When I was building up my mileage for my half marathon back in October, I was very conscious about not overdoing it. Not pushing my foot too hard or too fast.
So I gently added two kilometres every Saturday but I kept my weekday runs to 5-6k, twice a week. No hills. No speed work. Just enough to keep my body moving.
I survived the half, took a bit of down time and then started back at 10k to build up for my 16k race on Boxing Day.
This time, I wanted to increase my running fitness in a different way. I had noticed during my half marathon training that my 5k weekday runs never really felt good. Five kilometres is not really long enough for me to warm up and find my groove.
So this time I decided to do something that, while perhaps not scientific, appealed to my love of numbers and patterns.
In the week building up to my first 10k weekend run, I ran 5k twice during the week. Five plus five equals ten. With me so far?
The next week, when I was planning to run 12k on the weekend, I ran 6k twice during the week. Six plus six equals twelve.
The next week, I ran 7k twice in preparation for my 14k weekend run. And the following week, I ran 8k twice - but then missed my 16k run due to a curling bonspiel - sad day.
Going from 5 to 6k at 5:30am felt way harder than it should have. Going from 6k to 7k was also a bit of a slog - plus I now had to get up earlier to accommodate the extra time I was taking.
During the 8k run week - something clicked and they were much better. I hit my stride and my body seemed to be getting used to the extra weekday distance. Instead of slogging through most of the run, I now took a few k to warm up and then enjoyed the last 5k. I didn't worry about pace. I chose a route with one tough hill and a few easier ones and I let my mind wander.
Over the past few weeks I have cut back on my swims and have skipped a long run due to fatigue. One thing I have not done is I have not tapered back down from the 8k on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I like them. A lot. Way more than I thought I might. It's a good distance for me and I come home feeling strong and ready to face the day.
Even though I'm bringing my long run distances back down in preparation for race day, I think I'll hold on to my 8k runs for a little longer. I'm not ready to give them up quite yet.