Workout of the Day
20 Mile Progression Run
Splits: 6:15, 5:53, 5:54, 5:33, 5:32, 5:30, 5:18, 5:19, 5:22, 5:15, 5:18, 5:19, 5:33, 5:42, 5:43, 5:25, 5:26, 5:26, 5:16, 5:08 = 1:50:10
Alan Webb — Oct. 14th, 2012
Context & Details
The summer of 2012 was a period of transition for Alan. He failed to make the London Olympic team that year as he was plagued by an achilles strain at the trials. Two days later his first daughter was born. And soon after that, he and his wife Julia decided to return to Portland to raise their growing family. Alan was considering competing over longer distances at that time, namely half marathon and marathon, so that fall he logged several 120 - 145-mile weeks.
A staple of his program was a 20-mile progression run. He didn't always do it over a flat course, in fact he preferred courses with rolling hills. This run came at the end of a 140-mile week for Alan in early October. He ran 80, 140, 100, 143 miles per week that month; a 115 mile/week average. The month of November is even more impressive regarding quality and quantity as that November saw 139, 120, 117, 130 miles per week for a 126 mile/week average.
While big numbers are impressive, volume rarely tells the whole story, in fact, only small parts. What counts is the quality of running he was doing during this two month period of nearly 1,000 miles. The weekly 20-mile progression runs are a better signal as to the fitness Alan was acquiring during his "Mega Miles" experiment that fall. With this one being not his fastest, but maybe his finest effort in training considering the context of the run.
His workout comments were blunt and stoic, "Cold. Wind. Rain." That is all he wrote. And frankly, that is all we need to know. You can imagine what type of run it was, nearly every distance runner has seen those miserable soaking wet long runs. You can't complain, to do so is pointless. You can only run.
To me, this was a snapshot of vintage Alan, undeterred, no matter the adversity, from seeking to do what he felt needed to be done in his pursuit of the remarkable.