Saturday, October 22, 2016

Convincing My Legs They're Faster Than This

Taking time off from running does funny things to your memory.  And if you're forced to stop when you're in peak condition, like from sickness or injury, it's worse.  Because when you finally get back in the flow of it, you realize your mind kept a snapshot of where you where when running ceased.  And every single day of the "come back", it pushes and pushes and pushes to get to that summit again.

When I got sick in the Spring of this year, I was in pretty good shape.  I was getting ready to race for a half marathon PR in Phoenix, and I was firing on all cylinders and felt like I had a good shot.  But then everything was halted, almost overnight.  Fast forward to now.  Frankly, I'm getting back in pretty good shape again.  Training is going well and I'm relatively injury free.  But something's just not right.  The memory of who I was ... or who I think I was in the Spring keeps whispering to my legs that I'm "not even close".

My splits during my current training indicate that my times are very close to where I am when I'm at my ceiling.  All of my workouts this week were solid and I hit every goal.  I'm still about 3 or 4 pounds on the heavy side of race weight, but other than that I'm eating right and doing plenty of core work. And my clothes are fitting looser like they do when I get near race weight.  Also, I'm mixing in leg strengthening and upper body work after my runs for total body fitness.  All of the ingredients are there, but it just doesn't quite seem like the old days yet.

One of the issues is my splits seem much harder to hit than they used to.  But this might be the most potent example of my mind remembering me better than I actually was.  I ran most of my 18 miler on Saturday at a 7:17/mile average pace, with several of the later miles at or below 7:00.  I've only done that a few other times in my life ... but it just seemed like it should have been easier.  Another thing that keeps bothering me is that I literally don't think I could go sub 20 minutes on a 5K right now.  When I'm primed, that's really not that hard for me.  It's something I can accomplish during a workout.  But I can barely get anywhere near a 6:30 right now.

So who knows.  There's only a few weeks until the marathon now, and while I'm not nervous at all about running a good race, I don't think I can run a Boston Marathon Qualifying time again ... which is the ultimate goal for this race.  I have a peace about it though.  If it happens, that would be cool, but if not, I'm not gonna stress ... I'm just glad to be back in full stride.  Here's a look at my workouts this week.  Hope your training is going well!


Miles: 64.14
Total time working out with supplementary work: 14 hours, 30 minutes

Sunday: 5 mile recovery run with core work, stairs, light leg workout
Monday: No run ... core work, upper body work
Tuesday: Double run day - 10 miles of speed work in AM followed by leg workout + 6 mile trail run in PM ... Speed work = 12 x 400M repeats (1:25, 1:19, 1:22, 1:22, 1:19, 1:24, 1:21, 1:21, 1:21, 1:20, 1:20, 1:22, 1:20) + 1mi@6:34, 3mi warm up & cool down =10 total
Wednesday: 12 mile easy pace with core & upper body work
Thursday: 12 mile tempo run with 8 miles at tempo pace & 2 cool down and warm up ... 6:41, 6:30, 6:36, 6:34, 6:42, 6:36, 6:31, 6:25
Friday:  No run ... core work, upper body work
Saturday: 18 mile long run, middle 16 miles were at 7:17/mile average pace with following overall splits ... 8:32, 8:03, 7:32, 7:23, 7:42, 7:11, 7:11, 7:13, 7:23, 7:07, 7:26, 7:03, 7:14, 6:47, 6:48, 7:19, 7:11, 8:30

Saturday, October 15, 2016

We've Picked A Marathon

Saturday's 22 miler capped a 61 mile week.  And even though I missed all of my double runs because of work and fell about 9 miles short of my goal, all of the workouts went fairly well.

On Thursday, I had a Tempo Run on a 34 degree morning in Iowa.  It was the first chilly run of the year, but all things considered, it went fairly well.  Here are the splits:

6:48, 6:46, 6:32, 6:33, 6:52, 6:44, 6:35

Two mile warm up & cool down for a total of 11 miles.  The 7 miles of Tempo Pace were comprised of two 3.5 mile sets.

I wasn't "exceedingly excited" about the workout since I feel like I should be a little faster right now, but it was a 6:41/average pace, which wasn't horrible.

On Saturday, I ran my longest run of this training cycle.  It was supposed to be a 22 miler, but ended up being about 22.8  I included some pretty tough hills on the back end, and they basically kicked my butt.  I ran the first 14 miles at an easy 8:07/average pace.  It was fluid and very controlled.  But I wanted to add about 6 or 7 faster miles at the end of the run to get my legs used to feeling the faster pace when they were fatigued late in a race.  So I ran the 7 miles from 15-21 at a 7:39/pace.  And I had mixed feelings at the end of the run.

On the positive, I felt really good at mile 22, like I could have easily done another 4 if the marathon were today.  My legs felt strong with no issues.  But somewhat of a concern was the difficulty I had even maintaining a 7:39/pace over those 7 miles.  Part of it was because the course had 1,100 ft of climb, and I sped up on the toughest/hilliest part of the route.  Also, for some reason, once I start out running slower and my body adapts to that pace, it seems very tough to just ramp it up when I'm tired.  It's almost feels easier at times to run whole thing fast, although I was trying to save wear and tear on my legs.

But the thing that concerned me most was my continued stomach issues after the run.  I'm typically okay during the run ... but almost immediately after a 20+ mile effort, I feel pretty nauseous.   I never used to experience that.  Sometimes it's to the point where I throw up afterwards, although that's only happened after marathons.  But today, once again, after the 22 miler, I felt a little queasy.  I'm sure it's just a nutrition thing, but I need to figure it out.

And finally, for all 15 or so of you (literally) that have been asking ... yes, we've picked a marathon.  But we're keeping the date and location to ourselves ... sorry, lol.  Often in the past I've put too much pressure on myself by talking about it way too much in advance, and I really want to run a good race, so we're just keeping it on the "down low" for now ... so stop asking me, lol. I'll post about it probably a week before the race or so ... but it's still quite a ways off.  I really appreciate all the questions and suggestions I've received on it, I just don't want to jinx it.

Anyway ... hope your training is going well!  Have a great week!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I'm All The Way Up

I'm not very hip to the cool sayings and songs from the younger crowd ... I'm a grandfather of 4.5 grandchildren for goodness sake ... but after my run on Saturday, I'm here to say ... NOTHING CAN STOP ME, I'M ALL THE WAY UP!!!!!

I killed 18 miles, pretty much faster than at any other point this year.  Here are the splits:

8:11, 7:44, 7:29, 7:29, 7:21, 7:40, 7:23, 7:19, 7:02, 7:20, 7:13, 7:27, 7:42, 7:10, 7:17, 6:53, 6:54, 7:00

I think at this point I've got almost all my speed back, and I'm feeling really strong.  The run Saturday capped a 63 mile week, and knock on wood, I'm really healthy with no issues.

I've been running a lot of double runs with 10-12 miles before work, and then 3-4 in the evening.  Getting in another light recovery run really seems to be building strength, and keeping me loose and free from injury.

I've also been doing leg strengthening workouts a couple of days every week, and stairs on Sundays.  The core work still leaves a little to be desired, but other than that, everything is pretty much back on track and I'm hitting on all cylinders.

Good luck to everyone running races tomorrow ... enjoy your day!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Way Below BQ Pace

I had maybe my best run of the year on Saturday!  It was my weekly long run during marathon training, and my second 20 miler of this training cycle.  In short, I just felt like I had endless energy and was in total control of the run.  It'd been a while since I felt like that, and it was great to hit on all cylinders again.

I averaged a 7:39/mile pace for the run, and was actually speeding up for the last three, which were 7:00, 6:52, and 6:46.  My legs just felt so strong, like I could run forever.  It was a great day, and hopefully I can keep the momentum and stay healthy until my race.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Came To Drop Bombs

Really good Tempo Tuesday workout .... okay, "dropping bombs" in reference to  my speed is a little hyperbolas, but it's getting closer to where I want to be!

I'm running double's (morning and night) for every run this week, so by design, my legs were a little tired when I started the 9 mile workout.  I planned on running 1.5 for warm up, and then 6 at tempo, and then another 1.5 as cool down.  Here are the tempo mile splits:

6:49, 6:39, 6:37, 6:32, 6:20, 6:09

I'm not quite fast enough to maintain very many miles at sub 6:20 right now, but I really want to start intensifying the leg turnover a little, so I kinda pushed it the last couple of miles.

After the run, I added a leg strengthening workout.  Back in the good ol' days, I could knock out all six of these splits, sub 6:30 without much trouble ... but it's taking me a while to get back to that speed.  But it's good for now!

Be great today.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Full Trottle

GREAT week of training!  I'm a little slower ... a little overweight ... and a little behind schedule ... but I can say without hesitation that I'm 100% back!!!

I only had 56 miles on the agenda this week, but it also included double runs, full core work, stair work, and a couple of leg workouts ... just like the old days.

Plus, it was the third straight week that I had a long run of 18 miles or more.  I ran the first 16 miles of the 18 on Saturday at my BQ pace of 7:48, without stopping the clock, even while stopping at all my water stops ... so I was probably a little quicker than that.  Here are the splits ...

8:32, 8:03, 7:55, 7:40, 7:42, 7:46, 8:02, 7:27, 8:04, 7:29, 8:28, 7:27, 7:59, 7:33, 7:19, 7:18

I recovery jogged the last two miles because it 85 degrees, with high humidity.  I didn't really feel like I was pushing it too hard, even though it was pretty warm and I was losing a lot of fluids.  Plus, I'd ran four miles the day before, and it was the fourth straight day of running ... something I don't do very often. Overall, it was a pretty positive run.

Next week starts a consecutive streak of 60 mile weeks, but I feel eager to attack it and look forward to the continued growth.  It feels so good to be full throttle again.

Chase greatness.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Progress On A Progressive Run

Training's going pretty well so far!  I'm a little overweight, but otherwise healthy.  And even healthier after seeing Dr. Wisner, my A.R.T. guy, on Monday. For the past month or so I had a little tightness in my right hip flexor that needed released ... which it was by the good doctor.   Now I'm ship-shape!

So on Thursday I attempted my first Progressive Run in a while.  I warmed up and cooled down with a half mile each for a total of 9 miles ... but here are the splits for the 8 progressively faster miles ...

7:53   7:38   7:17   7:15   6:59   6:52   6:47   6:24

Although I hit my goal of getting progressively faster each mile during the run, there were a few things that need improvement.

First, I stopped to grab water three times.  I couldn't help it ... I had to ... it was only 72 degrees, but it was literally 98% humidity and I was dying.  And, when I stopped during this run, I stopped the clock.  When I'm in really good shape I'll still stop for water but won't stop the clock - I either drink on the run, or just run faster for a minute to make up the time.

Secondly, there were way too inconsistent of gaps between the splits.  And that's simply because I'm not in good enough shape to "feel" the pace right now.  When I'm really locked in, I can pretty much tell exactly how fast I'm running simply by feel.  All of the miles at specific paces really develop muscle memory and I manage the tempo much more effectively.

But that said, the main positive is that I was able to hit a couple of faster paces with the humidity being incredibly high, really without too much trouble.  Plus, everything felt great when I was finished, with no issues.

So I'll keep plugging away - but so far so good!