Sunday, June 29, 2008

week of 23 June

  • Mo - 5.5/9:13/139
  • Tu am - 9.3/8:52/141 -- 57 deg
  • Tu pm - 3.6/11:03/142 -- lunch, hot and on trail at lunch
  • We - 9.3/8:42/145 -- another pretty good weather day
  • Th - 3.2/no watch or HRM -- heat, humidity back
  • Fr am - 9.3/8:41/149 -- middle 6 at "80%", hrs - 146, 148, 155, 160, 159, 161; pace between 8:03 and 8:54 because of hills
  • Fr pm - 3.2/9:34/143
  • Sa - 5.6/9:00/140
  • Su - 15.3/10:03/141 -- dew point 70. 'nuff said.

Week: 64.5/9:20/142, went over 10 hours: 10:01:43

It was hot and humid for my long run today. I think the humidity affects me as much or more than the heat. I really start to feel it when the dew point gets above 60 and when it's 70, like today, then forget about it.

Anyway, I started way slow for the first lap (4.6 miles), hoping to at least make it comfortable. I'm such a weeny. On the second lap, I bumped into a friend. I ran with her for 3/4 of a lap, which included a 2 or 3 walk breaks. It was very nice to run with somebody. The conversation and slow pace made the second lap go quickly. I "picked it up" for the last lap, "running" a little under 9:30 pace I think. I tacked on an out and back for another 1.9. The Garmin credited me with 10:03 pace (did I mention I'm a weeny). I think I really went 0.4 longer than it said, but for some reason it cheats me on that course. (The certified 5 miler was 4.9 according to Mr. Garmin.) I only think about it because of the magic of the 10 min/mi. The fact we have 10 fingers and 10 toes has a powerful effect.

I again noticed the 10 min/mi summer compression phenomenon today. What's that, you ask? Every summer, everybody slows down, but nobody wants to go over 10 min/mi so everybody ends up at that pace even if it's going to kill them. In the spring, I run about 9 min/mi or a little faster and the people passing me look like they should be passing me (cross country kids, age group runners, etc.) . In the summer, it's open season on Greg, with me getting passed by pot-bellied, middle-aged guys in near cardiac arrest.

All in all, I think the week went about right. I do wonder about my easy pace though. Should I really be running *that* slow? I've been looking at Jack Daniels and thinking I'm being to easy on myself, but his easy pace has to be a bit too hard. He also seems to discount heart rate as an indicator of effort and he doesn't give any alternative. He goes in great detail about the effects of altitude, but for heat and humidity says, "Ah, you might be a little slower." All his tables for R, I, T, M, and E pace don't help when it's 80 and 80 outside.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a weather reprieve

The running has been going better this week.

I got in 5.5 on Monday morning. I ran a different route, which I think helped my spirits. Even better on Tuesday was the cooler weather -- 57 degrees. I ran 9.3 at under 9 min/mi and a reasonable heart rate (140 I think). I snuck in a run at lunch time, which I've never done before. It was nice to get out of the office and it only took 70 minutes to change, run 40 minutes, shower, grab lunch, and get back to my office. I ran through a nature preserve zig-zagging on paths up and down hills. My garmin record 11 min/mi!

The weather was good again this morning and I got in another 9.3. The pace was about 8:45 although I kept the pace on the steep uphills and touched 159 bpm once or twice. It felt very nice. I was actually itching to run again at lunch, but didn't.

After vacillating and thinking way too much, I've come back to the Rubio plan for no other reason than I'm tired of thinking about it and it roughly matches what I think about marathon training. I've reformatted from the horrible skinny column on the asics aggies site to this using google documents.

Adjusting the dates for my target marathon on 11/29 gives
  • 7/21 - 9/14 - Transition period (8 weeks)
  • 9/15 - 11/9 - Race prep period (8 weeks)
  • 11/10-11/29 (race Sat) - Marathon taper (3 weeks)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

week of 16 June

Mo - 9.3
Tu - 0, sick
We - 0, sick
Th - 5.0
Fr - 5.3 am; 5.3 pm -- park midway and run to work and back
Sa - 5.0 at 2:30 pm (very warm), 20 minutes swimming at 6pm
Su - 15.1/9:44/143 - harder than it should have been?
Week: 45/9:35/140

I thought the weather wasn't going to be that bad, but today was much tougher than expected. 69-76 degrees and dp 65 (that's pretty humid). It was also cloudless and I ran 10+ of the miles in direct sun. Anyway, the last three miles were 10:14/150, 10:23/154, 9:32/163! There was a lot of uphill in that, but still! I drank about 10 oz on the way out and 20 on the way back and downed a 32 oz bottle of gatorade, but was only 157.1 when I weighed myself. I haven't seen below 160 for weeks, so I was likely dehydrated.

This is the end of the 25th week of the year (starting on 12/31). I've run 1467.7 miles and averaged 58.7 miles. Below is a stem and leaf plot of my weekly mileage, and shows my median weekly mileage is 61.


I just want to get in a good rut where I'm just getting in the miles and not thinking about it, but I haven't quite settled on my approach to the marathon, which is now 23 weeks away. I'm far enough out that I could follow either the pfitz or daniel's 24 week programs, which would be nice, because I'd have things pretty settled. I don't really believe in pfitz though. I think threshold early and intervals late might be backwards. Following Daniel's would involve me figuring a few things out. I'm not sure how to structure the week beyond the Q1 and Q2 workouts. Ah, I don't know. There's just too much "information" out there. If I just run enough miles things should work out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

park n run

5:30 - alarm went off
5:55 - driving away from my house
6:08 - reach train station parking lot and start walking
6:16 - reach my pre-determined 0.5 mile point and start running
6:16-7:08 - run 5.3 miles/48:46/9:12 pace/134 bpm avg (extra time was stoplights)
7:08 - pick a nice landmark to stop running and start walking
7:14 - arrived at my building and head up to my office to get my bag
7:18 - back down to the locker room for a shower
7:35 - in my office

I managed to leave my Garmin at work and so I used my Suunto HRM, but got the distance on the way home. The heart rate wasn't bad for the pace. The weather was spectacularly good though -- 55 degrees.

16:50 - left my office to change and stash stuff in the bike room
17:04 - started walking
17:09-18:02 - ran 5.3/50:44/9:34/140, 80 degrees
18:02 - stopped running, walked to car
18:10 - reached car
18:25 - arrived home, showered
18:37 - drove away from home on the way to the pool to join up with the family

Let's see how this compares in terms of efficiency
  1. park n run (above) costs 232 minutes to travel to work and back, shower, and run 10.6 miles total
  2. If I drive in first and run 10.6 in the morning I could leave at 5:50 and be in my office at 8:30 based on experience. Driving home in traffic is 30-35 minutes, so 190-195 total. Of course I get 28 minutes of walking in the first option. Of course running 1 x 10.6 every day is tougher on the body than 2 x 5.3
  3. Another option is driving in, running at work, driving home, and running again at home. I think the time would be about the same as option 1 except I'd spent the 28 minutes walking in extra drive time.
One consideration is that I save a little gas - ~12 miles per day I run. With my car, that's about half a gallon. The thought also crossed my mind that they have bike racks at the park n ride lot. If I ever got a bike...

On the running side of things, I think options 1 and 3 are the best. My legs don't feel bad at all tonight. Doubling is a lot easier than running the same mileage in singles.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

OK, next week I start piling up the miles

I was sick the last couple of days, and my good start to the week (9.3 on Monday) was followed by zeros on Tu and We. The worst part is I missed some great running weather. I did get out there tonight for a quick 5 miles and it was quite nice. 72 degrees and 57 deg dew point. I thought it would be a dreadful run, but it wasn't that bad. 9:24 pace and 136 bpm avg hr.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to "park n run." I've found a park and ride lot that's ~10k from work. My plan is to drive there and walk the first and last 10 minutes, leaving about a 5-mile run each way. I'm not sure it's worth the hassle, but we'll see. If I don't save time, at least I'll save some gas.

Monday, June 16, 2008


This is becoming an annual rite. I have to grieve the loss of my speedy spring self and eventually (after denial, anger, bargaining, and depression) accept my slow summer self. I did the same thing last year. I started doing two weekly workouts (and reducing mileage) leading up to Frederick and found myself getting faster. I tried to continue with that type of training post-marathon and through in a couple of races for good measure. Both times I was slower than expected in the second race, but the heat and course (hot, XC) helped me to rationalize away my time. Subsequent training then eventually has me accepting that I was just slower.

Why am I slower? Well, the main factor I think is that it's just hot and humid. I also haven't been getting nearly enough sleep, which is probably part of it. I can't overlook the fact, however, that I'm just running less. Why shouldn't I be slower? Less is less, right?

The marathon just kills your mileage with sharpening, tapering, and recovering, you lose about 8 weeks of good mileage. 62 is the longest week I've had in the last 8 weeks (since I began tapering). I ran 64 or more for 11 of the 16 weeks before that and 5 of those were 70 or more mile weeks.

I need to get my mileage back up and I'll worry about the rest later. Here's the relevant quote from Ron Daws's Running Your Best that describes his building to peak mileage phase: "Go for as much mileage as is comfortable. Try to run every day, with more or less the same efforts and distances. You need miles, so sacrifice whatever else for that."

This period is only supposed to last a month. That was a long-winded way of saying, "Joseph, don't expect to see any workouts here for a little while." I might throw in some strides or charge the occasional hill if I'm feeling frisking, but probably not.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

week of 9 June

I took a 3 on Monday and a big fat zero on Friday (work), which put a dent in the mileage.

Mo - 3.2
Tu - 8.6
We - 10.4
Th - 10.4
Fr - 0
Sa - 12.0
Su - 12.8
Week - 57 miles, 9:35 avg pace, 140 avg bpm

Thursday, June 12, 2008

out of gas

I ran home from work (10.4 miles) last night in the heat (87 deg). I went very slowly (9:48 min/mi) but it still wiped me out. Ran back in again this morning. It was much cooler (60 at the start, 73 at the end) but still muggy (60-65 dp). The effect of these back-to-back runs, I feel, is like a long run. The last mile of the morning run feels at least as hard as mile 16 of a long run.

I realized this morning that my endurance is really in the tank these days. The marathon was 5 weeks ago and I think it's time to stop messing around. Of course tomorrow I have to take a big fat zero. No way around it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

pain free

I forgot to mention that after my knee bothered me on the run yesterday, I wrapped it with an ice pack for 10 minutes. The Mueller cold-hot wrap is the best running gadget I've ever purchased. Joseph suggested ice baths, which I agree with wholeheartedly, but they take some time and are a little unpleasant for the first couple of minutes, so I usually reserve them for after long runs (18 or over).

Anyway, I was out there this morning and the plan was just to go for one of those slow, low heart rate type runs that I used to do all the time. I'd head out to the lake and turn around if it bothered me. Well, I didn't feel the knee at all the whole time and I ended up trotting around the lake for the full 8.6 miles. It was still brutally hot and humid, but I find it isn't nearly as unpleasant when I run slow (like below 140 bpm). It feels more like spending 80 minutes in a sauna.

After some thunderstorms tonight, the high will be in the mid-80s tomorrow, which is more typical for this time of year. I'm planning to run home on Wed and into work on Thursday. I love run commuting so I'm going to do more of it even if it doesn't really fit with the plan (i.e., I have to sacrifice some quality).

Monday, June 09, 2008


The forecast high for today is, I kid you not, 99 degrees. I intended to run 5 this morning but my right knee was sore from the ill-advised deep knee bend. Really that just gave me an excuse to stop running in the soup. My ancient lab also kept me up last night, getting me out of bed three times, which added to my desire to just stop. Hey, it's supposed to cool down to 94 tomorrow!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

week of 2 June end with 5 in the heat

I ran yesterday morning and it felt like running underwater and the high was 97 yesterday with the same predicted for today, I kind of knew what to expect, but it was harder than I thought.

I got there this morning and I planned on doing a two-mile warmup, race, and two-mile cooldown. I did 2.2 miles as a warmup and I was drenched. It was in the 70s and close to 100% humidity.

I had a semi-plan today. I knew some of the runners and I figured I would probably end up a place or two behind a guy who ran 18:59 at the 5k 4 weeks ago (it's a very small field). I planned to get behind him slowly let him go, then find someone to race with.

I only half follow the plan. I got behind 18:59 guy and let him go but found myself completely alone on the trail. We left the paved section and got on the trail around a mile in I guess. As a little bonus we had a thunderstorm last night that left some nice mud patched on the trail. Somewhere after getting on the trail, a jogger coming the other way told me I was in 5th. I had a hard time keeping the effort up and frankly slacked off in the second mile. At about mile 2.5, I heard footstep behind me. Oh crap, I guess I have to race. I really hoped he would just blow by me and I could relax. Well, he didn't and I kept him behind me until less than half a mile to go when he passed me on a long hill. I looked at his face and figured he had to be at least 40 (turns out he was in his 50s) so it wasn't too bad. This is the one thing I was disappointed in -- I need to stop letting people by at the end.

I hadn't looked at my watch since early in the race because I knew how ridiculously slow I was going and the only thought midway through was to stay ahead of the guy behind me. I was still a little surprised to see something as ridiculously slow as 35:57 when crossed the line. Everybody was slow though. The guy who passed me at the end finished 11 seconds ahead. Looking at the 5k results from a month ago, he finished 1 place and 5 seconds back then, so despite the time, today wasn't that bad.

It wasn't a bad days work though. I won my age group (M30-39) because the overall winner who is 33 couldn't win twice. I came away with $30 at a restaurant that we actually go to plus a pretty nice race t-shirt.

With all the chatting after the race and the lack of will to suffer in the heat, I only managed a 1-mile cooldown. I could tell by how my legs felt during the cooldown that I didn't push myself too hard and I should recover pretty quickly. The one caveat is that after the race, when I was stretching (which I never do), I did kind of a deep knee bend (no idea why -- heat sickness???) and felt a pain in my right knee. I'm hoping that will just go away.

The week--
Mo - 5 maintenance w/ 4 or 5 striders
Tu - 8.6 w/ 10x160m w/160m jog -- mostly 33 secs
We - 9.3 moderate, 8:29 @ 144 bpm
Th - 5.3 very easy, 8:50 @ 134 bpm -- very good HR for the pace
Fr - 0
Sa - 8.6 very easy, but it was hot and humid! 9:21 @141 bpm
Su - 2.2 wup, race 5 miles in 35:57, 1 mile cooldown
Week - 45 miles, 8:44 avg pace, avg 145 bpm

This week, I'll be back at it. I'll probably do the 160s again on Tuesday since I think hills are harder and it will only be two days after a race.

Everybody root for Webb today at the Pre Classic!

Friday, June 06, 2008

forecast -- hotter than the sun

I did a moderate 9.3 at work Wednesday. Thursday I was planning on sneaking in some extra, but very slow, mileage since I knew I wouldn't be able to run today (Friday) because of the intrusion of real life. After a couple of miles I realized the ball of my foot still hurt and I'd developed this new ache in my arch. Running 9 miles like that, no matter how slowly, didn't strike me as in the spirit of the cut back week. I cut off my loop and turned in 5.3 miles. My heartrate pace were very good for me -- 8:55 at 134 bpm.

Today I'm taking the necessary big fat zero. I haven't decided on tomorrow yet, but will probably do my 8.6 route. Sunday I'm planning to a 5-miler that's being held on my usual long run route.

The forecast for the weekend is a high of 97 on both Saturday and Sunday. This isn't your southwestern dry heat 97. This is dewpoint of 70 type 97. At 8am on Sunday the race should start with 77 degrees and a dew point of 70. Given the surface (dirt and gravel) and the hills, I'm not expecting a PR.

There will be a number of people who ran the 5k at this race. I'll probably key off one guy in particular. Based on last years results, I should finish a couple of places behind him. I figure I'll let it settle out that way in the first mile and then try to hold or improve my position. I've also thought of just trying to go with him and seeing how long I can suffer. He beat me by 50 secs at the 5k though, so that might not be the best strategy :-)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

coolrunning deader than a doornail

I looked at the once bustling Basic Training forum on coolrunning and the last post was two days ago and the one before that was a week ago. Wow. This ought to be some case study in business school. It's amazing how managed to destroy coolrunning so quickly.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

200s (or close enough)

Yesterday I did the standard 5 mile maintenance run, but once again was a little on the recovery side of maintenance. I threw in 4 or 5 striders on the grass field at the elementary school. I felt like I was going to hurt myself running on the uneven grass and I did -- but not too bad. I remember now why I stopped doing these things. Anyway, it's the ball of my left foot that hurts. Not sure what I did.

I ran this morning and forgot all about it. Didn't feel it at all. Did 3+ mile warmup and then set out to do the 200s at the elementary school track. The track is actually a crushed gravel 10-lap-per-mil job around the (little) baseball field. It's an accurate distance though if you stay outside the rail that seems to be failing to keep the gravel off the grass.

Anyway, I timed the intervals against my better judgment. The plan was to do 1 lap (~160m) on and one lap off. I figured the pace would be something like 1-mile race pace -- fast but relaxed. 6 min/mi is 36 secs per lap, which I would have called 1-mile pace before I opened the first mile of my last 5k in 6:01 (then faded to 6:21 pace overall). The first 5 went (from memory) 36, 35, 34, 34, and 33. I think my brain learned something during this exercise. On the first two, the hill running carried over and I ran with a much longer stride (more like sprinting than my usual shuffle). Before the third one, I remembered I was supposed to be thinking about fast turnover. The 5th one kind of came together. I felt like I was kind of stomping the ground and keeping my feet closer to the ground (less up and down). I took two laps rest after the 5th because I felt the effort increasing and wanted to keep this alactic. I did the next 5 in 33, 33, 33, 33, and 33. How's that for consistency?

I finished with a 3+ mile cooldown for 8.7 total. In the last 100 meters or so I could feel my foot again. It bothered me to roll over my big toe when walking barefoot afterwards. I think wearing the precisions instead of the Frees for the next couple of days will help.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

week of 26 May

Mo - 6.8 recovery @ 8:55/131
Tu - 9.8 w/ 3x3 hill am, 3.2 recovery pm
We - 8.7 moderate
Th - Rest
Fr - 10.4 w/ 10 x 4 min @MP, 1 min rest; 3.2 recovery pm
Sa - 6.1 easy to moderate @ 8:55/142 -- look at Monday versus Saturday
Su - 13.7 @ 8:45/145 very humid 71.6 dew point

Week: 62 miles, 8:48 / mile avg pace, 143 bpm avg HR

I found today very tough in the humidity. At the end, I had a HR of 159 while doing only 9:00 min/mi. I think I might have been somewhat dehydrated. Two hours without water has been my winter limit, but I should probably drop that to 90 minutes now that summer is upon us.

I can't run on Friday and I'm doing a 5 mile race on Sunday, so this seems like a good candidate for a cutback week.