After last Sunday's half marathon I was feeling ridiculously good. No real discomfort in the legs, no heaviness and I didn't even get the post-race headache I usually do. On the Monday I headed out for a recovery run and found it too easy. It was very difficult to keep a lid on the pace and my heart rate was sitting pretty low as well. I got to thinking the accumulated training was paying off in more ways than anticipated.
Then Tuesday arrived. Getting out of bed was definitely harder than it should be. Even getting my running clothes and shoes on seemed to pose a problem. Out into the cold and it felt like I was trying to run through waist deep mud. Each step got worse so I bit the bullet and called it time out after only 3km. Recovery was needed.
In the end I needed three days of recovery to get the legs back from the 21.1km of racing. Needing to rethink how half marathons would fit into the plan I had a look back at some of my previous years training records. It became clear it took 3-6 days before I was back on my feet.
Two for One Deal
The substitution of a race for a key training session needs a little modification. That change is I will now consider a half marathon to be equivalent to a medium aerobic run plus a threshold session, instead of just the medium run. This still gives of the benefit of extended running at around threshold pace, plus the sustained demand of covering 21.1km, while taking into account the need for three or more days of easier training afterwards. This means I can step back into the training cycle without too much disruption.
I've usually maintained Summer is by far my favourite season, but this year things are a little different. Without having to train on the bike I'm finding the weather isn't having as much affect on me. In fact, running in the cold or rain is quite enjoyable. The trails are now wet and there are even sections of mud. Maybe not the deep sticky mud of the past, but there is a layer over the drought hardened ground.
Slightly Less Beaten Track
Wednesday had me back into the training cycle. A two and a half hour run over trails along the Yarra river. Hardly any bitumen and most of the running away from the main trail over some narrow and rough single tracks. It was perfect. One of those runs that reminds me why I do the sport. The 2.5 hours disappeared in a kind of moving meditation that was over before I realised, yet had me feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.
The distance and time are being covered in my long runs, yet they are feeling very comfortable. Almost too easy to be a key session. Hopefully this is a good sign.