This marked the last week of hard training and my final long run before my three week taper. I got in the pool on Monday and did 22 laps with the kick board. My focus was on my glutes and hips to power my body through the water while keeping straight legs; breathing was hard and my heart rate elevated. The pool always feels great after a long run day, floating and feeling weightless after a day of hard pounding.
Tuesday was speed work: 10x400 in 1:36 with 90 second rest interval. This was challenging, but I managed to get an average time of 1:31 per interval. By the time I was on my last 400, I was exhausted! This speed work really helps you run faster with less effort. It trains the cardiorespiratory system and muscular systems to efficiently absorb, deliver and utilize oxygen while moving carbon dioxide and lactic acid. If you want to run faster, you should give speed work a try.
Wednesday was a double workout day with PiYo in the morning and Spin Class in the evening.
PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility positions of Yoga. The class was taught at 24 Hour Fitness. It involves fast moving positions set to fun music. Since beginning PiYo in September, I have noticed increased flexibility and core strength both of which are very important to runners.
Spin Class is also taught at my local 24 Hour Fitness gym. When running the Boston Marathon, you need to have some strong quads for all the down hill running at the beginning of the race and spin class will help to build those muscles and increase your endurance.
Thursday was an 8 mile tempo run at race pace (8:12) with a warm up and cool down for a total of 12 miles. So my training program said Race Pace, but I ended up running it a little faster with an average pace per mile 8:07. The important thing to remember about a tempo run, is that you cannot stop or slow down, you need to stay at the desired pace for the duration of the tempo run. Then you can do your cool down miles.
Here is some information about Tempo Runs from Runner's World:
Why it works: by increasing your LT, or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions — by-products of metabolism — are released into the muscles. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your "threshold," meaning your muscles become better at using these by-products. The result is less-acidic muscles, (that is, muscles that haven't reached their new "threshold") so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster.
But to garner this training effect, you've got to put in enough time at the right intensity.
Finding the right rhythm: To ensure you're doing tempo workouts at the right pace, use one of these four methods to gauge your intensity.
Recent Race: Add 30 to 40 seconds to your current 5K pace or 15 to 20 seconds to your 10K pace.
Heart Rate: 85-90% of your maximum heart rate.
Perceived Exertion: An 8 on a 1-to-10 scale. (a comfortable effort would be a 5; racing would be close to a 10)
Talk Test: A question like "Pace okay?" should be possible, but conversation won't be.