My original schedule called for 14 to 16 miles at easy pace today, however that ended up getting modified a bit before this morning. Our group had a marathon pace workout planned in Percy Warner Park, and I asked John about joining them when I saw him at track on Thursday. He recommended that I not do their run, but said he would give me a modified workout before Saturday morning.
Last night John called and gave me a progression tempo workout divided into 3 x 30 minute segments. The first 30 minutes was to be done at easy pace. The second 30 minutes was to be done at 15 to 20 seconds slower than goal marathon pace (7:05). The final 30 minutes was to be done from goal marathon pace (7:05) up to 20 seconds faster than goal marathon pace.
He advised that I should not try to blast up to the target pace as soon as each 30 minute segment started, but instead progressively work toward the faster pace. He also said that ideally the run should be done without stopping, however if I needed to take a fluid break he wanted me to continue the previous segment for five minutes or so before increasing my pace.
I decided to run in the same location as our group so that I would intersect with them occasionally and be able to join them for breakfast at the end. I started around 5:45am from the Beech Grove picnic area in Percy Warner, and headed out of the park onto Chickering Road. My pace after about 10 minutes was around 8:30, but I slowly worked my way to a 7:57 average for the entire segment. While the temperatures were pretty low (71º), and I was feeling very good, the humidity was oppressive and I could tell it was going to be a problem (more on that later).
Picture below is of one of the stranger looking houses in Nashville, called “Small World,” located on Chickering Road (on a much sunnier day than today)…
About 25 minutes into the first segment I knew I needed to make a pit stop and grab some fluid, so I headed back into the park. After making a very brief stop back by the picnic area right at 30 minutes, I continued on for another five minutes at the same pace as John had instructed. It was during this final five minutes that I first ran into the group as they were doing their warmup.
I ran the five minutes up to the 8-mile marker on the main drive in the park, and then began my second segment headed back toward the 7-mile marker. Just before reaching the 7-mile marker I turned left and headed out of the park again onto Chickering Road, headed in the opposite direction from before, toward Christ Presbyterian Academy. After looping the school, I headed back toward the picnic area in the park.
Just like in the first segment I tried to slowly increase my pace throughout, but this time things didn’t go so well. I was moving steadily from 7:25 pace toward 7:15 pace when all of a sudden at the 20-minute mark I just started feeling rough and had to slow down. The humidity just felt like it was crushing my lungs, and my legs felt dead. I think my average for the segment at the 20-minute mark was around 7:17, but by the time I finished it had dropped to 7:27. I stopped briefly around 28 minutes to grab a quick drink, and then ran another five minutes back toward the 8-mile marker.
At this point I was thinking there was no way I was going to be able to hit the target range for the third segment, but decided to just do what I could based on how I felt. I again started this segment from the 8-mile marker headed back toward the 7-mile marker on the main drive. My average pace for the first few minutes was around 7:20, and then out of the blue I started feeling a LOT better.
I again turned left before the 7-mile marker and headed out of the park onto Chickering Road. By the time I reached Chickering my average segment pace had dropped to 7:10 or so. For the remainder of the segment I ran a couple of out-and-backs on Chickering and my average pace steadily dropped from 7:10 down to 7:03. I glanced at my watch a few times during the last 10 minutes of the segment, and my pace was consistently between 6:45 and 7:00, which was exactly what I was shooting for.
I finished the final segment on Chickering just as it started to rain, and then ran easy back to the picnic area as a cool down. In total I finished 14-miles with an average pace of 7:36 per mile. Overall I’m fairly happy with the workout. I ran the first and third segments pretty close to how I had planned, though the second segment was a bit of a mess. I guess “two out of three ain’t bad” …
In all seriousness, I’m happy the bad section was in the middle and not at the end. I’m also pleased with how good I felt during most of that last segment, and that I was able to bounce back after feeling so lousy.
In other news, once we got to breakfast at Bread & Co we learned that two members of our group had set Tennessee state records in the 1,500m this morning. Paul ran a 4:34, which was a new record by approximately 18 seconds in the 50 to 54 year-old division. Grady ran a 5:38, which is a new record by 17 seconds in the 65 to 69 year-old division. Grady joined us for breakfast and gave us a blow-by-blow account of each race, which was fascinating. Major kudos and congrats to both of them. They will both also compete tomorrow in the 800m, and are again hoping to break state records. Wow!