Monday, December 21, 2009

Week 5 in the Books

I wrapped up week 5 yesterday with an *outstanding* seven mile run along the coast to Laguna Beach. Anyone who has driven south on Pacific Coast Highway as it leaves Newport Beach/Corona del Mar has probably seen this sign:

Yes. The one up there on top of the hill. It has always intimidated me. I never thought that *I* would want to head up there. The traffic. The distance. The two hills!

I had a seven miler that I had to take care of last night. My normal Crystal Cove run is only a 2.5 mile out and back, which would leave me two miles short. Saturday's effort left me a little gimped up, and I was wondering if I was going to make it through the first couple of miles, much less seven. I toyed with running the extra two miles by doubling back. But, when push came to shove, I just buckled down, braved the traffic, the extra mile out and back, and the two hills on PCH. I can now add that sign to my accomplishments. Average pace was 9:58 at an average heart rate of 76% of max.

That wrapped up a 39 mile week. I was pretty pleased with all that happened last week - new distances at new speeds. I'm hobbling a little bit, but nothing that is "injury" status - just the little tweaks and niggles that happen when trying to push an old body to new heights.

This is week six, which in the Hal Higdon camp means it's a step back week. On the plan:

  • Monday: 3 easy (GA) miles. Stretching and core workout afterwards
  • Tuesday: 7 miles GA.
  • Wednesday: 3 miles GA.
  • Thursday: 8 mile tempo style run. See the note below
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 10 mile long run
  • Sunday: 7 miles race pace
  • Total: 38 miles

About my Thursday - one of the things that I discussed Saturday while running with Mike was my frustration with dying at mile 15 or 16 of a marathon. Here we were clipping along at a 4:15 pace pretty effortlessly, but I can't break 5 hours when the rubber hits the road! We discussed my training plan (yes - while running) and since he's a 53 year old BQ guy, I'm going to listen!

Here is what he suggested:

  1. Replace my track workouts with longer tempo style runs. He had always had success with these type of runs, and my body seems to be able to tolerate tempo runs pretty well.
  2. Over the next few weeks, lengthen out as far as 10 miles at a pace that will be just slower than my 10K pace (right around 8:50 to 9:00 per mile). Add up to a 2 mile warm up and a 2 mile warm down for up to 14 miles total.
  3. Ramp down some of my Tuesday and Sunday runs. The goal is to change the structure of my week, not the number of miles I'm running.
  4. About every 3rd week work in a hill workout instead of a tempo style run

With this in mind, I'm changing the 5X800s that was scheduled for Thursday to a 8 mile tempo run - 1 mile warm up, 6 miles at 8:45 - 8:50, 1 mile warm down. Next week I'll keep the hill workout on the plan, and from that point I'll stretch out these tempo runs.

Anyone else have success with this formula?


  1. +1 on the longer tempo runs. They are the meat and potatoes of my marathon training that got me two BQ's. Up to 14 miles long. Maybe even more valuable than my long runs.

  2. Glenn, please uncross your eyes for me, I'm afraid you're going to trip(keep the fingers and legs crossed though...I go to the doctor tomorrow). Anyway, that new plan sounds exactly like what I'm doing this time around...less track speed work for the marathon and the lengthening of the tempos. This has TOTALLY worked for me(well, until I go hurt)and I really notice the changes through my long run. It's pretty amazing! Hope it works for you!

  3. Well, I cant really say about the formula!!, I am still struggling to be consistent on running 10k's!!

    Great blog!

  4. Sounds like a great run by the beach!

  5. Ahhh... I love Laguna! Sounds like a wonderful -and hilly- run! Good job. :)

  6. Nice Glenn. I know extactly where that sign is. I am just amazed you braved the traffic! There is always lots of traffic thru Laguna when we visit. Love it there though. Yes, those Hills are a major fete! Great job.

    No one in my family of runners does much, if any at all track work. They choose to work on speed/pace at the actual miles needed. Concentration seems to be more of progression type runs, tempo runs, hill work (but never too much, every other week) and easy recovery runs. My sister does some really long recovery runs for my taste. She likes doing and easy 13 as she calls it. I prefer an easy 6. However, she is the Marathon Master to me - 19 years running them and does 4-5 a year.

  7. I've never had a "formula" in my life! LOL Sorry, I'm of no help.

  8. Great Job on your running training thus far. I don't have any advise for you, but I do know that the how is just as, if not more important as the how long or distance. Just doing different things and experimenting can tweek you up. I wish you success with your next easy week. Take care, and be careful and heed injury prevention, as to not be taken lightly.

  9. Seems like a good switch up. I bet the change will help you get faster! I remember seeing Laguna - we were all crazy about it cause "THE HILLS" was on MTV and we were hoping to see someone! lol

    It is REALLY hilly there!

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  11. My parents used to live near Laguna and I do know the hills of which you speak. Wow, Glenn. You also made me pine for Pageant of the Masters, one of the most unique events I've ever witnessed.

    I like your friend's training plan. If it works well and you don't get injured, you should definitely break 5 hours.

  12. It sounds super painful, so it's prob effective. :) best of luck!

  13. you got it all wrong. laguna beach is home to lauren conrad and kristen cavallari or whatever her name was from those *awesome* mtv "reality" tv shows..... :)