Saturday, May 9, 2015

Summer Racing Season

There is no off season for a runner who wants to hang on to hard gained fitness. I just finished up my spring marathon season with my goal race at the Carmel Marathon on April 18th, 2015. It was a long, tough cycle and I was wore out by the end. I ran 90/100 mile weeks and suffered 2 minor injuries. I didn't blog much about it because, honestly, I was wore out from the miles I was putting in.

That being the case let this serve as not only an introduction to my post about my summer plans but also a training wrap up and race report for the 2015 Carmel marathon. It was a hot day for running and as a result I ran about 1 minute and 40 seconds slower than my goal. I am satisfied with the performance knowing that I put in the required work but the goal was submarined by the heat. I'll look at it as an investment toward the fall 2015 season.

Now that that is out of the way I could be entering the off season, right? But I know how hard it is to get to a high level of fitness and I am not willing to let that go. I also know I need a break from the 90/100 mile weeks of running required for marathon training. So I am entering a phase of speed development. I will be working on bringing my 5k time down by increasing my top end speed. As such my mileage will drop to around 70 miles a week but the intensity of running will go way up. I'll be running a lot more of those miles at a much faster pace.

I began this phase this morning with a 4 mile race I used for a bench mark.I haven't raced short and fast for a while so my legs have lost a little turn over, my CV system has lost a little power and my mind has lost a little toughness. As a result this morning's race, at 24:31, was about 35 seconds slower than my 4 mile PR.

I'll have plenty of chances to work this pace down since I'll also be racing a lot more. A great thing about the shorter "long distance" races, the Mile, 5k, and 10ks is that you can race them much more frequently. After the Carmel marathon I needed 2 weeks of very easy running to recover but with the shorter distance races I can race on Saturday and resume hard training again on Monday and race again in a week or 2.

Racing the shorter distances is a skill as much as it is anything. It takes practice and experience to endure the suffering required to run a fast 5k. It also takes practice and experience to find out just how far you can push you legs, mind and heart before you go over the line and tank your race.

To that end, I will be racing a lot of shorter races over the summer solely for the experience. In these races I will push hard and become familiar with the pain of racing and work on finding that line so I can walk right up to it but not cross it. I will also run 3 races that I will consider goal races to set my PRs in.

I have a mile race targeted on June 4th, the Monumental Mile, where I am hoping to go 5:40 or quicker. I will also be selecting a big 5k and 10k to target for PRs in late July or early August before I shift my attention back to the marathon for the Fall racing season.

I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with that special kind of suffering found in training for and racing the shorter distance races and reveling in the pure satisfaction of the big PRs that will result.