20-second Tuesdays

With 31+ miles on my legs during the past 3 days, I’d been waiting for the after effects of higher mileage. And heading into today’s speed work, I fully expected those miles to zap my motivation.

But a surprising thing happened this morning as I headed out on the road for what I refer to 20-second Tuesdays.

The momentary sluggishness soon gave way to exhilaration as my legs loosened up for 20-second surges followed by easy running for a minute. And while the warm-up miles might have been a bit pokey, the miles following the surges were pure delight.

Those finishing miles also gave me time to reflect a bit. So far, marathon training has gone really well, and I have a couple approaches to credit for my improving fitness.

Over the past several days, I’ve been wearing compression socks when not running. The research and science behind compression socks, which I like to wear during races, suggests improved blood flow and reduced fatigue, thus promoting recovery. I’ve become a believer in the benefits of compression socks, especially after long runs.

Combine better nutrition and post-run fueling, along with muscular recovery, and I’m feeling stronger and fitter. In addition, I’ve been using a hip extension machine in the gym before my track workouts. The weight work has helped stretch my hip muscles before running hard workouts, and build strength. The result is better overall workouts. Slowly, my goal is to add some other strength and core training. Stronger muscles mean more power, better form and increased efficiency during long training runs and races.

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