JC Marathon Training Week 7: Getting Back At It In Sunny Florida

Last week, I took it easy following the Super Saturday Ten Miler in order to give myself some time to recover. This week, I got back to it with a few easy workouts to kick off the second phase of my marathon training.

We were also traveling to visit family in south Florida. Luckily, the weather was nice and I had quite an enjoyable week of running.

Overall, things went well and I think I’m poised for a few good weeks of training.

The Plan for Week 7

Initially, I hadn’t planned any workouts for this week. I anticipated being out of town, and I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like in Florida.

However, the forecast was pretty nice – high 50’s most mornings. So I decided to incorporate some lighter workouts to ease the transition from my recovery week to the second phase of training.

The first phase focused on faster running – R paced in Jack Daniels terminology. This phase, I’m focusing more on I paced running – aka 5k pace or VO2 max intervals. I started with a workout that included many short intervals, and over the next few weeks I’ll transition to running the same total volume in fewer, longer intervals.

Here’s how the plan for the week ended up:

  • Sunday: 16 mile easy long run
  • Monday: 8.5 mile easy run
  • Tuesday:10 mile easy run + strides
  • Wednesday: I workout – 24 x 1 min on, 1 min off (10 miles total)
  • Thursday: 8.5 mile easy run
  • Friday: T workout – 8 x 5 minutes T (11 miles total)
  • Saturday: 6 mile run

And here’s how things went.

Sunday: A Successful Long Run

This week’s long run was like night and day compared to last week.

Last week, I was still worn out from the race on Saturday. I finished – but I really struggled through the second half.

This week, I felt great throughout the entire run. I woke up early to get out and back before our flight to Florida. It was quite chilly – low 20’s when I started – but the sun was coming up, and it wasn’t as bad towards the end.

I started with a couple easy laps around the Reservoir. As I warmed up, the pace dropped from high 9:00’s to high 8:00’s. Miles 4 and 5 were ~8:30. Miles 6 and 7 were ~8:15. The remainder of the run was under 8:15 – with the final two around 7:45.

The pace I settled into towards the end – 8:00 to 8:10/mi – was quite comfortable. Definitely didn’t feel like I was pushing it at all.

Monday: An Uneventful Easy Run

We got down to Florida Sunday afternoon, and on Monday I woke up early for an easy run. I was starting with 8.5 miles – a loop from where we were staying, through downtown West Palm, and across to the western side of Palm Beach.

I left the house around 7 or 7:30, and the weather was surprisingly pleasant. It had stormed the day before, and it was still cloudy. There was a slight chill in the air and a bit of a breeze. It felt like spring in New Jersey – on the brink of being warm, but still quite comfortable.

I was feeling a little stiff, between the long run and the long flight the day before. So I took things extra slow, and it wasn’t a bad run. I got caught at the drawbridge on the way home and had to stand around a few minutes, but otherwise it was uneventful.

Tuesday: An Easy Run with Strides

Tuesday, I needed to put in a full ten miles. So I added on a little distance by crossing Palm Beach Island to the ocean side before looping back. Otherwise, the route was the same as the previous day.

The weather was still nice. I was comfortable in my tank top, and the temperature was in the high 50’s or low 60’s. Many of the Floridians I passed were cold. I saw some sweat suits, jackets, and long sleeve shirts. The view of the ocean on Palm Beach was nice. I got out there just as the sun was coming up over the horizon.

I felt a lot looser than the day before, and my average pace was 8:22/mi. I ended the run with 10x strides over the final two miles. All in all, things felt pretty good.

Wednesday: A Tough, Quick Workout

Tuesday night, we stayed with my wife’s sister instead of her parents. This meant a different route.

There’s a large park about two miles from her house, with a large lake in the middle (John Prince Park). With a little creative looping, it ends up being right about 10 miles – just what I planned to run.

My workout plan for the day was 24x 1 minute intervals, with a 1 minute jog for recovery. I programmed 5:55 to 6:20/mi into my watch, but I planned to mostly run by feel. I wanted to run 5k-ish pace, but I wasn’t too worried about exactly how fast I went.

I warmed up for a little over two miles, loosened up with a few strides, and then I launched into the workout. 24 reps is a lot, and it felt like it was never going to end. But on the plus side, one minute reps are super short.

On the first couple, I felt great. I was surprised to look down at my watch and see 5:55 to 6:00 much of the time. As I kept going, the pace slipped a bit – but it was still 6:00 to 6:05. I decided I was happy with anything less than 6:10 to 6:15.

The first 3/4 of the workout – 18 reps – were great. When I checked Garmin Connect afterwards, the paces varied from 5:50 to 6:05/mi – with one lone rep at 6:10.

As I finished up the last 6, I knew I was tired. My legs were getting heavy, and I just didn’t have quite as much pep. Towards the end of the reps, I looked down at my watch and I was consistently seeing 6:20 to 6:30. But the overall pace for those reps wasn’t that bad – 6:15 to 6:25.

If you average out all 24 reps, the pace was 6:03/mi. For the first I workout in this phase, I’m very pleased with that. Ultimately, I want to be able to hit 5:55 to 6:00/mi for these workouts – but I’ve still got a month to work at it and lengthen the reps a bit.

Thursday – The Last Easy Run in Florida

Thursday was our last day in Florida.

We were back at my wife’s parents house in West Palm, so I ran the same route that I did on Tuesday. Ten miles total – across to the ocean side of West Palm and back.

The weather was still on the brink of warm and cool. I was quite comfortable in my short sleeve tee shirt, and I actually considered taking it off and running topless. About two miles into the run, I passed a guy with a winter hat on his head.

On the Palm Beach side, I did pass an older guy with no shirt on. He must have been a snowbird down from the north. Right behind him was a younger guy with a full sweat suit on. The way people in Florida experience the ‘cold’ always makes me chuckle.

The run itself was fine.

After I crossed the first bridge over to Palm Beach, I looked at the time and realized that I was likely to end up at the drawbridge to cross back to West Palm right around when it’s scheduled to go up (8:15). I picked up the pace for the next two miles, and I kept glancing at my watch. I sprinted up and over the bridge, crossed past the drawbridge signal, and slowed down as I started descending the other side. Before I got off the end of the bridge, I could hear the signal behind me – I had made it just in time.

Friday – A Successful Threshold Workout

By Friday morning, we were back home. I had a busy morning, and I was leaving for a work conference in the afternoon, so I woke up early to get my full workout in before I could get on with the day.

This week’s threshold workout was similar to the ones I’ve done in the past – a total of 40 minutes at T pace – but I opted for shorter intervals (5 minutes with 1 minute walking recoveries).

As I jogged down to the Reservoir, I felt a little slow and tight. Maybe it was the travel day on Thursday. Maybe it was lingering effects of Wednesday’s workout. Or maybe it was just the result of waking up super early.

Throughout my warm up, I wasn’t quite feeling it. But I pushed on anyway. My target pace is 6:25-6:30/mi. By the end of that rep, my watch showed 6:35/mi.

On the next rep, I eased into a faster pace. I glanced down and saw 6:25/mi a couple times. The next few reps went smoothly.

On the last two or three reps, I felt a little tired – but not totally wiped out. I glanced down at my watch a few times and saw 6:40-6:45. I thought maybe I was slowing down, but usually I was able to kick it in gear and get back on track. But in the back of my mind, I was worried that I had lost the pace and slowed down on those last few reps.

When I got home and saw the full data on Garmin Connect, I realized I totally nailed the workout. The first rep averaged 6:31/mi pace, and the next six were all between 6:25-6:30. The last rep was the only one that was slow (6:37/mi) and that’s only because I was going up a hill for the final quarter mile or so.

The overall pace was 6:29/mi. Right on target. This is already an improvement from the beginning of this training block (~6:35/mi). If I can improve a little more (6:25/mi) and maintain that over longer reps (i.e. 4×10 minute), I think that’s a good sign that I’m right on target for a low three hour marathon.

Saturday – An Early, Easy Run

Saturday, all that was left was an easy 6 miles to round out the week.

I was out of town for a work conference. So I woke up before 6, sipped on a bit of coffee, and got out the door early.

The conference was off the highway in Morris County – surrounded by nothing but office parks and large suburban houses. I did find a park about two miles from the hotel, and I planned to loop through there, but I missed the turn.

I took it nice and easy, and it was an uneventful easy run. Good way to close out a successful week of training.

Looking Ahead

All in all, this was a very successful week of training.

The two workouts were on the easier side – in that they had shorter intervals. But each workout still had a lot of volume (24 minutes of I on Wednesday, 40 minutes of T on Friday). I was happy with the pace on the I workouts, given that it was the first one of the training block. And the pace on the T workout was great.

Over the next three weeks, I’ll stick with similar workouts – but increase the length of each rep. I’ll also increase mileage a bit and lengthen my long runs. This is the peak part of this training block.

Let’s hope the next few weeks go as well as this week.

1 thought on “JC Marathon Training Week 7: Getting Back At It In Sunny Florida”

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