Summer Racing Season Week 6: Some Team Runs and Some New Shoes

This week was an in between week – no races. The Sunset Classic 5 Miler is behind me, and the Big Bang Mile isn’t until next week.

So the focus this week is on training. I’ll get in a workout Wednesday and Friday.

I’m also going to have an opportunity to spend some more time running with my new team. There’s a group run Tuesday night and a group workout at the track on Wednesday.

And it’s July. That means it’s time to rotate shoes – so I retired my old pairs of road shoes and trail shoes, and I broke in the new ones.

Time for the Shoe Rotation

I’m not a fan of the idea that you need to rotate your shoes every few hundred miles. That may work for more casual runners, but it’s insane to me that if I run 3,000+ miles per year that I should go through 10+ pairs of shoes.

You can read more about my philosophy on shoe lifespan here.

Typically, I monitor my shoes for signs of wear and try to stretch them out to six months. If they make it that long, I’m fine with rotating them out for a new pair.

Here’s a picture of my trail shoes. I’m not sure exactly how many miles they’ve seen, but it’s a lot. I’ve done a total of ~1,800 miles since January, and I’d wager at least 500 of them were on the trails. Probably a little more.

The uppers are starting to wear out a little. There’s a hole on the left side of the right shoe and it’s wearing out around the right heal, as well.

When you look at the bottom, the treads are in good condition still. There’s no real sign of wear.

One year, I stretched my trail shoes out for the full year – and they were really beat up. That year, the treads were starting to wear down a bit. Truthfully, these shoes could probably last another couple months if I need them to.

But I picked up a couple extra pairs on clearance, so I might as well break out the new ones.

My road shoes (New Balance 1080s) are still in pretty good shape, too. They probably have closer to 1,000 miles on them.

There’s no signs of wear in the uppers. The treads are starting to wear down, though, and they were definitely ready for rotation.

So don’t be afraid to really wear your shoes out.

The trail shoes are going to be demoted to lawn mowing shoes, and the road shoes are going to be stashed in my car in case I’m ever out and I need some running shoes.

Plan for the Week

Here’s the running plan for the week. It’s a total of 70 miles with two workouts.

  • Sunday: 16 mile long run
  • Monday: 8 miles easy on the trails
  • Tuesday: 6 mile trail run / 6 mile group run
  • Wednesday: 6 mile trail run / Group workout (~6 miles)
  • Thursday: 6 mile trail run
  • Friday: R workout (8 miles)
  • Saturday: 8 mile trail run

And here’s how things went.

Sunday: Another Treadmill Long Run

Sunday was another hot one. It was almost 80 when I woke up. The weather was supposed to break Sunday night – but that didn’t help me Sunday morning.

I knew this ahead of time and resolved to move another long run to the treadmill. Like last week, I fired up a movie (Star Wars: Episode 3) and ground out a 2:15 run – approximately 16 miles.

This time, I made sure to leave the air conditioning turned down. This kept the temperature a little cooler in my basement. I also set up a box fan to help circulate some air and blow the wind across my body.

The run ended up feeling a lot better than last week.

The first 45 minutes started out similarly. I slowly increased the speed and settled into a steady pace. My heart rate was ~130.

Last week, that continued to climb – probably in part due to the high humidity and lack of air circulation. But this week, it climbed a bit (to ~135) before leveling off and hanging out in the low 130’s.

I felt a lot better at the end. So pro tip: set up a fan if you’re doing a long run on a treadmill.

Monday: An Easy Trail Run

The plan for Monday was an easy 8 miles on the trails.

It was uneventful.

The weather was a lot nicer than it had been last week. The temperature was back in the 60’s, which is pretty mild for summer.

It rained last night, and the dry trails were slightly damp. But the evidence of that rain was already starting to disappear by Monday morning. Things were more ‘damp’ than ‘wet,’ and there weren’t that many puddles.

Tuesday: Group Run with the Team

Tuesday, my running team was hosting a group run in the evening. So I planned a double.

I went out for an easy six miles in the morning. Just enough to loosen up my legs and get in a few miles, but not enough to tire me out. Things felt good, and it was uneventful.

At night, I drove up to the starting point for the group run. We left from the host’s house, ran a loop around Garrett Mountain, and back for a 10k.

When we headed out, there were a good two dozen or so runners in the pack. Early on, we passed by a park. There were a bunch of little kids playing, and they cheered us on. It was cute – like a scene from Rocky or something.

After that, the pack split up and I fell in with two other runners at the front. The road up to the mountain was steep. But once we got there, the run was pretty casual. It was nice to have an opportunity to chat with them and get to know some of my teammates better.

It was a warm evening, and the park was full of other people walking and jogging. Before long, we were on our way back out – and it was a lot easier running down the giant hill.

We got back to the start and we were greeted with some food. My buddy was on the grill – making choripan. It’s grilled chorizo on bread with chimichurri sauce. It was delicious, and I definitely went back for a second one.

We all hung out for a bit, had a few beers, and eventually called it a night.

Wednesday: Group Workout at the Track

Wednesday was the second group run of the week – this time a track workout in the evening.

So again, I did an easy six miles on the trails in the morning. Uneventful and pleasant.

In the evening, we met up at the track. There was a small group of us (~8-10 runners). Did a quick warm-up on the track, and as a team we did some mobility exercises. My wife came too, and she walked and ran around the track while we did our workout. She’s getting back into shape – so the track is a nice opportunity for us both to workout together, without actually working out together.

The workout was 4-3-2-1 minutes, with 60 seconds rest in between, followed by a 3 minute rest and then the same 4-3-2-1 again. Coach said to run about half marathon pace. That didn’t happen.

I stuck with two of my other teammates, and we paced the first rep pretty well. ~6:20/mi. Everything felt relaxed and easy, despite the fact that it was quite warm. In the next two reps, we ended up pushing the pace a bit. They were closer to 6:05-6:10/mi. Definitely faster than half marathon pace – probably more like 5k/10k.

Then, in the last, short rep, Donny pushed the pace even harder. We were pushing down towards mile pace for that one. I was happy for the break when coach blew the whistle.

After the three minute break, we ended up doing the same thing again. The progression of paces worked out well, and I think it was a better workout for me than an easy temp at HM pace. We worked down again from 6:20/mi to 6:05-6:10/mi to ~5:30/mi or so in the end.

It was nice working out with the team, and having a couple people to run with definitely pushed me to go harder than I would have on my own. I’m going to try and keep up the Wednesday night workouts when I can.

Thursday: Easy Morning on the Trail

Thursday was just an easy recovery day on the trails.

I got up, jogged my six miles, and relaxed for the holiday (4th of July).

I felt pretty good after the workout the previous night. My legs were a little stiff – perhaps from two nights in a row of doubles. But they loosened up, and my pace for the six miles was a little slow, but normal (~9:15/mi towards the end).

Otherwise, uneventful. And I was happy for an easy day of relaxation.

Friday: A Workout and Mile Time Trial

With the Big Bang Mile coming up next week, I wanted to cap off this week with an abbreviated R-paced workout and a mile time trial.

The plan was to do a couple 200’s, 400’s, and and an 800m to warm up and test out the pace. Then, I’d take a nice break and hit a fresh mile to see what I could do.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating. I woke up and it was over 70 and 100% humidity. The dew point was ~71-72F. It was bearable, but definitely not ideal.

But the next day wasn’t going to be any better, so we’ll just make do. I warmed up with an easy three miles, did some leg swings and strides, and started the workout.

I was doing the workout and time trial on a road near my house. It’s exactly 1 mile long, and the KOM on Strava is ~5:50. So I thought if all went well, I might be able to claim the title. It has some slight rolling hills, but I planned on doing the time trial heading south – where it’s slightly net downhill.

I started with 2x200m with a generous recovery jog afterwards. My strides had felt a little slow, but these reps felt better. I jogged out the rest of the mile.

Then, I turned around and did 2x400m on the way back. Again, generous recoveries to make sure I wasn’t getting too tired. At the end of the mile, I stopped for a drink of water and to catch my breath.

On the way north, I did a straight 800m. It felt long … but I kept up the effort. I was a little disappointed to look at my watch and see ~6:00/mi pace towards the end, though.

At the end of that final rep, I stopped and walked for a bit. I needed it. Got my breathing and heart rate under control and jogged the rest of the mile. Then, I rested another 3-4 minutes to make sure I was as recovered as I was going to get. The heat and humidity wasn’t helping.

I started south and pressed my watch to start the mile. It begins with a slight incline followed by a longer, gentle decline. I pushed through, and I checked my watch when things leveled off. Just over half a mile down, and my pace was a little under 6:00/mi.

I still felt ok, so I pushed the pace a bit. I glanced at my watch a little further on, and the lap pace had snuck down to 5:55/mi.

With a quarter mile to go, I could push it and hopefully get down below 5:55/mi. So I gave it everything I had. The last bit was tough. Regardless of my actual time, this was good practice for the mile race, because I haven’t done an all out mile in a long time.

I got to the end of the street and my watch buzzed. It read 5:55 for the mile. Slower than I had hoped for, but honestly a good time given the conditions. I just hope it’s a little cooler at the race next week. I want to get under 5:45 – which I think would be well within reach under ideal conditions but a bit of a stretch if it’s warm.

Saturday: Wrapping Up the Week on the Trails

I woke up early Saturday morning because we had a few things to do later in the day. Just as I was getting ready to go out, I heard what sounded like torrential rains outside.

That hadn’t been in the forecast.

I checked the weather radar, and it was a single storm moving through the area. I waited it out, and 10 minutes later the rain was gone.

When I left the house, I could still hear the rain dripping through the trees – but it wasn’t actually raining. The trail was pretty damp, and parts of it were downright wet. I haven’t seen it like this in a good month or two.

Otherwise, the morning was uneventful. Out four miles and back, and my time was ~1:16. I felt really good for the day after a hard effort.

The Week Ahead

Next week is another racing week.

I’ve got a XC 5k on Tuesday. It’s supposed to be hot (eugh) with a chance of thunderstorms. As long as it’s not storming bad, I’ll run it, although I was hoping for a week when it wasn’t in the high 80’s. This week I plan to approach this more like a race than a workout.

Then, on Saturday, I’ve got the Big Bang Mile. It looks like it’ll be warm, humid and possible rainy. But with a week to go, that weather could switch up a bit. But it’s a team race, so I’ll be there one way or another.

Finally, Wednesday is a team workout on the track. Depending on how the XC 5k goes (or doesn’t go), I’ll decide whether or not I make it to this workout.

So it’s a fun week ahead. Hopefully the forecast improves and the weather cooperates.

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