Week 1 in the Books

The way this plan works during the first four weeks is that each day of the week has one or two “full sessions” to do. But at the bottom of the page the workouts are tweaked, week by week, to give you a progression toward the full session. Today, for instance, the full-session run was 90 minutes broken down like this: 15 minutes warmup; 20 minutes at moderate pace; 20 minutes at .5 mph faster (about :30 seconds/mile); 20 minutes at an additional .5 mph faster; and 15 minutes cool-down. For Week 1, you’re given the option to reduce the workout to 40 minutes of easy running. Generally, though, I’ve been doing full sessions, based on the theory that I began my training six weeks before the 20-week plan commenced, so I ought to be ready to rock 'n roll now. Today I set out intending to run for 90 minutes.

The morning was less than inviting: 36 degrees with a mean wind blowing from the east. My legs were tight and sore as I started, courtesy that set of 10 all-out 30-second runs on Thursday (and maybe the 60 miles on the bike yesterday). I hoped the warmup would result in one of those magical, snap-of-the-fingers transformations that sometimes happen, but no go; the legs remained a little stiff. Given that, I should have done the first 20-minute segment at a 10-minute pace, but pride got the better of me. I wasn’t wearing my Garmin, but I knew that at Normandale three laps equal two miles, and after 20 minutes I had indeed gone a few hundred yards past three laps: 9 minute/mile pace. Onto the second segment. Aiming for a :30/mile improvement, I had an inkling I was going too fast, working too hard. I don’t know why I didn’t slow down but I didn’t and my next lap was under five minutes, around 7:20 pace. Well, what the hell. At that point I decided to maintain that pace for the rest of the segment. I knew it would leave me too wiped out to do an even-faster third 20-minute segment, and it did. I had nothing left, so I wrapped up the run with 25 minutes of easy jogging, giving me a total run of 80 minutes and nine miles.

I iced the Achilles for 15 minutes then drove to the pool, still wearing my running clothes. Damn, forgot to eat the PowerBar I’d left sitting on the the counter so I wouldn’t miss it! The full-session swim was 20x100 with 15 seconds rest. Oh, yeah: This workout was called “optional” for Week 1--but I didn’t notice that until I got home. Well, I’m glad I did it, even if I didn’t feel comfortable in the water. I know the key to improving my swimming is better technique, but I also need to just get some yards in. Today I did. And thus ended Week 1 of the plan.

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