My Garmin map showing the Strawberry Hill repeat section
Sunday: 7 miles @ 10:17 pace; I decided to mix things up a bit and went to Strawberry Hill to do hill repeats. In case you're not familiar, Strawberry Hill is on a little island in Stow Lake. There is a steady 0.5 mile rise to the top of the hill on a dirt path. I like running up this hill because 1) It is slightly steeper than the usual sidewalk incline so a good work out, 2) It curls around and up like a soft-serve ice cream cone so you don't have to see just how much further there is to go and, 3) It is on dirt so I feel like the repeated descent is easier on the shin (though, I do occasionally roll my ankle on loose rocks -- in fact I mildly rolled it today on one descent). I ran up and down three times while pushing the pace on the ascents.
Looking at Strawberry Hill. You can trace the second level and a bit of the third of the trail path
Tuesday: 9 miles including 7 miles @ 8:44 pace; So the pace is a little dishonest because I took three scattered short walking breaks during the 7 mile pick-up. When I started off on the run during the warm-up mile I motored up a short little incline to enter Golden Gate Park. I felt a deep ache in my butt muscle which told me my body was still recuperating from my Sunday hill run. I felt pretty good the first few miles but everything caught up to me and I had to walk a little a few times to get my heart rate down. I almost bailed on the run entirely at mile 4 so the fact I got the distance done at all at a higher effort level is a big "Win" in my book.
Wednesday: 8 miles @ 10:04 pace; I finished Tuesday's run on totally dead legs so was a little worried about this run. But I felt pretty strong which was surprising.
Friday: 15 miles @ 9:58 pace; I decided to mix things up today and ran 3 miles easy, 3 miles marathon pace (MP) @ 9:30 pace, 3 miles easy, 3 miles MP @ 9:25 pace, 3 miles easy. I really enjoyed doing this because I never felt like I was out for a sloggy long run. The change in pace kept my brain engaged. I am also very pleased at how easy a 9:25ish pace felt. There were a few times I was running in the low 9:00's and had to consciously slow down the effort. I never run at what I think my MP should be. I'm either out running easy or out pushing hard. This is a huge confidence booster. My current marathon PR pace is 9:42 and I'm feeling pretty optimistic that I can better that one day.
RG left a comment that I should be doing shorter interval work to up my speed. I am going to definitely try to find a way to incorporate shorter intervals into my regimen. It is something I've been thinking about for a while now. The current training plan I'm following for the third time does mainly longer tempo-ish runs and some 1600m repeats. But there is only one speed work session per week. I'd love to find a way to fit two a week into my schedule but this will take some smart planning (and defensive action against The Shin). My A-race of the year is Texas in January, but I may experiment with two-a-week sessions here and there to see if it is realistic for me lay it on every week when training for Texas.
If anyone has any advice about how often you do speed work, please share! I guess this week I sort of did two sessions with the hill workout and it definitely made that second tempo run a little rougher.