Friday, February 29, 2008

February Totals

Finished up Feb with a fast Friday pace run this morning. Goal was 3 miles at planned next half marathon pace (6:34) and 8 miles overall. Did a quick warmup mile and then started the fast stuff. Course was uphill for first mile and I did 6:47, then 6:31 (which included another hill but up and down), then 6:26. At this point I was feeling good and I'd run more up than down, so decided to keep going at pace for another 2-3 miles. Next 3 miles were 6:17, 6:22 and then 6:31 for mile 6 which was back on the flat. Overall 6 fast miles at 6:29 pace which is a better pace than my best ever 10k (6.2 miles). Things are looking good!

February Totals:
-- Took 6 days off, to (hopefully) avert some achilles issues
-- 1 race, Kaiser Half on 2/3, New PR (6:40 pace - 1:27:25)
-- Ran 197.5 miles (plan was 280)
-- 23 out of 29 days of running (plan was 29)
-- 75 miles in biggest week
-- Longest run 21 miles
-- First ever sub 6 minute mile
-- Hit 4:20 pace in some sprints (but only for 60 meters)
-- Fastest pace 6:40 (Kaiser)

March Goals:
-- A solid month of training
-- Half Marathon Time Trial on 3/23 (1:26 goal)
-- Around 320 miles for the month
-- One day off (March 17th)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday Tempo

My first "post-break" real workout today - Tuesday tempo.....

Decided to do just 3 miles at true tempo (6:34) vs going longer/slower. Ran a couple miles warmup and then started the fast part - it's a net downhill for 2 miles, then 1 mile of flat/slight uphill. Planned to run "comfortably hard" vs trying to run a specific pace because of the hills.

Mile 1 was 6:21, Mile 2 was 6:17 and Mile 3 was 6:33 - 6:24 overall. Average HR for the 3 miles was 167, 167, 168 which is pretty much perfect for a tempo run. Compared to my last 3 mile tempo, which was just before the Kaiser half this was a little better in terms of HR/speed so things are looking good.

My various aches/pains seem to be OK. I'm stretching/icing a lot which is helping. Right achilles seems to be getting better (don't feel anything at all during the run) so if I stay off the hills that's going to be fine, right knee is still letting me know it's there, but that is the same injury I have had since my second week of running back in April 2006.

Rest of the week is "back to normal"
Wed - 8 miles easy w strides
Thu - 10 miles easy
Fri - pace run - 3 miles at HMP, 8miles overall
Sat - long run 17 miles
Sun - easy 11 miles

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back to the schedule

A wet and windy 7 miles today at about 7:30 pace. Little slower uphill and a little faster heading down, overall kept things easy and just ran at a comfortable pace.

Saturday was a similar sort of run so the weekly total was only about 20, which is the lowest weekly mileage since last October. But I'm feeling good from the break, and all my charts/graphs show that I'm back running where I was after the Feb 3rd half marathon.

I can still feel a little pinch in my right achilles but it is very faint and is OK if I am stretching the calf muscle properly and icing at night, so I think I'll be OK. So next week I get back into 7 day training, planning to go somewhere in the mid 60's.

Edinburgh is 13 weeks from today: with 2 cutback/easy weeks and 3 weeks of taper prior to the race, that leaves 8 hard weeeks of training, which will average in the mid/high 70's. I'll try to stay off the bigger hills, since they obviously are not going over too well with my wimpy achilles.

I'm definitely expecting that I will need to take some time off after Edinburgh to heal it properly but don't think (fingers crossed) it's going to get much worse between now and May.

I'm skipping the 10K time trial I was going to do early March, so the next event is a half marathon time trial in 4 weeks (I can't find a local race that fits my schedule). Not sure if I am really up to spending 1 hour 26 minutes running laps of the high school track, but that is the current plan. That means 52.75 laps, each in 98 seconds

After that I have a half to race on 5/3, which is 22 days before Edinburgh - that will be my 1:25 attempt, which I need to do before I can think about going for sub 3.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Back on the roads

So I'm back. Did zero running since last Friday, very little stretching, no icing. A couple walks up in Tahoe, and some sledding (which involved walking up a hill repeatedly in bad fitting snow boots - not great for a sore achilles). It was nice to take a complete break (6 days with no running felt like a long time).

Today it was time to get back out there, even though the rain was coming down. No real plan, just go run and see how it all feels.

Set off on my normal route, on autopilot. Didn't bother looking at my watch, just ran. Everything felt good so I just went steady and then after a mile or so started to pick it up. By three miles I was moving pretty quick (turns out I got down to just under 6:30 pace) and was enjoying the feeling of running again. Did 6 miles overall at 7 minute pace.

Looking at the pace/HR aftewards it looks like the rest did me some good. I'm back inline with where I was just before the half marathon. No aches/pains and the achilles feels fine. I'll ease back in to my schedule over the weekend with a couple more "run-by-feel" runs and then pick it up again for real on Monday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Smart or Lazy?

So I am thinking that I need to take an unplanned easy week. Since the Kaiser half marathon I've felt a little off - stomach still not 100% and this cold is hanging around - I've definitely had some great runs but usually not without some sort of niggling issue (sore shins, achey knees). I think I've just overdone it a little. Also, my speed/heartrate trending is up a little which is a good sign that things aren't right.

The real clincher is that for the last few days I've fet a little stress in my right achilles. After the problems I had last summer with my left one I am very aware of how problematic that little bugger can be. So I am definitely not going to screw this leg up like I did last time.

It's also probably time for a break, I've only skipped 5 days since I got running again back in early October. And the last 12 days have been especially intense: ~130 miles, starting with a hard half marathon, sub 6 minute mile on the road, 21 miler thru the hills, and a 7 mile tempo run in the afternoon sun. I've also run at some weird times since work has been pretty hectic.

I am going to skip any hard workouts for the next week or so: No speedwork, no tempo, no hills, no long runs - I'll probably do a few easy runs, but skip days completely if I feel like it. Turned this morning's 10 miler with 2x2 miles at 6:16 into a 3.5 miler at 8:30 pace.

Timing works out well since I have no races in the near future, I'm still 15 weeks out from Edinburgh and I'm in Tahoe next week and it looks like the weather won't be all the good for running up there.

Hopefully this is a sign that I am getting a little smarter about running and listening to my body. Or it could just be that I'm getting lazy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Midweek Update

Struggling to fit in work, family, running and blogging. Blogging is the one that is suffering the most.....

Mon: 6.9 miles easy at 8:24 pace
Tue: 7 miles tempo at 6:44. 9.7 miles overall.
...this was a great run, kept steady tempo pace (6:39-6:49 range)
Wed: 8 miles easy (8:19 pace) with a friend after work
Thu: An early run (started before 6am, in the dark) 12.25 miles at 8:05 pace

Pace run tomorrow (2x2 miles at 6:16) - should be fun....
Long on Saturday - 21 miles w last 10 miles at marathon pace - more fun....
12 miles easy on Sunday

Then it's off to Tahoe, which will make for some interesting runs next week.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekly Update

Weekly Totals
75.55 miles
7:50 average pace
...fastest run 7:19
...fastest half mile pace 5:55
...longest run 20.66 miles
148 average heartrate
1,616 feet climbing
9 hours 53 minutes

Next Week
Mon - 7 miles easy
Tue - 7 miles tempo (6:46), 10miles overall
Wed - 9 miles easy, with 10xStrides
Thu - 13 miles easy
Fri - 2x2 miles at 10k pace (6:16), 9 miles overall
Sat - 21 miles with 10 at marathon pace (6:58)
Sun - 11 miles easy
Total - 80 miles

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Progress and Plans

  1. After the heady excitement of running a sub 6 minute mile, it's time to lay out the intermediate race goals between now and Edinburgh at the end of May.

    The chart shows the last 4 races, and the next 3. White dots are 10Ks (converted to the equivalent half marathon time), Yellow dots are half marathons. As you can see, I am making steady progress.

    Next up is a 10k on 3/7 (I don't have a suitable race, so it will probably be a time trial up the high school track). 39:00 equates to a 1:26:20 half, which is about right, so that is the plan - pace is 6:16

    Then it's a half on 3/23 (again, no race, so maybe a TT), 1:26 will be the goal. (6:34 pace)

    Then it's the Parkway Half Marathon on 5/3. I need to do 1:25:00 (6:29 pace) as a final assessment before I decide my marathon race plan.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Milestone

So today, being a Friday, is pace day. Basically, running some miles at the goal pace of my next race.

Now my schedule is a little up in the air: I have a half in early May, but I don't have anything concrete between now and then. So I have tentatively decided I will do a 10k in about 5 weeks. Haven't fully decided what the time goal would be but I'll work that out this weekend. Over the next 4 Fridays I will do the following workouts....
  1. 3x1 mile at goal pace, with 3-4 minutes rest
  2. 2x2 mile at goal pace, with 3-4 minutes rest
  3. 3x2 mile at goal pace, with 3-4 minutes rest
  4. 1x5k at goal pace
Then hopefully I am able to do 2x5k with zero rest on the day! Since I haven't worked all of the dubious science to determine an exact race day goal, I somewhat arbritarily picked 39:00, which is 1:24 faster than my last 10k.

So today I set out with a plan for 3x1 mile at 6:16 pace. (It's interesting to note that 6:16 is faster than my best ever 5k pace, and only 6 seconds slower than the fastest mile I have run in the last 25 years).

After warmup of a couple miles I go for mile 1 - start fast but settle at 6:06, and hold it pretty comfortably for the whole mile. 4 minutes jog recovery and then it's number 2 - do this one at 6:07, still feeling reasonably under control. So I get the idea for #3 that I'll try to go sub-6. Now sub-6 for a mile is something that I should be able to do based on my performance at longer distances, but the fact remains I have not run a sub-6 mile since I was 15.

So off I go, first half at 2:59, second half in 2:58 for a total of 5:57 - my new 1 mile PR! Very happy with that. Now all I have to do is take another 2 minutes off that and I may be considered a serious runner.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Midweek Update

Quick update...

Mon: 7 miles easy. felt fine after Sunday's exertion.
Tue: couldn't run in the morning (kids sick) so ran at lunch with a group at work. Instead of 6M tempo at 6:43, 8 overall, I did a shorter run. Only went 5 miles, with just 2 fast, but a at 6:26 pace.
Wed: Ran 12.5M easy with someone at work in the morning. A great day for a medium long run.

More easy miles tomorrow (9), and then 4HM pace miles (10M overall) on Friday, easy Saturday (11M) and then a 20 miler for Sunday with the last 3 at MP. Should end up in the mid 70's for the week.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Kaiser Half Marathon

The Plan
Goal was 1:27:30 (6:40 pace) but I was planning to pace a little faster (1:25). Two reasons for this:
1) First half of the race is faster (sheltered from weather, 2 downhill miles)
2) I am agressive, and figured I may have a "breakout race" if things went well.

The Weather
Forecast called for showers and 15-20 mph winds from the west. The most exposed piece is a North/South out/back right on the edge of the beach. Running up/down the Pacific with a strong westerly wind effectively means headwind in both directions. Oh well, not much you can do about the weather!

The Start
Stomach felt bad (have been dealing with flu last few days) but managed a pitstop before getting to the start, which left me feeling OK. Did a half hearted warmup with a few strides and got in line about 2 rows back. It's a big race (6,000 runners) and there's a 5K that starts with it. Lots of people toeing the line that really shouldn't have been up the front, but had a clean start and it cleared out very fast.

Miles 1-5
These are the steady miles. 2.5 heading East (tailwind) 2.5 heading West. A couple rollers but flat overall. Aggressive plan was for 6:32 average.
Started fast (6:18 pace), eased a little but kept pretty quick. Got thru 2 miles in 12:56 (6:28 pace) feeling good. Mile 3 was 6:40 (turned back into the wind), Mile 4 6:36, and Mile 5 6:38 as we started the downhill section. And still no rain! Time at 5 was 32:50 (6:34 pace)

Miles 6 & 7
There are a couple downhill miles from about 4.6 to 6.6 so this was the time to make some time! Hit the first down very fast (5:50 pace) but as it levelled off went thru Mile 6 at 6:20 (a little slower than my optimistic 6:15 plan). As the course got closer to the beach, the wind picked up and as we were heading West it slowed me as much as the hill sped me up. Mile 7 was 6:38. Legs felt fine but stomach was not feeling good and I considered a pitstop, but decided to push thru it. Time at 7 was 45:48 (6:33 pace) and I'd covered the 10k only 15 seconds off my PR.

Miles 7-10
This is the portion that runs South down the Great Highway. It was windy but seemed to be a little bit of a NW vs a pure W so it wasn't too bad. I'd hoped to hold a 6:37 pace but that wasn't happening; 8 was 6:42, 9 was 6:44 and 10 was 6:45. I'd eased a little hoping to stop my guts churning and it did the trick. Mile 10 was the turnaround and I hit 10 at 1:05:59 (6:36 pace)

Miles 11 & 12
These were always going to be the deciding miles, and as I turned I felt the wind. Wow - alot stronger than it felt heading out! And after 1/2 mile the rain finally came. Cold, wet and windy, 10 miles into a race running pretty much on the edge of my ability.... Not fun and I knew it was going to be a tough slog home. Mile 11 was OK at 6:49 but mile 12 was bad; wind was picking up and I was hurting - 7:05 (ouch!). Crossed 12 at 1:19:53 (6:39 pace)

Last Mile
I knew that 1:27:30 was there if I could get back to 6:45 ish pace. 1/2 mile was slogging thru the wind and then we turned East, which meant tailwind. But it also meant uphill. Kicked for the first 1/2 mile and got down to 6:47ish, turned up the hill and loved the fact that the wind dropped but the hill hurt. My stomach muscles all went to pieces and I thought I was going to throw up (or worse...). Held low 6:50s up the hill and kicked again as it levelled for the finish. For the last 400 yards I could see the clock... 1:27:10, 1:27:11..... It's gonna be close.... Now I'm flying, passing a couple surprised people and I cross the line at 1:27:25! It felt so good to stop.

I didn't throwup but it was very close - Another 100 yards and it would have been ugly. The line of porta-potties at the finish was the best sight ever!

The Conclusion
I am very happy with meeting my primary goal. That 3 miles back up the coast was really tough, and probably cost me about a minute. This was a big intermediate race for me in my bigger goal for a possible sub 3 hour marathon in May. I need to run a 1:25 half before I even try for a sub 3 full. This was a 2:31 PR improvement (plus an 11+ minute improvement over my time at this race last year), and leaves me in a nice place for the next half sometime before May when I hope to take off the next 2:30.

Now it's time for a well deserved boatload of beer and junk food as I watch Brady choke and see the underdogs win the Superbowl!