With less than one month to go before the IAU 100km World Championship race, the last couple weeks of running have been the heart of this training cycle. I have one more week of big miles and tough workouts before I start my three week taper for the race. Although the last few weeks of training have been some of the most aggressive that I have ever done in my career, I feel quite good and I am very confident in my fitness.
Last week, I touched 100 miles (in singles, of course) with three quality runs. The first was 3x3200m on the track with 400m jog recovery where I averaged 10:45 for each interval. With just a single easy day after the track workout, I did a 9 mile marathon pace run on a flat bike path. Although I managed a decent 5:38 pace for the workout, I was uncharacteristically inconsistent in hitting my splits. To cap off the week, I followed an easy 17 miles on Saturday with a 24 mile progression run on Sunday. The Sunday progression run started pretty mild as I was just enjoying the company of the group run, but I began getting to work after half way. I averaged 6 flat pace for the last 10 miles and closed with a 5:30 final mile. The weather really started to improve toward the end of the week, and I acknowledge that I probably couldn't have pulled off this level of quality running if the temperatures were still in the 90s.
The past week, which ends today in my training log, was a great week of training as well, but with only two quality workouts. On Tuesday, I did 4x2mi on the roads with 2 minute recovery jogs. The average pace wasn't quite as impressive on paper as last week, but when you consider the fact that I did full 2 mile repeats on a lightly rolling road course, it was really a pretty good workout. Not to mention an additional interval. I took three easy days before doing 12 miles at marathon pace (5:37 avg) in the middle of a 20 mile run (6:06 avg) on Saturday. That was a big step up from my last marathon pace workout which was just 9 miles long and I maintained the same pace. But, it's not 100k training until I follow that workout with a 25 mile long run on Sunday. I was very pleased to be able to maintain 6:43 pace today and log 106 miles for the week.
That's how I do 100k training. 206 miles over the last two weeks averaging 6:30 per mile pace. I don't get caught up in the super long training runs, but rely on consistently high mileage at relatively fast paces to condition the body. I guess we'll find out before too long how well my training philosophy works. I'm healthy and confident right now, and think I'm faster than I was in April, but I'm not ready to make any predictions just yet. One of my teammates on the US 100k team, however, is setting some serious goals. Andy Henshaw has his sights on the American record of 6:30:11. That's a cool 6:17 pace for 62 miles, folks. The course and competition will be conducive to taking a shot at the record, but I don't think I'm ready to be quite that aggressive.
On a side note, I wanted to mention that I've been trying out the Saucony Kinvara 2's in my faster workouts to see how they might work for me in the 100k. At 7.3 ounces, the Kinvaras are significantly lighter than the 11.6 oz Nike Pegasus that I wore at Mad City. I was looking for something in the lightweight trainer range because I don't feel comfortable going to a racing flat for the 100k. I've got about 50 miles in them so far and they haven't resulted in any deal-breakers like blisters. The lower profile has caused a little tightness in the calves, but I think that will dissipate as I get used to them. I'll keep you posted.
I'll check back in a few miles down the road...