The Long Run – three weekends and more of bringing our once tired deck back to life.

deck

“Oh, about 4-5 hours,” I said with confidence when asked how long it would take to rejuvenate our somewhat neglected patio deck.

Well, after three weekends and with another 5-6 hours of labour in the forecast, it is slowly coming together, transforming from its previous grey and faded state into a sharp Redwood colour. It is getting close to 30 hours now and definitely adding a challenge to the weekend running. That is especially so for the long runs, which for the past two weekends, started at or around 9:30 p.m.

The deck has a number of detailed challenges and I think running has assisted my energy levels in tackling them in the various stages. But this Sunday was a big one, as the first two gallons of stain were applied in the heat of the afternoon. Considering my previous long run was an exercise in fatigue through heat and humidity, I wondered if this week’s effort would develop into the same thing.  Working in my favour was a significant temperature decline of 8C to a reasonable 19C, and a slight wind off the river, which translated into a nice run – after the staining exercise.

Building on the poor performance a week earlier, I started slow and took it easy on the first 12k of a 24k run, averaging about 6:29 per km (aiming for 6:35-6:40). I read last week that controlling your speed is easier in a group setting and that is something I may want to entertain in the coming weeks, when the volume eventually hits 32k. Feeling good at halfway, I opted to try and increase my speed from 20 per cent above Marathon Pace to 10 per cent above MP, or 6:00-6:05 per km.

I broke that 12k into four 3km segments, and for the most part, it was pretty evenly paced, if not slightly fast at about 5:50-5:55 per km. Overall, though, I was happy with my effort this time, despite worrying about energy lost on the deck. It did not seem to have a dramatic impact as my 6-km splits were as follows 39:10; 38:43, 35:16 and 35:04. The last split was nice because I have to prepare for the P.E.I. Marathon and its tough finish of three significant hills, starting around the 35km mark. I plan to finish the long runs with two big climbs at the end (eventually three) to prepare for that late Island challenge.

Also, the long run produced a nice negative split of more than seven minutes, so all in all, a decent result. Now, if I can just finish that deck.

Saturday – Recovery run, 8km, approx 6:45 per km

Sunday long run – 24km @6:11.

First quarter 6:38; 6:39; 6:27; 6:29; 6:36; 6:23.

Second quarter 6:25; 6:33; 6:24; 6:30; 6:31; 6:21.

Third quarter 5:57; 6:02; 5:48; 5:50; 5:46; 5:53.

Final quarter 6:01; 5;45; 5:51; 5:42; 6:0; 5:43.

This week

Other than volume associated with the long run, which I do not really fear, the most troubling  training session right now is the Tuesday session or Lactate Threshold run, where you – in this case – run 8km at half marathon pace as part of a 14km effort. That pace, for me, is 5:00 per km and judging by earlier efforts, represents quite a challenge. I have gone 6, 7 and 8km in this format to date and it is a great feeling – when it is over.

Wednesday has an 8km recovery and Thursday sees a 16km general aerobic run on the slate.

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