Week One: July 10th to July 16th
This is my first week back into my regular training, having completed a two-week break following the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships. It's a critical period between the culmination of months of work, and the transition towards a different set of training, to prepare my energy systems for the cross-country season. After talking with my coach and planning out priorities for what will be my junior year, we have devised a plan to get me to peak exactly when desired, and now I'm beginning the preliminary steps to reach that point. With a heart rate monitor, GPS watch, and knowledge of the nearby trails, I can begin the training comfortably, easing back into form, and respecting the rest my body needs. It's a long season ahead, so the groundwork laid in these first few weeks will be more critical than ever.
The goal of this period in my season is to establish my baseline fitness, and to shake a little rust off from the brief period of sustained rest. As I move into longer distances (peaking at hopefully 50-53 miles a week this summer) it is important for me to stay in tune with my body, and ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. I also intend to do more training on hilly stretches, whether that comes on the Ben Franklin Bridge or in the Wissahickon, to better prepare myself for the races ahead. I'm beginning my week in Massachusetts, running through the Berkshires, and I'm finishing it in Philadelphia, my home city. After some shakeout runs last week (nothing reaching more than 30 minutes) this week will be my first full cycle of training.
Nick Dahl crushed a monster sprint to earn third place and All-American honors with his 9:01.81 run in the Two Mile at NBNO.
Friday, July 10th: 35 minutes at an easy pace, followed by 3 sets of 4x30 seconds on, 60 seconds off. Total "on" volume of roughly 2400 meters over hilly terrain. This is my team's equivalent to fartlek work, and we plan to continue it through the summer training. Considering that this was my first time reaching high speeds, my legs felt great. Easy run averaged 7:05 per mile, and the fartlek work was about 6:10 per mile, including the slow pieces.
Saturday: Another 35 minutes easy, down and back along the creek by my cabin. Averaged about 7:00 for roughly 5 miles. Got up to run right as the sun was coming up, and watched the forest wake up with me. Incredible experience, and I only saw one other person (a hiker doing the whole Appalachian Trail) during the entire run. Shoes got soaked through, so I need to hang them up and stuff them with newspaper tonight.
Sunday: After getting back into Philly in the morning (5 ½ hours of driving) I did some dynamics and got some long minutes. Ran 1:00:43 total, progressing through my heart-rate zones as I traveled around the Art Museum towards Boathouse Row, just to test where my fitness lies. First half averaged roughly 7:15 per mile, and second half was about 6:25 per mile. Everything felt great, and the transitions from pace to pace were natural and controlled. Again I had to take this one alone, but tomorrow the practice will be with the team.
Monday: 8:15 a.m. team practice from GFS Fields. Started off with the group down Schoolhouse Lane, and then progressed into my own pace as we hit Gypsy Lane. Ended up finishing at around 34:45, for 5 miles total today, averaging 6:57 per mile. Felt a little sore from yesterday at the beginning, but everything cleared out of my legs after about 10 minutes. Grabbed 15 minutes of medball core exercises afterwards with teammates.
Tuesday: Out for low-moderate minutes on my own. Ran for about 51:30, getting two cycles of the Ben Franklin Bridge for a big overall altitude change. Fastest mile reached 5:27.35 on the way home, entirely in zone, and the whole run averaged 6:50 per mile (started slowly so that I could finish strong). The weather was perfect, and the wind was at a minimum, so I could start cruising by the end. My strength is coming back to my legs, and they felt a lot more springy today than they have so far this week.
Wednesday: Team practice in a thunderstorm from the Field House. Went out for 35 minutes easy through torrential rain, and came back onto our waterlogged track for some soggy economy/fartlek work (3 miles total volume alternating between fast and slow). Started out with others, but progressed into my own training pace. Averaged 6:49 today through the rain. We originally wanted to do this one on our grass loop around the school's fields, but they got too wet for that. Finished up the day with a lifting circuit and long stretch back on campus.
Thursday: Woke up early to go out running. Went for 35 minutes at an easy pace, down past Race St. Pier towards the abandoned factories. Kept today entirely relaxed, and let my legs catch up after their first full week of training. Averaged 7:10 per mile, and didn't get much faster than that at any point. Everything is promising so far, and I'm happy with where I am right now. Tomorrow we're going to Belmont Plateau as a team, our home course for the cross-country season, for some economy work, so I made sure today's recovery served its purpose well.