Tuesday, March 19, 2013

VCM Training Week 7: Running on Tired Legs

Week 7 (3.11.13 to 3.17.13):

Monday:  4.61 miles at 8:15 pace (weights)
Tuesday:  30 minutes weights/abs and 45 minute spin class (4 miles)
Wednesday:  4.55 miles at 9:13 pace (CT cardio)
Thursday: rest (5 miles, weights)
Friday: 12.0 miles at 8:54 pace (rest)
Saturday: 45 minutes soccer (12 mile long run)
Sunday: 3.76 at 9:20 pace (3 miles/frisbee)
Total: 24.92 miles of running

When she was helping me tweak my marathon training plan, my friend Nikki said, "you want to train yourself to run on tired legs". If that's the point of marathon training, then week 7 was the perfect week.

I decided to take last Friday off to get some rest after the busy week prior. Switching my long run to Friday would allow me to play soccer and cheer for the half marathoners on Saturday. That meant cramming my weekday workouts into three days instead of four. I ran on Monday and felt strong. Tuesday, I tested my muscle strength with a lifting/ab session at lunch and a spin class after work. The combination of the best spin class ever and a weird ab workout that worked my legs more than my abs resulted in some very sore quads on Wednesday morning. With all the running, biking, and sport playing I do, my quads almost never get sore. So when I went running on Wednesday after work, my legs were heavy and slow.

I rested on Thursday and felt good on Friday morning. My legs were a little sore but they didn't slow me down much. My big mistake of the run was the route I mapped. It took me down Mass Ave from 16th Street to the Capitol building. I've run down this stretch of Mass many times and it's often busy but it has never been as bad as it was at 10AM on Friday morning. I had to stop constantly at lights which made it hard to get in any running groove. My clock time was 1:46:56 and my overall run time (including stops) was 2:01:27. Most of that 15 minutes of stopping happened between miles 3 and 5. Not only was this hard mentally but I don't think it was good for my muscles. Stopping so much made my muscles tighten as lactate surely built up from the lack of movement.

After mile 6, I barely had to stop at all. But I spent the second half of the run making my way uphill away from the mall. And I ran up my favorite long hill (Mass Ave between Dupont and the Cathedral) around mile 10 which was definitely a test of running on tired legs.

Elevation chart from Friday's long run.
On Saturday, I played a very intense game of soccer which was 4v6 in the first half and 5v7 in the second. My team was the one playing down two players. We lost 3-1 and spent basically the entire game playing hard defense. There was a lot of sprinting and it was a good workout.

I woke up Sunday morning and remembered what a unique workout soccer is. As is always the case after my first time playing in a while, my groins, butt and many muscles in my legs were sore. On my Sunday afternoon run, my legs felt heavier than they had all week. I was initially frustrated by my slow pace. Then I remembered Nikki's words of wisdom and decided that I was doing exactly what I should be- running on tired legs. The sore muscles only mean that my legs will be stronger on May 26th. That knowledge will make every hard workout a little easier in the coming weeks.

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