Sunday, September 26, 2010

Iron Man training (not really, but I do stick to my training)

This week's runs took place mostly along the piers and boardwalks of The Embarcadaro in San Francisco. I had to maintain my training regimen even though I was completely out of my normal environment, diet, and time zone. I have to say that the flat bayside running had me feeling like an Ironman.

Running on a steady diet of free beer and free concerts by the Black-Eyed Peas when you're given free carnival food and staying up 20 hours on West coast time is not the Spartan existance of a marathoner.

All I can say is distractions aside I ran 4 times for 27 miles while I was away and had some decent splits:

Day 1: 7:52, 7:48, 7:52 - 3.02 miles @ 7:52/mile
Day 2: 8:31, 8:16, 8:13, 8:08, 8:10, 8:37, 8:15, 7:46 - 8.05 miles @ 8:15/mile
Day 3: 9:11, 8:38, 8:12, 8:15, 8:27, 8:07, 8:27, 7:32 - 8.09 miles @ 8:21/mile
Day 4: 8:41, 8:05, 8:02, 7:57, 8:14, 8:18, 8:28, 8:18 - 8:01 miles @ 8:15/mile

I gained less than 50 feet of elevation running while San Fran, though I probably gained more than a thousand walking the hills, like all the way up Powell Street. But, when I came home I gave my regular home run an easy 8 mile run on Sunday and gained 301 feet of elevation over 8.7 miles. The good news I still was able to crank out 8:23/mile without spiking over an 160 bpm heart rate. Progress is being made.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Week 17 recap - Schedule change leads to dead legs on the 20 mile slogfest

Schedule change have me seriously altering my training plan for the first time in the MCM build-up. I will have my lowest mileage week in quite some time, but I went out yesterday to keep the long run streak alive. My training 6 weeks out from the marathon went like this:
  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: 8 miles at easy run pace 8:34/mile
  • Wednesday: Speedwork - 7 mile tempo run at 8:04/mile (off my goal of 7:36/mile)
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: Long run - 19.28 at 9:49/mile (way off my goal of 8:46/mile)
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: rest
Weekly total: 35.35 miles

I tried to run a new route on at a different time than my normal long run time (11:30 am as opposed to 6:00 am) on a different day - too much change. I had to move my long run or likely not do it at all, which would've probably been a worse choice. Because of the time I ended up running it was full 85 F degrees so a slower than expected time was already expected. However, I was unprepared for the complete deadness of legs I developed around mile 14.

Mile 1 - 8:10, Mile 2 - 8:34, Mile 3 - 8:36, Mile 4 - 9:20, Mile 5 - 9:03, Mile 6 - 8:45, Mile 7 - 9:13, Mile 8 - 08:54, Mile 9 - 08:55, Mile 10 - 08:42, Mile 11 - 09:18, Mile 12 - 10:10, Mile 13 - 09:35, Mile 14 - 10:59, Mile 15 - 11:53, Mile 16 - 11:33, Mile 17 - 10:54, Mile 18 - 11:02, Mile 19 - 12:58, Mile 20 - 09:20

My back was a little unhappy with the amount of sidewalk running I did. Believe it or not the concrete sidewalk is a lot more hard to run on than asphalt. Other than that my slow down was merely a lack of energy. I willed myself to go faster several time from mile 16 on, but I couldn't go more than a few steps before I slowed to walking again. This kind of positive split cannot happen on marathon day. I will have to learn to conserve more energy at the beginning.

I did two laps of Lake Artemesia and College Park, which caused me to run through the Greenbelt Metro station twice. I guarantee the people there saw more strange things than a sweaty, salt-caked, shirtless man wandering around the train station, but I few crazy looks.

Oh well... not the performance I was looking for, but I learned a few lessons. One, if it is hot when the marathon is going on I will have to adjust my expectations. Two, NEGATIVE SPLITS! I have to save the energy to have more left in the second half than the first half.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Talking marathons

Training is going well. This week I ran 48.06 miles broken down as follows:
  • Monday - rest
  • Tuesday - 9 miles
  • Wednesday - 9 miles
  • Thursday - 6 miles, 3 x 1600m intervals @ 6:38, 6:37, 6:57
  • Friday - 8 miles
  • Saturday - rest
  • Sunday - 16 miles, progression run last 5 miles approx 7:53/mile

I have been listening to a new running podcast that may just be my favorite. The Marathon Talk podcast is a well organized and entertaining running podcast, but what distinguishes this one from my other long form podcasts is that it is more focused on accomplished marathoners either still competing professionally or just really good. There is nothing wrong with the back-of-the pace or beginner running focus, but I am looking for advance techniques. The hosts are two British gents who are sub-3 hour marathoners and because one of them is married to a UK Olympian marathoner they get access to luminaries like: Ryan Hall, Sammy Wanjiru, and Catherine Ndereba.

One of the things I have gleaned so far from them is that I need to get a hill workout in every so often, With 7 weeks until the MCM I am looking for workouts that will give me confidence and strength for a serious hard effort. I know just the hill I want to hit up. I just have to pick a day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finally fast...

I hit the track this morning to put in this week's quality workout: 1 mile intervals. I hadn't hit the track since training for my May 5k and it felt good. I found it easy to hit my target paces due to the flat surface and the presence (at least for one interval) of another fast runner who I used as a rabbit without their knowledge. I also think the hours of base mileage I am working on are beginning to payoff in the delay of fatigue. Amazingly my heart rate was well under 90% of my max even at 11 mph!

Thursday quality workout:
  • plan: warm; 3x1600 in 6:54w/800 jogs; Cool - 7 miles
  • actual: 1 mile warm; 6:38/6:36/6:55, 1 mile cool - 6.01 miles

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 15 Recap (August 30 - September 5)

Weekly mileage: 47.60 (long run: 20 miles)

This was a good week of running. No knee pain that lasted and I can only credit my new shoes. I did my second 20 mile run of the year, though it was the first of this training cycle.

I don't intend to sell myself short, but I am going to set my marathon goal by targeting my heart rate at least through the final mile or so kick. I plan to just run at 150 bpm effort. Since my averaged maximum heart rate is 210 (I threw out my high value of 223) 150 represents 71% of my max heart rate. I'll go for between 65 and 75% and leave my kick for miles 25, 26, and 0.2.

At this point, it is impossible to predict how fast this will be, but I can say I averaged 150 bpm for my 20 mile effort this Sunday at a 9:21/mile pace. The reason this is incalculable is because I get more fit and the same effort measured by heart rate can be a faster pace. For example I ran 18 miles the week before at a 9:25, but was a 155 bpm effort.

This week I ramp up to 49 miles while stepping back the long run to 16 miles.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday quality workout

Training: 7.56 miles, 6 mile tempo pace @ 8:11/mile, 1:06:31

I love working to accomplish something hard to do. I also dread and doubt whether I will be able to do it until it is done. I knew this morning's tempo workout was going to be hard. I had a scheduled 8 mile run - one mile warmup, six mile tempo at 7:31/mile pace, and one mile cooldown. I have gotten out of the habit of running fast. Six miles at that pace is really hard for me right now. I've run faster for longer before, but I am out of practice.

I deliberately struck out slow and hit mile one in about 10 minutes. At that point I started my tempo. I did the first mile of the tempo on pace about 7:28, the next mile in 7:35 with a walk break, 8:45 was the next mile because I was beat and that's where I had to climb my big hill twice. Mile 4 was in 7:56, followed by another in 7:57, the last mile came in 8:24. I cooled down and went home to stretch.

As I was midway through the last tempo mile I was listening to a Tupac song. I don't think I often draw inspiration from Pac, but he happened to say "even in the dark of night, you know there's a brighter day" and it struck me that I started this arduous run with the stars shining and no sunshine on the horizon and am finishing as the dawn broke. I had to struggle through the hard beginning miles of a high velocity run in the dark not know if I could, but I kept running until the break-a-dawn and achieved my goals. I know, sappy, but I can draw inspiration from anything when I've only got 1.5 miles to go before I rest.

Blah, blah, blah... g'nite

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday easy pace run (7 miles @ 8:43 per)

Today's run: 7 miles in 1:01:09

As I write this there is a hostage negotiation going on in downtown Silver Spring at the Discovery Channel building. One of my neighbors works there, I used to hang out down there in my teenage years and I really hope that it ends peacefully. The media is salivating over having something exciting to do - its really weird.

I got today and was famished. I had to take a gel before even leaving the house or I wouldn't have had energy to complete the run. I've been tired. I tried to stay awake to watch the Daily Show last night but I am officially going to DVR it from now on because I have to get some rest. Being tired at work just won't do.

Tomorrow is my dreaded "quality run" day. I've got to run 8 miles in the morning, 6 miles at my tempo pace of 7:31/mile. Maybe my recollection is flawed, but this would've been easy in March, April or May. I really need a running log program that would allow me to query, "when was the last time I ran 6 miles at or around a 7:31/mile pace?" I guess I could write it.