I’m in a slump.

Ugh.

That word can sum up the last few weeks of running.

I’ve had one good run in the past three weeks since my wisdom teeth extractions, which was oddly the longest run I’ve been able to manage in the past month (8 miles). Basically, ever since my the surgery, I haven’t been able to get into a good running rhythm.

Here’s my notes from every run I’ve done since then:

running notes

The last slump I remember of this caliber was right after I came off of LHR training last fall. That slump lasted about 2-3 weeks but I’m not sure of how much of it was caused by the August humidity. I certainly can’t blame this one on that, even though it has been warming up.

You’ll notice that on my 3/3 run I noted that I was having some calf issues. That hasn’t gone away and may be contributing to the slump. I can’t tell. It mostly feels better when I’m running, although my leg feels a little heavy. I can’t imagine it being an overuse injury since my February mileage was so low.

Either way, I’ve decided for this week, at least, I’m going to cut down to three runs: Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. I’m also trying to walk more on non-running days, since it helps my calf feel better. I’ll reevaluate on Sunday morning if I want to try for a fourth. And then I’ll evaluate what I want to do next week. I just want to get out of this slump so I can continue with my half training!

Go away, winter. You are ruining my training.

So, Nashville had another winter storm come through. We actually got about three inches this time (and less ice than last time). But this means my Wednesday and Thursday runs were thrown out because I wasn’t driving to the gym in all that.

ashley-wagner-BS1

On top of that, the race director of Tom King made the call to cancel the half marathon on Saturday because the greenway is completely iced over and unlikely to melt before race time. They are giving us some sort of discount on next year’s race and we are all invited to run the now-modified 5k on Saturday instead. But none of the running through LP Field and finishing on the Jumbotron that I was looking forward to. I understand why he made the call, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing.

yep

On the upside, Jonathan and I built a lopsided snowman.

snowman

Training Plans: Out with the Old, In with the New

I’m abandoning my current half marathon plan.

It doesn’t make any real sense to continue it. I’ve already met my goal time. Then I ran an even better race the week after. All of that without tapering. And I had to go majorly off my plan anyway, due to a stomach bug, ice/snow, and then getting my wisdom teeth out.

It seems like the ideal time to start a new plan, with a new goal.

The Tom King Classic is no longer my goal race. It will now just be a fun long run that I will run by feel. I still plan on keeping Oak Barrel easy.

My new goal race is the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon at the end of April. I’m going to aim for a sub-2:10 time. That means running about 15 seconds per mile faster than at Cedars Frostbite, which doesn’t seem too terrible.

Here’s the new plan!

Week 1st Run 2nd Run 3rd Run 4th Run Long Run
03.02-03.08 6x400m 3mi 6mi goal pace 4mi Tom King Classic Half
03.09-03.15 6x400m 3mi 6mi 4mi 10mi
03.16-03.22 6x400m 3mi 6mi goal pace 4mi 14mi
03.23-03.29 5x800m 3mi 7mi 4mi 10mi
03.30-04.05 6x800m 3mi 7mi goal pace 4mi Oak Barrel Half
04.06-04.12 7x800m 3mi 7mi 4mi Dairy Dash 5k and 10k?
04.13-04.19 8x800m 3mi 7mi goal pace 4mi 8mi
04.20-04.26 4x800m rest 3mi rest Kentucky Derby miniMarathon

This, of course, means new pace times:
400m intervals: 2:00 each (8:00 min/mi – 7.5mph)
800m intervals: 4:15 each (8:30 min/mi ~ 7.1mph)
Goal pace: 9:45-10:00 min/mi
Easy: 10:30+ min/mi

Treadmill Speed Work: How can you tell improvement?

I’ve been doing speed work of 12 intervals of 400m (0.25 mile) each every other week during this training cycle. I completed my last 400m speed day last week (still have one more 800m day), so I thought I’d compare and see if I’ve improved.

I’m not including the first one that I did back in December because I timed it different, so it’s not quite apples to apples. However, the other three were all measured and timed in the same way on the same treadmill with same shoes. Here are the results:

speed work comparison

The most recent is on the left and a month ago is on the right. You can see that I did improve on each speed interval each time I did these.

The problem is, I don’t know whether I really improved or did I just push myself faster on the treadmill each time? Is there a difference?

I always start out more cautiously because I don’t want to burn out, having to go through twelve of these things. I didn’t, at any time on any interval, slow down my speed, so I think that has to count for something. Although, my notes for the January 7th run say, “Actually felt like I probably could have either done these faster or with less recovery time.” Because of this I started jogging part of my recoveries on the other runs.

I would be interested in repeating these one more time on an actual track or flat pavement and seeing how they compare. Would I burn out early or would I push myself harder?

Anyone out there do speed work on a treadmill? How can you tell if you’re improving or just pushing yourself harder?