Sunday, June 26, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending June 26 - HM Race

Another weekly log account....and a Race!

This week was exciting, as I ran my first "official" half marathon today!  I've had quite a few Long Runs over 13.1, but I've never given it "all I got" to see how fast I can do it.  I ended up with a time of 1:xx:xx, the course was on the C and O canal towpath - which I run a lot - but this was a new section for me, right where it starts in DC.  The path is mostly hard-packed dirt, it's "almost" like running on the road with the occasional root to hop over or branch to dodge....I had fun!   I've posted a full report in a separate post titled "CandO Canal Race - HM", with the label "Race Report".

So....most of this week was tapering some for the race.  It wasn't a "goal" race, so not a lot of tapering, but I cut back on my weekly "Easy" mileage some (even took Monday completely off), and ran a shorter "workout" on Wednesday...practicing my HM pacing.

Weekly Mileage:  38
Long  Run: 16 miles (1 mi, warm-up HM race, 2 mi. cool down)
Weight:  139

Short comment on my "warm-up" and "dynamic stretching" before and after each run....
Before every run I do the Standard Warm-Up  Routine from Strength Running (Jason Fitzgerald).  It includes single leg walking dead lift kind of thing, bringing my knee up to my chest a few times, iron cross, leg swings (forward and back, then side to side) and the "Lunge Matrix" which you can find on YouTube from Coach Jay Johnson.  I think this really helps get me warmed up, and provides a strength component to every run which I think  helps with injury prevention.
After every run I do more iron cross, legs swings, and maybe some portion of the Myrtle routine which you can also see at Coach Jay Johnson on YouTube.  Jason Fitzgerald also recommends this routine.  I will also to the "scorpion" dynamic stretch and some static hip flexor stretches and static glute stretches if I'm feeling tight.  I think all this stuff helps, and doesn't require a lot of extra time....just my 2 cents...

The week of a race - is it just me, or does everyone "feel flat" the last couple of days before a race?  I think  I start to get a little nervous about how I will perform, and start doubting my training, and it makes me "feel" flat, or tired, or something.  Even for the race on Sunday, which is NOT a goal race, I got thru this.  Started on Thursday and lasted till Saturday.....thinking out loud. Also....who else obsessed over the weather forecast on race morning?  I look at the forecast about 3 times a day all week.  Like, if I watch it then it will become what I want it to be.....

Daily workouts below (Bolded Days are the harder workouts)

Monday:  OFF.   My legs were feeling a little heavy from the prior week, even with only doing 10 miles yesterday.  Plus, the race coming up...thought it would be a good day to take a break.

Tuesday - 50 minutes easy including strides.  Felt okay, always a little rusty the first mile after a day off...but legs feel good.  Really humid and warm this morning.  8:00 pace...about right.  I  wanted to error on the side of too easy today.  Core work.  Dynamic stretching, hip mobility and hip strength stuff.

Wednesday: - 7 miles with 4-6 @ HM pace.  Did this on the treadmill to try and groove the feel of HM pace.  Did the HM work @ 6:40 pace @ 1% incline.  I purposely didn't set up any fans to cool me off (usually what I do in the gym, as it's pretty hot in the am since the AC is off all night - corporate gym).  Felt pretty good and at the end of 3 miles I felt about the same as the end of 1 that's good.  Skipped strength work...since I'm racing Sunday.  Foam rolling and stretching.

Thursday: 50 40 minutes easy including strides.  Legs felt a little heavy today after yesterday's workout (normally I take Thursday off, but since my race is Sunday I want to take Friday off instead).  Today's easy run became a "recovery / get my legs moving" kind of run.  Rolling and stretching.  On the treadmill to avoid the rain.  Ended up at 4.9 miles (8:10 pace).

Friday: - OFF.  I've always like taking the 2nd day before a race off.  Just "feels" right.  (I did this back when I was racing bicycles too) - seems to put some spring back in my step for race day.

Saturday: - 35 minutes easy including 4 strides.  Just getting the legs loose and ready for race tomorrow.

Sunday:1 mi. warm-up; HM race; 2 mi. cool down.  HM time of 1:29:27.  Full post at ""CandO Canal Race - HM", with the label "Race Report".

Race Report: C&O Canal Race - HM (Team Red, White, and Blue 5k and Half)

Ran my first half marathon today!  GUARANTEED PR! (Who doesn't like that).

The race today is in DC, and starts very near the boat house in Georgetown, right off the Potomac river and is run along the C&O Canal towpath (covering miles 1 - 7.5 of the path).  I live very near mile 48 of the path, and run it often.  In most portions, it is hard packed dirt, and relatively flat, with only slight up's and down's.  In general, the path gains elevation going west from DC and loses elevation going back east toward DC (obviously).  The path is also completely covered by a canopy of trees in most places, and it a total of about 12 to 14 feet wide.

This is not a goal race, my goal race this summer is the Leesburg 20 on August 21 (my hometown), this is a small race to learn what a half feels like, and to finally actually just race a half.  I've run a number of Long Runs in the 14-16 mile range, and earlier this year I ran 13.1 in 1:33 by myself as a training run.  It wasn't an all out effort, more controlled, and in cooler weather than the race today.

(Caution:  I use these blogs to look back at my races, so there's a lot of detail here that I'm sure not everyone will find interesting.  It it might help me when I prepare for my next summer half marathon.)

Race elevation chart (an "out and back"), and sample photo of the path below (that's the Potomac river on left side of the path photo).

 Weather forecast at race start:  71F, 86% humidity. at finish: 76F, 65% humidity.  Dew point: 58F.  Almost no wind.

Race Plan:

Based on my 5k PB in March (18:41), my "calculated" (McMillan calculator) non-weather adjusted time is about 1:26 (6:36 pace), but the 5k race was in mid-40's weather.  AND, this is my first half marathon.  So, I've decided an overall pace of 6:45 or so is more appropriate.  This puts me in at about 1:28.  I can always pick it up the 3 miles if I'm feeling good.

My strategy going in is a little slower the first three miles, pick it up some until the turnaround, pick it up a little more around mile 7, when the profile starts to be more downhill, than up, then give it whatever I've got left from mile 10 mi. to the end. 

I wrote on my arm three split times; 3 mi: 20:30, turnaround: 44:30; 10 mi: 1:07:30.  You would think I could remember these numbers in my head, but I've found that in races I can't remember anything, much less do ANY math.  So, that's the plan:  "Ah, the best laid plans of mice and me....."

The race is pretty small, and low key, so I'm planning on not having anyone to run with most of the time.  Also, traffic note:  The 5k starts one hour after the half, so I suspect I will have some traffic from slower 5k runners in the last 1.5miles.  My experience from prior races tells me I will probably get a couple groups of joggers / walkers covering the whole path.  I think I'll be yelling "ON YOUR LEFT" at least a few times...hopefully it won't slow me down too much.

Morning of the race:

 Did my "usual" pre-race routine.  Set my alarm for 5:15.  Instant oatmeal, little bit of milk, and coffee.  Short jog around my neighborhood, about half a mile, to get my legs moving (and more importantly, my stomach).  Back at the house, "process" dinner from last night, and on the road around 6:00.  Drive to DC (which I usually hate) was not bad since it was 6:00 Sunday morning.  Found a parking spot, and showed up at the registration table at 7:00 to get my race number, etc.  I would have showed up later, but there was no bib pick up prior to race day, and I didn't want to be in a line for 30 minutes.  Around 7:30 I took half a Honey Stinger gel.  I don't normally do this, but I've tested my tolerance for them, and I do okay.  I was just worried about having enough calories for the full half on my light breakfast a few hours earlier.  I also had a second coffee about 7:00.  Did about a mile warm-up with a few short faster efforts to get the legs moving, and all my usual pre-run dynamic stretching and lunge matrix.

I decided to carry a hand held water bottle.  The one I have is from Ultimate Direction, has a strap thing that I can cinch around my hand, and small zippered pocket on the outside that is perfect to hold a gel.  I hate carrying the bottle, but I also can't drink from a paper cup and run.  I planned to take a gel (Honey Stinger) around mile 7-8, and that requires a bit of water to get down.  Plus, with the humidity, I want to drink whenever I feel like it.

It was hot and I debated not wearing a shirt.  But, I didn't want to be "that" guy, and the race was in the shade, and it doesn't feel quite right to have my race number on my shorts, so I ended up wearing a singlet and not getting any "side-looks" from my fellow runners (side note: I don't wear a shirt on my my training runs if the temps are above 70F, and I always feel more comfortable - or is it all psychological? - dunno).

So, how did the race go?

There were about 60 people total lined up for the half.  About 5 minutes before the start we were given a few instructions, told where the water stops are, the 5k runners (who start an hour later) will be instructed to "stay right", "Okay any questions?  No?  Good".  Ready?  Go!  Now, THAT'S the way a race start should always be!

First three miles:  As I had guessed, there were about 5 guys that would be competitive.  One guy went out pretty good, and I, like I "always" do in races - went with him.  About 1/4 mile in I looked at my pace of 6:25 and said "sayonara", too fast for me!  I still went through mile 1 about 15 sec. too fast.  I never got close to him again, and no one was running with me, so I had basically 12 miles on my own.  But, I suspected this would happen.  I pulled back some on mile 2 and 3, so I went through my 3 mile split only about 15 sec ahead of plan.  Not bad.  An oh yeah, NO shade!  Fuck.  But, I'm not feeling bad.

At the turnaround:  Mile 4-6 were a little more uphill, but really only slightly.  My watch was having some GPS problems, and my pace was fluctuating wildly on the screen.   I just went by feel, and when I checked my time at the turnaround it read 44:15.  Damn.  Almost EXACTLY on plan.   That NEVER happens for me.  But, I am starting to feel it.  It's getting HOT.  REALLY HOT.  AND  HUMID.

Mile 10:  I lost some concentration from the turnaround to mile 10.  I took part of the gel I was carrying, but only about half.  It was all I could get down.  I was sipping on my water bottle, but I starting to really feel the effort.  I went thru 10 miles in 1:07:53.  About half a minute slower than my plan.

Last 3.1:  My plan that this point was to speed up some, and avg. 6:35 pace on the way in.  Well, right about here the heat overtook me (or something overtook me!), and just plain wilted like a delicate flower in the noon sun.  My pace from here in went down to about 6:55 / mi.  Mile 11 was really bad, at 7:10.  I also ran into traffic from TWO 5k races at this point, on the same path.  Honestly, I was fried by then, so I don't think it slowed me down any.  I was doing some weaving, but it also distracted me from how shitty I felt.  So, maybe that helped.

Overall Time:  Finished in 1:29:27.  About 1:30 slower than I had hoped, most of it lost in the last 3 miles.  But, I put in a good effort.  And I might have been a little ambitious considering the weather.  Did I say it was HOT?  I finished 2nd overall.  The guy I let go in mile 1 ended up in 1:25:xx, and 3rd place was 1:35xx.  So, I really was all on my own the whole time.

Takeaways:  So, now I know it is true, the half marathon really starts at mile 10.  I now know what it half effort feels like and how to dig when I really just want to quit.  I'm proud I didn't quit. It would have been really easy to settle in with the slower 5k runners I was passing the last couple of miles.  I still finished under 1:30 in mid-70's weather and high humidity on a gravel trail.

Detail of mile splits below (Some of the miles may not be exact, my watch was acting a little funky.  3 mi split / turnaround / 10 mi split / overall time highlighted)

If you got this far, thanks for reading!  I'd like to hear how much time others adjust for weather.  I'm guessing I would be about 2 min. faster in 45F temps.....

I also did a 2 mile jog / walk "cool down".  I ran / walked to the end of the C&O towpath and back.  So, I can check that off my goal of running the whole towpath (separate posts on that).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Welcome Strength Running Team Members

Update on my training and plans.

Today I stopped participating in the Strength Running team site, run by Jason Fitzgerald at  I noticed when I posted on that site that I was leaving that I got a nice little blip on folks checking out by if that's the Strength Running team members...welcome!  (Big welcome also if it's others that stumbled across my blog coincidentally on the same day).

It took me a while to decide to stop participating in the team (virtual team, for those not familiar).  I actually found Jason prior to him doing the virtual team thing, I bought a training plan from him in December last year, after hurting myself doing my own "home brewed / internet search" plan.  I like his focus on injury prevention, and the extra strength work and I progressed really well on his plan - and didn't get injured.

Then, when the team Strength Running thing happened, I signed up right away.  I slowly realized the information on the Strength Running site I already had in my training plan (purchased previously), then I found all the original sources of information Jason put together with his own (good) twist on things, such as Coach Jay Johnson, Matt Fitzgerald, and Steve Magness.

I've slowly been morphing my plan from Jason to incorporate other things I've found in their books, blogs, sites, pod casts, etc. and I've been moving away slightly from Jason's training plans...although it's still my "go to" starting point that I modify to fit my personal preferences.

So...if you are reading this, and you're a member of Strength Running, good on you!  It's a great place to get great information and stay injury free.  Please comment or "Friend" me on Facebook.  I like hearing about successes and failures (I mean "learning experiences") from other runners.

Happy trails!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending June 19

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there!

Well, I started the week off feeling pretty bad.  Ran 16 miles last Sunday in temps of about 85 with no water.  Yeah...stupid. I know.  It was "kind of" an experiment to see what would happen.....   Spent Monday and Tuesday recuperating.  It was the first really hot day for my Long Run and I wasn't aware of how much more it takes out of me.  I have to think about hydrating more now that Summer is here.  Also need to see if I need Gatorade instead of water....not sure.

My hard workouts on Wednesday and Sunday went me positive vibes for my first HM race next Sunday.  My legs are feeling a little heavy, but aerobically all feels good.  EXCEPT...I keep fighting side stitches which randomly come up on my runs.  I've learned to keep a consistent 2-2 or 3-2 breathing pattern, even when running easy to hold them off.  I've also realized that just changing my pace (which of course changes my breathing rate) helps.  Even if that is going faster....

Weekly Total Mileage:  45
Long Run:  11
Weight:  138-140

Daily Detail: (Bolded days are the harder workouts).

(I went back to my old posts and realized that often switch between present tense and past tense in my daily work section.  So you know, I write out each day of the week on the post as they happen...section it's still fresh in my mind.  Then, I write the overall summary section...first part of the post when the week is over and I have some perspective)

I also keep an Excel spreadsheet on my daily work.  Yeah...I'm that kind of guy.  I find the blog is the best place to go for me to look at how I felt...because I write a lot more here.  It's also good to see my race summaries to remember courses, temps, etc.  Excel, of course, is better for writing out the plans and looking and a bunch of weeks at one time.

Monday - 35 minutes on WOD EASY.  Still feeling kinda shitty after barely surviving yesterday's 16 miler on no water (see last weeks post).  Foam rolling / dynamic stretching.  4.2 miles / 8:15 pace.  Feeling better after the run?  Not sure.  I'm trying to convince myself the answer is "yes".

Tuesday - 50 minutes easy on WOD including 4 strides.  (6.3 mi / 7:55 pace).  Feeling a little better today - especially more toward the end of the run.  Core work. Rolling and stretching.

Wednesday - 10 miles with 4 mile tempo.  Ran on treadmill (raining this morning).  Tempo work at 1% incline.  4 miles easy (8:00 pace), 4 mile tempo (6:40 / 6:35 / 6:35 / 6:30), 2 miles easy (8:00 pace).  Felt pretty good today, I was in complete control on the tempo, not a problem....legs and breathing good.  Gives me some confidence for the half next week Sunday.    Upper body strength / single leg squats and deadlifts / ITB rehab.

Thursday - off

Friday - 70 minutes easy - it was raining so did this on the treadmill @ 7:50 - 8:00 pace including 4 strides at 5k pace about 50 minutes in.  Not feeling bad, just got bored on the mill.  Foam rolling and stretching.

Saturday - 40 minutes easy.  Ended up @ 5 miles in 41 minutes (8:10 pace).  Nice run around the hood.  Legs feel a little heavy, but not bad.  Core work.  Rolling and hip mobility stuff.

Sunday - 11 miles w/ 6-10 @ HM pace.  Ran this on the CandO canal path since my HM next week will be on the path (but in a different portion).  Overall, went well.  Miles 1 warm-up, then mile 2-6 @ an avg 7:30 pace, then 4 miles @ HM pace = 6:24 / 6:38 / 6:36 / 6:35, then last mile cool down @ 9:30 pace.
Not sure what to think of today's workout.  I felt like I was working kind of hard during the HM work, but I realize now I was a little too fast, especially on the first mile.  And, if you look at my Wednesday pace - which was supposed to be Tempo - I'm running about the same pace.  So, obviously I have some work to do to figure out pacing!

My "calculated" HM pace using McMillan and my 10k pace from my last race of 6:20 (which was very windy) is 6:41.  My calculated HM pace based on my PR 5k from March is 6:36 (no wind).  So, somewhere in this pace range will be my target.  And, today's work in 6:35 - 6:38 range feels about right......

Cutting back on mileage some next week in prep for the race on Sunday.....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

C&O Canal Towpath - Back To It!

If you've read my old posts from a few months ago, you'll remember that I have an idea to run the entire length of the C and O canal, which follows the Potomac River from DC to Cumberland, MD.  The total length is 186 miles.  Since I'm covering portions of the path by doing "out and back" runs, I'll end up running 370 miles to cover the full length.

I got away from running the path a few months ago when I realized it's not the best place to run in bad weather.  In the cold, it ices over (most of the path is always in the ice lasts A LONG time), it also has sections that flood easily in spring rains.

But, I REALLY enjoy running the path.  It's well maintained, part of the National Parks program, has porta potties every 3-5 miles, mostly hard packed dirt (easier on my old legs), and I generally get into a great mood, and feel "closer to nature" as I see bunnies, deer, squirrels, etc. and NO cars.  Most of the time the only sound is my feet hitting the path.

Prior to today I've covered mile posts 17 - 76.

Today I parked at Taylor's Landing Boat Ramp at mile 81.  I had a little trouble Then turned around and went past mile 81 up to mile 84 - then backto mile 81 and the car.

This section of the path did not disappoint - it was a very nice run.  Out in these sections, there is usually very few people around.  Today I only saw s one other run a couple walking their dog - nice.  I can use the time to focus on my thoughts and my run.

Today's run: mile post 76-84
Total miles covered:  17 - 84 (67 miles covered)
Miles remaining:  117

No pics today.  If you read my training log for this week you'll see I made a mistake in my fueling and fizzled out at the end.  I was in no mood for a short walk to take pics afterward.

Training Log - Week Ending June 12

Another week in full Summer mode in DC - pretty GREAT weather for a couple of those days.  Funny how much more important the weather is now that I'm running.  Didn't notice these small changes in weather until I started running....

I ain't complain', I like Summer.  I run a little slower, and the humidity has been pretty high, but I still enjoy getting out in shorts and a pair of flats and "hitting it" better than three layers.

This week's training is similar to last week, except I changed out the 10k intervals to a tempo run. and the Long Run includes a Progression the last 4 miles.

So...rant on Long Runs.  I've been running for two years, and I've had runs of 12 miles or more quite a few times, but still something happens around the 10 mile mark.  I start to feel fatigued from the run .  I'm not dying, and it's not like I want to quit, but it's now a LONG run.  I keep thinking that one day this point of becoming a "Long Run" will move farther out.  Like at 12 miles I'll start to feel that way.  But, that hasn't happened yet.  I can remember 6 miles seemed like a REALLY long way to run, then it was 8, etc.  But now I seem to be stuck at 10 miles.  Dunno if it's mental, or physical, or both.

This week I planned a Long Run of 15 miles with a Progression in pace from miles 10-14, then a 1 mile cool down.  I ran on the C&O canal on a section I haven't been on before (separate post later today).  I also decided to see what happens when I DON'T fuel or drink water during my run.  Usually around mile 7-9 (about an hour in or a little less) I take a gel and drink a little bit of water.  I hate carrying water, so I plan my runs so that I come back by the car around this point in my run, quickly take the gel and couple drinks of water, and get back on the path.  This week, when I passed my car at mile 10 I just kept going, and started my Progression in pace.  Up to this point I was around 7:15 pace, so I dropped it to 7:00, after about a mile I totally bonked and started walking.  I should say it was about 82 - 85 degrees, and I was in the shade.  After my short walk break, I then tried it again, and again around .75 miles I had to stop and walk again.  I tried one more time, around 6:50 pace for about an mile, then I just slowly jogged back to the car.

Dunno is the gel and water would have helped, but I'm going back to my normal routine just in case.  I've been home for over two hours now, I drank about 32 oz of Gatorade and then more water and I still haven't pee'd.  So....I'm probably pretty dehydrated.  I also was not thinking very well,  I ended up running too far before heading back to the car, and ended up running 16 miles.

If you have a similar point in your runs, or found something different happens with you, let me know.
After last week Sunday's long run of 14 miles I felt pretty good.  I knew I worked pretty hard that day, but it didn't seem too bad.  But boy, Monday morning, when I started my easy run I could really feel it!  I felt a little better when Monday's run was over, got a little oil back in the hips and legs.  Looking back at my training, I realized this was my first Long Run since April 18!  No wonder.  I did three races over 5 weeks, and did a little taper for each, so it's been a while since I've really tried to hit a Long Run with any kind of pace.

Considering today's Long Run - I will make sure I make Monday and Tuesday's running the next couple of days EASY.

I know everyone has their own "pain points" after a long workout.  Mine is always hips / butt / hamstrings. I don't often have any problems with lower leg / feet (probably just jinxed it!).  So, the extra work I have to do is rolling my upper butt and front hip flexors.  I do some static stretching in those areas too when I need it, after runs and after all the dynamic stretching stuff.

Very small change to my running plan - I'm moving the strides I do on Tuesday and Saturday (day before hard days) to during the run rather than "after".  Coach Jay Johnson recommendation.  I do them with around 5 - 10 min left in the run..  I kind of like that it feels part of the run and not an add-on, I found that I feel like I should keep jogging between instead of walking since  I'm "still on my run".....not sure if that is good or not.  Doesn't feel "that much" different tho.  Maybe sometimes change is good, just because it's a change.

Since I'm going to run a half on June 26 and a 5k on July 4 (just because) and my goal race this Summer is a 20k in mid-August, I'm going to focus more on getting better at the longer runs, and being more consistent with them.

Caffeine change:  I hardly ever discuss diet here, but so everyone know...I drink A LOT of coffee.  Starbucks little coffee pod things are free at work....and I go through them.  Like 6-7 a day.  I've decided beginning this week, I will NOT drink any coffee before my easy runs, which are always early in the morning.  I will drink a cup before my hard runs (Wed and Sunday), and I will drink no more than 4 cups in any day.  The change is not health related, I'm just interested to see if I can feel some pep on my hard days when I'm "caffeinated".  I've heard it works to get a boost, but only if I'm NOT always drinking coffee.  So, we'll see.  Monday's easy day did kind of suck and Wednesday's hard day was good, but dunno if that's caffeine related or not.  Also, don't know if 4 cups of coffee a day is still so much caffeine that it won't make any difference having a cup before hard runs or not.  So....there's that.

Weekly Mileage:  51 (Highest mileage week ever!)
Long Run:  16 (Matches my prior longest run)
Weight: 138-139

Daily workouts (Bolded days are the harder workouts)

Monday: 35 miles easy on WOD in Herndon.  (4.3 miles).  Man, this was a tough run.  I was more tired than I realized from yesterday's Long Run.  Funny...I felt like I was barely moving....and I didn't check my watch, and still I ended up with a 8:05 pace.  Not sure what that means, but there it is.  I'm not going to second guess it, I ran by feel and I ran slow enough for it to be "easy" or "conversational".  Foam rolling and dynamic stretching, extra work on hips.

Tuesday: 51 minutes easy on WOD in Herndon including 4 strides (6.3 miles).  Core work.  Stretching and rolling.  Moved strides to during the run instead of after.  I ran them with about 5 minutes left in the run so I ended up with a few minutes "cool down" (if you can call it that after strides). 

Wednesday:  10 miles -  with 2 x 8' @ 10k pace (6:15) with 3 mile tempo run.  I planned faster intervals today, but I like to do those on the treadmill to be consistent on pace and today had GREAT weather, and I'm going to do a half marathon in a couple weeks, so I changed my mind and did a 3 mile tempo instead.  I ended up running the tempo at a pretty good pace (6:15 / 6:18 / 6:42) - the first 2 miles were slightly downhill, and the last mile was uphill.  I think on flat ground it would have been about 6:30 pace.  Feel good about the workout, even the miles before and after the tempo felt really comfortable in the 7:40 - 7:45 range.  Usually I HATE running too far after the tempo because I'm tired, but today the four miles after the tempo were cool.  Upper body strength, ITB rehab stuff, single leg dead lift, single leg squat, foam rolling and dynamic stretching.  BIG day.

Thursday: off.  Not feeling bad from yesterday.

Friday: 70 minutes easy.  WOD trail in Herndon.  Felt pretty good today, the weather was GREAT.  It's actually been pretty good since Wednesday, a little cooler and less humidity.  Ended up going 9.1 miles / 7:44 pace.  Dynamic stretching and hip strength / mobility work.

Saturday: 40 minutes easy on C and O canal towpath.  Wife joined me (she walked / jogged).  Made it a nice morning.  Weather was again pretty good.  Ended up at 5.2 miles / 7:35 pace - which seems a little fast, but I felt good the whole time    Core work / dynamic stretching.

Sunday: 16 miles - last 4 Progression - FAIL.  Long description above.  Ended up at 7:30 pace / 2:00.  ITB rehab routine, upper body strength, single leg squat, "rocket jumps" (standing jumps keeping arm at my sides - my attempt at plyometrics - Coach Jay Johnson).  All day on Sunday - RECOVERY!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending June 5, 2016

Let the heat and humidity acclimation begin!  Hot and humid this week here in the DC area.  I'm still happier than when it was 20 degrees for my morning runs......

This is the first week of "real" training, after a couple "down" weeks after my Goal Spring race a few weeks ago (Loudoun Lyme 10k).

Did some speed work on Wednesday (10k pace stuff), and a 14 mile Long Run on Sunday.

As I mentioned last week, I'm also changing how I "think" about my easy runs.  I've converted my training plan so that easy runs are based on time.  I will only record mileage at the end, as a reference.  I'm trying really hard to "feel" the effort (conversational), and let that guide my speed.  I will still use mileage on harder days, which includes Long Runs.

So far, I've found that my overall pace on easy runs isn't different, but my speed varies more within the run.  Where I live, the roads are not flat, so if I run by effort my pace should vary significantly.  But, if I'm constantly watching my pacing I have a tendency to work too hard on the uphill to be at the pace I think I should be at....then I ease up the effort on the downhill.  Now that I'm working on running by feel only, my pace varies a lot more...which I think it should if I'm staying "conversational" with my effort.

Side note - when I look at my watch now all I see is that I've run 15 minutes, or I have 5 minutes left...and I have no feel about if I'm close enough to my house, the end point of my run, etc.  It is fun to think differently though, if just for the change.

Second, side note - my mileage each day ends being an odd amount (6.3 / 4.5, etc.), and when I wrote the plan for this week I "rounded up" on time to the next 5 minute increment (35 minutes, when 4 miles would usually be around 32 minutes).  As a result, I ended up with my highest mileage week...ever.  So...another good side benefit.

This week I've also stumbled across "FueledbyLOLZ"....I've linked her site to the 'my blogs' section.  I like her site for a couple reasons; she is honest about her training success and failures, she is slightly faster than me, and she's been running for a few more years than I have and provides some insight on running.  Not the kind of insight as an "expert" who writes books - but the kind of feelings every day competitive runners have and how she is working to overcome them.

And....again....she's slightly faster than I am.  So...her workout sessions and race times are the kind I'm "reaching for".  Times I think I can hit next year...for example.  So I find her running inspiring.  And.....she races A LOT, like 4 times a month....yes, per month.  She likes going to races and uses them for her hard workouts.  No taper, just go race, have fun, and see what happens.  I think I could use more of that.  And....easy runs are just a note in her journal, no details, just "ran easy"....I should think about that more.  And...her weekly mileage is higher than mine...another goal I have.

In the spirit of signing up for races to have a good workout and have fun - I've signed up for a half marathon on June 26 and a 5k on July 4. The "half" is on the CandO canal tow path, one of my favorite running paths, and on a section I haven't run before, so that should be a lot of fun.  My first "half" as a race, so I'll have a "benchmark" time to compare to going forward.  I ran a "half" in the Spring by myself as a "tempo" type workout in 1:33, so we'll see if I can beat that.  The 5k is just "because", it's local and I think it will be good to put in a hard / fast effort during this training plan.  It's on the same course as my PR 5k.  Neither is a goal race, I'm treating each as something fun to do, with no pressure and no time goal.  I'm slowly realizing I need to race more often with the goal of having fun to keep me interested in my weekly training and for my long term enjoyment of running.  

Weekly Summary:

  • Total miles:  47.6 (my highest mileage week ever...kinda' by accident)
  • Long Run:  14
  • Weight: 140

Daily Work (Bolded days are the harder workouts)

Monday - 36 minutes easy.  (4.5 mi)  Nice having NO WORK today.  Lazy day to sleep in and take a nice easy run on the country roads around my house.  Little hilly.  Foam rolling, dynamic stretching.

Tuesday - 50 minutes easy (6.3 mi) + 4 strides.  Core work.  Dynamic stretching.

Wednesday - 10 miles with 8 x 2:00 @ 10k.  ITB rehab, upper body work, Single leg squat, single leg dead lift.  Did the running on the treadmill with 1% incline during the 10k intervals.  The first couple intervals at 10k effort (6:15 pace) were a little "shocking" to my legs, first time I run fast since the 10k race over two weeks ago.  But, I felt like it actually got a little easier as the reps went on.  After 8 reps I felt like I could do a few more...and it wasn't "that" hard.  I think that's how it's supposed to feel, so that's good.

Thursday - Left ITB a little "tweaky" after the run yesterday.  Not feeling it much today.  I constantly monitor how my ITB feels, put me out of action last year for a couple months. 

Friday - 70 minutes easy (ended up at 8.6 miles/8:05 pace).  WOD Trail in Herndon.  ITB little "twingie" the first couple of miles, but didn't hurt, then calmed down completely.  Hip mobility and strength / dynamic stretching / foam rolling.  72 degrees and 100% humidity at 6:15 am! 

Saturday - 33 minutes easy (4.2 miles / 7:50 pace).  Core work.  Rolling and stretching.  (Forgot to do strides...damn it).

Sunday - 14 miles on WOD in Leesburg.  Sort of a test run to see where my fitness is.  I ran by feel, going a little bit harder than "easy", but not as hard as HM.  Ended up at 7:14 pace (total time 1:39:40).  This is about my long run pace during my last training cycle, so that feels good.  I'm also happy I was able to come in on this pace by "feel" only - something I've been working on.  ITB rehab / upper body.  Foam rolling and stretching. No complaints from the ITB, so that's reassuring.

Next week - a lot like this week - but I think I'll try a couple miles at the end of the Long Run at HM pace...which I think is about 6:35 - 6:40.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May Training Summary And Thoughts

Happy June Everyone.

The temps are getting higher, hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather.  (Of course, if you're in Arizona / Nevada / Texas maybe it's getting too hot!)

I've been summarizing my weekly training, but thought it might be good to a look a slightly longer a here's my first "Monthly Summary".

May was a "transition" month for me in a couple ways.
  • Completed a 20 week training cycle ending with a 10k on May 15, took a week off and starting over.
    • My first 10k race...ever....with a time of 39:57.
    • I'm a little disappointed with the time, but it was in 20-30 MPH winds, I had to negotiate a whole mess of 5k walkers / joggers in the last couple of miles forcing me to run around on the outside of the course and fight my way through the crowds.
    • My watch recorded 6.3 miles.....
    • I think I was in shape for about 39:00 in better conditions.  But, how often do we get "perfect" conditions?  I'm learning...not often.
    • Enough complaining, I accomplished my goals of:
      • Finishing the training cycle uninjured - most important
      • Putting in the best effort I could on the day.
    • I will complete another 10k later in the year to try for the 39:00 time I think is in me.
  • In May I've also decided to shift my focus around training and racing.
    • I had this idea to have long build up's and plan for a "perfect" Goal Race.
    • I spent 20 weeks getting there, and then felt kinda flat afterward.
    • I think I'll have more fun racing more often, trying different distances, and just see what happens.  I'm not going to start racing every weekend....but more often when I feel like it with the main of of "enjoy it - having fun".....
    • It's not like I'm trying to qualify for the Olympics...and I will be 49 next have fun....
    • Pretty sure I will be less likely to burnout with this attitude as well.
  • More (Easy) miles in my future
    • I'm newer to running (about two years now), and I'm learning a few things about myself.
    • In my last training cycle my highest mileage weeks were around 45.
    • This is a decent increase from last year, when my highest weeks were about 30.
    • I plan to keep increasing my mileage with more easy running.  Extend my easy days a mile or two each and see how things go.
    • I can't do more than one Speed Work day (tempo run / intervals) and one Long Run per week (my Long Runs intermittently include some faster pacing).  More than that I start to feel too rundown.  I tried two speed days and a long run toward the end of my last cycle and I don't feel like I was fully recovering.
  •   All my Easy runs will be focused on time going forward, not mileage.
    • By using time, and not mileage, I am freed from looking at my pacing.
    • It is refreshing for me to run in one direction until my watch "dings" that I've hit halfway on my scheduled time, and I can just turnaround and head back (I'm usually on a trail or path and doing out and back runs).
    • I only look at my mileage and pace after I'm done - this way I can just run by how I feel, and whatever happens, happens.  It's also easier for me "mentally" to add 5 minutes to my easy runs every few weeks than putting down one additional mile in the plan....don't know why, but that's how my brain works.  Hopefully my easy runs will now be consistently "easy" like they should be.
May Summary:
  • Miles run in May:  119 (including a week or very low running after the race)
  • Big Event for the month:  My first 10k
  • Accomplishments:  Completed a training cycle of higher mileage without injury.
  • Disappointment:  My 10k time was slower than I wanted.
Next Month:
  • Increase "easy" miles - based on timed runs
  • Half marathon in late June - to have fun and "finally" run one.