run pretty run fast

a blog about running fast with style

Month in Review: January, the slow the fast and nothing in between

I kicked off January with a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest and a commitment to run all my easy days at or below 70% max heart rate.  As I recapped about 6 months (okay 2 months) of running in my last post it was clear to me that I was over training:  specifically I wasn’t letting my body recover on my easy days.  I was running the paces I’d been running on easy days earlier in the year but my heart rate was a good 10-15 beats higher than it should have been.  And like any good recreational semi serious competitive runner I concluded that my heart rate monitor was broken.

I know.

I do dumb things.

Time and time again my coach reminds us that you don’t get faster on your hard days but on your easy days because on easy days your body make all kinds of adaptations and something about my mitochondria getting more awesome.

I’m a good listener.

Long story long my January goal was to clear out the pace page on my Garmin and set it solely on heart rate.  At the end of the run I reviewed my pace (you didn’t think I didn’t look at all right?) and saw some of the slowest times I’ve ever seen on my Garmin but each week my pace improved, my legs recovered just a little bit better and wouldn’t ya know my fast days got faster.

Can I get a shout out for science?

So the details.

January 6-12th  

Monday was an 4 easy miles, nothing magical but I felt surprisingly good after my Sunday LR.  Tuesday was a much less impressive 6 with mile times in the double digits, thanks heart rate monitor.

Wednesday I was back at the track and ready to run.  Or so I thought.

It was an ugly dark windy night the prefect night for not one, not two but three times 2 miles around the track.  24 laps but who’s counting.

The plan was 3 x 2 mile at winter 10k pace (whatever that means) and a 3.5 min recovery.  This was a new one for me with the group, usually we do 2 x 2 miles.  I went back and forth debating groups, wasn’t sure if I was ready to tackle group 4A and usually when we are starting back you drop back a group… but wait isn’t everyone starting back so does that mean I am 4A?

Group Number Total Pace Mile Pace 400 Pace
Group 4A 13:20-24 6:40-42 100
Group 5 13:44-48 6:52-54 103

Peer pressure got the best of me and I managed to get talked into 4A.

It was a mistake.

We went through the first mile in 6:30 something and I knew it was going to be a long night.  The group promised to slow down but we finished the rep out in 13:11 (6:35) and I quickly decided to drop back a group.

Rep 2 felt just as hard but I was able to hold tight for 8 laps for 13:45 (6:52) and figured I could get one more done.

13:46, still on pace, it hurt but the first long workout of the season always hurts.

It has to get better right?

Well a rest day makes everything better:  0 miles on Thursday.

Friday was an easy 4, Saturday my favorite hilly 8 and closed out the week Sunday with a hilly 14.

Weekly mileage: 47

January 13-19th

For the last year or so I’d been running in Hoka’s but for a whole host of reasons that will likely bore you I have transitioned out of them and back into my Nike Vomeros (still loving btw).  Having spent the last couple hundreds of days or so running on clouds I figured I needed to be careful with transitioning into a more traditional shoe.  My point?  I needed a cross training day.

Monday 45 minutes of boredom on a bike.  Saved by an easy 7 on Tuesday and if you guessed I was back at the track on Wednesday then you win.

3 x 1.75 miles with 3 minutes recovery.

And the same debate… 4A or 5?

Group Number Total Pace Mile Pace 400 Pace
Group 4A 11:33 6:36 99
Group 5 11:54 6:48 102

I’m really bad with running peer pressure.

4A it is.

Here we go.

Raise your hand if you are surprised that we went out too fast?  Anyone.  11:18 at the finish for 6:27 pace.  Three minutes of recovery and people promising to slow down and we were off again.

For the first rep I just hung out at the back of the pack and tried to hold on, I had a similar plan for rep two so how I found myself towards the front of the pack was a mystery to me but there I was and wouldn’t ya know we almost hit pace:  11:31 (6:34).  It also felt pretty amazing… a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Three more minutes of rest and we were off for 7 more laps: 95 (oops- looking for 99s), 100, 100, 98, 96, 97 and 92.  The last 3 were my fault but after struggling the previous week I figured I’d go with it:  11:20 (6:29).

Oh what a difference a week makes.  It was like I was a new person.

Rest day Thursday, slow 6 on Friday, slow 10 on Saturday and finished the week off Sunday with 16 miles and nearly 1000ft of incline.

Weekly mileage: 49 

January 20-26th

Monday I was feeling pretty spent from the hilly 16 so I took a rest day.  Tuesday an easy 7 and I remembered once again that I in fact own a camera:



It was foggy.

Wednesday was another track day and… it was almost, almost still light out when I started my warm-up 10 minutes early.




The plan?  3 x 1.5 miles with 2.5 recovery .. anyone starting to see a pattern?

Since I’d run the previous week’s (longer) workout slightly faster at an effort that felt easy I was playing with the idea of running with group 4 but there was a big difference in pace, how about a 6:20 group?

Group Number Total Pace Mile Pace 400 Pace
Group 4 9:18 6:12 93
Group 4A 9:47 6:31-32 98

In the end I stuck with group 4A with the first rep in 9:42 (6:28 pace). We bounced around for 3 laps on the second rep, fast then slow then fast and finally settled in for even splits for the last 3 finishing in 9:36 (6:24 pace).

At this point I was feeling really good so I told the group I was going to go a bit faster in an attempt to warn them that I was going to be the jerk running faster than pace.  9 minutes and twenty-one seconds later we were faster finish at 6:12 pace and a nice little progression workout.  My legs didn’t feel as amazing as the week before but it was still no 3 x 2 mile repeats so I’ll count that as a W.

Thursday I made a half-hearted attempt to bike (30 minutes), Friday was a rather ugly 5 miles and Saturday I was back at this place:


You might find this hard to believe but there is a track there… promise.

This was my first Saturday workout in like forever and no one from my group was there, so I got to run a short (though it felt ridiculously long) 3 mile tempo with all the fast kids who were coming back from injury/just had a medical procedure etc.


The plan, 3 miles at like 6:40 maybe?  I don’t remember.  All I know was the first mile had a crazy uphill with lots of twists and turns and the last 2 felt like the final miles of a 5k.  The run never felt easy but one has to start somewhere.  6:41 average with 6:58, 6:39 and 6:33 progression.

I thought we were done but the fast kids like to do extra credit work so we did a bunch of strides on the turf.  It was probably good for me.

Capped the week of with a nice 13 miles with the birds on Sunday.  Can’t complain.

Weekly mileage: 44

I’m on a roll so let’s just close out January.

January 27-February 2nd 

Monday, ugh, back on the bike.  40 minutes… snooze.  Tuesday, you guessed it an easy 7 and Wednesday I was back you know where…

3 x 2k (1.25 miles) with 2.5 minute recovery.  I mean really do you see the pattern?  After last week’s workout I found myself in my usual dilemma;  which group?

Group Number Total Pace Mile Pace 400 Pace
Group 4 7:40 6:08-9 92
Group 4A 8:05 6:28 97

I took the leap of faith and ran with group 4.  The first rep was a beast but I held on for 7:34 (6:10 pace).  One lap into the second rep I seemed to find my stride and finished in 7:41 (6:08).  The last one was hard but I finished strong with a 7:39 (6:07).  Group 4’s pacing was pretty impressive, I never led the group but our leaders kept us right at 92s which was a nice change (no speeding up then slowing down).

Since I’m starting to bore myself with this post lets finish off this week/month.

Thursday you guessed it, rest.  Friday and easy 6 and Saturday another tempo.

Now one would guess maybe a 4 or 5 mile tempo after last week’s sprint but nope it was a 6 + 1 for 7.  At least the pace was slower.  We hovered around 7:00 and then closed the last mile in 6:27.  My legs were toast for the cool down which meant I was really looking forward to my 18 miler the next day.

Sunday’s LR had a guest visiter…



I didn’t actually run with her because I was just trying to get to 18 miles…


See the pack ahead of us? (totes stole this pic from Portia since we all know I can’t remember to take pictures of people…)

I wish I could say it was a life changing 18 but it wasn’t.  It was good for the most part but the last 5 were a beast.  1st one’s the hardest right?

Weekly mileage: 51

So there ya go… slow or fast and nothing in between, and that’s fine by me.

rprf…  and JENNNNNNAYYYYYYYYY, I promise pictures of the beast are coming. -xo



2 comments on “Month in Review: January, the slow the fast and nothing in between

  1. Jenny
    March 10, 2014

    errrrmahhhgerrrrd! GIMME DOSE BEAST PICS!

  2. robyn
    March 27, 2014

    dang…. forgot again. February? (And nice PR :))

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This entry was posted on March 8, 2014 by in Week in Review and tagged , , , , , , , .
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