Thursday, May 31, 2007

May Summary (26:04)

So May is over, and although it was a good month of training it ends with a troubling achilles injury that I'm hoping isn't too serious.

Only one real race, but a new PR:
-- San Carlos 10k - 42:51 (6:54 Pace)
........7th Place Overall

-- A little lower than planned (skipped a day yesterday)
-- Ran 26 times in 31 days (Goal was 27)
-- Average Run 7.3 Miles
-- Average Pace 8:11
-- Average Heart Rate 152
-- 191 Total Miles (new Max)
-- Lots and lots and lots of hills
-- 43 Average Weekly Miles (new Max)
-- 52 Longest Week (new Max)
-- 810 Miles 2007

June Goals
-- Make sure to not screw up my achilles tendon further!
-- Another Big Month!
-- Run 23/30 days
-- Big week of 55 miles
-- Maybe hit 200 for the month (goal is 197)
-- Race1: Palo Alto 10k 6/17
------(Goal 1 - new PR, sub 42:51 6:54 Pace)
------(Goal 2 - sub 42:00 6:46 Pace)
------(Stretch goal - sub 41:00 6:36 Pace)
-- Race2: Oracle 5k 6/21
------(Goal 1 - new PR, sub 20:38 6:38 Pace)
------(Goal 2 - sub 20:00 6:26 Pace)
------(Stretch goal - 19:30 6:17 Pace)

All of this is going to be dependant on how (if?) my achilles tendonitis (self diagnosis) clears up. Way too many hill runs in May and now I'm paying the price. Off to see the sports doctor tomorrow, hoping that a couple weeks with no speedwork and hills is all I need to get back to 100%. I'm a little worried that this could be enough to bugger up my sub 1:30 attempt in July.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Solid Week

A pretty solid week for the last full week of May....

No running on Monday, just recovering from the 10k.

Tuesday was hot, and I was running about 3pm. Did a 7 miler with 5@ a slow tempo pace (7:21). That didn't feel great. Of course, water might help!

Easy 5 on Wednesday (8:18)

Thursday was meant to be 6x1000 meters at the track but the high school was training, so I did a wimpy 7 with just 3 at a slow tempo (7:22).

Easy 7 on Friday (8:28)

Lots of hills on Saturday with an "easy" 12 miler (8:13). This was a tough one as it had some pretty steep climbing, but it was a good run.

Wrapped up with another easy 6-7 on Sunday.

Total for the week of 44-45.

Given the large improvement I still need to go under 1:30, I've changed the plan a little for the next 6 weeks as I build up to the Los Gatos Half Marathon. I think I need to be doing more miles at the planned race pace. I'm upping the mileage a little by introducing a second longish run (9-12) on Thursdays. The plan for those is to run most of the miles at an easy pace (low 8's) but to do 2x2 mile stretches at planned race pace (6:52). I need a little extra something to get those last 4 minutes off the clock. Not sure if this will do the trick, or just mess up everything. Guess we'll see in July.

Weekly planned mileage at 57, 55, 44 (including a 10k pace check), 57, 54, 50 and then 37 for race week.

I also decided it was time to get some faster shoes for track work (not that I ever seem to end up doing this) and the shorter 5k races. So I got some racing flats. They are bright red and pretty ugly, so if I wear them I will have to run quick!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

San Carlos 10k

Just finished this morning's 10k race. The goal was to do it in 42 minutes (6:45 pace). I was feeling pretty good at the start after a rest day yesterday and a couple miles warmup before the race.

As usual I started too quick, with the first quarter mile at 6:18 pace, settled down as we got to the first hill, which was not big, just about 70' climb over half mile but enough to stretch out the field. Got over that hill at 6:54 pace and then kept up the effort as we went down 80' over the next mile. By mile 2 it was the only flat bit of the day and I was running nicely at 6:45, but I'd covered the first 2 miles a little fast at 6:36.

Mile 3 and 4 went uphill, only about 80', but with a gradual increase in grade. By the time I reached the top at mile 4 I was running about 7:05, even though my average pace for all 4 miles was still about right at 6:48. I was definitely paying once again for that fast hill start.

Mile 5 was a little down then the steepest uphill part. Averaged 7:12 for that mile and was definitely feeling the pain at this point.

Decided that it was time to kick and try to catch the guy ahead as we went into the final downhill. Did a quarter at 6:40, then sped up to 6:18 as I caught up with him. He didn't want me passing and we increased the pace over the next quarter mile and got down to 6 minute pace. Finished out mile 6 fast which was an average of 6:22.

By now I was completely spent, the guy had one final kick and I couldn't keep up on the final little uphill stretch to the line. I let him go and focused on not puking, managed to run the last .3 (course was a little long) at 6:35 pace but at the end I had nothing left.

Crossed the line at 42:51, so missed my goal by 51 seconds. I think the course was a little long (Garmin came in at 6.30) and had a lot of corners (where Garmin usually measures short, not long). Official pace was 6:54, Garmin pace was 6:47.

Finished in 7th place (which was surprisingly only 5th in my age group at 40-49)

Overall I am disappointed that I missed the goal but happy with the effort. It was hillier than I expected and I'm pretty sure I could have gone sub 42 on a flat, accurate course. I still need to be more disciplined about pacing in these 10ks as there is little room for error when you run so close to your limit.

Now it's 4 weeks to the next 10k, which is flat. I'd like to run that one at a 6:30 pace for a time around 40:30, so I need to get some real solid training in over the next 4 weeks if that's going to happen.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Half Marathon Progress Report

This charting of my progress towards a 1:30 half marathon in July at the Los Gatos Jungle Run has me a little worried! Up until March I was looking really good, but the Santa Cruz race wasn't really fast enough. I would have been more comfortable if that was a 1:33. I think the linear improvement is beginning to plateau a little, so things are going to get tough.

This weekend's 10k goal of 42:00 equates to a 1:33:27 half which doesn't really put me back on track for July.

If this trending is accurate I will be looking for a followup race in August or September to get that 1:30 as a 1:32 is more likely in Los Gatos. I guess I'll have to just see how it goes over the next two races.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Nick's First Race

This weekend my son, Nick, ran his first ever race. There was a 1 mile fun run after a 10k I was doing. He got his very own race number and won his first medal. He was really proud of himself. I ran with him which was awesome. Just like his Dad, he has a little trouble with his pacing and went out way too fast and was walking by 1/2 mile. But he did really well and managed to sprint up the hill at the end when lots of others were walking.

For me, the 10k was really a training run. I'm racing one for real next weekend so didn't want to push this one. It was very hilly so I knew if I went for it I'd end up killing myself. Managed to stay under control for the first 3 miles, then started to get into it and sped up. Mile 4 was a big hill (300' climb in under a mile) so I decided to make that the focus of the training run. I overtook a bunch of runners on the hill and caught up with a friend who had gone out real fast at the start (he was leading the first 1/2 mile). Took it easy from the top of the hill until the last 1/4 mile uphill which we sprinted for the crowd. Ended up finishing 15th in around 51 minutes, which is very slow for a 10k but it was all up/down really steep stuff. The winner was around 46 minutes.

Overall it was a big week - 52 miles with a big hilly 16 miler in San Francisco to finish things off Sunday. This week is a low mileage week so it'll be under 40, ending up with a 10k race on Sunday. Hoping to get down to around 42 minutes (6:45) but I'm not sure how bumpy the course is.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A week of ups and downs

Just finished a hilly week - 46 miles, with most of it up and down hills.

Monday - day off
Tuesday - 4.5 miles at 7:15 pace, with a 250' hill in the middle.
Wednesday - got busy and didn't get a chance to run
Thursday - am 8.5 miles at 8:16 - two hills 120' and 300'
Thursday - pm 6 miles at 7:59 - meant to be 5xmile repeats. bailed after 2
Friday - Easy 6.5 miles with a 600' hill
Saturday - Long 14 at 8:45. 400' and 300' hills. (see chart)
Sunday - Easy 6.5 miles at 8:30 with just one 300' hill

A tough finish to the week, with a double on Thursday and a lot of hills Friday and in Saturday's long run. Next week's plan is to go a little longer at 51 miles, with a 16 miler on Sunday. I'll probably do less hills though.

On Saturday I'm going to do an easy 10k race and also run the kiddie's 1 mile fun run with Nick and Anna (I suspect I'll have to carry her...) in Los Altos Hills.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

I've been doing a little investigation on race "predictors". There are a bunch of calculators that will give you a predicted time for a race based on your time in a recent race of a different length. I'm trying to determine just how fast a goal I want to set for my Marathon in December, based on my best half marathon time.

The various calculators all give similar sorts of results, and I've been using the VDOT equivalence tables from Jack Daniels' Running Formula. If you don't know about VDOTs or Jack Daniels (the running dude, not the drink) you can go buy the book but he describes VDOT as "A measure of your current running ability". There's a whole bunch of science and measurements of various things involved but basically he created a set of tables that show what race times you would get for a given VDOT. So someone with a VDOT of 51 has a predicted half time of 1:30:02 and a full marathon time of 3:07:39. Google on VDOT Tables and you'll get lots of stuff. Here's a link to the tables....

So assuming (and admittedly this is a pretty big assumption...) I meet my goal of getting to 1:30 for a half marathon, I SHOULD be able to hammer out a 3:07 full marathon based on VDOT equivalent performance. Given that my best marathon time is 4:10 (off of 25MPW, it got very ugly about mile 21), this is a massive improvement and I'm a little suspicious of it all since I'd be surprised as hell if I ran a 3:07 in December.

So I decided to do a completely bogus, scientifcally questionable study!

I wanted to see how people really performed compared to VDOT predictions and also see if there was a significant difference based on how many miles people ran during training.

I posted this on 3 running message boards (Letsrun, Coolrunning, and Runners' World)

I'm doing some analysis on the relationship between half marathon and full marathon times and the effect that weekly mileage has on that ratio.

Need some data from runners (that would would be where you come in.....)

- Half marathon run within 6 months of full
- Both run as races (no easy training runs)
- "Similar conditions" for both races
Data Required
- Half time
- Full time
- Average weekly mileage training for full

I got 57 sets of results from the 3 boards. Here's the result.
First I converted the times to VDOTs and calculated the differences people saw in their half VDOT to their full VDOT. If everything was perfect, everyone should have performed at exactly the same VDOT level.
Here's the chart showing number of runners against VDOT difference. Out of 57, only 16 met or beat their predicted times, 41 did worse than "predicted".

On average people were 2.1 "VDOTs" below predicted time for the full marathon, which is about 8 minutes in the 3:10 range, so that means instead of doing a 3:07, I'd do a 3:15.

Next I looked to see if there was any correlation between weekly training mileage and VDOT difference. Here's the chart...
Data is scattered, but a best fit line shows that lower mileage created a higher VDOT difference. So based on a 1:30 half (VDOT=51) if I train 30MPW I could expect to perform at a VDOT of 48 for my full marathon (3:17) whereas if I train 120MPW I could expect a VDOT of 50 (3:10).
I plan to train about 65MPW in the fall so will be setting my training paces for a 3:14 marathon (VDOT 49) assuming I manage to get the 1:30 half done in July. 3:14 is also a good target time since it is comfortably under the Boston Qualifying time for my age (3:20) and also considered "Good For Age" (3:15) in the London Marathon, which I plan to run in April 2008.
Of course, this is all suitably dubious science, based on people who aren't me. I'll end up adjusting my actual race goal based on how the training goes leading up to the race. Ultimately I will still be happy in December if I can
a) finish without crashing at mile 21
b) finish comfortably under 3:45
but unfortunately the scientist in me now realises that 3:14 is not an unreasonable goal.

Updated to add a couple charts that I never included.