Friday, February 29, 2008

Training Log: 18.3

my shoe

Friday, 2/29: 6 miles in 49:30, pacing run
1 mile warmup 9:05/mi, 5 mi @ 8:05/mi (PMP)

It's getting easier and easier to do these pacing runs at PMP. That's supposed to happen of course. It's just nice to know the training program is working.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Training Log: 18.2

my shoe

Tuesday, 2/26: 5 miles in 39:00, FIRST week 6 (13); 1600m intervals

1 mile warmup @ 9:00/mi
3 x 1 mile WI @ 6:58/mi, with 3:00 RI (9:00/mi pace) after each WI

Short and intense tonight. The first two WI's were not so bad. The last one had me working hard to keep my form. Pacing for these was PMP - 1:08/mi. I've not done a lot of short running intervals during this training program. I've used the bike instead. I don't believe I need to do anything much shorter or faster than this...maybe a little faster.

Having run an interval workout again, though, let me just reiterate that I don't (can't?) put myself in the kind of cardiovascular condition during running intervals that I do on the's hard to explain. I hope somebody out there knows what I am talking about. Even if I run really hard, I can't really approach the max heart rate and wattage output that is possible on the bike.

...oh, and going 9 miles an hour on the treadmill is still scary.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Training Log: 18.1

my shoe
Sunday, 2/24: 10 miles in 1:14:54 or 7:29/mi (PMP -36). FIRST week 6 (13) long run.

Fast again. This week was my step down week, so I was "only" running 10 miles. I ran a point-to-point route from home to my office to change things up. I measured pretty carefully...but it may have been a bit shorter than 10 miles. I hope so. Google says it was 10 miles on the nose (see mileage in upper left):


That's the route I took. I traced it ahead of time and then again when I arrived to make sure I followed the planned path. So it was close to a 7:30 pace. Ugh. I have to either accept that my PMP is going to be faster than 8:05 or learn to slow down. I figure as long as I am not getting hurt, I am not overtraining. And this week I had a lot of rest. Next week's long run will be a half-marathon!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Training Log: 17.3

my bike

Thursday 2/14: Hard intervals on the trainer, 60 minutes;

Spin 10, 2 x (5 x 2 min max effort, 2 min RI w/ 5 min RI in between sets), Spin 10

I took two rest days in a row this week, and it really showed. I was able to make some serious wattage today. It probably helped that I had taped the Tour of California Stage Five Time Trial to watch during the workout. I avoided all the media coverage of it yesterday too so I wouldn't know who won. Levi came through.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Training Log: 17.2

my shoe

Tuesday, 2/19: 5 miles in 38:35, 7:43/mi FIRST week 5 (14) tempo
1/2 mile warmup, 1/2 mile cooldown brisk walking pace

Tempo runs are pretty simple to understand. To run PMP on race day, you have to train faster. Today was PMP - 22 seconds/mi. I chose to go a little easier (could have gone 30 or more seconds under PMP) due to Sunday's hard effort. So today should have been pretty smooth and easy. It was. Hurray, it's working!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Training Log: 17.1

my shoe

Sunday, 2/17: 12 miles in 1:35:06 or 7:55/mi (PMP -10). FIRST week 5 (14) long run.

Ok...I admit this is too fast. But in my defense, it's the first time I've been able to run outside in weeks. I hit a brief window where the rain died down, it was 40 degrees and a bit breezy, but otherwise ok. There was even sun for the first 4 miles or so. The freezing rain kicked back in right as I was finishing up.

But wow! 12 miles @ 7:55! That's awesome. And no joint or impact pain; felt great for most of this run, in fact. Mile 11 was a struggle; it was getting cold and windy again and I felt a bit sluggish. But the last mile was good.

I measured the route carefully yesterday so I could keep an eye on my splits. My first mile was way too fast, but after that I tried to reign myself in and run a steady pace. I think I did that pretty well. The first split was 1:30 under PMP, and I only put another 30 seconds total into the PMP time over the next 11 miles. Good, steady running.

It may have been physically a bad idea, but this is a nice confidence booster. We'll see if it's worth it or not...

White People Like Marathons

From the Hilarious Blog Stuff White People Like: Marathons

If you find yourself in a situation where a white person is talking about a marathon, you must be impressed or you will lose favor with them immediately. Running for a certain length of time on a specific day is a very important thing to a white person and should not be demeaned.

Also worth nothing, more competitive white people prefer triathlons because Kenyans can’t afford $10,000 specialty bicycles. If the subject ever comes up, just say that triathletes are in better shape than football and basketball players. It’s not true, but it will make the conversation a lot more genial.

Well, at least I'm not a tri-geek yet...

Rain, Damn

Well...I hoped to get off the treadmill for the long run this week, but it doesn't look promising. Accuweather tells the tale:


That's rain, and a lot of of it. Tip to all folks who live in Michigan and are thinking of training for a first marathon: pick one that happens in the Fall. At this point, I pretty much have to do long runs on the weekend because they take two hours to do. There's not enough time or daylight during the week. Combine those constraints with cold and sloppy conditions, and you have a training challenge that has nothing to do with your physical conditioning.

The silver lining in today's many rain clouds is that my LBS*, Denny's Central Park Cycles, is having an open house and sale today. So I might get some new gear!

*Local Bike Shop, in this case; for cyclists, it's the equivalent of BFF!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Training Log: 16.4

my bike

Saturday 2/16: Resistance training on bike + core strength & flexibility
20 minutes of yoga
2 x 15 min pushing heavy gear with 5 min spin warmup, RI & cooldown (45 minutes)

The yoga workout is a "flow" style (ashtangi) set of poses that goes like this: sun salutation, downward dog, chair/thunderbolt, crescent lunge, half pigeon, bridge, and leg extension. The last one uses a strap to get a good hamstring stretch. This sequence is done in two sets, four times in all, with each set consisting of one time through on the right side and once on the left.

The bike workout is a low-cadence affair, but the big gear means you are huffing and puffing the whole way. I try to work on staying upright, not swaying too much in the saddle, and keeping my pedal stroke symmetrical.

This is a "bonus" day, the fourth workout of the week. Tomorrow starts week 17/FIRST week 5. First up, as long as the weather holds, is a 12 mile long run outside at a prescribed 8:50/mi. 14 weeks to go until the marathon!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Training Log: 16.3

my bike

Thursday 2/14: Hard intervals on the trainer, 68 minutes; Ladders

Spin 10 warmup

3 min max effort WI, 3 min RI
2 min max effort WI, 2 min RI
1 min max effort WI, 1 min RI

5 min RI between sets and 5 min spin cooldown

A heart-thumping workout for Valentine's Day! We're counting this as speedwork for this week. FIRST calls for today's interval workout to be 12 x 400 meters @ 6:35/mi pace...just over 2 minutes per quarter.

By my calculation, then, I owed the training program just about 24 minutes of suffering. This ladder workout was a nice change up from my standard set of equal intervals because as you get fatigued, the RI gets shorter and you are just short of full recovery when the next WI starts.

Did I mention that of all workouts, I hated running quarter mile intervals the most? There's something flat-out wrong about a quarter mile. It hurts way worse than other distances for some reason. Back in the day, when you failed to run one at the required pace (usually 80% of race pace, calculated as your avg. best race time in a season) you had to do that one over. Someone always seemed to be barfing during those workouts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Training Log: 16.2

my shoe

Tuesday, 2/12: 6 miles in 48:54, FIRST week 4 tempo
1 mile warmup 9:05/mi, 4 mi @ 7:41/mi (10k pace + 33), 1 mile cooldown 9:05/mi

Same pattern as last week's pacing run, but with mid-range tempo pace for the WI. Average pace today was 8:09, right in my PMP window.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Training Log: 16.1

my shoe

Monday, 2/10: 11 miles in 1:36:59 or 8:49/mi (PMP + 45). FIRST week 4 long run.

It was bitterly cold (5 degrees, with -12 windchill) outside today, so the long run was another indoor treadmill affair. I want to just pause a moment to note that 11 miles, each one less than 9 minutes, is something I am proud of. For most of the last twenty years, I couldn't go that pace for 1 mile. :)

It truly wasn't a problem, cardiovascularly, to go at this pace. And at this point in my training, it shouldn't be. This is why the long runs, along with the tempo and pacing runs are not swappable like I claimed, in yesterday's post, that speed intervals are. These long runs are about muscle recruitment, punishing your joints and soft tissues so that they get tougher, and of course inuring oneself to the mental challenge of pressing on through periods of physical hardship of one sort or another. So how did today's run stack up in those terms? check, check, and check.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Training Log: 15.4

my bike

Saturday 2/9: Hard intervals on the trainer, 60 minutes
Spin 10, 2x (5 x 2 min max effort WI, 2 min RI) w/ 5 min RI between sets, spin 5

As it continues to be impossible to run outside very effectively, here is another week where intervals on the bike stands in for FIRST speed work. I may be misguided, but I think there is absolutely more benefit to doing intervals on the bike than running anyway.

I wouldn't have thought this until I started training using the bike last year. I rode for almost three months during the winter last year before I ever got out and ran. When the first 40 degree day rolled around, I laced 'em up and went for a 5k spin around the neighborhood. I was more aerobically fit than I had been in years! And at that time I still weighed about 30 lbs more than I do now.

I immediately looked back with remorse at my high-school running days and wished that I had cross-trained on a bike. I think the difference is simple: you can do more max effort work (the kind you need to boost your aerobic threshold) on a bike than you can running simply because running is biomechanically harder to do. What that means, in practical terms, is that you can suffer yourself into a deeper hole on the bike. And sufferin' is what intervals are all about.


And even if interval training on the bike is the same or slightly less effective than running, it is still valuable because it reduces the risk of injury and allows me to recover from the pounding of the other run workouts.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Training Log: 15.3

my shoe

Thursday, 2/7: 6 miles in 49:40 (pacing run)
1 mile warmup 8:40/mi, 4 mi @ 8:05/mi (PMP), 1 mile cooldown 8:40/mi

A nice one today. This is in place of a FIRST tempo run, an extended effort at PMP to get the body and mind calibrated. A good idea, I think, particularly if the PMP is supposed to be close to threshold.



It's official, I've registered for the Bayshore Marathon on May 24th, 2008 in Traverse City Michigan.

Here's a peek at the course:

I'll post more info about the race as time goes on. But for now...I'm in it!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Training Log: 15.2

my shoe

Monday, 2/4: 10 miles in 1:26:40 or 8:40/mi (PMP + 30). FIRST week 3 long run.

What can you say about 10 miles on the treadmill? It was a steady pace; it was probably better than running outside in the 34 degree driving rain, but surely not as interesting. It builds mental toughness? In any case, it's done. Let's all hope it gets warm before I have to do too many more long ones.

Training Log: 15.1


Sunday, 2/3: 90 minutes of XC skiing at Lake Lansing Park North
Today was as much fun as it was a workout. I went out for the first time to the great trails at Lake Lansing North. Lots of fun little ups and downs, boardwalks, and due to the snow being packed down quite a bit, a technical track. As rest days go, this was great because I got a good workout in anyway!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Training Log: 14.5

my bike

Saturday 2/2: Tempo/Core Strength workout, 76 minutes
Yoga Core Strength & Flexibility Poses: 20 minutes
Spin 8, Tempo 8 x 3 + 1 extra RI

I am finding that doing the Yoga and stretching more regularly is really helping, especially recovery after a long run. This was the fifth and final workout of the week, and so I ended with a good foundation-building session.

Tomorrow a bunch of folks are planning to XC ski at Lake Lansing Park. That will likely be my workout for the day...which means I will have to fit in a long run somewhere if I can next week.