100 Mile Training Week – Day 3 – Coach Andrew O’Connor

May 20th – Day 3

Total miles run for the day: 15
Total miles run for the week: 43

Total elevation for the day: 469
Total elevation for the week: 2,990

Workout #1:

11 miles ( 2.5 warm up / 6 progression / 2.5 cool down )
Average pace: 8:43 for warm up and cool down – 6:36 progression
Elevation gain: 446
Effort level – 8
How did I feel: Tight and sore

When I woke up this morning and took my first couple of steps, I could tell that the beginning miles of today’s run might be a little bit tougher. I was a little bit sore. My ankles felt a little discomfort with each step, my quads could feel the descent from yesterday’s trail run, and not wanting to be left out, my glutes were letting me know they were a little tired as well.

The plan for the morning workout was about 20 minutes of warm up, 6 miles steady state, and about 20 minutes cool down. Without any race on the calendar, or any real training goal right now, outside of completing this 100 mile week, I didn’t have a specific pace I was looking to hit for the steady state 6 miles. I just wanted a good solid effort and I thought that would be somewhere between 6:30 – 6:00 min/mile pace.

Seattle recently closed over 20 miles of streets to vehicles, in an attempt to give pedestrians easier routes to practice social distancing while being outside. This has been a really cool gift to runners! I now have access to a car free street (except for residents), within 4 blocks of my house. It’s been wonderful.

I headed over to our local closed road to get moving for my warm up. Ughhh, as I had suspected the starting mile felt a little tough. My muscles just felt tight and tired. I plodded away, and just tried to get the blood flowing and let the time pass by, knowing I would feel better as I continued to warm up.

After 2.5 miles I was back at the house. I wanted to do my steady state on the treadmill, both because of the softer running surface, and the ability to have six uninterrupted miles.

As I started into the workout I could tell my legs still were not ready to move at the pace I wanted. My first mile was around 7:15. From a cardiovascular point I felt fine, but I still just felt tight and stiff. I quickly decided I would change the workout from a steady state effort, into a progression run, letting my pace pick up as my body warmed up. Sure enough as the miles started to tick by, my legs started to feel better and better. By my 3rd mile I was finally feeling strong and ready to rock and roll.

Dipping below 5:50 min/mile on the treadmill

I was really enjoying the feeling of asking my legs to push, as well as the task of staying mentally focused and present. When I was having a little fatigue or difficulty I would remind myself “this is exactly the feeling / experience you have been waiting for.” So often throughout the day I find myself thinking about my next run, yearning for the chance to be running. When I am facing a difficult or challenging time in a workout, I remind myself this is exactly the feeling I have been waiting for.

My final mile was 5:49, and I felt like a completely different runner than the hobbling, stiff runner from 8 miles ago. As I was finishing these last couple of miles I realized how powerful stating your goals out loud / in public can be. This workout served as a perfect example of this. If I had been doing this run, without the stated goal of reaching 100 miles in a week, and without the goal of 6 miles on this workout, it would have been easy to stop sooner. It would have been easy to tell myself, “Well, you’ve had a big last couple of days, you can stop at 3 or 4 miles.” While I recognize that it is extremely important to listen to and understand your body and not push through a workout just because of a number that is written or prescribed for that day, sometimes a little bit of external accountability can be a large motivator to help you push further than you expected. This is one of the huge advantages of working with a coach.

I changed out of my sweaty clothes,and headed back out the door for a cool down. I wanted the same 2.5 miles that I had done for a warm up, so I just followed the same path. My body felt good, and the 2.5 miles slipped by in no time.

Workout #2

4 miles – Easy effort with baby stroller
Average pace: 8:56
Elevation gain: 23
Effort Level – 5
How did I feel – fresh and springy

I finished my 11 miles this morning around 10 AM. By about 12:30 I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I was trying to play with my daughter and found myself having a hard time staying awake. I was starting to feel the cumulative effect of the miles run over the last 48 hours. Thanks to my amazing wife, I was able to sneak in a little 45 minute nap! This undertaking of running 100 miles in a week, plus documenting it through image and video, would not be possible without her help. I am very lucky to have her support through this project.

After a little cup of afternoon coffee, I was feeling ready to go. I had a goal of just 4 easy miles. I wanted to make sure that I kept the run at an easy effort, so I thought this would be a perfect run to take my daughter in the jogging stroller. I got the stroller loaded into the car, and after a short drive, we were at the neighborhood bike path.

I couldn’t believe how fluid and easy the start of the run felt. There was no sense of tightness or fatigue that I had felt earlier in the day. Relative to the other runs and workouts this week, four miles seemed very easy and approachable. The weather was a wonderful overcast marine layer of clouds, lending to a cool, overcast, but slightly humid day. I felt excited to spend time running with my daughter, taking in a quintessential spring day.

4 miles with my daughter in the stroller

The four miles slipped by, and as I finished I felt stronger and much more fluid than this morning. It was a great shakeout run that allowed me to move my legs, feel strong, and help me feel excited for the upcoming miles.

Andrew O’Connor is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Andrew, check out his coaching page.

Read more about my week here:

Intro to my 100 Mile Training Week

Day 1 – May 18th – 16 miles

Day 2 – May 19th – 12 miles

Day 4 – May 21st – 13.1 miles

Day 5 – May 22nd – 13.5 miles

Day 6 – May 23rd – 20.2 miles

Day 7 – May 24th – 10.7 miles