Still Running Long

running until i can't

Training Update: Week Two


Every once in a while when I am running, I start laughing out loud. I had a moment like that on Sunday, nearing the end of my recovery run. I glanced down at my GPS watch as I headed up a short, but steep, little pop of a hill. I expected to see my heart rate creeping up to or past where I’d want it for a recovery run, as I was moving pretty well up the hill. Instead, I saw the number 129. My heart rate was 129.

I’ve written before about my move to lower heart rate running, and whether I should move my top end for low-rate training down from 139 to 138. And here I was staring at 129. I laughed out loud. I can actually see my body getting stronger and fitter in my early forties. Running and laughing out loud.

Week Two: Week two contained a companion moment for the one described above. It was on the same route and the same type of run, my Wednesday recovery run; this time, though, I wondered if my fitness was falling apart. It was 6:00 in the morning, pouring rain and pitch dark. I was struggling. I couldn’t find a rhythm. Whenever I managed a glance at my watch through the rain and dark, I couldn’t believe how slow my pace was and how easily my heart rate kept spiking over my target. I finished the run and wrote in my training log that I’d just as soon forget it had every happened. My pace was a hair over 10:00 minute miles, by far the slowest I had ever run anything. I couldn’t wait to get out the next day, just to change the feeling of the week.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 22.03.05I added a few elements to the week that I hope to carry through my ultra training. It’s generally fairly hilly where I live, or at least I think of it that way. But compared to courses like the Pineland Trails 50k or the Vermont 50 Miler, it doesn’t quite cut it for course-specific training. So I built in a Tuesday run that brings me over a few hills in the area and finishes on a good one near home where I can do some repeats. I got just under 1000ft of vertical in. Next week I’ll have to do one more repeat…

The other addition was just the smallest bit of tempo work, a little bit less than two miles in the middle of my Thursday run. The real change is thinking of my tempo pace at just under 90% of my max heart rate, whereas before I had used something around 80% as my tempo target. After so many months of mostly lower heart rate running, it felt good to let it fly a little bit.

The week ended with a long run of just over 14 miles and the recovery run that had me laughing. I enjoyed the long run, especially the ten minutes or so of sunshine I got at the beginning of it. I felt fluid for the duration, and my hip and knees felt strong the whole way, in contrast to the last time I ran most of this route and had soreness from around mile nine. As a weekend pair of runs go, well, it had me smiling and, yes, laughing.

Eats & Drinks: In trying new things on my long runs to eventually use in races, my new one this week was Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews. They went down and stayed down just fine. Heck, any chance to eat sugar (which I don’t in my normal diet) is a treat. I also determined this week that I really don’t like Hammer HEED. I do fine with maltodextrin, but there’s just something about the flavor that doesn’t work for me. I can cross it off my list.

Milestones: None this week. Unless I count “highest elevation gain in a non-Costa Rica week.”

Next Week’s Targets: A 16-mile long run will be my longest post-hip surgery.

Author: todd

Husband, father, runner & Zen student... Currently blogging about about running at Still Running Long. Also writing about fatherhood and Zen at

2 thoughts on “Training Update: Week Two

  1. Pingback: Training Update: Week Three | Still Running Long

  2. Pingback: Training Update: Week Six | Still Running Long

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