I started Phase IV of the Daniels’ plan about a week and a half ago. So far, things are going great.
It might be a mentality change. Instead of being buried inside of Phase III, where all I saw was high mileage & really tough workouts, I’m now seeing mileage taper down and the workouts becoming a little easier. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still super tough, there’s just 40 minutes of tempo instead of 48 :). It has me thinking: let’s ATTACK this workout & really try to zap the legs and get every ounce of benefit from the workout. My mentality in Phase III was just of survival — try to get through this workout, get through this day, get through this week.
Maybe it’s the mentality change or just an increase in fitness or just my body responding to a little less intensity (mileage last week was still 90, and my rolling 7 day week ending today was 92, so it’s not responding to lower mileage yet), but I’m definitely feeling faster. It’s a fun feeling.
Take today’s long tempo run, for example. 21 total miles: 2.25 WU, 4×6 minutes, 10 miles easy, 4×6 minutes T, .5 CD (supposed to be 2 miles, but I was completely spent & just shuffling at a “doesn’t-resemble-a-run” pace, so packed it in early). The first 4×6 minutes I felt very smooth, powerful, and efficient. 5:53 pace for the first, 5:57 for the 2nd, 5:50 for the 3rd, and 6:00 for the 4th. That’s the first time my tempo pace has easily been below 6. Previously, my range was around 6:02-6:07. I held back; I could have gone faster, just going on perceived effort, but I knew there was 24 more minutes at the end of the long run.
After 10 miles easy, we started the next tempo reps. The spring in my step wasn’t as apparent :). I had to work a little more, but times were still great: 5:57, 6:01, 6:01, 5:53.
It’s fun to have these mini-breakthroughs. I can’t wait for the workouts to come! :).