Summer Racing Season Week 2: Preparing for the Lager Run 5k

Next Sunday is my first race of the summer season – the Fitzgerald’s Lager Run 5k.

After a couple decent workouts last week, I’ll ease up a bit this week. I’ll run an easier workout midweek to dial in race pace a bit, but I’ll skip the second workout of the week so I can go into the weekend rested.

Although it’s summer – and it will be warm – I’m hopeful that I’ll have a decent performance next week coming off of a solid spring marathon training block.

The Plan for the Week

Last week, I got back to 70 miles for the week. I’ll try and keep that going this week – but I’ll front load the miles a bit so I’m more rested going into Sunday.

Here’s how things broke down:

  • Sunday: 16 mile long run
  • Monday: 5 mile morning treadmill, 5 mile evening treadmill
  • Tuesday: 8 mile morning trail run, 5 mile evening treadmill
  • Wednesday: 7 mile I workout, 5 mile treadmill
  • Thursday: 6 mile trail run
  • Friday: 7 mile trail run
  • Saturday: 6 mile trail run

And here’s how things worked ou.

Sunday’s Long Run – Hot, But Not Bad

We’re heading into summer, and that means heat. The temperature hasn’t been too bad lately, but I’m still getting used to it – and getting used to the necessity to bring water on my runs (which I don’t usually do when it’s cooler out).

When I woke up Sunday morning, it was warm – high 60’s, low 70’s – but the humidity wasn’t terrible and it was overcast. I went to grab my running flask anyway, but then I couldn’t find it. Rather than carry a heavy bottle with me, I decided to go for it and hope for the best.

The first ten miles were pretty uneventful. I started off slow and eased into the run. Last weekend, I went too hard in the heat – and I felt like crap by the end of the run. This time, I focused on really keeping things easy and making sure my breathing and heart rate were under control.

About six miles in, I hit the turn around point. I was still feeling good as I came back towards home. A couple miles later, though, I noticed things were getting slightly harder. Breathing a little heavier, but my heart rate was still under control. I focused on keeping the pace reigned in and taking things slow.

My mouth was also starting to get dry, and I was beginning to regret not having brought along some water. About ten miles in, I ran through a park in Millburn and – miraculously – found that the water fountain was working. I slurped up some water and immediately felt a little better. Just hoped it would get me home.

I hit the ten mile mark at 1:26:30 – which is pretty typical. Based on how much I kept trying to slow down, though, I actually thought it would have been slower.

Normally, I’d pick things up here. But I kept it easy for the next three miles as well. With three miles to go, I picked up the pace a little bit. My goal was to dip below 8:00 for each of those last three miles – so a little harder, but still not a hard effort.

The first mile – which had some decent hills in it – I ran in 7:52. When I hit more level ground in the next mile, I sped up to 7:35 (without really thinking about it). The final mile, I pulled back a bit and ran in 7:49.

All told, it was a good long run – despite not having brought any water with me. But I am going to have to find my flask (or get a new one) soon.

Monday – Treadmill Doubles

Monday, I needed to get up and hit the road early for work.

On these really early days, I like to stay in on the treadmill. I can cut down on the coffee/bathroom time pre-run, knowing that if I feel the urge I can just pause and run upstairs.

After I woke up a little bit, I went down to the gym. Fired up the treadmill and turned on some TV. I watched the last two episodes of Clone Wars and finally wrapped up that series – which was amazing.

The run felt pretty good, and I was able to push the pace up to a decent clip and still keep my heart rate low (~130). 45 minutes later, I was done and ready to head off to work.

After work, I planned on doing the same. I hadn’t thought about that at lunch, though, and as soon as I started up the treadmill I regretted the large cheeseburger and fries that I’d had.

I was a bit stiff for the first ten minutes, and I let out a few burps while the food settled in my stomach. But once I warmed up I felt pretty good. I thought I was going to have to hold back a bit on the speed to keep things easy, but I was able to speed up to the same pace I had done in the morning and still keep my heart rate low (< 130bpm).

With Clone Wars over, I’m moving on to Star Wars Rebels. That will likely be my go to show throughout the summer any time I’m on the treadmill.

Tuesday – Another Easy Day of Doubles

Tuesday was another easy day. But in order to pad my mileage for the week, I planned eight in the morning and five in the evening.

In the morning, I went out and hit the trails. It was hot, and I didn’t even bother trying to wear a shirt. It’s about that time of year. It was hot and sunny for the two blocks from my house to the trail, and I was thankful to get under the tree canopy. You can immediately feel the temperature drop when you get in the shade.

I did my usual four mile route to the southern tip of the reservation. It was slow going, but after the first two miles I worked down to ~9:30/mi pace.

Instead of turning around and retracing my steps – like I usually do – I followed a different trail down to the bottom of the mountain. From there, I turned north and got in a little extra elevation.

It was refreshing to switch things up and explore a bit. I ended up hitting slightly over 8 miles (~8.25), so I planned to just knock a little time off my evening run.

After work, I hopped on the treadmill for another five miles. I think the miles are starting to get to me, and I was a little extra tired and stiff. I loosened up and felt ok towards the end, but I didn’t increase the speed quite as much as I did the previous two days.

But the goal was to move my legs for 45 minutes – and that goal was achieved.

I watched another two episodes of Rebels, and I’m really digging the show.

Wednesday – An Easy I Workout

The original plan for Wednesday was to do an easy six miles in the morning and join the running club for an easy track workout in the evening. But I got a text from my wife in the morning about something she wanted to do after work – so I switched things up.

I moved the workout up to the morning, and I ran an easy workout by myself at the Reservoir. I only planned on being out for ~7 miles (an hour or so), so I didn’t bring any water. The workout was simply 4 x 3 minutes at I pace with 3 minutes jogging recovery.

I wanted to hit 5k race pace (or a little faster) a few times – but I also wanted to have enough recovery that I wouldn’t be too beat up going into the weekend.

When I left the house, I felt like crap. My knees were a little achey, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go through with the workout. But two miles into the warmup I felt much better. It was a slow warmup, but after 4 miles I felt ready to go.

I pressed the lap button on my watch and launched into the first rep. My breathing (and the pace) were under control – maybe a little faster than 5k effort but in the ballpark. I went ~0.3 miles before I looked down at my watch and saw the pace at 6:00/mi.

Wow – faster than I thought.

I took the full three minute jogging recovery, but I felt fine after two minutes and I could easily have pushed it. The next rep went just as well.

In the third rep, I started off a bit slow. I remember thinking to myself, “This is a bit easier – this is a more sustainable effort.” But when I finally glance down at my watch, it was ~6:20-6:25/mi. So far slower than I should be running – more like 10k pace than 5k. I picked up the pace in the final third and salvaged a lap pace of 6:15/mi.

But I got back on track for the fourth and final rep. When I got home, I checked Garmin Connect and my average pace was 6:08/mi – and the three good reps were all under 6:05/mi.

I’m hoping to run 19:00 – or close to it – on Sunday, so that’s some promising feedback.

After work, I hopped on the treadmill for an uneventful double. Jogged for 45 minutes, watched some TV, and got ready to go out for the evening.

Thursday – Recovery Trail Run

With the workout – and the bulk of the week’s miles – behind me, the next few days ought to be pretty easy.

I woke up Thursday and hit the trails. After three days of doubles, I was feeling extra stiff and slow this morning. The first mile was super slow – 11:28. The next one was better (9:51). The final four were fine – but definitely on the slow side (~9:30/mi).

I also switched up the route a little bit. Instead of doubling back after three miles, I looped around the dog park on some single track trails. After a mile, I merged back on to the regular trail. This also boosted my distance by about a quarter mile.

For a recovery day, the run felt fine. No aches or pains out of the ordinary. It was just slow going.

But hopefully things get better over the next two days as I take it easy.

Friday – A Day on the Trails

Sure enough, Friday was a better morning.

I woke up, and I felt a little less stiff. When I hit the trails, I had a little more pep in my step.

Compared to yesterday, the first two miles were much better – 10:51 and 9:41. They’re always on the slow side, but this is a ‘normal’ slow. After the turnaround at the three mile mark, the final three miles were all around 9:15/mi.

So the fatigue is behind me, and the legs are feeling a little lighter. Otherwise, it was an uneventful day in the woods – just chipmunks running every which way.

Saturday – Wrapping Up the Week Easy

I got to bed much later than usual on Friday. We probably went to sleep around 1AM.

I had nothing on my agenda for Saturday, so I didn’t bother setting an alarm. But I was a little shocked when I rolled over and looked at my watch – and it said 9:15.

Yikes! Can’t remember the last time I slept that late.

But the nice thing about leisurely Saturdays is it doesn’t really matter.

Since it was later in the day, the sun and the heat were getting intense. But thankfully, I was headed for the trails – and with the trees all grown in it didn’t bother me. It was a little humid, but otherwise it was quite bearable.

With this being the third easy day in a row, I was feeling even better. I felt fine when I started – none of the usual stiffness waiting to get worked out. After I warmed up, I found myself speeding up a bit unconsciously, and I kept pulling it back.

With a race tomorrow, I didn’t want to go too fast. Nice and easy. The last mile was just under 9:00/mi, and it would have been a lot faster if I hadn’t continued to intentionally slow down.

After my run, I spent a leisurely day inside resting up. I did a little light yardwork in the evening, and I feel well rested and fresh for tomorrow.

Reflections and the Race Plan

This was another solid week.

I hit 70 miles again, and I nailed the paces on Wednesday’s workout. It wasn’t a tough workout, but in the weeks leading up to the Brooklyn Half I was having trouble hitting paces even on these kinds of short workouts. Neither the mileage nor the heat held me back this week, and I’m feeling pretty confident.

My 5k PR going into tomorrow is 19:28. If the weather was good, I’d say sub-19 was pretty well within reach. As it stands, though, it’ll be in the high 70’s tomorrow evening when the race starts. The one saving grace is that the humidity will be relatively low – so the weather shouldn’t be a huge issue, but it’s certainly a bit on the warm side.

So I’ll dial back my expectations a bit. I think a new PR (under 19:28) is in the bag. I’ll set my sights on 19:15 as a goal, with 19:00 being a possible reach.

I ran this course last year, so I know the hills are also a possible issue. There’s a small drop in the first half mile, then it’s gradually uphill for the next mile. Most of the second half is downhill, except for a small bump towards the very end.

So the plan is to make it through the hill slightly conservatively – with some life left in my legs. I’ll target 6:15-6:20 for the uphill section, pick up the pace to ~6:05/mi on downhill, and let it rip in the final mile. If I come through the 2 mile marker by 12:30, I think I can safely bring it home under 19:15.

We’ll see – and I’ll share the results in next week’s recap.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.