I decided that after feeling fatigued for a few weeks, I should take a down week and skip my workouts. Instead I’d make this week more of a base week. The bright side is that I upped my mileage a little bit in anticipation of the next few weeks of high mileage before the Houston Half Marathon. I’m still learning how my body reacts to certain stimuli. It’s not an exact science to be sure. What I have learned is that my legs are feeling a lot fresher and that my easy paces have increased dramatically.
I’ve been stuck in the workout/recovery cycle for quite a while. It seems I’m always either running sub-6 pace or 7:30 pace. My long runs have been right around 7:00/mi for a while without a lot of variance. That’s a way to get stale! A number of my runs have drifted down into the 6:30s and 6:40s without really intending to. What I’m seeing is that I’ve been running my easy runs at 7:30 since I’m usually tired from a workout the day before. As a result, I almost never run an easy run faster. I think it’s hindering my development. Essentially, when I started running I regularly ran 7:30 a mile. I felt like I could run that pace all day and I ran my first half marathon and marathon at that pace. Since then I’ve gotten a heck of a lot faster but instead of upping my easy run paces, they’ve kind of stagnated. 6:30/mi today feels like 7:30/mi did 3 years ago. Thus, if I want to see more improvement I should be sticking closer to 6:30/mi for my easy runs. (It’s really just the higher end of my easy paces in the McMillan calculator, for reference).
Perhaps that’ll prime my aerobic engine enough to see a significant breakthrough, one that I’ve been waiting for. I’m looking like 73 miles this week, mostly under 7 minute pace, and my legs aren’t trashed.