Stepping up and out of the comfort zone

I just finished running 21 miles this morning and so that makes a grand total of 73 miles for the week. That’s the most I’ve ever run in one week (by 3 miles). Hurray! True, tracking miles per week is no guarantee of quality training. There are other important considerations like pace, intensity, and elevation. But I have to say that 73 miles of road running is not too shabby, especially given that I did maintain a decent pace for most runs. The target pace for my medium and long runs of 7:20 is getting closer, although I’m still suffering a bit in the heat.

The trick to building miles is of course doing it gradually. But the other thing is to run really slowly on some days. Recovery runs for me are done at an easy jogging pace. Around 9 min miles or sometimes even slower. The purpose of these runs is to get the blood moving and burn some calories; it’s not the time to gain fitness. Since I’m in my 40s now I need to be especially careful about recovery. I ran 10 miles at recovery pace this week, 7 miles at general aerobic pace (around 8 min miles), one tempo run, and the rest in my target zone which at the moment is around 7:20 – 7:45.

I also learned this week that it’s better to take some breaks on hot days. Just a few minutes by the water fountain in the shade can really bring the heart rate down. I also did an AM PM double on Tuesday in order to avoid overheating — it was so much easier that trying to do 14 miles in one go.

In other news, I received an email on Tuesday from the Tokyo marathon organizers saying that I had been selected for the 2016 race. I dropped what I was doing and immediately registered and made travel plans. I haven’t book the flight yet, but I’m 90% sure that I’m going. Hotel is booked (nice and close to the start). It’s a bit of a splurge and I don’t really have the time for more travel next year, but what the hell. It’s only about a 1/10 chance of getting in, so I think I should go for it while I have the chance. It should be an interesting event although I am a little concerned about the starting situation there and potential bottlenecking. I realize it’s really silly to worry about these things, but I hate being boxed in during big marathons after having trained hard to get a PR. We’ll see where they place me (I guess it will be in corral B because I’m not a member of the JAAF). After reading a few blogs, I guess at worst it could mean a lose a minute or two at the start, which I guess is not a big deal.

The real fun will be recovering after Macau marathon on Dec. 6th and getting myself back in shape again for Tokyo. 12 weeks should be enough time.

So I’m now officially out of the comfort zone and into new territory! There is definitely some fatigue resulting from the stupid amount of running I’m doing, but on the whole I’m feeling good and psyched for a another big week.

Tai Mei Tuk, Hong Kong

Tai Mei Tuk, Hong Kong