Taper Week!

Short story:

  • 10k race this Sunday (October 17) – Oktoberfest 2010
  • Goal to run it in < 60 mins (current PR is ~ 63 minutes – event was not chip timed)
  • Following a 10k in 55 minutes training program (~30 mpw with 10 mile long runs)
  • I’m Canadian but yes, I run in miles.  10 miles sounds so much less daunting than 16 kilometers, somehow. 

Went for a 4 mile run yesterday and it felt great!  I think the best part of this training program has been the feeling that I am running on strong legs rather than stilts.  Getting into it was hard – I started running in February of this year.  Ran my first 5k in April after the c25k program.  Ran a second 5k in May in (much) better weather, more mileage (IIRC, I had gotten up to one long run of about 8 miles).  Then basically slacked off in June and the first half of July.  Ran my first 10k in July on really crappy mileage (mostly 5k runs, max 3 times a week) – the 10k I’d tried to run the weekend before failed miserably.  Somehow managed to pull a 63 minute finish although I now wonder if the course wasn’t a bit short as it wasn’t certified and I really wasn’t that well trained.  Hurt my right knee somewhat.  Then went back to 3x a week 5k runs until mid-August when I jumped straight into week 3 of this training program (I didn’t have 12 weeks to the race and I decided to jump into week 3 rather than skip the last 2 weeks.  I’m smart.).

My first full week of this program was FIVE days of running, with a total of 21.5 miles.  Yeah, that was a bit crazy and a big jump from my previous training. The week after jumped to 27 miles and I wondered what I’d gotten myself into.  I originally planned to just run 4 days and drop a run and cross-train, but my running-OCD prevented me from doing that.  I had to follow the schedule (it’s the side effect of being an accountant).  

In the end, I think my persistence paid off.  Although it wasn’t the best way to increase mileage, and I realize I could have injured myself, it forced me to run and pick up my mileage quickly.  Luckily, I got through it mostly unscathed (minus a couple of close calls with cars, some arch pain) and I feel so much better with my training now and I feel so much more fit.  In addition, I appear to have slimmed down a bit (although my always-hungry state the last couple of weeks may have resulted in the regain of a couple of pounds). 

One of the keys was slowing down my runs.  When I was running 5k 3x a week, I ran every run full out and tried to beat the time of my last run.  This is fine when I was only running 3 days a week and resting a lot, but when I started running 5 days a week with back-to-back-to-back-to-back 5 mile runs, it just wasn’t feasible and I found that slowing down my runs helped a lot.

Another thing that helped was the inclusion of quality runs – once I week, I had a hill run at the start of the program, then intervals the last 4-5 weeks.  As much as I hated these runs, they gave me a feel for what “running fast” should feel like.  There’s no way I could sustain the pace I ran in my last interval run, but it felt kind of cool to run at an under 8 mm pace, even if only for a quarter of a mile.  That last interval run was amazing… sadly, the two 5-mile runs I had the next 2 days sucked, I was so tired from the run.

Back to the present.  I get the feeling that I have about a snowball’s chance of hell in running a 55 min 10k but I think under 60 is do-able if I don’t go out too fast.  Fall.  Get run over by a car.  Important things like that. 

I love taper week!  Only (!!!) 22 miles of running this week and I’ve already done the long run and two of the 4 mile runs, leaving me with 2 x 2 mile runs.  I feel like I have so much spare time.  Unfortunately, that means I just eat more, while catching up on the past seasons of Big Bang Theory.  I love Leonard. 

PS: I’ve already signed up for a half-marathon for next May (it’s cheaper to sign up now) and planned a winter running schedule.  I don’t have a HM training plan yet – kind of waiting to see where my time comes in on this 10k.  In addition, I’m taking 3 weeks in April to visit my family in Singapore and Malaysia and I’m not sure how my running with go those weeks.  My parents think I may be overdoing it and I’m not sure how to tell them “alright, I”m going for a run.  See you in about 3 hours”.  I’d run with my brother but he’s too damn fast. 

I realize 3 weeks off isn’t going to derail my entire plan, but I’m kind of OCD like that.  Thoughts?

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