I did countdowns to events last year and I thought I may as well repeat it this year. The next event on the calendar is the Rotorua Marathon (half marathon event). There's been something of a phoenix-from-the-ashes element to it. Five weeks ago I ran, struggled and walked in the Coatesville Marathon, feeling broken and flat. Despite some obvious physical issues that have not gotten better or worse, but have transformed, they haven't obstructed any of my progress.
Last week I expressed my consternation that what came easily last year was strangely not coming out from a much more structured, planned training programme. The difference of six days is significant: I packed four workouts into a crucial week and with some easy running tomorrow I will have done 70km for the first time since October in the lead-up to the marathon. What have been the workouts?
- Tuesday: Hill sprints - I ran 12.5km including 6 sprints up local "hills".
- Wednesday: 10km tempo run at Shoe Science Run Club - I ran within myself but still ran almost as fast as my 10km TT last week. I finished without feeling overly tired.
- Thursday: 15km 3 x 2 mile intervals (in this case: 1 mile easy, then 2 miles fast, then 1/2 mile easy, and then 2 miles fast and 1/2 a mile easy and then 2 miles fast and then easy to finish). The important thing from this run was that all three intervals were hard out runs but each time I recovered well enough to still go hard out.
- Saturday: 20km easy + 5 km fast. I managed to slash 3 minutes off my run of the same route from 2 weeks ago and most importantly felt the 5km fast easy enough to do - I managed to stay under 5 minutes per kilometre on tired legs. And I didn't feel tired after the run.
Of the four runs, I noticed clear improvements in three runs. Tomorrow I'll run slowly easily and only exert myself a little at the Garmin 5km run tomorrow. Two weeks is the recommended length of a taper for a half marathon and I'll look to do this "by the book". I'll do two time trials in this period to double check my fitness and estimate the pace that I'll do Rotorua. I believe I should be fast and fit enough to equal or better 1:38:45 from last year. There could still be some "progress" made but consolidating the gains, healing what can be healed and keeping sharp is the order of the fortnight ahead.