Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday 5K tempo run (1 mile warmup, 5K in 21:56, .9 mile cooldown)

Today's run was a test of my fitness. I wanted to run a fast-ish 5K race as the tempo phase of my 5 mile run. I ran a real leisurely mile at 9:13/mile pace then I set the treadmill for 8.5 mph (7:03/mile pace) and ran 3.1 miles (5K). I held the pace the whole time and had to fight myself not to "kick" the last half mile since this workout was supposed to be my easy run I missed on Thursday. I finished the remainder of the fifth mile with 6.5 mph setting to about 800 meters and 7 mph for the last half mile. Total: 5 miles - 39:08 - 7:50/mile pace.

This was nice confidence boost because I have rarely tried to run that fast for a sustained period and it actually felt kind of easy after my system stopped freaking out at 1 mile. Its funny that this speed thing really is about guts IMO. I have not been used to overcoming the freak out thing your body goes through when it is testing its thresholds, I suspect this is the same for everybody. Let me try an analogy with skiing. If you are a relatively new skier and you go to the top of your first blue square slope you'll see a hill that you can't walk up and would have to slide down. You would think, "I am going to fall if I ski that thing and it's going to hurt," but if you are prepared you won't fall. You will start to go fast down the hill and be scared. You will "freak out" but when it's time to make that first turn, you just make it like you did on the bunny slopes. Then you make the next turn and the next. Sometimes you will decide to slow down, but you realize that if you are in control at the higher rate of speed why should you slow down. It doesn't even feel appropriate. So, my point is that I have trained to be faster, I have done the work I can run faster if I choose to I just have to not let the freak out win.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Interval Run (6:52, 7:21, 7:07)

I ran three 1 mile repeats at my 10K pace today in and around my neighborhood. I don't remember if I have ever run intervals on a true street run before, it is quite a challenge. When running in the street you can let your mind drift or focus narrowly on your run. You have to see the road. You have to dodge parked cars and wave to your neighbors. It is not an ideal place to struggle to maintain your pace and that is what I did today. Even though my elevation gain according to Garmin was a measly 301 ft, running around my neighborhood calls for tackling some serious hills.

Struggle aside, I am encouraged that I can challenge myself week in and week out with a hard workout like this an complete them. The Wednesday interval training may be just what I needed to prove that I can run faster than before.

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for Wednesday Interval Run (6:52, 7:21, 7:07)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Easy Run (4.02 mi - 31:03 - 7:43/mile)

Since I stayed late at work last night, decided to run before work. I went to the WB&A trail and pounded out a simple four mile run. I knew that I want to negative split and would've been fine with an 8:30/mile pace, but I ended up running - 8:15, 7:50, 7:40, 7:05 splits.

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for Tuesday Easy Run (4.02 mi - 31:03 - 7:43/mile)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Long Run (11 mi - 1:33:03 - 8:27/mile)

The long run today felt hard. I did my around the towns of GlennDale and Bowie route for 11 miles with the intent of getting the last four miles in at my goal 10 mile race pace, but it was not to be. I stepped it up at mile 6 and my 7 never quite achieving the 7:15/mile pace, but I did have the energy to push mile 8 and died on the 177 ft climb at mile 9. It was 9:00/mile time from then until I arrived back at the house.

Nice thing that happened was the many familiar faces I saw as I ran, especially when I saw my family driving to the dog park when I was coming down 197. I've got to get dressed and join them now.

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for Sunday Long Run (11 mi - 1:33:03 - 8:27/mile)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Easy Run (8.01 mi - 1:05:15 - 8:08/mile)

Some workouts are just not too good. I sprinted out the door today and didn't know what I would focus on. Should I do a 5K tempo after a mile warm up or should I do an 8 mile progression run. I threw on my new "easy" run pace for a few miles (7:45-ish) and felt fine. I cruised along sub-8/mile paces for 5 miles then I had to back off because a pain in my abdomen. My horrible lunch of microwaved, frozen Mexican food warned me that it was not going to give me much in the way of nutrients and that I could take some gas for my troubles.

Also the weather today was definitely in the upper 70s and my water bottle was used for a quick shower rather than a drink. So, I basically didn't have anything in the tank to make the run a negative split.

Mile 1 - 7:57
Mile 2 - 7:43
Mile 3 - 7:36
Mile 4 - 7:52
Mile 5 - 7:59
Mile 6 - 8:15
Mile 7 - 9:04
Mile 8 - 8:39

Total - 8:01 mi - 1:05:15 - 8:08/mile
Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Saturday Easy Run (8.01 mi - 1:05:15 - 8:08/mile)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Easy Run (5 miles - 39:19 - 7.51 min/mi)

I was treadmill bound today even though it was a beautiful day outside. I have been training recently to increase my threshold paces. I have imagined my 10K pace to be 7 min/mi and easy run pace at 8 min/mi. So far so good. I am able to complete each workout.

Reading back in my log I remember being fearful that I could maintain an 8 min/mi for the 10-mile race. During training I have twice beaten that time goal over the distance, most recently on Sunday. Now I want to accomplish 7:21 min/mi pace (1:13:27) for the 10-mile race. In order to get that I plan to 40 minute tempo next Tuesday and 50 minute tempo run on Saturday the 27th at my tempo run pace 7:08 to 7:27 min/mi.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Mile Repeats (6:58, 6:52, 6:58)

Today I got a run in outside on the WB&A trail 3 one-mile repeats at 10K race pace. 1 mile warm up, .25 rest between repeats, 1.8 mile cool down. I spent the time trying to feel out the 10K pace, which will be 10 - 15 seconds faster than my targeted 10-mile race pace. I was definitely working hard to make the paces today, but I can manage a 6:55 min/mi pace.

Splits (rest periods not shown)
  • Warm up - 1 mile, 8:29
  • Mile Repeat 1 - 6:58
  • Mile Repeat 2 - 6:52
  • Mile Repeat 3 - 6:58
  • Cooldown - 1.8 mile, 13:50 (7:41 min/mi)
Totals - 6.56 miles, 51:19, 7:49 min/mi

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Easy Run (5 mi - 40:24 - 8:05 min/mi)

Treadmill run this evening. I got in a good five miles even though I had little passion for it. The Spring forward had a bad effect on my family's sleeping pattern and we have been dragging a bit. I am just trying to maintain my fitness and keep the weight dropping for the race. I still intend on racing at 182, but the brownies and chocolate ice cream are not helping.

Wonderwife has ordered me a new pair of shoes and I am greatly appreciative. They haven't arrived yet, but she got me a new pair of Nike Vomero 3s, which were the shoes I started running in. My Vomero 4s are quite worn out with 846 logged miles on them. I couldn't ask for a more supportive wifey.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Long Run (11 mi - 1:28:35 - 8:03 min/mi)

Through running the streets in my area I have become aware that the Glen Dale area has a lot of bats. As I was running the WB&A trail from Race Track Road to Annapolis Road I crossed under Glenn Dale Road in a tunnel. My footfalls flushed out about 20 bats who were apparently living in the light fixtures above me. I am not afraid of much, but I don't fancy the idea of a bat attacking me. I have been buzzed by bats before when running down Prospect Hill Road and know that they are not skillful fliers and can run into you.

On my return trip to Race Track Road I again galloped through the tunnel, but this time the bats weren't moving when I entered the tunnel. I relaxed only to have the bat's great granddaddy get startled and fly out of the end of the tunnel before I exited. Needless to say this cause an adrenaline rush that had my splits drop for the remaining miles.

Today's splits
Mile 1 - 7:57
Mile 2 - 8:09
Mile 3 - 7:57
Mile 4 - 8:02
Mile 5 - 7:51
Mile 6 - 8:55 (with a 1:30 minute walk)
Mile 7 - 7:57
Mile 8 - 7:54
Mile 9 - 7:54
Mile 10 - 7:28
Mile 11 - 8:23

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Sunday Long Run (11 mi - 1:28:35 - 8:03 min/mi)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Peaking for Cherry Blossom 10-mile Run

It was supposed to be an easy run, but I decided to do a 3-mile tempo just shy of my 10-mile race pace. Since it is raining pretty bad here, I ran on the treadmill. The following were my splits:
  • Mile 1 - 8:34
  • Mile 2 to 4 - 7:30/per
  • Mile 5 - 7 mph (.6), 9 mph (.3), 10 mph (.1)
  • Totals - 5 miles, 38:52, 7:46 min/mi
The run was surprisingly easy. I think this week's mile intervals going sub-seven minute pace flipped a switch. I will try to start re-classifying my easy runs as 7:30 pace. Another indicator that I am peaking is that my weight is down to about 186. I started training in November and was probably 200 lbs at my heaviest. I will likely be 182 on race day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Recovery Run (5 mi - 41:49 - 8:22 min/mi)

Easy recovery run on the treadmill tonight. I ran four miles at 7 mph (8:34 min/mi) and the last mile at 8 mph (7:30 min/mi). I am thinking about making my easy run pace 8 mph. This pace is not easy, but I hope to make it so. I think that my easy pace should be one that I don't have to huff and puff to catch my breath.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Key Workout 3x1 mi intervals (6:44, 6:50, 6:56)

First things first, I totally kicked butt in today's interval workout. I did three 1 mile intervals in 6:44, 6:50, and 6:56. This was not really expected. The target was to run a 10K pace, which I thought was around 7:15 min/mi for me. My splits were as follows:
  • Warmup - 1 mile (8:35 pace)
  • Interval One - 1 mile (6:44 pace)
  • Rest - .25 mile
  • Interval Two - 1 mile (6:50 pace)
  • Rest - .25 mile
  • Interval Three - 1 mile (6:56 pace)
  • Rest - .25 mile
  • Cooldown - 1.77 mile (7:41 pace)
Total - 6.52 miles in 55:43 (including rest)

The mental side of running has been my current focus. I have finish many "tough" workouts without gasping and feeling totally expended. Do I have the ability to push myself to achieve my best? How long has it been since I have left myself "gassed" with my hands on my knees? How come I've never puked from a really tough run? I used to ask myself all of these questions and have resolved to no longer do so. Instead I will relax. Relaxation is the key.

The endless, doubting questions were a waste of time. I needed to clear my mind and focus only on running easy, with good form. I didn't bring my iPod this time preferring to uncomplicate my mission of finding the pace I thought was most probable for a 10K effort. I have not run an official 10K in a year and a half but last Summer I gave a personal 10K a decent go (48-ish), so I knew that a mid-seven minute mile pace was in my reach. I ran until I felt the need to mouth breathe just to get enough oxygen, but I knew I had enough leg strength to keep from having to walk. Each interval felt about the same in exertion, but I played around with stride length to hold back the fatigue.

I am happy to have found this kind of results in my efforts. I think that it is a measure of my fitness to have tried a workout such as this and exceed my expectations.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Easy Run (5.23 mi - 45 minutes - 8:36 min/mi)

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, makes the claim in his book Outliers: The Story of Success that the best way to be truly excellent at something is to spend 10,000 hours honing your skills with focused practice. If true I am due for a truly breakout performance by my 40th birthday. I started running in earnest in August of 2008. Since then I have logged 220 hours of running into my Buckeye Outdoors account following some kind of training plan or another.

Right now I am an average runner. My age-graded race results are just barely over the 50th percentile. For as much as I talk about running I'd like to do better than average. I do believe I put in the work, so maybe the only thing I am lacking is the years of practice. The good news is that I am on my way.

Now, I should probably try to think about logging more time at another aspect of life that I could stand to be excellent in.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Long Run (11.01 mi - 1:34:25 - 8:34 min/mi)

Oh joy, Spring is coming! I ran my long run outside this beautiful, bright Sunday morning without have to dodge barely any snow piles. My goal was to run a an 8:30 min/mi pace and throw down a race pace for the final two miles. I picked up the pace a bit too late on mile 10 to get that mile to 7:45, but mile 11 fell in 7:44. Training is going well. Only five weeks until the race.

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Sunday Long Run (11.01 mi - 1:34:25 - 8:34 min/mi)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Hill Run Workout (5.83 mi - 49:34 - 8:30 min/mi)

The reason I run is mostly due to my interest in analyzing data. This blog was started to deliver my report on analyzing OPM data for interesting vocational trends and patterns in my Data Visualization grad school course. I got a Nike Plus kit after seeing its capability for capturing your running data using an accelerometer. My wife bought me a more Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch for Christmas last year and this wonderful device captures running data such as elevation gain and loss, geo-location data, and speed. I have always been interested in how the data it provides can answer questions I have, such as if "I do a hill workout what percent grade is some of the lengths of my running course?"

Using my watch's collected data I determined that a hill I have been eying for a long time is 0.30 miles long and has a rise of 130 feet over that distance. That equals have the data I need to calculate the percentage grade - rise over run, remember Pythagoras? The grade formula is: grade percent = rise / run. This yields a grade length of 8.228%. Now the days when one has to pull out a pen and paper to calculate this may be forever over using the Wolfram Alpa knowledge engine. Just phrase your question properly and the answer is yours and the formula if you want it (see -

So, as far a running goes I did four hill run ups. I ran up the hill at a steady pace, jogged back down and repeated it. I did only four because it was getting dark and fairly cold for what I dressed for.


Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Saturday Hill Run Workout (5.83 mi - 49:34 - 8:30 min/mi)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday Easy Run (4 mi - 34:03 - 8:31 min/mi)

I ran today to get back to my Chipotle burrito. I was enjoying a barbacoa burrito with tomatillo hot salsa for dinner, but I did not want to be so full that I could not summon the will to run. So I started with my simple 4 mile run today on the treadmill just to maintain my base endurance. I ran at a 7 mph pace (8:34 min/mi) increasing the pace for the last quarter mile to 8 mph.

Now, back to the burrito. Yummm.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Key Workout (6.01 mi - 51:09 - 8:30 min/mi)

One mile warm up followed by 3x1 mile repeats at 10K pace (7:03 min/mo i) with one lap walks in between. Finished up with a 1.25 mile cool down lap (at 8:00 min/mi). Not too hard a workout. I don't really believe that I am at that 10K pace, but I'll try to prove it soon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Easy Run (4 mi - 32:40 - 8:10 min/mi)

Another four miles on the treadmill. I only wanted to get the minimum standard miles in for my 10-mile race training regimen. Four to seven miles were ordered for an easy recovery day after my "long run" on Sunday. What the heck is a "recovery run" you ask? Some believe that the recovery run increases blood flow to the legs and removes the built up lactic acid from a previous hard run. Others believe that the recovery run gives the runner a chance to recruit additional muscle fibers due to the fibers that are normally used being allowed to rest from a previous hard workout, which should increase overall strength.

Bottom line is, I don't think I am doing it right or calling it the right thing. If I do a "recovery run" after a hard workout this may make sense, but since I am doing this after a rest day I should just call it what it is: a chance to warm-up for another week of my endurance base building.