SC100 Training: Focus 2

Clearly a harder week. A few more kilometers over the first few days, plus I had four key sessions, instead of the so-called easier three of the last week. My basic runs were covered mainly at stupidly easy paces, but when I was going up a good hill then I made sure my technique was up to scratch, even if it did elevate the heart rate.

The first key run was my Speed session. Not exactly a few sprints at the track, by similar concept. Incorporated into my commute to work. After a warm up, the backpack was put aside as I performed a series of springing drills uphill, some 30 second up hill sprints, 20 second down hill sprints all on a slightly rough, but non-technical surface. At a guess the gradient was about 8%. With plenty of easy recovery between sprints this session had me feeling fired up and ready for more.

Two days later brought me to my Pace run. I had the luxury of fitting this run in the afternoon instead of pre-dawn hours, so I headed into Plenty Gorge for some good technical terrain running. While no climb on this run was overly long, the steepness and almost unrelenting nature of the course I followed made for a good solid hitout. 24km were covered in about 2:10, my legs were hammered. I made a point to absolutely hammer the downhills and work on keeping the cadence high. It felt good.

Three days later brought me to the Hill run. This week I used the Salomon Trail Race 2: Plenty Gorge as the workout. After a course change due to river crossing being too dangerous, this made for 13.4km of very tough running. Plenty of heart rate peaks almost at my maximum, lung searing, leg destroying running through some spectacular mud. This run hurt, and I hit a degree of suffering that should help my mental side.

Next day was my Long run. While I wanted to get in a straight 6 hours, that was never going to happen with the competing demands of the rest of life. So I had to come up with a compromise. This was 2 hours in the early morning, and backed up with another 2 hours on the treadmill in the evening (can't leave the kids unattended). Still this didn't even go to plan. The 2 hours in the morning were hard. The effort was high, significantly higher than my usual long runs. It felt hard, my legs hurt and my heart rate was up a lot. All expected the day after a race. However, the speed was so far down that it was a problem. As the run continued, I got slower and slower while my heart rate kept rising. Clearly I was beyond my ability to absorb any more training. The hard decision was made, the evening run was cut and replaced by massage, stretching and a bit of ice therapy.

The bad news is I failed to get in a really long run. The good news is two points. First is that I still have the ability to really up the intensity and race well above what I can achieve in training. Second point is I had trained to my limit and should still see some substantial improvement from what has been achieved this week.

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