch up" as much as possible on my long runs in my ITBS-hampered Shamrock marathon training.
I'd only had one other week since March where I'd been over 30 miles, a week in April where we had beautiful weather and I got 2 10-milers in (and another the following week).

Those had been my only 10-mile runs since the marathon; I have 5 in the last two weeks. And, on the last three of those I'd adjusted my route to add some steep hills at the end, in hopes of being more prepared for the supposedly very tough Dreaded Druid Hills 10k on June 25, my thoughts being that since I normally run a hilly route, but probably not as hilly as the race course, I'd run a long enough distance, and add some rougher terrain to be as ready as possible.

My plan was to do today's route again on Saturday, and then next week (probably Monday and Wednesday), run two shorter routes consisting of just running up and down the two steepest hills over and over again. (This route would be like going up and down a half-pipe for several repitions.)

Given that I feel like my legs are fossilized, I think I'll re-evaluate. I'm going to take tomorrow off, run 6ish miles on these two hills on Saturday, and then do a mini taper for the rest of next week
. I've also got fairly low expectations. If this course is as tough as I've heard, I don't think I'll really be racing it. Ok, I mean, it's a race and I'll be in it, but there's no thoughts of a PR here.

My 10K PR is 59:32, and it should be my easiest PR to break. I've only run one 10K race, in which I paced myself conservatively having never run six miles, and I routinely come in 2-5 minutes under that on my regular runs, and occasionally hit the 10k mark in the 52-minute range. At Druid Hills, though, I'm just going to have fun, keep a slow and steady pace that I can maintain up the inclines, and try to not get caught by the T-Rex.

(What asteroid? Studies show that either running or cats killed the dinosaurs.)


  1. Goodluck!

    If next weeks 10k is a 'training race', then I'd skip the 'taper'. You need the miles, and the 10K would basically accomplish a good tempo run (which are usually run while in 'training' not 'taper' mode).

    Good job on all those 10 milers! I trust you're doing 2 and 4 mile 'recovery' jogs in between those tens, right? :)

  2. Danny, thanks for the help.

    This ties back into what I wrote a couple weeks ago in which I'm at a point where I (in some cases very clearly in others just figuring it out) know that my approach isn't well-thought-out enough.

    I was thinking taper (except for 1 last hill type run), take only 2 nice, easy 3-mile runs next week to rest up for this 10k, like my last taper week before my marathon. (Normally, even if I was going to try to smash my PR, I'd train through a 10K and not think twice about it.)

    Treating it as a training run, are you suggesting keeping more to my regular mileage? (I probably am due for what would be a step-down week if were actually on my marathon training program yet)

    Like my complete lack of speedwork, I don't do a good enough distinguishing my long, slow runs from my tempo runs until I formally start back on my fall marathon training program. (When I was on my program for Shamrock, I was doing 3-4 or "regular" runs of 6-8 miles during the week, which probably served as my tempo runs, and then a longer, slower distance on Saturday or Sunday.)

    I've done great (for me!) in grinding out the miles in June, but not as well in adding complexity to my routine. (Speedwork, more core, lifting, cross-training.)