This week was a fairly big load. We started building up the amount of quality running on Monday, and Wednesday we really hit it with an intense couple of intervals.
Monday: 3x8min cruise, 2x6min cruise, 4x400m at 1500/3k pace. Recovery 2min jog. This is a continuous workout with 36min at a fairly quick aerobic pace (cruise pace is around 15k race pace) with short recovery bringing the total to about 45min. After that, we went back to the track (it got dark on the loop) and did a few fast 400m runs, to help turnover, and also to finish on a fast note. We did something similar on the "choose your own adventure" day a couple weeks ago. The goal is to push up the amount of time spent running fast. In order to get to volumes like this (36min) the pace can't be too fast, but keeping it between 10k-20k pace allows for a good aerobic stimulus, without burning the runners out too much, so they can come back to run again a couple days later.
Wednesday: We joined Concordia for 2-4x2.2k loop at the top of Mont Royal, at basically a pretty fast pace. The intervals were around 7-10min long. Only a few folks did 4, most 3, and a few of the more inexperienced runners did 2. It was great to join up with the Stingers for this one as we made a very nice big group, filling the holes, so to speak.
This is a loop we have run many times in the past, though this was our first time this year. I decided to run it less and run it later in the year because last year we had a few lower-leg niggles as a result. It is fairly hard (gravel, not paved) and there is a significant downhill portion. No ill effects from this one, however, and several vets ran by far their fastest times around this loop. Normally we do it as a tempo/steady run though, so that's not necessarily indicative.
Saturday: We've moved to long run+tempo on the weekend this year, and it seems to be going well. This one was up to 2h with 30min of tempo (half marathon pace). Athletes had the option of breaking that 30min up to 2x15 or 3x10min if they desired. Standard, bread and butter day.
We also had some pretty high quality racing take place. Ryan Noel-Hodge (one-time blogger on this site) ran a competitive 31:45 over the Fort Henry course that will be used for the national championships from 2015 to 2018.
On Sunday, our Chicago Marathon group went 3/4 for PBs. Jacques-Sylvain Lecointre ran 2:29:37, Jean-Daniel Pagé ran 2:38:56 and Chris Carrique ran 2:51:03. Steve McElligott ran 2:49:25, which is not even close to a PB, but he was a huge part of the day for this group. He ran 2:33:22 in Philadelphia a couple years ago. The build-up was not great and he was not even able to run more than 10min without pain a couple of weeks before the race. Despite that, he started the race and basically paced Chris through 25k. The four guys chatted together pre-race and knowing they had teammates with them gave them the confidence to get after their goals, and in the case of the three who were ready to go, achieve them.