Week 4 Training Recap: Slingshotting My Past Self
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Week 4 Training Recap: Slingshotting My Past Self

Having spent 3 weeks building distance, time, and effort (and having that pay off in a race), this week was a "down" week with lower mileage and more recovery — but was it? My overall training load (TL) was actually higher (777 vs 758 last week) because the Vuelta a España started and I had to get some miles in on the bike. Let's dive in.

Catch up with my half-marathon training and mentoring: read week 1, week 2 & week 3.

Coros Half Marathon Training

During my down week, I kept the overall structure of my workouts similar to the previous week, but I made adjustments to the distances and intensity. For instance, I reduced my Monday strides run from 6 miles to 4 miles, and my mid-week easy run was cut in half to just 2 miles. It was crucial for me to listen to my body, as I had been experiencing some soreness in my shins, indicating that I was on the verge of overtraining.

By the time Saturday's long run (8+ miles) came around, I could truly feel the benefits of the down week. Surprisingly, it turned out to be my longest road run of the year and also one of my best. In the end, I only ran 2.5 miles less than the previous week, but the impact on my training load was significantly reduced, and my recovery seemed to be on the right track. This is one of the advantages of incorporating 3-week training blocks followed by a week of lower volume and effort combined with more soft tissue and mobility work.

Cross-training can also act as active recovery in the middle of a training season. This week, I did my first ocean swim since the surgery and spent a couple of hours on my Peloton riding sections of the Vuelta routes on Rouvy.

Fleet Feet Half Marathon Training

We were working on a down week in our half marathon training pace group as well and taking stock of what we’ve gained over the last 3 weeks. At the track workout, we ran a time trial (at or slightly above race pace) with a choice of 1 mile or 5k distance starting by predicting our time and seeing how close we could get without the aid of our watches. Everyone in my group had great runs — all reporting that they ran faster than they anticipated — and one runner set a PR for her 1 mile effort. 

This workout held a special significance for me as the 5k TT was pretty much my last run with the group last year before discovering the fistula and abscess that ultimately led to my surgery in December. I resisted the urge to look up my previous result and went to the track with ready to run with curiosity. I settled into my metronomic groove, and could feel the progress made this year. In the end, I finished just 7 seconds off my predicted time of 27:10. When I finally looked up last year's run, I was stunned to find I had beat my time by a minute-and-a-half! 

It's difficult not to compare ourselves to past accomplishments, especially when dealing with chronic health issues or injuries. Making the decision to have an ileostomy seemed risky to me. Complications after surgery and a slow recovery had me fearing I'd never be able to do many of the things I enjoyed, like endurance sports. But this summer, I've been pleasantly surprised - I've achieved more than I thought possible — and had better results in many different kinds of events. Yesterday this little 5k run, a bookmark in time during a down week, became a victory bell I never saw coming.