Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 21st-27th Training

Monday: 5 miles (7:27); 5 miles (8:17); 5.5 miles (7:17)

Tuesday: 12.4 miles (6:58)

Wednesday: 9.4 miles with 10xhill blasts (7:24); 5.6 miles (7:21)

Thursday: 10 miles with bombed workout.  
The plan was 3k at 4:50-4:55, 2k at 4:40-4:45 and 5x1k, working from 4:40 to 4:30.  My legs were really heavy from the start and I was slowing down with each lap.  After 2200m into the 3k, I was currently running about 5:10 pace, so I called it a morning; 6.1 miles (6:53)

Friday: 10 miles with 4 miles of 30s fast/2:30 moderate. To make up for yesterday and to not be too beat up for Sunday, I was allowed to run up to 10 variations, so I decided on this workout.  Averaged 5:24 for the four miles, with a little over 4:20 pace for the fast part...felt nice and smooth; 3.7 miles (7:47)

Saturday: 10.6 miles (6:48).  Legs felt like complete crap the last couple of miles...felt like walking; 4.4 miles (7:16)

Sunday: 16.5 miles with shortened workout. The plan if I felt like a million bucks with perfect weather was to run a 25km with 5ks at 5:20 pace, 5:15, 5:10, 5:05, 5:00.  But the big goal was to get in some work and not pushing too hard.  Since it was really muggy (69 with 67 DP), I figured the conditions would slow things down about 5-7s a mile. I went through the first 5k at 5:23 pace, feeling really smooth.  My plan was to do at least 20k of progressive running and if I felt good, run two complete down-and-backs on my speedwork road, which would be about 13.1 miles and push the last 1k+ at a hard effort.

Second 5k also felt smooth at 5:20 pace, and the third was mostly ok at 5:14.  As soon as I started running the fourth one with a goal of 5:10 pace, my legs started to struggle and it got progressively worse, so I called it at just under a mile in (was at 5:07 pace) to finish 10.2 miles in 5:18 pace.

Obviously I would have liked to run further and faster but I had a huge workout last week and I don't need to put too much stress on legs.

On a bright side, my girls and boys finished first in their cross country meet today.  And props to the kid who ran so hard to get the victory in the boys race, that he threw up the last 15m.

Week Total:104.2 miles. The plan was closer to 110 with two solid workouts.  Even though it felt good at the time, I think last Sunday beat me up a good bit.  Since that went so well, I'm not too worried.  This week the volume will be around 90ish with one track workout and a little bit of MP running in a much shortened long run.

I'm really looking forward to the mileage reduction and racing everyone at Chicago in a couple of weeks even though I'm still not on the entry list for some reason.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 14th-20th Training

Monday: 6.1 miles (7:12); 4.7 miles (8:16) at cross country and then 5.5 miles (7:14)

Tuesday: 11 miles (6:35); 6.1 miles with 6xhill blasts(7:14)

Wednesday: 12.6 miles with 4x2k 2:00 jog, 1k, 3:00 jog. The fastest I was allowed to run was 72-73 per lap on the 2ks and 70-71 on the 1ks.  I ended up running (6:00, 2:55), (6:00, 2:55), (5:59, 2:56), (5:59, 2:55). These weren't too bad at all and they all felt about the same, effort-wise.  After the first two sets, the high school cheerleaders came out for what appears to be their daily 6am two-mile time-trial while their coach walked around the track yelling at them to go faster.  I had to run in lane 2-3 sometimes, so that cost me a little bit of time.  Not a bad workout; 6.8 miles (7:22)

Thursday: 12 miles (6:34);  5 miles (7:12)

Friday: 5.4 miles (7:22); 2 miles (8:29)

Saturday: 9.8 miles (6:49); 5.2 miles with 10xstrides (7:24)

Sunday: 22.7 miles with 5x5k with 1k jog recovery.  I was nervous for this one, especially coming off about 5.5 hours of sleep.  The plan was to work from 5:10-5:05 pace on the 5ks and run 5:50-6:00 pace on the 1ks.  I ended up running: 15:58, 3:32, 15:53, 3:32, 15:51, 3:39, 15:44, 3:40, 15:42, 3:32 to average 5:12 pace for the 30k, 5:05 pace on the 5ks and 5:46 pace on the 1ks.

1st one: tried to not think about anything and just run.  Felt really smooth and didn't even feel like I needed a break (other than the fast pee break on the recovery jog).

2nd one: still easy and slowly started focusing on the pace.  Took a gel and about 8 oz. of water during the break.

3rd one: I caught myself running close to 5:05 pace a few times, so I tried to slow it down since 5x5k is a lot of running.

4th one: started to get a little bit tired and while I wanted to run 5:05ish, I didn't want to be dead for the last one.  The wind started picking up some, which resulted in my running about 10s a mile faster with the tailwind than the headwind.  Took gel #2.

5th one: started getting more tired and had to focus the last 1k to stay at a 5:05 average. I debated running the recovery jog faster since it was the end of my workout but I didn't want to be a chump and kept the normal recovery pace, even though it was still pretty tough.

Solid all around workout and it made me finally believe I have a shot at sub 2:15.  I ran slightly slower than two weeks before Houston in 2014  but it was perfect weather and I ran with Connor Kamm, opposed to being solo and 65/55 dp (which wasn't bad at all).; 5 miles (7:35)

Week Total: 119.9 miles. So close to 120 but this was a very productive week overall, with nearly 28 miles on Sunday.  I'm really looking forward to taper time and I have one more big marathon workout this weekend, which is going to be tough. September 14-20

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 7th-13th Training

Monday: 18.5 miles with 20k in 63:27. Bad race but I'll write an extensive recap by the end of the week.  I thought I could run 5:00s the first half and then chase people down.  I ran 5:00s the first half, as planned but struggled the last 5k and never chased anyone down.  Legs had nothing and would not go.  Frustrating race since it's bad race #3 in a row.

Tuesday: 10.5 miles (7:45). Quads completely trashed.

Wednesday: 9 miles (7:37). Same as yesterday

Thursday: 10.1 miles (6:37); 6.8 miles (7:18)

Friday: 9.2 miles with 9xhill blasts (7:20); 5.9 miles (7:24)

Saturday: 23.6 miles with 21.45 miles at 5:34 average. If things went well, the plan was a mile warm-up and then a 26.2 mile progression run.  The first 20 was divided into five mile segments and dropping 5s a mile per segment, starting at 5:40-5:45.  I had Chris Duncan run with me for the first 10 and Spencer Cole for the first five.  The first ten went really smoothly.  I then met Ben Li for the next ten and took a Double-Latte Powergel, which I'm planning on using in Chicago.  After 13, I hit a really rough patch and felt really light-headed and weak, which I was hoping wasn't due to the gel.  I felt better a few miles later but we were running on the slow end.  After dropping Ben off at 20, I had up to 6.2 miles at 5:15 pace. My hamstrings were really worn out when I stopped for a gel and water and after running almost 1.5 miles at just under 5:30 pace I knew I should call it.

The weather was really good, but my hamstrings felt really heavy and I could not go.  They were beat up on the hills yesterday, so hopefully it's just lingering fatigue from the race since my legs were really jacked up earlier in the week.

Sunday: 6.8 miles (6:54); 7.2 miles (7:17). Long day but my legs felt like a million bucks. Go figure.  We also had our first elementary cross country meet and my boys scored a narrow victory over my school from last year, and my girls scored just 16 points with second place scoring 81.  Not bad for a bunch of newbies.

Week Total: 107.6 miles. Not a great week.  While I put in a hard effort, I had a rough race and then came back with a rough long run. I'm hoping it's just cumulative fatigue and I'm one good marathon workout away from being confident.  I have four weeks now and wish I had a little more time to train in the cooler weather, but I think I'll be ready.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

August 31st-September 1st Training

Monday: 6.3 miles (7:22); 4.2 miles (8:30); 6.3 miles (6:54)

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:46); 7 miles with 8xhill blasts (7:16)

Wednesday: 10.3 miles with 2x200m, 1600m, 3200m, 4x400m with 800 jog after the 1600 and 3200 and 1:00 jog after the fours. The goals were 31, 4:25-4:30, 9:50 and 67.  I ended up running 31, 32, 4:32, 9:45 and 66, 64, 64, 65.  I was a little slow on the 1600m but man, it's hard to get moving in the early morning.  First lap was a 68 and it felt like a sprint.  The 3200m was easy, as were the 400s.  5.7 miles (7:18)

Thursday: 12 miles (6:28)

Friday: 8.2 miles with 8x30s fast, 2:30 easy. Goal was to get rolling a bit while staying smooth.  Averaged 4:12 pace on the pick-ups; 2 miles (8:16); 4.2 miles (7:31)

Saturday: 7 miles (7:18)

Sunday: 7.7 miles with strides (7:20)

Week Total: 88.9 miles. Planned down week and it felt good to mentally relax a little bit and freshen up the legs.  I have some sinus issues going on so hopefully it doesn't effect me in the morning at New Haven.  The weather is looking a little hot and humid, which should be better suited towards a guy like me, opposed to the altitude guys.  So the plan is to go out patiently and move up throughout the race…sort of like the Chicago Half, except I don't drop out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August 24th-30th Training

Monday: 5.4 miles (7:41); 3.7 miles (8:21); 5.7 miles (7:20)

Tuesday: 11 miles (6:49); 6 miles (7:39)

Wednesday: 10.4 miles (6:43); 6.7 miles with 8xhill blasts (7:21).
Finally starting to feel strong on these.

Thursday: 13.7 miles with 6x2k with 2:00 jog.  The plan was to start just under 6:15 and work down to 5:55ish.  With the temperature in the low 60s and the dew point in the 50s, I was looking forward to this.  I ended up running: 6:12, 6:06, 6:02, 6:00, 5:51, 5:49. The first one was the hardest because I have to run track work really early in the morning and it takes me a while to loosen up. After that, I felt better and better and I decided to run in the 5:50 range for the last two, which felt pretty smooth. I may have run a couple of seconds faster but theirs always football benches in lane one of each straightaway and on the last two intervals, the high school cheerleading team with their rap playing ipods were taking up lane one and two. Good workout session and finally had a chance to see my "real" fitness by running in good weather; 5.8 miles (7:41)

Friday: 10.3 miles (7:18); 1.5 miles (8:13); 4.6 miles (7:31); 126.3 miles in seven days...biggest seven day period in a long time.

Saturday: 6.1 miles (7:29); 5.7 miles with 10x100m relaxed (7:22)

Sunday: 24 mile mixed pace run. The plan called for a nine mile warm-up, 4 miles of 60s on/off at 5:15-5:20 overall average, 6 miles at 5:10, 1 mile jog, 3 miles at 5:00, 1 mile jog.  Needless to say, I was really intimidated by this one.  With the weather at 71 and a 67 dew point, I would be happy to get within five seconds of the correct pace.

I ran the first nine with Spencer at a relaxed 6:44 average.  I didn't do any strides before the fartlek and it took me almost 45s to get under 5:20 pace on the first minute interval.  But I got rolling pretty quickly after that and was around 5:10 average.  I decided to put on the brakes on the jog and keep the intensity high to get in better quality and burn through more carbs and by the end, I slowed down to a 5:17 average.

I ran my six miles on the track and since I had to run in lane two on the straights, I figured the zig-zagging would result in the four laps making up the extra 9.3 meters, so I called it a mile.  First 2-3 miles were really easy and then it felt like my legs were sinking into the track despite the slower pace, which usually only happens in those extensive marathon workouts. Anyway, averaged 5:11 on that and was dreading the three mile.  But the three mile felt better than expected and I averaged 5:03 on that part.  Great workout overall and with the humidity, this was easily one of my most impressive marathon workouts.

Week Total: 120.6 miles. Four solid weeks in a row, with this last one being my biggest and most impressive one yet.  While I felt like a zombie two weeks ago, I'm now starting to adapt to my workouts and am becoming more marathon fit.  I'm also starting to get my marathoner's mindset. While a few weeks ago, I mentally struggled with the patience and volume of the long workouts, now they are not am issue and I'm able to stay focused on each individual interval.

This next week is a down week, which is good timing because I've put in a lot of heavy work and have the New Haven 20k on Labor Day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 17-23rd Training

Monday: 5.5 miles (7:48); 2.8 miles (8:31); 6.3 miles (7:03)

Tuesday: 10.7 miles (6:37); 6.3 miles with 6xhill blasts (7:17)

Wednesday: 8.9 miles with attempted workout.  The plan called for a fartlek of 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2-1 at 4:40-4:50 pace with equal recovery jog at a moderate pace to average 5:10-5:15.  Originally, I had a much tougher fartlek scheduled but I was glad to see the change after feeling like crap on Tuesday's run. My legs were pretty crapped out from Sunday's session and towards the end of my second fast interval, I knew it wasn't happening.  I really wanted to gut it out but my quads were on strike. I'm calling a mulligan on this one and will try tomorrow; Skipped run. I wanted to make sure I was feeling good tomorrow, it was raining and I was really tired.  Excuses won in a 3-0 shutout.

Thursday: 13.1 miles with completed workout from yesterday.  I ended up at a 5:13 overall average for the 34:00 and a "fast" average of 4:43.  I wanted to sneak just under 5:15 pace, so I made sure not to hammer too hard.  I felt really rusty the first two, loosened up a bit, took a ride on the pain train on the second, three minute surge, and then put the brakes on a bit the last two fast intervals.  Normally, I walk around for a few minutes after the workout but I felt better than expected on this one. I also had a thousand dead bugs on my stomach and chest; 5.3 miles (7:16)

Friday: 9.1 miles (7:11); 1.2 miles (8:07); 4.6 miles (7:26)

Saturday: 10.5 miles with 5k in 15:27. I wanted to cherry pick a local 5k for some daycare money and with a tough session planned for tomorrow, the goal was to win as easily as possible.  Some Kenyan I've never seen before showed up, along with a Vandy med school student named Paul, who ran for Wake Forest several years ago.  Vanderbilt's med school team would probably beat out their college cross country team. We ran mostly together the first 1/2 mile, then I slowly put on some distance to come through the first mile in a high 4:40 and I was able to back off some the second mile and even more on the third to win by about 25s or so.  Rusty effort that first mile but I loosened up; 4.5 miles (7:29)

Sunday: 21.5 miles with 16.37 miles @5:28.   The plan called for the 21.5 miles with a 30k progression of 10k@5:25-5:30, 10k@5:15-5:20, 10k@5:10-5:20.  The weather was 73 at the start with a 69 dew point and the air was insanely thick.  Maybe I'm just being a baby but it seems more humid at Shelby Bottoms because the greenway is lined with trees, bushes, etc and since it rained the night before, they held tons of water. With the conditions, my weather adjusted plans were: 5:35, 5:25, and then see what I could muster out the last 10k.

But anyway, Connor Kamm came out for this one and joined me for a little over 8.5 miles. I felt like crap from the start and had a herky-jerky first 10k at 5:34 pace. loosened up a bit the first few miles of the next 10k and averaged 5:23 pace for that one.  After 15 miles, I was still running sub 5:25s but my legs were getting a little achy and after 16, I knew I should probably call it soon since I had a tough four day stretch.  So at 16.37 miles, I ended the party.

Lots of rambling but I was pleased with this after bouncing back from yesterday and Thursday.  In ideal weather, this was definitely worth sub 5:20 and it felt easier than marathon effort.  I also tried out two Double-Latte Powergels and they seemed to work ok.  I'll try them once or twice more and may make that my marathon gel for Chicago; 5 miles (7:26)

Week Total: 115.3 miles. Third tough week in a row, and I had some decent volume with a skipped run.  The training is tough and I'm even making myself go to bed a little bit earlier so I'm not so zombie-like. And my summertime gut is also slowly going away. I have one more tough week with a killer workout next Sunday, then a well earned easy week leading into New Haven.

Hopefully I get some cool weather soon because while my "weather-adjusted" stuff isn't bad, I'd rather have the real deal.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Misery

Living in Middle Tennessee means you have great winter running weather.  It never gets too cold and in fact, earlier this year, Nashville got an inch of snow one day, which broke a four year drought.  But for some reason, we start school thirty minutes early every day to build 13 snow days into our schedule and we don't get paid if we don't use them.

This is what usually happens when there are snowflakes in the ground around here

But while winters are great (other than it being pitch black before 5:00pm, summers are absolutely miserable.  Yeah, it gets into the 80s or 90s or whatever in Colorado but with a dew points usually in the 40s, that's actually not bad weather all. So quit your whining, hippies.

Once we hit July, dew points (the real measure of humidity) rarely dip below 70, with anything over 65 meaning your feet will be waterlogged with sweat if you try anything remotely fast.  But if you are one of the foolish ones who train for an October or earlier marathon, you need to spend the summer months training hard and priming that motor for the marathon-specific work to come.

Granted, I'm just a P.E. teacher but here are my "hot" tips to somewhat suffer less in the summer. Some of my stuff comes from research articles I've read, while most of it comes from my actual, real-world experience.  And others, I could be just making up.

  • A little bit of dehydration isn't bad.  By training in a slightly dehydrated state, your body makes the necessary adaptations (increased blood plasma, more effective cooling, etc.) to tolerate the heat better.  Just like people who frequently take in calories and "fuel" on long runs hurt their body's ability to have a more efficient marathon metabolism, people who guzzle way too much water on runs hurt their body's ability to better tolerate running in hot weather.  I've frequently seen an article referenced by Alex Hutchison that goes into detail about this.  If you're less lazy than me, you can look it up.
  • If you're worried about performance, head out the door before sunrise or lace the shoes up after it's dark. I've experimented with a bunch of different times and it always feels much better when the sun isn't up (probably common sense).  So for me, that means a lot of track workouts. They are more boring, but I'd rather be bored than miserable.  Usually the temperature is higher at night than the early morning, but temperature is taken in the shade, so you can add 10-15 degrees if you're pounding away on the shadeless pavement.  And at night, you don't have the sun beating down on you, which seems to be an issue once you hit 8:00am around here.  
Sun shining bright wallpaper
  • I've seen running adjustments calculators and conversion tables and stuff but while they can be a good guide, I've learned that everyone responds differently and they don't always take all the weather factors into consideration. If you're doing hard workouts, take note of the conditions (time of day, cloud cover, temperature, dew point, etc.) Over time, you'll be able to see how different conditions affect you and then you can modify your own individual times/paces. We are all an experiment of one, anyway.
  • Make workouts more progressive in nature.  In good weather, your fatigue is very gradual in nature and if you go a little bit overboard, you can usually recover if you back off.  In the heat, once you start to die, it's all downhill.  If your goal workout is to run a four mile tempo at 6:00 in ideal conditions, and you decide to add 10s a mile because of the conditions, start at 6:15 or slower.  Once you get down to 6:10, you can either hang out there or speed it up some. Just like in the marathon, going out slower sets you up for a better performance than going out too hard and dying or having to stop.   If you try to run your marathon pace for a marathon workout in the heat, you're more likely to actually be running half-marathon effort, which is a totally different stimulus.
  • Throw in a little bit of extra rest if you're running intervals.  Recovering in hot conditions doesn't happen as quickly as recovering in more ideal ones.  So there's nothing wrong with breaking that four mile tempo run into a 4x1mile segment with 60s rest.  And if you're doing intervals, feel free to add an extra 30 seconds of rest during your recovery.  In most workouts, the goal is the intensity during the fast portion and if you're too worn out to hit that, then what's the point of the workout?

  • Get more sleep.  As already mentioned many times, running in the heat is more tiring, so you need more rest so you can recover and suffer in the outdoor steam room the next day. 

  • Toughen up.  Until it gets cooler, the heat isn't going anywhere.  If you want to accomplish your fall racing goals, you need to put in the work over the summer.  Yeah, it sucks but the heat won't go anywhere for a while.  Don't hate the player, hate the game.