After a week and a half, I am back in Mammoth Lakes. Before we left, I started phase III in weights and then did an easy 6 mile run with one of our new mid-distance girls. Weights was pretty hard and I was still recovering from the workout, so I decided to hang back and run at about 8:30 average. Yesterday, we arrived around 7PM and immediately set out for a run. For my second shakeout run, I ended up averaging 7:58 for the 2 miles. Im not going to lie, I was a little surprised to find that I am still acclimated from my 6 day trip with my high school team. Though my cardiovascular system seems to be acclimated, I did notice a lot of fatigue today, which could be my body’s way of readjusting.

This morning, we set out at 8AM and ran Battle Royale, which is a relatively flat course out by Mammoth Rock. This run proved to me that I am in fact acclimated and last night’s run wasn’t a little fluke. For this run, we all did 6 miles and I decided to hang in the back of our group the majority of the run so I wouldn’t be tempted to run harder; We ended up averaging 8:33 per mile, which isn’t all too bad for a first day at altitude. I’m really working towards taking my easy days easy and hard days hard.

This new approach is a great challenge for me. I’ve always tried forcing myself to make my easy days 7:15-7:30 pace and then push my hard days all the way to about 6:50, but this has only left me flat by the end of the week. I would like to get back around 7:30 for my easy days, but I will probably be a tad more conservative on the hard days unless it is a tempo. Several influences inspired me to make this change, a notable one is the book I’m reading, Running With Joy, a training journal by Ryan Hall. After reading the first several training weeks of his preparation for the Boston Marathon, I learned he takes his recovery days very serious and will even run with his wife Sara. The other factor that has influenced this change is my attempt to slowly increase my mileage by the time outdoors begins. In order to get my mileage up to a 10k training volume, I would need to remain healthy.

With this new approach, I am keeping in mind that the pace will increase as I become more fit. Right now, I am doing the 20% mileage increase, which has been proving to benefit my training and allow me to monitor my shins. For those who do not understand what I mean by this, I am increasing my mileage by 20% every two weeks. In addition to this, my first week or week and a half is more conservative in regards to my pace, and then as time progresses at the same mileage I am able to focus on dropping my pace. Rather than jumping straight to the 20% increase, I allow a small increase in what I am calling a “gap week”, basically week 3 of my cycle. This increase is very subtle, about 5% but allows the jump the following week to be more tolerable.

Over the last two weeks I have been at 40 miles, by the end of this week-the gap week- I will hit just over 42 miles. This will aid my upcoming week where I will increase to 50 miles starting with my 10 mile run on Sunday. As far as my shins go, they are okay. I expected them to feel a lot worse after Tuesday’s workout, but the discomfort has been quite mild. I am considering alternating my Hoka’s tomorrow with my Boosts, so I could see whether this would be something I could do throughout my training weeks. For my next post, I am considering discussing why I left my full-scholarship at SMU or nutrition. I’ll base it on my mood 🙂

Just Keep Running XOXO

Ashlee Powers