Friday, November 30, 2007

November Summary

So November is over.

A really big training month for me (finally), getting back to just above my pre-injury training levels and feeling very good. Loving the crisp sunny mornings (but I think it is time to get some gloves, it was only 36 degrees this morning).

November Totals:
-- A race! Stanford 10k in 41:43, New PR (6:43 pace)
-- Ran 192.4 miles - biggest month ever
-- No biking , swimming or pool running
-- 29 out of 30 days of running
-- 1,278 Running Miles for 2007
-- Up to 56 miles in biggest week
-- Longest run now up to 14 miles (pain free!)
-- Regular tempo work at around 6:50-6:55 pace
-- Added in some medium hills
-- No speedwork yet, but race pace runs on Fridays
-- Started marathon training program (11/19)
-- Tons of stretching, calf exercises and ice

December Goals
-- Half Marathon on 12/2
----- hoping for 7:00 pace (just under 1:32)
-- weekly mileage steady in low to mid 50's
-- run pretty much every day (skipping Xmas Eve)
-- Around 210 total for the month (first ever 200+)
-- Long run up to 16 miles, with fast finish
-- Solid weekly tempos at 6:51(2x3miles/20mins)
-- More Friday race pace workouts (at 10k goal pace 6:36)
-- More hills, but not racing up
-- Easy final week prepping for 1/1 10k race (sub 41 goal)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tapering Tempo

As it's my taper week for Sacramento I only did a 1x3mile tempo run this morning (instead of the normal 2x3miles). Easy warmup mile then tried to focus on running steady tempo effort without worrying too much about pace. In the past I've not been too good at running by feel and always tend to go faster than I should.

Felt good for the three miles, trying to keep things "comfortably hard". Looked at the data afterwards and was very happy with the splits. Heartrate figures for the 6 half mile splits were...
1 - 159 ave, 162 max
2 - 159 ave, 162 max
3 - 160 ave, 161 max
4 - 160 ave, 161 max
5 - 161 ave, 162 max
6 - 159 ave, 161 max
Pace was 6:52 average, ranging from 6:45 to 6:59 (it was an slight uphill/downhill route).

When I look back to the week before my last half marathon in April, I ran a 4 mile pace run on the Wednesday at 7:04 pace - average HR was 162 and the weather that day was cool and cloudy. I'm now running 12 seconds faster at similar HR. Weather forecast for Sunday looks good - cool, little wind, it's a fast course, and I'm feeling in great shape, so I guess that means it is half marathon goal time....

1) Finish the race without thrashing my achilles (or anything else).
.... This is to absolutey prove I've recovered from my injury.
2) Beat 1:34:11 - this is my current half PR (short course). 7:11 pace
.... I'll be disappointed if I don't meet this goal.
3) Beat 1:32:50 - time predicted from my 10k - 7:05 pace
.... this is my realistic goal
4) Beat 1:32:00 - this is 7:01 pace
.... this is my "within limits" stretch goal
5) Beat 1:30:00 - that's 6:52 pace.
.... this is my "aint-gonna-happen" stretch goal

I think I will pace at 7:00 (for goal 4) and see how it goes after 5 miles. If I'm comfortably thru 5 miles in 35 minutes with HR under control, I'll go for 8 miles in 56 minutes. At that point if it's ugly I could jog it in at 7:25 and still run a PR of 1:34. if I'm feeling good bring it home under 1:32. I would be really happy if my average pace was under 7 minutes. Don't see any scenario where #5 can happen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

London 0 - Edinburgh 3

This week the lottery results for the London Marathon were released. Neither my brother nor my sister got in, so that removes 2 of the 2 reasons I had to specifically run London next April. Given my inability to register in time to get my own entry, and the rapidly increasing price of "buying" my way in, it looks like London is off for 2008.

1) Paris - the week before London
---pros: big race, fast course, relatively well organized
---cons: France, sold out

2) Rotterdam - same day as London
---pros: big race, fast course, well organized
---cons: who wants to go to Rotterdam? where is Rotterdam?

3) Edinburgh - 6 weeks later (May 25th)
---pros: medium size race (6,000), brother/sister have guarenteed entry (it's the London overflow), US entry is easy to get (and still available), fast course, 6 weeks additional training
---cons: Scotland, 6 weeks additional training

At this stage it is looking like Edinburgh is the winner. I'll look at entry & travel logistics but assuming I can sort those out I think I am going to Scotland in May. That also means I get to rejigger my training schedule and add a bunch of additional base building into the plan, which in the long run is probably going to help me as it means more time getting used to the higher mileage before adding as many intense workouts.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ready for a Day Off

Ran an "easy" 14 miler again today. This time I skipped the fast finish, and just ran it around 8:00 pace. I did do a single fast half mile just around mile 13 as a simulated finish for next week's half marathon. Overall pace was 8:04 for 13.89 miles. Felt like a hard run today as I was pretty hungry for most of it (I've foolishly run out of gels). But apparently running on empty is good training for raceday, so I should be in good shape.

Along with yesterday's easy 6 miler the weekly total was 55.8 miles, which is definitely enough for me right now!

Tomorrow is a whole day off from running! - I have an easy week scheduled about every 4 weeks, and I get to skip Monday's run and take it a little easier throughout the week with lower mileage. Including the half it'll be under 40 miles. So this is a combination cutback/taper week.

To be honest, I am ready for a day off.

Then after race week it's back to the mileage buildup. Weeks of 50, 53 & 59 leading up to Christmas as I try to get my body comfortable in the 50's. Then after the next cutback week I'm moving up even further with weeks of 55 (including a 10k race on New Year's morning), 63 and 69. I've never been anywhere near that type of mileage and I'm curious to find out which parts of my body start to crumble first......

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Miles

Just ran my 32nd day straight. My longest running streak by far. Plus, it's been about 55 miles in the last 7 days, my biggest week ever.

Today was a pace run, where I try to do 3-4 miles at whatever pace I plan to run in my next race. Next race is a half marathon and goal pace is 7:10. Did 3.4 miles at 7:04 which included going over the little hill (the 100' one) twice. With some warmup and cooldown it was just under 6 total at 7:27. Yesterday was an easy Thanksgiving run of just over 8 miles at just over 8 minute pace.

Things are going really well - the steady rampup of short easy runs every day since mid September seems to have made me more ready for the training than the last time I was running 50+ MPW, and being religious about my stretching/calf exercies is a big help. Achilles isn't giving me any trouble, even when I pick things up a little on the hills. Knees are fine, shins are OK. The only new ailment is a slight ache in my hip that came on during last Sunday's long run after about 8 miles. It eased off with Monday and Tuesday as easy days but I felt it a little during Wednesday's tempo. But if it isn't getting worse in 50+ mile weeks I'm not too worried about it. At my age, things are bound to creak a little.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Decent Tempo Run

Finally managed to be disciplined enough to run a reasonable tempo run. The last 2 have been a little gung ho and I've ended up going faster/harder than I should, which means your heartrate goes up too high and all you don't get the benefits you are supposed to get from this type of training run.

This a chart of heartrate against miles of the one from 2 weeks ago. Tempo sections are in red. It was 2x2 miles - first 2 uphill, 2nd 2 down. way too fast in that first segment, as you see by the skyrocketing HR. 2nd segment was better.

Here is last week's. This was on the track, so no hills to worry about. This time it was 2x3 miles. First one started OK, but got hard towards the end. Second one was too fast (I ran the last 1.5 miles about 15-20 seconds faster than tempo pace for fun)

Here's today's. Another 2x3 miles. First 3 on the roads so a little downhill then uphill, with a climb right at the end. Second 3 on the track, so no excuses. Paces were 6:53 and 6:55 (plan was 6:55)

I'm very happy with that second 3 mile tempo. Nice steady heartrate at low 160s and the pace was pretty constant at 6:55. It's much easier to do these on the track where you don't have to worry about hills (or traffic). So from now on that's what I will try to do, but it is a little boring doing lap after lap at constant pace.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Less Creaky

Much less creaky this morning on a crisp 7 miler. All easy miles at around 8:00 pace, but I have started running the "medium hill". Until recently I've been limiting my runs to the "little hill", which is only a 100' climb. Now that I'm stronger I've added in the next level, which climbs to about 375'. I'll probably wait until mid/late December before venturing into the "big hills" - which is where it all went horribly wrong back in May.

It is also now officially time to start wearing some sleeves on these easy morning runs. At 7 this morning it was probably about 45 degrees and it took me a good 3-4 miles before my arms warmed up.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Very creaky on an easy 5 mile run this morning. I think the last week was a little more tiring than I originally thought. Left hip creaking, right knee creaking, left calf creaking. I am getting old. Hopefully things will have eased up a bit by tomorrow, luckily it's another easy day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Finally! A Great Training Week

Finished the week with a good 14 miler, bringing the weekly total to just under 49. Last time I got to this sort of mileage it all fell to pieces, but I'm feeling much better about things this time - Fingers crossed!

Today's long run was very good - Plan was to go 12-14 depending on how I felt, and if it was good at the end, throw in some faster miles for the last 2-3. Weather was absolutely perfect, not hot, no wind, and a little misty.

Did a couple easy miles to start at 8:00 pace, then started up the hills so slowed it down to 8:30 for the next 1.5 miles. Then 2.5 faster miles downhill at around 7:30. An easy 8:00 and then slow again up the next hill. Took a wrong turn about mile 9-9.5 and had a slow mile throw some bushes etc. but got back on track by 10ish.

Got thru 11 miles in 1:28, at 8:04 average pace. Didn't feel tired, so ran the next 2.5 miles at my half marathon PR pace (7:10). These fast finish runs are really good training, and I was happy to be feeling good enough to run it after elevn 8 minute miles. Jogged the final 1/2 mile home to total 14 miles in 1:50 - average pace 7:54.

That was my first run over half marathon distance for 6 months. Next week is pretty much the same thing. About 50 miles with a tempo Wednesday, pace run Friday and 14 miler on Sunday. Then it's an easy mini-taper week before the California International Marathon relay on December 3rd.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Marathon Training Plan

It is 21 weeks until the London marathon and I will be starting my training program next week. The last 14 weeks have been my rebuilding phase as I tried to get back up to my pre-injury mileage and fitness levels. I just beat my 10k PR and this week's mileage will be about 48 miles, so I'm considering phase zero successfully completed

The marathon plan is a hodge-podge created by pulling aspects that worked well from my previous training as well as a number of formal training programs (daniels, pfitzinger, durden). Given my history of speed/hill related injuries it focuses on distance, tempo work and marathon pace running. It is light on speedwork and aggressive hill climbing.

Mileage builds steadily, with an easy cutback week every 4 weeks (Mileage drops and I take 1 day off). Peak mileage is 70, which I'll hit 4 weeks before race day. March is the big month at 283 miles, then it tapers for 3 weeks for the race itself.

A normal week will be...
--Monday: 5 easy miles - recovering from Sunday!
--Tuesday: 5-7 easy miles
--Wednesday: Tempo Runs 2x3miles, 7-9 total
--Thursday: 7-10 easy miles
--Friday: 5-7miles, with 2-3 at race pace
--Saturday: 6-11 easy miles
--Sunday: Long runs 14-22, with fast finishes and lots at marathon pace

Here's the weekly mileage plan.....

I have a 10k and 2 half marathons along the way to assess my (hopefully) improving fitness and will use these to adjust training paces.

I'm basing all my training and racing paces on Daniels' VDOTs. (I wrote about them back in early May).

Currently I'm between 49 and 50 based on my 41:43 10k. I'm hoping to get up to a solid 51 before London. At that level I should be able to run a 1:30:02 half, a 40:39 10k and a 19:36 5k.

Marathon prediction for 51 is 3:07, but although I'm going to train at paces based on a VDOT of 51 (if I can actually get there) I will race the marathon based on a VDOT of 2 lower, which means a 3:14 (7:26 pace) as a goal (althrough 3:20:59 will do too, as that is my Boston Qualifying time).

Given that my current marathon PR is 4:10 I have a lot of improving to do.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Easy 7

Nice'n'easy seven miler at lunch. Pace from mid 8's to high 7's. A lovely running day today. A little half marathon pace work tomorrow (7:10), easy miles Saturday, and a 13 miler on Sunday. I'm happy to be back in regular training.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fast Shoes

Bought some new shoes today. Same as last ones (Mizuno Wave Inspire 3) but they changed the color scheme. These colors looked faster so I decided to do my tempo run at the high school track this evening. (OK, the real reason is because it was dark, and there are fewer obstacles to avoid on the track).

3/4 mile warmup, then it was time for 2x3miles at around 6:55 pace. Started comfortably at 6:56 for the first 1/2 mile, then worked it slowly down: 6:53, 6:51, 6:50, 6:48, 6:44 - 20 mins 32 seconds for 3 miles = 6:51 pace. Felt pretty good, but probably a little bit over true tempo pace (heartrate was 169 at the end).

Did a 400m recovery jog at 8ish pace, got the heartrate back down to mid 150s and then set off on the second 3 miles.

Started at 6:56, and tried to stay at about that pace. 6:52 followed by 6:58 thru 1.5 miles. Then picked it up a little with a 6:45. Decided to do the last mile a little quicker and ran it in 6:31. I was very happy with that as the last mile of a 6 mile tempo. Obviously that mile was well under tempo pace, but given that I'm not doing any real speedwork just yet it was an OK substitute in my mind. Second 3 miles was 20 minutes 18 seconds = 6:46 pace.

Easy jog home for 1/2 mile to bring it up to 7.67 miles at an average of 7:15. Overall, a really solid workout.

I knew those shoes were fast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Softer Ground

Ran tonight on a soft trail down by the Bay for 5-6 miles. Much better on the legs than the concrete of San Francisco yesterday. Still went fairly easy at around 7:40 pace with just one faster mile down near 7. Legs are feeling a little stiff from the exertion of Sunday so I need to be sure to stretch out properly this evening, which I didn't really do yesterday or Sunday night.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, so it's tempo day. Either 2x2miles at 6:45-6:50 or 2x3miles at 6:55-7:00. I'll see how I feel in the morning and how much time I have.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Doing better than the 49ers

Easy 4-5 miles in San Francisco this evening. Considering how badly the niners are currently doing against Seattle, I wish I'd decided to run long (real long) so I wouldn't have to watch this debacle.....

Nothing special on the run, just steady 8 minute miles. No achilles pain, felt a little bit in my right knee, but that is normal for running on concrete. Will try to get to some softer surfaces for tomorrow's 5 miler. Not sure how I'm gonna work that yet.


Alright! Everything feels OK this morning. I will try to find time to get in an easy 4-5 sometime to double check that I haven't broken anything.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stanford 10k - No Excuses Run!

Today was a big race for me and finally I know where I am fitness wise. It's the first real datapoint after an injury to my achilles in late May, and a miserable summer of deep water pool running, and then gradually starting out again in September, with lots of physio, ice, stretching and then building up the easy miles thru October. Today was the day when I got to see whether any of that effort was worth it or if I'd lost what little fitness I used to have.

I'd decided and posted yesterday that there was no conservative plan for me - I was going all out - it was my "No Excuses Run"! Anything short of beating my 10k PR (42:51, 6:54 pace) was going to be disappointing. I'm done with being injured, it's time to see if I'm fit or not. I set an aggressive race plan, which showed me getting a 41 second PR. It all looked great in excel.....

Race Day!
Woke up early, and really nervous. ate, stretched, had a warm shower and then got to the course about 45 minutes before the start. Did a solid warmup so that I wasn't straining cold muscles with a fast start. Lined up at the front as ready as I was gonna be.

Mile 0-1.5 - Goal 6:50 pace
Started way too fast despite having practiced 100m starts at goal pace.
First half 6:27 pace.
Eased up and got onto 6:50 pace for the next mile.

Mile 1.5-2.5 - Goal 7:10 pace (the hill)
Hill was not as gradual as I thought and the first 1/2 mile was barely noticeable so I kept at 6:50 pace. Second half mile was steep and I slowed way down to 7:25. Overall about right. Got to the top about 15 seconds ahead of plan, due to my fast start.

Mile 2.5-4.5 - Goal 6:35 pace (the downhill stretch)
This was where the race was going to be decided. I was feeling tired from the fast start and the steep hill, and the downhill was very gradual. 6:35 was a tough target but I decided it was time to go for it. The long summer of thrashing thru the pool was all for this race. Under 4 miles to go - no time to take it easy.
Ran the first 2 half miles at 6:36, 6:38 but I was now feeling it. Decided it was time to forget times and start chasing down the guys ahead. Next 2 half miles were at 6:31 and 6:20 (not sure where that came from but it hurt like hell). I was now flying and reeling in runners but feeling a lot of pain and the heartrate was up into the 170s.

Mile 4.5-5.5 - Goal pace 6:50
I knew I was on for a PR and everything screamed slowdown as the course flattened out. But I'd read too many running books with titles like "Pain" over the summer so I just kept my eyes on the next guy and pushed with everything left. Half mile paces at 6:33 and 6:38.

Mile 5.5 to home - Goal pace 6:40
Time for the kick. Pushed again, caught the next guy, and got thru mile 6 at 6:33 pace - I was dying by now but found one last kick for the final .2m and sped up to 6:27 and managed to sprint to the line for the crowd.

Crossed the line at 41:43 - beating my plan by almost 30 seconds and smashing my pre-injury PR by over a minute.

It was simply an awesome feeling after the disappointment of injury and struggling back. All that slogging thru the pool and running those boring, short, slow, flat miles had paid off. And the good news is that I had no achilles pain at all - I think the solid warmup was key there.

Now I get to plan out my marathon training for London in April with a solid race behind to use as a basis for pacing.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I am weirdly nervous about tomorrow's 10k. I've decided that I am going to go all out, there is no conservative plan for me!

I'm going to shoot for beating my 10k best of 42:51 which means running better than 6:54 pace. I definitely have the speed as I found it in some of my faster tempos, but I'm not really sure if I'm fit enough to do that for 10k yet. I've been doing steady mileage but only one run of 10 miles since May. I'm also not sure my achilles is going to hold out for 6 fast miles. But there is only way to find out.

Course is flat for first 1.5m, then it climbs 100' in the next mile, and drops 100' in the following 2 miles, and is flat thru the finish (6.2 miles).

My aggressive pacing plan is as follows....
....0-1.5miles at 6:50 - steady start
....1.5-2.5 at 7:10 - ease up the hill
....2.5-4.5 at 6:35 - fast downhill miles
....4.5-5.5 at 6:50 - steady flat mile
....5.5-6.2 at 6:40 - kick for the finish!
Overall pace 6:47
Time 42:10
PR by 41 seconds!

I'm either recoverd and fit, or I'm not. Guess I'll find out soon enough.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Easy does it

Easy 5 this morning at 8ish pace after an even easier 5 yesterday at 8:30ish. Should be nice and rested for Sunday's race.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Comfortably Hard

Strange expression, seems to be an oxymoron, but it's how people describe how it should feel when you are doing tempo runs. Definitely not easy, but not flat out.

Anyway, it's Wednesday, so that's tempo run day. Same course as last week. 3/4 mile warm up. 2 miles straight up the road (gradual 100' climb) 1/2 mile recovery jog and then 2 miles straight back down again. Last week was 7:11 pace up and 6:49 down, so 7:00 for both legs. I was feeeling very good this morning so decided I'd try to go 7:00 up and see how i felt coming down.

Warmup was quick at 7:30 pace, and as I started the uphill quickly got down to 6:40 pace. It felt OK, somewhere on the pleasant side of comfortably hard, so I kept at it. Went through the first 3 halves with paces of 6:41, 6:39 and 6:42. By now it was at least comfortbaly hard, but I decided to push for the final half mile uphill and did it at 6:39. A 2 mile uphill (albeit only slightl) run at 6:40 pace surpirsed me. That is only 2 seconds off my best 5k pace.

The 1/2 mile recvery was much needed and it would be a big stretch to use the word comfortable to describe any part of that last half mile. Decided I would run the downhill 2 miles at a more sensible effort level and would concentrate on constant effort and finishing strong.

Started steadily and quickly found 6:46 pace. Slower than the uphill but was still paying the price for the first leg. Second half at 6:45. Third half mile slowed a little to 6:49 so focused on finishing strong and brought it in at 6:39. 6:46 overall for the downhill 2 miles.

Average for both legs was 6:43 which is up there with my pre-injury pacing. On the way up, heartrate was climbing unsustainably, but on the way back down, at a more managed pace it was steady in the low 160s.

Three easy days now and then it's race day! After this morning I'm feeling confident that I can do a 7:00 pace for the 10k (43:30) and if things go well I have a chance to go under my current 10k best of 42:51 (6:54 pace). Although that will be a little more than comfortably hard.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Getting Smarter?

Went out early this morning for an easy 5 miles. Felt great and started fast. Before the first mile was over I was running under 7 minute pace. And then I thought "Why am I running this fast?". There are no prizes for training faster than planned and ultimately there is a reason for those easy days. So I decided to stop, stretch properly and then run at a more reasonable pace. Kept things going reasonably fast and averaged about 7:35. Still faster than planned but better than the 6:50 I was going to do if I'd kept going.

Maybe I am getting a little smarter about this?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Daylight Savings

7am is much more tolerable this week compared to last. It's lighter, warmer and I'm much less sleepy.

A nice 5 miler at 7:40 pace to kick off the week. No after effects from last week's 42 miles (did 6.5 Sunday vs the planned 5), so I am thinking that I can now officially declare my "injury phase" over. Obviously I could easily go crazy now and quickly start my next "injury phase", so I will be continuiing to keep things steady. Ramp mileage gradually, keep off the big hills and try to keep speed out of a lot of the runs.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Double Digits

Ran an easy 10 miler yesterday afternoon. It was hot and I set out about 1:30. Ran with a friend and it was an easy 8:10 pace through some rolling hills trying to find the shady side of the street where possible. Felt fine during the run and this morning everything seems good. I'll do an easy 5 in a while, which will bring my weekly total to just over 40.

Next week will be a little lower as I will be racing a 10k on Sunday instead of doing a long run. That will be the first real assessment of my fitness. I'm just hoping I am somewhere near my pre-injury levels.

Friday, November 2, 2007

2 more runs....

Very easy 4 this morning - it's getting a little colder, maybe time for some sleeves.

A good 7 yesterday. Started slow but got down to high 6's. A little faster than planned but all OK.

A new long run milestone planned tomorrow of 10 miles. Finally back to double digits.