The first week of my coaching experience is complete. The week included intervals and a 20-minute time trial. I ran the time trial on a 6% incline and on road to ensure that I'd have similar footing in 2-3 months when I run it again for comparison when it will be the middle of winter here.
There was a lot of headwind during the time trial. So, it is probably not going to be a great marker for comparison. However, we often have days like that. So, it is quite possible to have a similar headwind the next time I run the route.
Winter has come earlier than usual for us. I'm looking at a foot of snow in my yard. I live at 5,280 ft - I can touch a mile high if I stand on the roof of my house.
I'm really enjoying the coaching experience so far. Because I enjoy planning and figuring out puzzles, I would spend a lot of time arranging my training plan. But, because I get bored easily, I would also change and modify it regularly. Not out of boredom with the workouts but rather for the fun of tinkering with it. I think that has hurt my training more than helping it in the past. It has been a great relief to have John develop the overall annual training plan and then to develop the specifics 2-3 weeks at a time, with weekly check-ups for any needed adjustments. I can't change the day's training on a whim. This helps me to focus on the current goals.
Another enjoyable aspect of having a coach is the peace of mind in doing particular workout blocks and not worrying about building mileage. For me, that was always an issue. I have a voice in my head that says I should be building mileage every week. In the past, this has caused me to do extra long runs in a week at the cost of higher quality workouts. Then, after a few weeks of building mileage, I feel under-rested and ease up too much for a week or two. That cycling is inefficent. Working with someone who has the experience to keep me focused on quality is really helping to keep me on track, and I think that will translate into faster and steadier gains.
I also like talking about the training on a weekly basis with a qualified professional. John encourages me to provide as much input as I can such as races I might really want to do or aspects of workouts I really want to include. We talk about it and he helps me to train right while maximizing fun. I suspect (even hope) that he'll become more rigid as we move into the third phase of the annual training plan where we are laser focused on race specific training for the Bear 100 on September 23-24.
The Bear is my goal race and the focus of this Journey to 100. My first goal is finishing. My second goal is to finish in less than 24 hours. My third goal would be to break the top 10. The first will happen as long as something doesn't go terribly wrong. The second is doable with good training. The third is almost ludicrous but I felt I needed a third goal and why not go big at that point, right?
My interval workouts have been progressing in length, not number. Starting with 3x8 minutes, I'm doing 3X12 minutes today. I will run this on trails despite the snow. The current foci of the training are getting time at upper intensity (lactate threshold range) and for my coach, John, to begin to understand me and how my physiology reacts to the training. We don't want to dive in full on and risk injury or over-stress in the first week. Running on snow covered trails right now is fine even if it reduces leg speed. Or I can run roads (and treadmill if necessary).
I confirmed with John yesterday by text that my priority right now is following the RPE plan, which is the rating of perceived exertion. We're using a 10 point scale. There is another scale used in exercise science that runs 6-20. While that range may seem odd at first, it was based on the idea that you could multiply your RPE on the 6-20 scale by 10 and that would be close to your heart rate. In practice, that is a very rough estimate and it takes some practice to get good at accurately gauging your effort. But, that's true even of the 1-10 scale. My intervals are at an RPE 8 for the upper intensity workouts.
In a few weeks, we'll shift to high intensity (VO2max level) with three-minute intervals. The prescribed RPE will be 10 for the 3-minute high intensity workouts in that phase.
The first episode of the Journey to 100 podcast will publish Thursday evening (my time; US Mountain time) in iTunes. Now, I'm off for a run...