I'm a creature of habit. I like my beer cold, my wine red, my blog posts funny and irreverent, and for the most part my runs the same flavor each week. However, I'm always open to new experiences (chocolate AND caramel on ice cream!?). So, when a blogger buddy suggested a completely new type of long run, a progression long run, I was on it like Justin Bieber on a hair dryer sale.
Like all really good ideas, the concept is actually really simple and something that I wish I would have thought of myself. After running a few 16+ milers, you swap out a regular long run for the following: 4 miles warm up, 4 miles marathon pace, 4 miles half marathon pace, 2 miles 10k pace, 1/2 mile 5K pace, 1.5 miles cool down......likely followed by puking.
The run does a number of things. It really simulates the fatigue in the last 4-5 miles of the marathon, it trains your mind to push harder through increasingly stronger loads, and it trains your body to continue to push even though you're legs are tired and burning. I still need a lot of training. Here is where I ended up:
4 miles warm up: 7:58 pace (7.55 mph) Good
4 miles MP: 7:32 pace (7.95 mph) Good!!
4 miles half MP: 7:02 (8.50 mph) Good, but tired
2 miles 10k: 6:35 & 7:25 (8.6 mph) Blah
1/2 mile 5K: 6:03 (9.9 mph) This suuuucks
1.5 mile cool down: 1/2 mile walking 1 mile jog
Everything was going well through 12 miles when my wheels fell off. During the first mile of my 10K pace, my MIND, not my body, said that it had enough. I had to take a breather and catch my breath. I ate a gel and pushed onwards. But, then about 1.5 miles later, another wall. My legs and lungs were burning with the sum total of the miles and the increasing load placed on them.
Ultimately, I had to walk / take breaks twice - once in the middle of my first 10k mile and once in between my 10K and 5K paces. So, overall the run was a fail. To be a win, I would have had no walk breaks. However, the run was not totally without value. I learned that I really need to train myself for miles 22-26 of the marathon. Those miles when your body is screaming to slow down and your legs either hurt or have gone completely numb. So, I'll do this run again in a few weeks to see how much I have improved.
Has anyone else tried any new or different runs lately?
Finally, to be fair to the ladies and balance out my Kara Goucher Runners World cover above, here is the Josh Cox runners world cover with his famous 8 pack. This cover always makes me wonder -