Just About the Worst Run Ever

OceanAtEndofLaneI owe one to Neil Gaiman. I swear if I hadn’t been absorbed in his voice as he read the final chapters of his completely mesmerizing story, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I never would have finished today’s workout. Some co-workers joined me at about the halfway point and were vocal in their amazement that I could run and listen to a book but I know it is all that saved me.

The problem probably started with running on the treadmill. I thought I was pretty well hydrated before I began, but it’s pretty warm in the gym. I had all the fans strategically directed but there’s only so much they can do in a kind-of-stuffy room in the basement. Still, I rather like the treadmill for speed days – at least all I have to do is think about keeping up (and keeping form) instead of constantly checking to see if my pace is correct.

Maybe the problem was the pace. I’m actually having a bit of a dilemma regarding pace. As I mentioned back in January, I’m hoping to break the 2:00:00 watershed at the Vienna City Marathon in April. I’ve been following the Hanson Brother’s Method and I have some unresolved pacing questions that might be coming to bear right now. Basically, it seems like I have a choice of running my usual 5k and 10k paces for my speedwork OR I can run the 5k and 10k paces that translate into my goal time. The two are not the same – in fact the two are about 30 seconds per mile different. Since I really do not want to miss that goal, I’ve been running close to the plan’s suggested pace.

I wanted to die. I was making loud gasping noises. I finally conceded to lowering the incline on the treadmill. I immersed myself in the story and Mr. Gaiman’s fantastic voice. I finished the stupid workout telling my stupid muscles that they’d better be learning to clear the stupid lactate more efficiently and that if my stupid heart wasn’t improving its stupid stroke volume, there was going to be a reckoning. Then I went home, grateful I’d had the foresight to roast a chicken yesterday because otherwise it would have been Ice Cream For Dinner Night.

And now that I’m fed and I’ve had a chance to drink some Gatorade (the fact that I’ll not only drink the stuff but actively look for it after a hard workout is one of the most shocking results of this much training), I’ve also had a chance to pull out the book that convinced me to give this plan a try: Hansons Marathon Method (apparently a Half-Marathon version is on its way but it wasn’t published yet this autumn when I was researching this). Result? More questions! The 18 week half-marathon training plan that I bought from them does not include paces for the strength workouts in the pace chart; it just indicates that the workout is at 10k pace. The book includes a full pace chart with marathon and half-marathon goal times and paces for easy runs, long runs, speed intervals, strength intervals, and tempos. Turns out the strength interval pace is … Yes. My actual 10k pace.

On second thought, there’s no question. I’m using the slower pace. There’s only 11 minutes left in the book and there’s at least three more murderous workouts left before the taper starts. Neil can’t save me every week – I’m going to have to have a better plan.