A little Xmas contribution to my 2013 mileage

A white-ish Christmas

Today’s run (street): 3.3

It’s Christmas day and even though it’s a Wednesday, it really feels like a Sunday. That being the case, I was prepared to go out for a long run this morning. When my wife mentioned the combination of 20° temperatures with a wind chill making it feel like 11 degrees, I considered an indoor run. But I had counted on running outside today along the quiet, snow-dusted roads, and I decided to deal with the cold by adding extra layers.

I thought about how wearing compression pants under track pants, along with three upper layers, might slow me down. Since I wasn’t planning to go out for a fast run today, a little speed restriction didn’t bother me at first. I made my way through the first few roads at a jogging pace and encountered some bundled-up couples who were taking a Christmas morning walk. They greeted me happily when I went by. My present was not giving them a lecture about walking on the wrong side of the street.

The conditions made the going tough and my face was beginning to freeze. It can be very uncomfortable running with glasses in the cold, especially when the wind is hitting head-on. I own a balaclava, but it restricts my breathing and traps moisture that causes my glasses to fog up. Besides that, the tightness at the sides creates a fit issue at the temples that can tilt the lenses and distort my view. I haven’t worn contact lenses in 20 years, but days like today make me miss them.

At around the one mile point I began to tire. I was running easy so I didn’t understand it, but I definitely lacked energy. It could have been the cold or the extra weight of so many layers, but I just couldn’t generate much speed. I toughed it out and ended up covering 3.3 miles. I’d planned to go longer but I was glad to finish when I did. It was nice to run without needing to share the road with cars, trucks and buses, but I was somewhat disappointed with my performance.

Mileage history (2013 projected)

My speed and stamina have taken a dip since the Hot Chocolate 5K and I wonder if I need to take a few days off to rest. I may do that tomorrow, but I need to get back to schedule after that. I’m 12 miles short of hitting 900 miles for the year, which means I’ll need to cover at least that distance in the next week. Even so, I’ll end up running 41 less miles in 2013 than 2012. But that would still be 100 more miles than I ran in 2011.

Easy doesn’t always do it after race day

Today’s run (street): 5.4 miles

Between tapering and running just 3.1 miles on race day, I usually come up well short of my weekly average when I run a 5K. That was the case this week where my total miles barely cracked the teens. Despite the lower volume, I can say confidently that both runs this weekend were high quality efforts.

I usually rest the day after a race, not because it’s a good practice, but because most races are on Sundays and my rest day is Monday. For Saturday races, I usually try to get out for a recovery run because I read once that an easy workout that follows a hard effort effectively forces out lactic acid that can cause leg soreness.

My lower output this week prompted me to target at least 5 miles today. The last couple of times when I followed a race with an LSD run, I found myself struggling after 30 minutes despite going slow and easy. I realized last time that running a little harder actually felt better.

I had that in mind when I went out this morning, taking the first mile at around a 9:00 pace before settling into a mid-9 pace for the duration of the run. I chose the hilliest streets in the neighborhood to get my heart rate going. After a race, almost any effort below race pace feels easy and that was the case today. I could have gone another few miles but I didn’t want to overdo it. Besides, we are celebrating my son’s birthday today and I needed to get home to shower before we all went out.

I look forward to tomorrow’s rest day but I’m eager to start training for two 10K’s in November. I have always run my best 10K times at these races and that’s probably due to the cooler weather and relatively flat courses. Still, I’m planning to maintain my hill training because that seems to make me  a better runner, regardless of the elevation.