Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nothing great is easy

I wanted to quit during my long run today. I had a scheduled 16 miler today. At mile 15 I stopped and walked, at mile 12 I made my plans to stop two miles short when my route passed my house again, at mile 1 I asked myself if I could execute this run at all.

Yesterday was the CAN DC Alumni Flag Football tournament and I found out that my anaerobic muscle fibers were not properly prepared for the effort. I woke for my run hobbled with stiff muscles and a sore left big toe.

After I decided to get the run over with, I worked hard to maintain the goal pace. I succeed for 12 miles then I thought I had had enough and wanted to go home. Soon I remembered that I had already been through worse physical exertion and that I need to push through this for the marathon. I passed my house at mile 14 and kept trudging along forgetting my goal pace and finally slowed to determined walk at mile 15. With 400 meters to go I picked it up to finish strong and learned my lesson of the day - nothing great is ever easy.

Weekly stats:
  • Tues: 7 miles - 57:33 - 8:13 min/mi
  • Thurs: 6.8 miles - 55:19 - 8:08 min/mi (5 mile tempo run at 7:41 min/mi)
  • Fri: 6 miles - 54:24 - 9:04 min/mi
  • Sun: 16.05 miles - 2:35:10 - 9:40 min/mi
  • Totals: 35.85 miles

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Making Progess

Week two of the new marathon training plan brought four quality runs. In this plan I run Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Thursday was a speed work day and my birthday. I capped the week off with a 14 mile run that really gave me a gauge of my fitness.
  • Tues (8/18) - 1:07:35, 7.86 miles, 8:35 min/mi
  • Thurs (8/20) - 53:17, 6.00 miles, 8:35 min/mi
    • Speed work: 2x1600 - target 7:22 each, actual 7:14 and 7:38
  • Fri (8/21) - 1:04:26, 7.22 miles, 8:55 min/mi
  • Sun (8/23) - 2:05:15, 14.01 miles, 8:56 min/mi
This Tuesday's easy run showed me a glimpse of what I hope to train at for my next marathon.
  • Tues (8/25) - 00:57:33, 7.00 miles, 8:13 min/mi
I found that I could run 7 miles at 8:13 min/mile pace with very little problem. Maybe this is a new easy pace for me, which might mean we can see a Boston qualifier in 2010!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My birthday gift to myself... speedwork on a 90 F day

I spent my second birthday in a row challenging myself with a tough run. Unlike last year it wasn't just a random long run that brought me my first real "bonk" due to not eating before going on a 12 mile run. (Note: this would not happen today, but then it was only my first month running.) No, today's run was just some speedwork and it wasn't too bad.

When I got to the track there were birds circling above me. What was that about? It was a little hot, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I normally run in the early AM, but today I had to go to court to contest a traffic ticket (I did not have to pay - the police officer didn't show up). Instead of going to work when I was finished I just decided to spend some quality time running since I had already cleared my schedule due to the traffic court.

So I set out to due two one mile sprint at 7:22 min/mi pace with 800 meter rest intervals and a warmup/cooldown that covered 3 miles total.
Injury report: the ankle is still painful, but I plan on icing it and staying off it as much as possible. It is not a sideliner.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 1 of my new 9 week marathon training plan

This Sunday marks the end of my first week after changing my training plan. I feel good about the decision. Each run has been strong and I think that it has to do with the additional day of rest the plan allows. Not having to run hard on Saturday prior to running my LSD on Sunday made a huge difference in how strong I felt doing that distance.

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 7 miles for 1:04:39 @9:14 min/mi - I did this on my basement treadmill because I needed to run early in the morning to go to work on time.
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 6 mile tempo, 1 mile warmup, two miles at a 7:50 min/mi pace with a 1 mile cooldown
Friday - another treadmill run, 6 miles 55:25 @9:14 min/mi
Saturday - rest
Sunday - 12 miles in 1:44:31 @8:42 min/mi. Ran this faster than I was supposed to because I felt so good. I ran the last mile in 7:44 to emphasize how much better I was feeling

So, in all I think that I've found that the new plan emphasizing the speed workout in Thursday is very agreeable. My left ankle is bothering me. I iced it for a few hours and feel that it might not be "injured" but I should keep off of it .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Tempo Run

I planned a 6 mile run today. A one mile warm up, 4 miles run at tempo pace (7:53), and a one mile cool down. My battery ran out on my watch before run was finished, but before it did it showed that my average pace through 3.62 miles of the tempo run was 7:50 min/mi.

I walked around today at work feeling the effort in my buns. The faster pace felt anaerobic like I had done a good set of lunges or squat. I am really happy with the decision to switch to program that includes speedwork.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Change of Training Plan

A brief history

I started off my running career a little over a year ago training for the Nike+ Human Race 2008. This was a 10K "virtual race" that peaked my interest by using the Nike+iPod technology to track my progress in running. I ran this race in 00:54:02 - not impressive, but solid. I signed up for the half-marathon in the 2008 Baltimore Running Festival and did okay with a 1:51:57. My next race was the Jug Bay 10K in November 2008 where I posted a 00:46:21, which was good enough in that small race to garner a second place finish in the 30 - 35 age group though technically the first and second overall for men were in this group so I was really fourth.

My first marathon

For my first marathon, the Frederick Running Festival, I somewhat religiously followed Hal Higdon's Novice 1 training program. I finished that marathon in 4:03:27 after running a race where I felt incredibly strong for 16 miles and proceeded to fall apart for the next 10 miles.

My goal marathon

I took a few weeks off, then slowly got back into running in order to prepare for my goal marathon, the Baltimore Running Festival, in October. I started off just putting together a Summer training program from and then went back to Higgy using the second half of his Novice Supreme plan. I started at week 11 of this plan and this week would've been in week 23 of this 30 week plan. However, I recently decided to change plans. Here's why.

I have been piling on the miles in this running plan, but rarely have been feeling fast. Strong, yes, but fast no. I ran a test mile of 6:22 in the middle of a 3 mile run and a 46:54 in a 10K (really 6.22 miles) which left me encouraged because I had plenty in the tank in both cases. Yet, I have been uncomfortably mediocre since. Fact is, I haven't tested myself and haven't pushed my efforts. Since July I have been averaging 32 miles per week so my base is up - its time for some speedwork.

The new plan

I am switching over from Higgy's Novice Supreme to a plan customized to my inputs on Runner's World's Smart Coach. This plan has me running one less day a week and emphasizes two easy runs and one long run per week. What attracted me was the once a week tempo run or speedwork session. I am going to run the same type of mileage per week, but I will give my body a little more time to recover. This is important because I am feeling some pain in the high ankle area and I think this is due to overdoing it just a touch with long runs on Saturday and Sunday. Plus I am starting flag football and the end of the month.

The following is a snapshot of the plan.

I also need to treat this training seriously, which would involve sleeping earlier, eating well, and being careful what I put in my body. We'll see if I can do that. I'll try to keep posting. Stay tuned...