Monday, March 8, 2010

Teaching the Body to Perform When It Needs To

My assigned Sunday long-run was a steady 2:45 in heart rate zone 2 with a hard surge during the last 4 minutes. Coach Jeff's point was to teach the body the respond when I needed it to, at the end of marathon. Spring was definitely in the air yesterday. Even though it was in the high 30s when I started my run a little after 6:00a.m, I decided to run in shorts. I knew it would warm up as I was out on the road and after many weeks hiding behind multiple layers of tights, my pasty legs were in need of some sun.

The run didn't start off so well. I needed to make 3 trips to the bathroom in the first 45 minutes I was out there. I thought this was going to be a repeat of two weeks ago where some GI distress forced me to cut my run short. Not yesterday, after I took care of business, it was systems go. I followed Brandon's lead and only displayed my total time and heart rate zone. I did not want to worry about my pace or my mileage. My missions were to 1) run 2:45, mostly in heart rate zone 2 and 2) push hard the last 4 minutes. Missions accomplished! Yesterday was one of those long runs where everything clicked. I hydrated and fueled well and stayed mentally sharp. Without company, it's hard to stay focused during a long run. I purposely ran solo yesterday because there's a good chance that I'll find myself in that same situation on May 16. The Pocono Mountain Marathon is a small race, less than 1,000 runners, so there's a good chance I'll be running alone for a good part of the race. Being able to keep your head in the game is just as important as the physical act of running 26.2 miles.

Getting back to the run, I saw 2:40 show up on my watch and decided to start pushing. My heart rate started to climb and I held a good hard effort for the last 5 minutes. After I stopped my watch and caught my breath, I was dying to know what my mileage and pace were. Anyone care to take a guess?
19.1 miles in 2:45:02 (8:38 pace)

I am so happy with this effort. My last mile was 8:10 and my pace for the final .44 was at 7:09 pace. Clearly all of the road intervals, Yasso 800s, and long runs with farleks, are paying off. Yesterday's run put me at 47.1 for the week, my highest mileage ever in one week. I don't want to get overconfident, but I'm still feeling the runner's high a full day of yesterday's run.    

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