Saturday, March 31, 2007

March Summary (22:17)

So March is over.....

Two races, both new PRs:
-- Shamrock'N Half Marathon - 1:35:22 (7:17 Pace)
-- Greek Independence Day 5k - 20:38 (6:38 Pace)
........Won my first gold medal! (M40-49 age group)

-- Biggest, fastest month ever
-- Ran 25 days out of 31 (Goal was 27)
-- Average Run 6.6 Miles
-- Average Pace 8:06
-- Average Heart Rate 155
-- 165 Total Miles
-- 38 Average Weekly Miles
-- 49.8 Longest Week
-- 463 Miles 2007 To Date

-- Restructured Training Plan (Including Speedwork)
-- Increased Weekly Mileage to High 40's
-- Running 6 days/week (Off, EZ, Tempo, EZ, Repeats, EZ, Long)
-- Started mile repeats (Best 6:39x4, 90 sec recovery)

April Goals
-- Run 24/30 days
-- Break 50 miles per week
-- 188 miles, Average 43.8 miles/week
-- Santa Cruz Half 4/22 (Goal - sub 1:34 7:10 Pace)
-- 1 Year Running Anniversary - April 2nd

Sunday, March 25, 2007

New Training Plan - Week 1

Just finished the first week of my new, (and hopefully) improved training regime! If I'm going to get under 1:30 for a half marathon I'm going to need to have some confidence in the schedule and stick to it pretty closely. Let's see how week 1 went.....

Monday [10/10]
.....Plan - day off (I'm pretty confident about this day!)
.....Actual - Nailed it!
Tuesday [10/10]
.....Plan - 5 miles easy (8:15-8:30 pace)
.....Actual - 5.09 miles at 8:22
Wednesday [8/10]
.....Plan - 8 miles tempo (1m easy, 6m at 7:15-7:30, 1m easy)
.....Actual - 6.85 miles (1.5m easy, 4.3m at 7:13, 2m easy)
Thursday [8/10]
.....Plan - 7 miles easy (8:15-8:30 pace)
.....Actual - 6.89 miles at 8:00 [a little fast]
Friday [4/10]
.....Plan - 8 miles (5xmile repeats at 6:45-6:55, 60-90 sec recovery)
.....Actual - 5.26 miles at 8:37 [skipped repeats due to 5k race Sat.]
Saturday [4/10]
.....Plan - 6 miles easy (8:15-8:30 pace)
.....Actual - 5k race at 6:38 (5.26 miles total with warmup)
Sunday [8/10]
.....Plan - 14-18 miles long (first 3/4 at 8:15-30, 1/4 at race pace)
.....Actual - 15.05 miles at 8:21 [skipped fast finish due to race Sat.]
Total [52/70]
.....Plan - 48-52 mpw
.....Actual 44.39 miles

So overall it was pretty good for week 1. The 5k race obviously messed things up but that was expected. At 44+ miles, it was my biggest Monday-Sunday week ever. Next week should climb to 47 [close to plan] and the week after I'm up to 51 [if I'm on plan]. Then I ease back a little (45) and then it's the Santa Cruz half marathon (April 22nd)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

5k Race

Just ran a 5k race around Lake Merritt in Oakland - The race was to celebrate Greek Independence Day, and due to the fact that I am completely not Greek, I felt like a little bit of a party crasher. But I've drunk plenty of Ouzo in my time so I think it's OK.

These shorter races are very useful for checking fitness levels during training for longer races and there are many formulae to predict times for different distances. Based on my recent half marathon (1:35:22) I should be able to run a 5k in 20:38 (6:38 pace), but based on the goal for my next half marathon (sub 1:30) I would want to run a 5k at 19:28 (6:17 pace). I decided that today I'd try to run at 6:30 pace and see if I could somehow kick at the end to go under 20 minutes (6:26 pace).

A good plan with bad execution.....
Ready, set, go! I was off like a rocket - way too fast - covered the first 1/4 mile at 6:05 pace and struggled to get onto 6:30 pace. Got through 2.5 miles OK but then faded badly. Finished the 5k (the course was 5.25k but they marked the 5k finish) at 20:38. That fast start really screwed things up and I was completely out of juice for that last 0.6 miles. Stupid mistake.

However, although I didn't beat 20:00 I did cross the 5k line in 5th overall and got the gold medal for my age group (it sure helps to be old and run small races....)

I'll give the sub 20:00 5k another shot sometime in May after the Santa Cruz half as I think with a little more attention to pacing and another month's training I should be able to do it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Updated Half Marathon Goals

So after the success of the Shamrock'N Half Marathon in Sacramento last week I have decided, once again, to adjust my goals for the year. Originally I had planned to get the half down to 1:40, then 1:35. Now I'm thinking that sub 1:30 is a good stretch goal. That's a pace of 6:52/mile, down 24 seconds from my PR. At some point, I'm going to spectacularly fail to cut the next 5 minutes off my time. Let's hope it's not this time around.....

To do this, I've got 2 more halves planned, before I turn my attention back to training for a full marathon.

......The test race: Santa Cruz - April 22nd - sub1:34 (7:10 pace)
......The goal race: Los Gatos - July 15th - sub1:30 (6:52 pace)

To do this I realise that I'm going to have to train a little harder and a lot smarter. I've been running a little inconsistently and have had too many back to back hard training days. I've decided to increase the training mileage to just over 50 mpw (from 40ish right now) but also restructure my weekly training so that it is a little more balanced. Hoping that the combination can somehow find me the 24 seconds per mile.

The planned typical week is going to be.....
- Monday - day off (I'm pretty confident about this day!)
- Tuesday - 5 miles easy (8:15-8:30 pace)
- Wednesday -8 miles tempo (1m easy, 6m at 7:15-7:30, 1m easy)
- Thursday - 7 miles easy (8:15-8:30 pace)
- Friday - 8 miles (5xmile repeats at 6:45-6:55, 60-90 sec recovery)
- Saturday - 6 miles easy (8:15-8:30 pace)
- Sunday - 14-18 miles long (first 3/4 at 8:15-30, 1/4 at race pace)
- Total 48-52 mpw

It'll take me a few weeks to get there from where I am right now, but I have a solid 12 week stretch between Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. I also need to drop a 5K and a 10K in there somewhere to check fitness/readiness.

If I can somehow run under 1:30 in July, I should be in a great position as I move into a 20 week training program for the December full marathon. Maybe this time I will actually be able to run the whole thing!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Shamrock'N Half Marathon - Race Report
The Setup
Advertised as a fast, mostly flat course. Run thru a bunch of Sacramento neighborhoods (some not very pleasant...), ending up in Raley Field (Home of the Sacramento River Cats - whoever they are). Weather was perfect, 46 to start, 56 to finish, sunny, practically no wind. About 2,100 runners (plus another 1,000 for a 5k)

The Plan
I had 3 Goals:
1) Beat 1:40 - this was the comfortable goal (7:38 pace)
2) Beat 1:38:54 - current PR. (7:33 pace)
This was from the "downhill" Kaiser Half run 5 weeks ago. Wanted to show I could also run flat courses too!
3) Beat 1:35 - this is my 2007 half marathon goal (7:15 pace)

The First Bit
Started early (8am, but on first day of daylight savings so felt like 7). Lots of people, absolutely zero discipline lining up. Gun goes off, and I swear I see people walking immediately, people running 10 min miles, all lined up at the front. Takes me a good quarter mile to get into open space - pace at 8:16 for the first quarter - so I wasted about 15 seconds. Then I settle down into a relatively fast pace (7:20) thru the first 4 mile loop on the east of the river. If I can hold this, I should easily get under my PR.....

The Second Bit
Miles 5,6,& 7 go well, a few little up and downs but nothing to worry about. Pace still fast (7:23). Feeling good. Still on track to comfortably beat 1:38:54....

The Middle Bit
About mile 7 an older guy runs up next to me, wearing exactly the same shirt. Well I'm not going to let him pass, so we start speeding up. Get down to 7:05 pace and cross the 8 mile point at 58:49 (Average pace 7:20) - According to my handy dandy time sheet, I'm on track for just over 1:36 if I keep on pace. Looking good.....

The Bit Before The End Bit
Miles 9, 10 go by fast, at 7:15 pace. I'm now thinking that 1:35 is within reach. Doing the math I realise I need to shave off about 30 seconds over the last 3 miles, which means running around 7:05. First half mile was 7:06, Second one was back to 7:15. Realised that 1:35 was probably not gonna happen, but barring disaster I should still beat 1:36....

The End Bit
Mile 12 was the toughest one for sure. My legs were dead and I was definitely feeling the effects of some of those fast miles. First half mile was 7:23 pace and then my slowest half mile (except the start) at 7:32. Realised 1:36 was at risk if I keep this up so I kicked it in for the last 1.1m Got back to 7:14 pace (which hurt like hell) and somehow found enough to cover the final 200 yards at 6:17 pace in front of the crowd. Crossed the line at 1:35:22 (7:17 pace), feeling like I had absolutely nothing left.

Beat my PR by 3:32! Ran a pretty steady pace with negative splits! Also set a new PR for a 10K by over a minute! (Guess I need to go run a 10k properly sometime). If I hadn't been bogged down at the start I could have maybe broken 1:35 but I guess I now have to prove that on the next race.

Finished 127th overall out of 2137 which I was very happy with. In my age group (M40-44) I was 24th out of 149.

Next up is Santa Cruz Half on April 22nd. Haven't seen a course profile, but I hear it's hilly. Not sure what the goal is gonna be, but I doubt it'll be a PR.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ready, Set.....

So tomorrow is the race in Sacramento. Just did a very easy 2-3 miler, after 2 days off. Ran a couple of easy 5 milers on Monday & Tuesday and a fast 5 miler on Wednesday (which included a new PR for 1mile, 2mile, 3mile and 5k).

Legs are nice and rested and other than a slight sore throat that came on yesterday I'm feeling in good shape.

Weather looks like it's going to be sunny and hot (low 80's), but I should be done before it gets much over 60, especially given the fact that it starts early: 8am, and with daylight savings starting tonight, that'll be like 7.

If all goes well, I'll be done by 9:38:53am - fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Into the Taper...

Just finished up the last full training week before the Shamrock'n Half Marathon. Now it's just a relatively easy semi-taper week before the race on Sunday.

Today's 12 miler thru Los Altos Hills started with a steady 7 miles (8:27 pace) climbing up thru 500 feet. Then miles 8, 9 & 10 were fast (7:36 pace) and although they had a net downhill of about 120' they had a couple of really steep climbs. Finished off with a relaxed downhill 2 1/2 miles (8:38 pace). Total was 12.6 in 1:44 (8:16 pace).

The rest of the week was pretty good - 3 tempos, 1 very easy and a good 7.5 mile pace run (7:35 pace). All in all it was good week, 41.3 miles total, and I'm feeling ready for the race next week.

This week will be just 20-25 miles of easy runs and short tempos with 1 pace run on Wednesday.

Goal for the race is to match the time from the downhill Kaiser (1:38:54 - 7:33 pace) which is going to be a challenge. However, I'm inspired by my friend who today qualified for Boston at the Napa Marathon (3:19:39) so if he can do the whole marathon at 7:33 pace, I should be able to do half.