Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 13th-19th Training

Monday: Day Off. Woke up to pouring rain and had a long day ahead on the road, of which my daughter puked several times in the first hour of the trip.

Tuesday: 6.6 miles (6:27); 10.1 miles with 4xhill blasts (7:10)

Wednesday: 6.3 miles (6:57); 10.7 miles with four mile tempo in 20:00. I was debating skipping this for a nap since I was really worn out and sleepy.  I couldn't tell if it was allergies or a virus creeping in, so I took some Excedrin and a Claritin I found in my medicine drawer that expired over two years ago.  I was feeling a little bit better an hour later, so something worked. Goal was to start at 5:00-5:05ish and work down. Balanced splits ended up being: 4:56, 4:59, 5:04, 5:01. First mile was super easy and afterwards, I thought I was going to average around 4:55.  Second mile was also pretty smooth.  I saw I was slowing down after the turnaround and debated keeping it sub 5:00 but I knew the effort level would be too high, so I ran by feel.  On the last mile, I was starting to hurt and debated kicking it in to break 5:00 but since I went from feeling fresh to worn out so quickly, I just hung on.  I'm surprised the effort level increased so much, while the pace also got slower.  It shows that my 10k/HM fitness is still really rusty/raw and  I need to ease into the extensive stuff through some intervals with rest breaks before working to longer, continuous efforts.

Thursday: 9 miles (6:59); 7 miles (7:06)

Friday: 9.7 miles (6:46); 6.1 miles with 4xstrides (7:25)

Saturday: 8.5 miles with 5k in 15:59 (a little short). My original plan was to run around 10k pace and shoot for a sub 15:00.  But a couple minutes into it, I was on 5:20 pace, so I debated working from 5:00 to 4:40.  After the first mile, I decided to just finish up since I wasn't feeling smooth at all. The course was also hard to run quickly on since there were a lot of turns and dips, with a lot of it being on a sidewalk; 6 miles (7:17)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:16). Started a few hours later than normal because of a continuous downpour but with temps in the low/mid 70s, that also meant things got pretty muggy when the sun came out. First sloppy from the start and after a pit-stop halfway, it turned into my first shirtless run of the year. Felt a little better the second half and kept an easier effort.  I was getting pretty dehydrated, so with two miles to go, I took a drink from the hose that comes straight from the quarry water, so hopefully I don't die.  Felt decent by the end and even broke 6:00 the last mile (my only one) on the last mile, which contains a gradual 1k hill.

Week Total: 100 miles. I always make fun of people who shoot for a 100 mile week because they look at it like some magical number.  But I uploaded my stuff later than normal, so I didn't have a firm idea on my volume.  Your weekly mileage total, rather than an exact goal, should just be the number your see after all your daily runs are added up.  A result or consequence, rather than a concrete goal.

My wife was sick in bed all weekend with strep throat, so hopefully I don't catch it.  The second half of the week, I was insanely sleepy and would go to bed a couple of hours earlier than normal and even had a tender throat for a couple of days, so hopefully that was my body trying to fight it off and coming away with a victory.

I have the Country Music Marathon this weekend and my #1 goal is to win.  My #2 goal is to win and run 2:23:59 to get the second time bonus and goal #3 is to win and run 2:25:59 to get the third time bonus. While I'm hoping to use this as a steady long run and then start more aggressive training at the start of May, I will go to war in this race if I have to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 6th-12th Training

Monday: 8 miles (6:54); 6.3 miles (7:05)

Tuesday: 5.3 miles (6:54); 10.1 miles (6:29)

Wednesday: 3.9 miles (6:50); 8.2 miles with track workout. This was an adventurous run. My plan was to warm-up a little over four miles on the greenway and then drive 20 minutes to a track I've never run on before. When I got to where I thought it was, I figured out it wasn't there. So after a frantic phone call and Googling, I was able to find it an hour later. Workout plan was 16x400m at sub 70 with 1:00 jog rest and 3:00 jog rest after four. Ran the first 4 in 68s with a 70, then two more 68s. On my 7th, I accidentally only ran 300m because I wasn't paying attention.  But after "seven" (I really thought it was eight), I was done.  The weather was cool on Sunday but for this one, it was 85 degrees with a dew point of 66.  I was spitting foam after the first one and was dying in the heat, even though the pace wasn't that bad.  I managed a very short cool-down and was drained the rest of the day (and even went to bed before 9pm, which I never do). The kick in the gut was that I started after the high school team was training on it and I was done while they were still doing work.

Thursday: 9.7 miles (7:01); 6.8 miles (7:16)

Friday: 10.1 mile with four miles of 30s fast, 2:30 moderate. I through this in because of the early exit on Wednesday. A lot of times, I like to run a fartlek of .15 on/.35 off. It's great for a tune-up, an off-season workout or when you're starting to introduce higher intensity work.  But I noticed that Brad Hudson's athletes do the 30s fast/2:30 moderate workout a lot, so I decided to give it a try.  I ended up averaging 5:25 pace for the whole thing with a fast pace of 4:11 and a moderate pace of 5:48.  On the fast portion, I felt pretty sloppy and a little wreckless...almost like when you were younger and going down a really steep hill on your bike, where your bike wobbles side-to-side some and you feel like you're going to crash.  The moderate part was tough for the first half of most of them but then I was able to recover by the time the next fast portion started.  I pushed what I thought was the last fast portion in sub 4:00 pace, but I did the math wrong and figured out I had one more left, so I ran under 4:00 pace again (which really hurt).

Fun workout but the intense pace was tougher than I thought it would be.  You definitely need to be in touch with fast work before doing this if you want to feel smooth.

Saturday: 9.2 miles (6:56); Skipped second run because I was on the road to Florida and relaxed some when I got there.

Sunday: 17.8 miles with Gulf Coast Half-Marathon in 1:11:57 (with a shoe-tie pit stop). My plan was to run just under 1:12 with a small progression in pace (5:40s to a little faster than MP at the end).  Weather was low 70s, windy and rainy for the first half.  Course was primarily out-and-back and I felt really sluggish running in the 5:40 range.  I was hoping the tailwind would give me more time on the way back, but I was running 5:30s with the same effort.  At the ten mile mark, I picked it up some and ran sub 5:15 pace the last 5k.  Would have liked to felt more smooth but it's been a busy weekend.

Week Total: 95.4 miles. Not a bad week.  I tried to cut it down a little bit since I jumped back into things relatively quickly after my injury.  I also had a lot of old main pains going on, so I figured a couple of skipped runs would be good.  Next week will hopefully be a solid week of training and then I'll relax a little bit for the marathon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March 30th-April 5th Training

Monday:  8 miles (7:17); 6.3 miles (7:04)

Tuesday: 5.6 miles (7:22); 10.7 miles with 4x1 mile with 1/4 mile jog rest (2:45ish) in 4:50, 4:42, 4:37, 4:25.  Ran this workout with the Nashville Harriers.  I haven't done a workout like this in over a year and ideally, I wanted to do shorter intervals to ease into things but would rather have the camaraderie, so I opted for the longer workout. With the layout of the workout, I felt it made the most sense to start around 10k pace and work down to 5k pace or a little faster.  So my plan was to work from 5:00, into the 4:40s.  The course was around a park, which consisted of three, 1/4 mile straightaways with two turns.  On the first, I eased my way into it and ran a pretty big negative split. The second was also negative split and felt really smooth.  On the third, I tried to stay a little more conscious of my effort the last 1/2 mile and felt good.  On the last, I wanted to break 4:30 and since I was on 4:30 pace with a 1/4 mile to go, I did a controlled pick-up to finish strongly. I was really pleased with this workout because the effort felt so smooth and my legs haven't run a 4:25 mile in a long, freaking time.  If I had to hammer the last one all-out, I felt like it wouldn't have been a major issue to run 4:17-4:18. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come.

Wednesday: 9.7 miles (6:53); 3.4 miles (7:44)

Thursday: 9 miles with 4x10s hill sprints (7:11); 3.4 miles (7:45)

Friday: 9.3 miles (6:56). I was planning on doing an eight mile progression (5:45ish-5:10ish) but heavy storms were in the forecast and I didn't know if I would have enough time for the complete workout; 6.1 miles (7:10)

Saturday: 14.1 miles with 5 mile tempo in 25:18. Since I was rained out, I decided to do the Richland Creek 5 Miler as a tempo run.  The course had a good bit of turns and some little rollers.  I felt really good and with a mile to go, I debated pushing the last mile to break 25 (needed a 4:47) but that mile had some headwinds with some climbing, so I kept the same effort.  Splits were: 5:00, 4:55, 5:07,5:10, 5:06. I was planning on doing two runs but I got hustled into doing nearly a six mile cool-down.  At least I got a 2.5 hour nap that afternoon.

Sunday: 20 miles (6:06). Really good run.  Ran the first half feeling like a million bucks at 6:17 pace.  I even ran decently quick over my mostly uphill 2.5 mile stretch.  I started dropping some sub 6:00s without any extra effort and with 2.5 miles to go, I picked it up into the 5:30s because I was seeing if I could catch a guy running ahead of me. Long runs get lonely, so I needed a distraction (and I ended up catching the guy shortly afterward).  Sadly, with an average temperature of around 40 degrees, this was probably my last really good weather long run until October or something

Week Total: 105.6 miles. Weird week in that I felt really good on my three quality days but felt like complete dog crap on my three other days.  Once I get a few weeks of training, I should be able to recover pretty quickly and stack up fast workouts with some decent mileage.  But because I jumped into things a little too quickly and have been dragging some, I'll slow things down a little bit this week with just some 400s and a quality long day.  It was nice getting six naps this week but next week, it's back to working for the man.

Don't be a Tightwad

I recently read an article online somewhere, published by Flex Magazine that had a lot of good insight.  It was written by the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  In the article, he talked about finding the joy in things, rather than being too rigid and inflexible with every little training details.  

Even though this was posted in a magazine read by people who can barely scratch their butts due to the massive swole they have going on, I feel there's a lot of great advice that relates to running and even life in general.
There's too many Pharisaical runners out there who never find the joy in what they do.  They feel they have to act like full-time pro runners with every choice they make.  They have to always skip by the candy jar at work, do a bunch of silly looking stretches before and after every single run and miss having a little bit of fun on the weekend so they can run an exact pace on their long run.They do it in hopes they don't miss "something" but that up tightness is the reason why they frequently crack. They are fine if every tiny detail is going well, but once something is thrown off, it's game over.

One of the best things about running is that it's so simple.  Don't over-complicate things and take the joy out of it.  That's a quick way to physical and mental burnout.  

"Do you want to know what genuine “in the trenches” training is? Hear me out. When I started training as a teenager in 1962, the last bus from Graz, where my gym was, to my home in Thal was 7 PM. My workouts finished after seven, so I would ride my bike home after every training session. Because my arms would be so numb from the training, I often couldn't control the bike, and I’d fall into a wayside ditch. Now that’s “in the trenches” training.
It was a fantastic feeling sitting in the ditch with my arms aching. My arms were so numb that I couldn't comb my hair the next day, but the muscle soreness meant my muscles were growing. A whole new world, in which I was the boss and in charge of my destiny, had opened up. I realized that I could make myself into the person I wanted to be, as long as I stayed focused and dedicated to reaching my goals. If I had to choose one word to describe bodybuilding, it would be “joy.”
As I became older, I retained that enthusiasm, not just for bodybuilding, but for life itself. The positive attitude I apply to all aspects of my life has its foundations in bodybuilding.
A great thing was the pace of my progress, and the time I allotted to it was of my own making. That’s what I urge each FLEX reader to do. Set your own goals, apportion the correct time to work for those goals and then enjoy! I can think of no better way to embrace life than to body-build. The act of building and strengthening one’s muscles through training and sound eating habits is an affirmation of the miracle of the human body itself. 
Above all, enjoy your bodybuilding. Don’t be like some people who lose sight of the joy of bodybuilding and have managed to sap it of its life. I see bodybuilders today, and not just professionals, who have turned themselves into slaves to their sport. Men and women in the gym and even at the Arnold Fitness Weekend expo walk around with somber expressions.
They carry gallon-size plastic jugs of water, as if their bodies will need that amount during the next few minutes. They have to eat every two hours, no matter what, and they eat nothing but chicken and rice, even though the next contest is months away.
When I was competing, sure, we were serious about training, but we enjoyed our gym time and always had a spare moment for a joke or a friendly smile. The only water we ever needed was supplied by the gym’s water fountain.
When it came to eating, we also followed a practical philosophy. We made sure to eat three substantial bodybuilding-friendly meals a day and then add protein or nutritious snacks between those meals to stoke the muscle-building furnace.
Often, after workouts, a group of us would have a feast at the Rose Cafe in Venice, California, or at Zucky’s Deli on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. In the weeks leading up to a contest, our diets would be clean — chicken or fish, rice and vegetables — otherwise, we’d order hamburgers or steaks, put ketchup on top and enjoy our meals immensely.
My point is that there’s no good reason why you can’t enjoy your life and body-build at the same time. Bodybuilding should never be a burden, something that impedes the rest of your life. When that becomes the case, you may need to reevaluate your approach to bodybuilding and to your life in general.
So, put down that gallon jug, stop yourself from trying to work out the calorific value and macronutrient breakdown of a Korean yam, get out there and enjoy your bodybuilding experience."

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 23rd-29th Training

Monday: 8 miles (6:40); 5.5 miles (7:08)

Tuesday: 11.6 miles (7:38). Busy day, could only get in one run

Wednesday: 9.8 miles (6:33); 4.4 miles (7:40).  Legs super worn out the past two days.  I had a workout planned for Thursday, but will delay it a day.

Thursday: 10.1 miles (6:20)

Friday: 5.4 miles (7:17); 10.6 miles moderate hilly progression (5:45). Nothing too structured, just started a little faster than a normal run and worked into it. 5:57 pace at 5.3 miles, so I had a nice negative split. Lots of long grinders the first eight miles and then some nasty hills the last couple of miles.  1230 ft. of elevation gain, which is a lot for a sissy hill runner, like me. But overall, it felt pretty smooth and I was happy with the outcome.

Saturday: 6.9 miles (7:03); 3.4 miles (7:29)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:25). Legs felt good for the first 8-9 miles and hit halfway at 6:25 pace.  Then my hip flexors started aching, which only got worse.  I debated turning around a little bit early but knew if I did, I would't head out the door again and I felt running on really tired legs would be a good stimulus for the CMM in four weeks. Pretty worn out afterwards and not ashamed to admit I soaked in a hot bath afterward. There were no bubbles, though.

Week Total: 95.7 miles. Decent week, other than my legs feeling like crap the middle portion of it and then struggling on the long run.  I was a little frustrated that I was feeling so worn out.  But then I realized that I was an idiot and should feel like crap because I missed so much time and in three weeks, jumped into two 5ks, two long runs, a moderate progression, a moderate half-marathon, a shortish fartlek and another semi-moderate run.  In another couple of weeks, I should be feeling much better.

I'm off on Spring Break this next week, so I should be able to get in some extra sleep and get in some controlled quality.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 16th-22nd Training

Monday: 5.3 miles (6:45); 4.9 miles (7:31)

Tuesday: 5.3 miles (7:00ish); 5.7 miles (7:37)

Wednesday: 3.6 miles (6:51); 7 miles (6:39)

Thursday: 8 miles with 8x .15 miles on/ .35 miles off.  I like to run this workout as a race tune-up or if I'm working my way towards more structured work.  Ran the fast part just under 4:30ish average and about 5:50 for the four miles; 6.6 miles (6:57)

Friday: 5.3 miles (6:49)

Saturday: 8.5 miles with 5k in 15:11. Plan was to attempt to break the record of 14:57 since I busted my phone and could use the cash.  Never felt good from the get-go and legs didn't want to run fast.  Splits of 4:51, 4:55, 4:55.  I could have broken 15 if I hammered but don't know if I could have run 14:56 alone.  Ran this about 15s slower than last year, but I went out in 4:35 then; 3.4 miles (7:39)

Sunday: 16 miles (6:17). Good long run.  Eased into it and ran down a rolling road I don't venture over too that much. I felt really good on the run but a little worn out at the end, so it was probably the perfect distance for where I'm at in training right now.

Week Total: 79.6 miles. Felt a little worn out and banged up this week.  Legs were achy most of the week and my right knee was really stiff for a few days.  Normally when you train hard, you're both absorbing the training from a couple of weeks ago but getting broken down from the current training.  Since I had a few weeks of down time, I went from a state of major detraining to adding stress with the current training, so I'm constantly getting a little worn out.  In another week or two, I should get a nice fitness boost as I start to absorb some of the training but until then, I'll try to keep the brakes on as much as possible.

This week should bring 90-100 miles with a moderate workout and long run.  No real races for quite some time.

Four weeks until Boston and I have a couple of people that I coach racing it.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they do and they should be prepared with all the long, extensive hill work, "assertive" downhills and varied-paced workouts they've done in training.  It's the type of course you have to train for, rather than just train for the distance.  As the old saying goes, "if you're training for Boston on the track, you're off track."  (I really just made that up).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tom King 5k

The Tom King Half-Marathon is my favorite Nashville half-marathon.  With over 30,000 runners, the Country Music Half is a ton larger but Tom King is more of a runners race and most of the Nasvhille area runners come out for this one.  And it's flat and mostly out-and-back...my kind of course.

Two days before the race, we had ice and four inches of snow. That may not sound like much but before that point, we hadn't broken an inch of snow in over four years. Oh, it would snow EVERYWHERE outside the Nashville area but we would always get jipped.

That seriously constantly happens to us

Most of Tom King is on a greenway with a lot of tree cover.  And since the course is out-and-back, the greenway can get somewhat crowded.  Unsurprisingly, the race was cancelled and all the runners and prize money was moved to the 5k. While a lot of people were upset about this, I was pumped. No way was I going to try run a half-marathon when I was way out of shape and had a bum hamstring. But try and limp through a 5k for some money? Now, that's something I can get behind. So on Friday, I coughed up some cash for a deep massage in hopes the investment would pay off.

Before my injury, the plan was to pace Connor Kamm and Josh Whitehead under 65 minutes. Obviously, that now wasn't going to happen since there was no half-marathon. While Connor was out of town, Josh was still coming up to race.

The morning of the race, I have no problem admitting I was a chump by checking the road conditions of I-65N from Huntsville.  I was secretly hoping the interstate would be icy so Josh wouldn't be able to come up. But the roads were clear and we were headed towards a showdown.

I warmed up with Josh for a couple of miles before the race and even did a few strides without pain.  I didn't know if that meant my hamstring was better or if it was a result of the three Aleve and ton of sports cream I put on it (99.99% of the time, I'm anti-inflammatory when it comes to running issues).

Once we got to the line, I got a chance to see who else was out there and then solidify my strategy. Josh was still easily the favorite in my eyes and I wasn't going to worry about running with him. Since they traditionally start really fast, I expected Ben Li and Abdusalam Koko to take off and my plan was to let them soften each other up and then go for them the second half of the race.  But since Ben is training for the mile, the earlier I could take him out, the better.

Watch out for this guy's kick

When the race started, Ben took off with me and Josh right on his heels.  I jokingly asked him to scoot over a little bit to the right so he could block the wind for me and he did. Glad he's such a nice guy.  After a couple of minutes, I found myself in the lead with Josh right beside me.  I was a little scared to lead so early but it "felt" like 5k effort, so I went along with it. The first mile is a loop around LP Field and Josh and I went through it just under 4:40.  I was surprised because I was expecting it to be closer to the 4:50 range.  And it may have been my first sub 4:50 mile in almost a year.

I continued to press the pace, with Josh now beside me. I was feeling good but was a little nervous because I was so far removed from anything resembling a 5k workout. Whether or not you're in shape for a specific distance, the initial pace feels the same.  But when you're in actual shape for that distance, your "death" is much slower and you can hold your hand to the fire much longer. I definitely was at risk for getting burned here. But I was already over halfway through the race and was hoping if I didn't beat Josh, my marathon gas tank would let me burn out the other guys first.

Shortly before two miles, you make a 180 degree turn.  I hate those things because I always lose more time than other people because I'm terrible at changing rhythm. It also gave me a chance to see the race going on behind me. Koko was probably about 10 seconds back and Chris Duncan was just behind him, with Ben a little back in 4th. We went through the second mile in 4:19.  No, not a real 4:19.  Even though the first two miles of the "new" course were on the older certified course, the second mile mark has always been off, with the last mile a little long.

I had a tiny lead at this point and since we were running down a long straight with a headwind, I started to push the pace pretty hard. Josh is 115 lbs., soaking wet, so I didn't want him taking advantage of my post-injury width and be able to draft off me a little bit.

Over the next half mile, I slowly chipped away and with a couple minutes left to go, I backed off a hair in case I needed to turn on the rocket boosters for a final assault.  I ended up with the win in 14:56 with Josh finishing in 15:04.  Chris Duncan had a really good race to finish in 15:34 and Ben was not too far behind in 15:48.  One of my favorite moments was when I turned around to watch the runners coming in and saw Hunter Hall and his 100% slow-twitch self turn on the jets to out kick several guys and take 5th in 15:54.  Gas tank and guts over speed!

It was a great day of racing for me.  I honestly expected myself to run 15:15-15:30, so I'll gladly take a windy 14:56, albeit a flat course. I feel that I can be in sub 14 shape in 4-6 weeks and hopefully continue to make my assault on sub 63 minutes for the half this spring.