Monday, November 28, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending Nov. 27

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone!  It's been a few days since Turkey Day....if you're like me you've had turkey in some form or another the last four days....

(Technical note....not sure what I did, but my last couple posts have had some crazy spacing between paragraphs...I have NO idea why.  But, there it is).

So, this week I've started to really get going on my marathon training plan.  My resources to create my plan are:

  • Hanson Marathon Method (book)
  • Pfitzinger - Advanced Marathoning (book)
  • Jay Johnson - Simple Marathon Training Plan (book)
  • Jason Fitzgerald - Strength Running ("Standard" plan he puts out for members of his "team")
I've taken pieces from each of these plans, along with what I've learned about myself and my injury history to create my own plan.  One that I can BELIEVE in, which I think is one of the most important parts of any plan.  I've decided to lean a little more on Jay Johnson's plan.  And, of course....I have no idea how well any of these plans would work for anyone else, but they are all pretty popular.  I only know what does and doesn't work for me.

For example, I know I can't put in more than two hard runs in one week without eventually being hurt and / or not recovering enough.  I also know I can't run on the track every week.  I can put in track intervals every now and then, but NOT every week, possibly every second or third week.  I also "think" I'm better (relatively speaking), and longer tempo / threshold work.  I also "think" I get more adaptation out of those types of workouts.

I've decided, based on my last HM race of 1:25:40 (1:25:20 for 13.1 mi), my "goal" marathon time is 2:59:59 (for obvious reasons).  Most "calculators" put me are around 3 I think I can do it.

I've also continued with the chiro visits for my left calf / Achilles this week.  Because of Thanksgiving, my visits were Monday / Tuesday.  My calf and Achilles is feeling a lot better, so I'm happy with the results I'm getting.  Especially because I can continue to run and gain some fitness while I'm getting treatment.

BUT...then on Thursday / Friday I started getting a sharp pain behind my right knee cap.  F*CK.  I think it's PFPS (patellofemoral pain syndrome).  My guess is either #1 - my left calf caused me to change my gait and put more pressure on my right leg, or a "different" kind of pressure.  Or, #2 my new shoes NB Zante Pace are different in some way that caused it.  I'm going with #1 as most likely.  So, I scrapped my Satuday long run, KT taped it, and elevated / iced it all weekend.  I'll have to see how it goes next week.

I did receive my Garmin 920XT on Saturday.  So, I was able to distract myself some by playing with that and getting it set up so it's ready when I try to run again next week.  I already like the features better than the TomTom I had that crapped out on Wednesday.

Weekly mileage:  47  35
Long Run:  12  N/A - knee
Weight:  ?

Daily work: (hard days bolded)

Monday - 55 min easy incl. strides on WOD in Herndon.  7 mi (7:55 pace).  Core work.  CHIRO

Tuesday - 8 mi with 4 @ "steady" (7:00 pace).  CHIRO on WOD.  Windy and cold.  Feeling pretty good about the effort.  Didn't feel "too hard".  Upper body strength work.  Single leg dead lifts and squats.

Wednesday - 40 min easy.  5 mi on dirt roads around my house.  Dynamic stretching and rolling.

Thursday - 70 min easy on candO.  9 mi.  Great day.  Hip mobility.


Saturday - 11-12 miles on CandO    SCRATCHED LONG RUN.  KNEE.
Sunday - Icing and elevating knee.  Aleve is my best friend.

Hope my knee starts to feel better next week. I only had two runs where it was bothering me, so I hope it heals quickly.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending 11/20/16 (Chiropractor Visits)

So....I took last week off running completely.  Wasn't easy - but I did it (you other running "addicts" know what I mean).

As I started back this week my left calf was still hurting and my left Achilles was kind of bothering me.  It has been getting better, even with a week off, so I bit the bullet and went to a sports chiro on Wednesday and Friday.  He did a deep tissue massage thing and ART, then about 10 minutes on STIM.   Friday he also did some work on my left hamstring.

So, the result?  Well, the treatments hurt, like REALLY hurt like HELL.  But, I have been getting some good relief, and think I'm on the way to getting better.  I go a few times next week, then we'll re-evaluate.  While I'm there he also does a 'back adjustment", and I gotta say my hips and lower back also feel "less tight".  He said it's most likely that my ITB and hamstring got, and that caused a problem for calf.  My tight calf then "pulled" on my Achilles, making it sore.  Talk about "kinetic chain"!

I'm also trying out the whole Phil Wharton active isolation rope stretching (AIS) thing too to see if it will help avoid injury.  I was instructed to NOT do the calf exercised until I can get injury under control.  There's a 40 minute workout, 20 min workout, and a couple shorter videos that focus on only lower leg / feet and some active release moves.  I do the 20 min workout every couple of days, and extend to the longer workout when I have the extra time.  Interestingly....I've been doing some hip work from a prior ITB injury, and the Wharton stuff for the hips feels very's not THAT different. 

As always, I'm also doing dynamic warm-up before every run - and starting out each run with a walk or very slow jog before getting up to speed.

I'm finalizing my marathon training plan this week.  I have a co-worker who will be doing the RNR DC with me, and he has a similar time goal.  So, maybe we'll be able to do some workouts together.  I think it will be especially helpful on the Long Runs to have someone to motivate me.  My longest run ever is 17 miles, and it looks like this plan is going to have many 18 milers, a few 20 milers, and a 22 miler in it....all new territory for me.

This week's training is pretty boring...ALL easy runs as I get back into it (daily work below). 10 miles on Saturday on the CandO was really nice and (almost) pain free.

Total Miles:  40
Long Run:  10
Wt:  ?

Daily work:

Monday: 40 minutes easy on treadmill at work.  About 5 miles.  Core work.   AIS.

Tuesday: 50 minutes easy on treadmill at work.  About 6.2 miles.  ITB / Overall strength  / AIS for lower leg and foot.

Wednesday: 45 minutes easy on WOD in Herndon (it's getting kinda cold....feels like winter).  Hip mobility / AIS / foam rolling.  CHIRO visit.  5.8 mi.

Thursday:  60 minutes easy.  8 miles on WOD.  (7:35 pace)

Friday:  42 minutes easy.  5.4 miles on WOD.  Core work.  CHIRO visit

Saturday:  10 miles on CandO canal towpath.  Ran the last couple a little faster than Easy.  Overall pace 7:25, with about 7:10-7:10 pace at the end.  Overall strength work, ITB work.

Sunday:  Completely off.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 Running Goals and Race Review

I know, it seems too early in the year to do a "2016 Review".  But I've completed all my races for the year, and I've taken this week off after my HM last week.  Early in the week my Achilles was sore, that's healed up but I still have a sore calf (peroneus longus?).  I should be able to start back running next week and build my mileage up.

This year is my first "full year" of planned training and racing, and the first year I've done a race beyond 5k.  When I started the year I had only planned on doing 5k's and 10k's, but as the year progressed I ended up doing 2 half marathons and a 20k as well. well did I end up meeting my 2016 goals?

2016 Goals...

Goal #1. Injury Free -
  • I've been pretty much injury free all year.  At least no injuries that kept me from running (with the exception of maybe turning a workout into an easy run).
  • I added running specific strength training, ITB work, warm-up routines, and anything else I could think of - to hold off injury.
  • I've been careful to back off as soon as something doesn't "feel right" - usually an ITB.
  • Right now I have an Achilles "flare up" sort of  - and a sore calf.  But they didn't keep me from running, and I had planned a week off anyway after my last race of the year last week.
  • So....I'll call this one "achieved", with an asterisk.
Goal #2. Improve Form and Pacing -
  • Going into this year I had yet to run a negative split, or evenly paced race.
  • Every race was a positive split, usually hanging on, and hoping a don't slow down too much.
  • The first half the year, this trend continued until in September I finally ran a negative split in a 10k race.  Looking back I probably held back too much in the first 4 miles of the race, since I had a lot left and practically sprinted the last 600 meters or so.  But still...progress.
  • Then in November I ran a pretty well paced HM, finishing strong and completely spent....just about right. 
  • I've improved my form this year -which for me means 180 striders per minute and "running tall". 
  • I still have work to do here....but improved quite a bit.  Achieved.
Goal #3. 5k in 18:36
  • My best 5k was back in March, with a time of 18:41.  I did this as a "build-up" race to a 10k a few weeks later.  I was surprised by the time, and I figured I'd have many chances to take off another 5 seconds in 2016.
  • But,  even tho I tried a few more times, I couldn't get below 18:41.
  • So.....missed my goal by 5 seconds.  Not accomplished...but damn close.
Goal #4. 10k in 39:30 -
  • I only ran two 10k's this year, but I still thought I could have made this goal.
  • In September I ran a pretty smart race, negative splitting, as mentioned above, but I held back a little too much in the first part of the race, and finished in 39:36.
  • So....again missed my goal by 6 seconds.  Not accomplished. 
  • Based on my 5k and HM times, I should be able to run close to 39 flat...something for next year.
Bonus -
  • During the year I started running longer races....2 HM's and a 20k.
  • My best race of the year was probably a HM last week, with a PR of 1:25:41.
  • This was a breakthrough for me, and a big learning experience.  I'm getting better at "feeling" the effort and an understanding of how hard I can push.  A big confidence boost.
  • Finally feel like a "real" racer - I've completed a number of longer races now and I'm getting the "feel" for them.  I have A LOT to learn still, but big improvement this year.  Last year at this time I couldn't even think about RACING a half marathon.
So, overall a pretty solid year of running and racing.  I learned something about myself, my perseverance and ability to stay disciplined (most of the time), and doing the right thing (most of the time) by cutting back the mileage when something didn't feel right.  I was able to push through the burning lungs and tired legs at the end of a race to achieve a PR - and learning how to hang on the "edge" of blowing up and finishing strong.  I missed a few time targets, they will be on my goals for next year.....always have next year.  Speaking of which....
  • As of today, my biggest goal in 2017 is to complete a marathon.
    • Based on my HM time of 1:25:41, I think if I have a good race I can finish in 3:00 to 3:05.
    • RNR DC Marathon is March 11.  That will be my first goal race next year.
  • I will probably fill out the rest of the year trying to improve on my 5k, 10k, and HM PRs.
    • I will target the Fall to go for PR's in those distances.
  • Highest priority will still be staying healthy and having fun!  I turn 50 next Summer, so I have to really pay attention to aches and pains, and not try to pack too many hard workouts in my plans....I need a lot of time for recovery.
Other Related Topics
Wharton Rope Active Isolation Stretching
  • After my Achilles and calf strain I decided it might a good thing to try Phil Wharton's "Active Isolation Stretching".
  • I kept seeing it pop up in various articles by people I respect.
  • I did the 40 minute routine a couple days ago (Friday), and the 20 minute routine and focus on feet and ankle Saturday.
  • Too early to tell if it's really going to help me....and if I'll stick with it.  It does take A LOT of time, but if I feel healthier - and have a better chance of staying injury free - it will be worth it.  Especially now that I'm training for a marathon.
  • We'll see how it goes....stay tuned.
Generation UCAN
  • I've used the UCAN Super Starch half a dozen times now and I seems to really work for me on long runs and for half marathons.
  • I've been able to run up to 17 miles (two hours), and race a HM without needing ANY fueling during my long runs.
  • I've found that a small breakfast two hours prior to run start, and a scoop (almost a full scoop) of UCAN in about 12 oz. of water 30 minutes prior to start is all is need.  No re-fueling needed.
  • I still hate the taste of it...but I'm kind of getting used to it.
  • Next challenge will be to figure out how / what I need to get thru a full marathon using it.  I will probably take another scoop in water around mile 10-12 of the marathon.....practice in future long training runs will determine what works.

Man, a week off from running and can really seem like a LONG time...glad I'm back to it next week.

Happy running everyone.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending Nov 5 (HM Race)

The exciting part of this week is the Half Marathon I ran today in Winchester, VA.

It's called the Battlefield HM as it is run mostly on the Kernstown Civil War Battlefield site.  I finished in a time of 1:25:41!  A 4 minute PR.  Full race report titled "Battlefield HM" in "Race Report" label.

This week is mostly short easy runs with one workout on Tuesday to get ready for the Saturday race.

I've also had a "sore" Achilles tendon and left calf on my left leg since last week.  For every run it's stiff and kinda hurts for the first mile, then calms down.  So..I've been extra careful on my efforts this week leading up to the race to make sure I can compete without injury.  Any injury below the knee is new for me....I think I did it by running in some old shoes with less drop (maybe cause they're worn out).  Popping some OTC pain killer twice a day.  Probably not making the injury go away, but it hurts less.  Anyway...made it to the race.  I'll need to keep tabs on it going forwards.

Tuesday's workout:  On the treadmill so I can accurately "feel" the HM pace (I'm sure this is more psychological than physical, but it is reassuring for me).  Did a total of 7 miles with 6 x 2' intervals @ HM down to 10k pace; with 2' jog recovery.  All @ 1% incline.  Feel pretty good about the workout.  Last Saturday's Long Run was only 11 miles with 3.5 @ HM pace - much less than prior weeks, so I should be feeling relatively "fresh".

Not much else to report - except that I worked on keeping the easy days - EASY.  I sometimes can pick up the pace some when I'm feeling good - almost to the point of an easy run becoming a small workout.  Tried really hard not to do that, this week.

  • Weekly Mileage:  36 (Including 14 on HM race day).
  • Long Run:  14 (13.1 of which was racing).
  • Weight: 138
Daily work:

Monday:  46 minutes easy on WOD.  5.8 miles (7:55 pace) including 4 strides and some light core work.  Stretching. Rolling.   Extra work on Achilles.

Tuesday: 7 miles on treadmill with 6 x 2' @ HM down to 10k effort (6:40/6:35/6:28/6:22/6:15/6:08)with 2' jogging recovery.  Stretching, rolling.

Wednesday: 41 minutes easy on WOD trail.  5.2 miles (7:50 pace).  Stretching.  Rolling.  Extra work on Achilles - seems to be holding up.

Thursday:  OFF (customary off 2nd day before a race).  Leg swings / etc.

Friday:  30 minutes easy with 4 strides (3.9 mi).  Took the day off work so I can catch up on a few things around the house and sleep in, etc.  Long drive to race tomorrow and early alarm.

Saturday:  14 miles w / 13.1 @ HM effort + 1 wu.  1:25:41!!

Sunday and all of next week - OFF.  Time for a break, rejuvenate, heal up some.  Then, start a marathon build up for the RNR DC on March 11, 2017.

Battlefield (Winchester) HM Race Report

Today I ran the Battlefield HM in Winchester, Virginia - about an hour's drive from my house, about 90 miles west of DC.

I chose this race as a chance to improve on my current HM PR, from June this year (1:29:27).  In that race it was pretty hot - mid-70's and really humid.  This weekend worked well on my "race calendar".  I ran a 5k and 10k in back to back weekends 6 weeks ago.  I was able to get in 4 solid long runs with some HM pace work in each.  So, I'm coming into the race with some confidence and a good idea of what pace I can hold.

The only unknown for me is how the hills will affect me - the course is quite hilly.  Not epic hills, but continuous rolling hills, and one long 2 mile uphill followed by about 3 miles down hill.  My strategy going in is to maintain "HM effort" and let the pace adjust based on the road profile.

I took yesterday (Friday) off work, so I could lounge around and have a relaxing day the day before the race.  This made it really nice actually, and made it seem like a Sunday race.  I was able to get some extra rest and ensure I got plenty of sleep "the night before the night before the race".  Had a nice pasta and vegetables dinner, plus a snack of cereal and milk, and off to bed early.

Morning of the race:
Set the alarm for 5:15.  Immediately had coffee, some instant oat meal, and small glass of milk.  Then, out for a very short run around the block to get everything moving, use the restroom, and out of the house at 6:00 for a drive of about an hour.  My wife was nice enough to get up early and go with me - always like having her company!

Arrived at the race, and parked about 7:10.  I had some angst about getting my bib the morning of the race - but no worries.  Lines were short.    We got a long sleeve tech shirt as advertised, plus a baseball style running hat that I'll actually wear, and a pair of gloves.  Sweet.

This is an interesting race, because it includes a regular HM race, and two versions of "relay races".  There are teams of 4 that break up the distance in a little more than 5k each; or two person teams, where each runs half the distance.  Since there are only about 400 runners for the full half marathon, I was hoping the "exchange" of the relay teams would provide some distraction and it might provide more company while I'm running.  I figure there are a lot of folks who can run 10k pace or 5k pace faster than I can run HM, so that will be people to run with or chase down. 

There were also some "Elites" in the race - look like from Kenya or thereabouts.  It was fun to watch them warm up, like gazelles - effortless.  The winner finished in 1:04, and got $1,000.

Good weather this morning.  About 40 degrees at the 8:00 start ("feels like" 38), with NO wind.  Perfect.  This is the "transition" temp for me, where I want a little more warmth than just a singlet and shorts.  I decided on my normal race singlet with arm warmers, thin gloves, and a light weight knit hat. Around mile 6 I ended up tossing the hat, tucking my gloves into the back of my shorts, and rolling down my arm warmers. 

7:20 or so, I took some UCAN Super Starch in about 12 oz of water, as I have the last four weeks before my long runs.  Right after that I started walking around the start line and began a short jog to warmed up a little bit.  Did my 5 minute pre-race routine (dynamic stretches / leg swings / lunge matrix).  I was interviewed by the Winchester Star newspaper (my first - maybe I'll make tomorrow's paper - and be famous!).  Did about a mile to get loosened up with a few strides.  My left Achilles felt about how it has all week - a little sore, but not enough to change my stride, and like in all my runs lately - after about 2 miles it gets better and stays a "little stiff" but hurts less.

8:00 was race start.  As I mentioned, only 400 or so in the half marathon, but many more at the start line doing one of the two relay options.  I lined up in the "6:00-7:00" pace area, listened to a real guy sing the National Anthem live, and we were off with a REAL cannon shot.

I decided to break up the course into 3 mile sections.  It's easier for me mentally to focus on 3 miles at a time, evaluate, and take on the next 3 miles.  This happens to work nicely with the course profile, which I've shown below - with my notes added.  There's a long uphill from mile marker 4 - 6, then a long down hill to mile marker 9.

My goal is to cover each 3 mile section in about 20:00 (6:40 pace), and finish in less than 1:28 .  Less than 1:27 would be great.  Mile 6 and 10 are uphill, so I'll need to be less than 6:40 the other miles to make up the difference

Going into the race I hoped to finish in less than 1:28.  Less than 1:27 would be great.

Summary by each 3 mile section below:

Miles 1-3:  19:26 total time (6:29 pace overall.  miles were 6:29/6:29/6:28).  Of course, I started off faster than plan, and after about 3/4 of a mile I realized it and started to pull back.  Pretty soon two guys came by and one said "Jump in".  I asked goal time, he said "1:28".  Perfect.  I latched on, and they proceeded to go about 6:30 pace.  If I wasn't running with these guys I would have slowed down, no one was behind I stuck with them to see how long I could hold on.

Miles 4-6:  39:03 total time (still about 6:30 pace overall.  miles were 6:15/6:28/6:55).  I knew mile 6 would be slow, but made up at least part of it by picking up the pace on the downhill section at mile 4.  I gotta hand it to the two guys I was running with -  I was just following along and they did a much better job than I could do with pacing!

Miles 7-9: 58:13 total time.  A lot of this section was downhill, which helped the pace.(6:16/6:19/6:29).  I was still feeling surprisingly good (well pretty good) thru 9 miles.  At this point I'm beginning to believe I can hold this pace to the end- and I have two guys pulling me along, so all I have to do is get on their shoulder and run.

Miles 10 - 12:  1:18:32 total time.  Around the end of mile 9 we made a left turn and headed up hill.  At this point the two guys I've been running with slowed down considerably.  I waved them on, and hesitated for a second, but ended up forging ahead alone.  About a half mile later I spotted a woman running by herself...I was slowing closing that became my next goal.  I caught her around the end of mile 10.  I ran with her for about half a mile, but then she faded.  So, again - I moved forward on my own.  The 11th mile was the hardest for me.  I started to really struggle and had to focus on keeping my pace - I had to play games to keep motivated and chugging forward.  Mile splits were 6:51 (uphill), 6:36/6:43.

Last 1.1:  At the end of mile 12 we turned off the paved road and ran down a dirt trail / farm road, kind of path.  Slightly downhill, which helped my motivation - and the downhill was a nice relief.  With about 600 meters left I was back on pavement and doing my best to hold form and finish strong.  It wasn't easy.  Mile 13 was 6:26, and my pace for the last bit was 6:12.

Overall Time:  1:25:41.  A 4 minute PR, and good for 1st place in 45-49 age group.

Pic below of my 3 seconds of glory:

Really happy with the effort.  Good way to end the season.  My legs are a little beat up and I have some minor aches and pains - so it's a good time.

Taking next week off, then I'll start rebuilding for a my first marathon in March.