Spring Training

There are months at a time where I swear my biggest nemesis is the weather. Overall, Boulder has excellent weather year-round. Our winters are mild; our summers are sunny and dry; spring and fall are short but beautiful! I really can’t complain as this has spoiled me since leaving the midwest 3 years ago.

This training buildup has been a real weird one. I haven’t been able to get my long runs in as hard as I want and my longer workouts keep getting cut short due to lack of dry pavement (non-icy pavement really) for any real distance. Until last week, I had only done one workout longer than 3k intervals! It seems like the weather patterns are spacing out perfectly to try to sabotage my marathon next month in London.

Fear not! I have been piecing together a great block of training in spite of the weather! For 4 weeks now, my mileage has stayed over 130; I’ve gotten long runs over 20 miles now about a dozen times, sometimes twice in a week and always trying to keep them on hilly, tough courses. If I can’t go fast, I’ll be damned if I let my intensity slip up.

My college coach used to tell us (at least 5 false proclamations thereof along the way) once the weather broke for Illinois springs, “We’ve beaten winter, gentlemen!” I used to hate hearing that because inevitably that means there was a freak storm pattern later in the week that would kick us back off of the outdoor track and onto the long road tempos that make us tough through the Chicago winter.

This year is taking me back to my college days a little too familiarly. I have had to push some of my Wednesday runs together to get a second weekly long run in because the first was in a 12-15” snowstorm (which several of us met up to run outside in anyway!). My first structured, long tempo was last week. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. You just never know how something like this is going to go when you pick up the pace and distance as if it was any week 7 buildup workout. Normally I’d have done 20-30km hard at LEAST twice by now. Here I was doing it for the first time, shooting for 5:00/mile effort on a road loop.

Much to my surprise, and I’m no pessimist, the workout went great and I felt awesome! This week was similar. I ran 4x3km on the same road loop and averaged under 5:00 pace again. What a relief! We’re still 2 weeks away from my first fitness test of the training block, so I don’t want to build it up too strongly. I really believe that doing more, shorter interval workouts may have helped me to make 5-minute-miles seem so much easier and more relaxed. Even over the longer distance workouts I’m back to doing, there seems to be a greater float at the paces I’m hitting and less strain. Who knows, maybe Old Man Winter had a trick up HIS sleeve to teach ME!

As always, if anyone has any questions or comments, please direct them straight to me on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/patrickrizzorunning) or Twitter (@runPRizzo) and I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly! Happy training–and happy spring–everyone!

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