I finished my final workout of March a couple hours ago, cooling down in a brief and magical bit of evening sun that somehow poked through a patch in the snow clouds.
After a few misleading Spring-like weekends early in the month and one glorious outdoor bike ride just last week, the blizzards returned full force, re-filling much needed snowpack and making my morning runs a bit more fortitude-building. In spite of the snow I’ve been more consistent with running lately.
In part, this is due to being *allowed* to be more consistent. I’m finally up to the 5-day-a-week schedule on my training plan and have bumped my mileage up to 20-25 miles, which on 4-5 days a week allows for some decent length runs. This has brought me up to 103 miles this month, a 27 mile bump up from February. I’ve also been given permission to add one short workout per week, and have made my way through two hill workouts and a progressive run. I’m loving the ability to push my legs and lungs and take a bit of the usual tedium out of the 5-mile distance.
Admittedly, these short workouts are a little misleading, as they make my brain think all workouts should be fun little run-fests instead of the more usual pain-fests that real, longer workouts bring. For example, this afternoon’s workout was 8×25 second hills with jog down recovery and I felt so good that I cheated by tacking 5 seconds onto the last rep, making it a 30 second rep. This idea to add on just a teensy bit extra is not so tempting doing 1-k or 1-mile repeats. I’d better enjoy these short, fun ones while they last!
In spite of their short length, I can feel the weekly workouts putting some pep back into my legs. These quicker sessions, along with my progressively longer weekend runs (8 miles last week, woohoo!) and longer, more running-specific core sessions have made my 4 and 5-milers seem much less arduous. I’ve actually surprised myself several days this week, as runs that started out sluggish, as usual, turned into nice little medium-pace progressive runs with each mile feeling better and going quicker than the last. This is very unusual during my morning sessions, which generally involve frozen, sleepy legs and are something to just ‘get through’. I may actually need to hold myself back on my recovery runs this weekend to make up for the quicker morning miles!
These peppy-legged runs bode well for my upcoming cross-country race in…*gulp*…TWO WEEKS! Although the thought of duking it out over 5 kilometers of dirt and grass is a bit intimidating on such light running, I’m very much looking forward to the travel to warmer elevations, the excuse to spend a gals’ weekend with my running buddy Fish, and the advertised free post-race beer.
Here’s to keeping smart with training but celebrating my many dark, snowy miles with a bit of workout and racing fun in April!