The Elusive Session
That hard, confidence building session. That fast and long set of intervals. The run that leaves you destroyed for the rest of the day, but once done you know you are ready to race.
They are planned ahead of time. On paper they look deceivingly simply, almost easy. You know there is a lot more behind the numbers, an x, a /, and an @. When training is going very well you look forward to these runs with an almost insatiable appetite. When it isn't going quite as well these runs come with a sense of trepidation.
Of course you don't have to match what is on paper. That is just a guide. A starting point. The essence of these sessions is to push your limits in a training context. You can try to predict those limits, but you don't know them for sure if you don't go past them. Sometimes, if you are lucky you surpass your prediction and you don't have to put the limit to a test. This is when you know you are ready. Other times, you fall well short of those predictions.
My build this year has had a few sessions that were meant to act as these breakthrough runs. For the most part I've fallen short of what I wanted to achieve. Has the training gone poorly? No it hasn't. It has been going reasonably well. Much better than any period I put together last year. It's just when I have hit those hard runs, I haven't been up at the level I've really wanted. On the plus side, on each run, I have achieved more than the previous attempt.
At the moment my focus is for the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games over Easter. I'll be competing in the 5000m and the half marathon. The results from these will set the ground for the marathon specific training to follow. As result I have wanted to hit a breakthrough run for each of the 5000m and half marathon.
This week I pulled out one of those in preparation for the 5000m. Down at the track it was 3x2000m at race pace, with 600m jog recovery followed by 3x200m sprint with 200m jog recovery. That gave me 6.6km at race pace or faster inside a total of over 16km once the warm up and cool down were counted in. Right on the vomit threshold towards the end, the run hurt. I now know the minimum standard I can hit on race day.