Boston 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Speed Week

Feb 25th, 2011 - My main focus for this week was on speed, more specifically, seeing what it feels like to run at my marathon goal pace of sub-6:30's for an extended period of time.

I remember when I first BQ'ed at Portland in 2009 that all of my training runs leading up to it were at marathon pace. Back then marathon pace was a relatively brisk and easy sub-7:10 pace and my weekly mileage was no more than 40 miles per week. Ah, to be young and smart again.

I also remember how effortless the Portland BQ'er felt, and I attributed that mainly to the fact that I was so use to running at that pace before I even got to the starting line.

I've upped the mileage this year (60-70), but I haven't really focused on the marathon pace.

Taking more than 40 seconds per mile off of that 2009 pace during my training runs this year has proved to be tricky. It's been hard to get in that much speed work unless I'm either on the track or on a nice stretch of road. As many of you local runners can attest, this winter has made both options very difficult.

The snow and ice has finally taken a brief vacation, enough for the roads to finally clear up to do some speed runs outside, for long stretches, without fear of slipping on ice and getting sidelined by an on-coming vehicle.

Speed Week started on Sunday with a run with some really fast dudes. We completed the 18 miles averaging 7:07's with only a handful of miles below sub-7. It wasn't my fastest 18 miler this year, so I chalked it up as a warm up for the rest of the week:

Monday is usually my rest/recovery day so I went down to Dorchester and did 10 very easy miles at 8 minute pace with Reno.

I also hopped into the pool later that evening to continue with the recovery process. Getting in the pool after a tough workout has definitely been the key factor in my recent recovery. I can't recall feeling this refreshed only a little over 24 hrs after a hard run like Sunday.

I was now ready for the rest of the week.

I picked up the pace again during Tuesday night's Bad Times Winter series run with Glenn, Frank, Scotty, James, and Jeff through Lowell/Belvidere.

We typically do this 5.20 mile hilly course in 42-44 minutes for a decent workout.

Even I thought I was joking around when I told James that I was shooting for sub-6:30 tonight.

The conditions were ideal, but there were still some slick spots on the course, and you're never 100% sure if that's NOT black ice when you're running at night.

Even after throwing some caution into the head-wind, I managed to get in a 10K at 6:43 pace, with the last 2 miles close to 6 minute pace. And of course, back into the pool I went to cool off the jets.

I was hoping for some company on my weekly Wednesday night BU Death Run from Burlington to BU, but alas, it was just going to be me, RoadID, and my organ donor card on this cool night.

As it turned out this run was forced to be an abbreviated version (14 vs 16 miles) due to time constraints. I didn't get on the road until 7PM and Rachel would be done with her class by 8:30PM, so that gave me only an hour and thirty minutes to get my ass to BU.

This time constraint actually worked in my favor, since I was now forced to run pretty close to my marathon pace in order to get to BU on time to catch my ride home, otherwise this would turn into the first and last 28 Mile BU Death Run.

Right from the get go, and right when I got out of the bottle neck of Burlington, I slammed on the gas and didn't let up until, appropriately enough, I passed the Citgo sign near the unofficial finish line of my run.

The only "glitch" in the Matrix occurred at mile 6 when I climbed Park Ave at 7:48 pace, but managed to regain all but 2 seconds per mile on the other side.

Parts of Mass/Comm Ave turned into a speed track as I managed to easily and effortlessly hold onto marathon pace over the final 8 miles after coming off of Eastern Ave in Arlington.

Speed Week wouldn't be complete without a track workout, so once again GLRR found themselves locked out of Lexington and over at the Shamrock's home in Woburn.

Mark, Jim, EJ, Bash, Glenn, John, and Jeff were in attendance for the ladder workout (400 --> 1600 - up AND down).

I didn't have any set goals for this workout other than to see how my legs would hold up after three already tough workouts on the week.

Unfortunately, I arrived late and my crew needed my rabbit skills to lead them around the oval, so I opted for the less-than-ideal half mile warm up (kids, don't try that at home). This was going to be a true test of my stupidity.

We completed the first 400 in 1:24, which is about right for a typically workout, but my legs were already screaming at me, so I was a little hesitant on the 800.

I was pleasantly surprise when we managed the 800 in 2:49, which is my Yasso equivalent marathon time. Legs were still tight, but a little more loose now. That was basically my warm up.

Joyce doesn't have the 1200 interval marked, so we were all over the place on this one. We definitely came up short since we completed the supposed 1200 interval in 4:01. It should have been a lot closer to 4:20. I think it ended up being only a little more than 1000. No matter, the group still managed to hold onto our overall pace, which is the more important aspect.

The mile interval was going to be the true test. I felt that myself and the group could only manage a 6 flat at this point, so again, I was really surprised when we completed this final upside rung in 5:45!

We descended the second-half of the ladder in an orderly fashion and even stronger, which is perfect for a ladder workout since your main goal is to try to simulate race conditions (Fast -> Steady -> Even Faster). 

The overall workout looked like this:

400:   1:24
800:   2:49
1054: 4:01
1600: 5:45
1200: 4:19 (that's more like it)
800:   2:45
400:   1:11 (whoops)

My legs felt fine after the workout, but of course, I once again jumped back into the pool while the rest of the boys enjoyed their pizza, PBR, and Icy Hot over at Mario's.

The one thought that kept on going through my mind during the track workout was that GLRR's got some pretty damn good runners once again! We've got a tough group of runners willing to put in the work and effort. The results will speak for themselves come Boston and beyond.

With less than 40 days to go (not including 14 days of taper), I'm starting to get that nagging feeling. The feeling that I am ready for Boston 2:49.


BadDawg said...

And when you get that 2:49, don't forget that I helped you (by not joining you on your abbreviated BU Death Run and slowing you down).

You're on an amazing roll J, as long as you can keep the wheels from falling off in the next 40 days you're going to rock Boston.

Jason Bui said...

...and you'll be right next to me on Boylston sipping our PBR.

Anonymous said...

Good post and good workout last night guys, thought I was over 6 on that mile since you guys were ahead of me and was really surprised when my watch said 5:47

Jason Bui said...

No problem 147eee72-4111-11e0-b2bf-000bcdca4d7a (aka Bash).

Post a Comment