Monday, March 31, 2008

Training Log: 23.1

my shoe

Monday, 3/31: 6 miles in 48:30 @ 8:05/mi (PMP), pacing run

It was relatively warm today, and I was hoping to run outside. But there was a deluge. So my run moved inside, and a long run became a pacing run.

I'm heading out of town tomorrow, so I am not sure how my schedule will go this week. But I'll be in a warm spot, so I am hoping to get out at least once.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Training Log: 22.1

my bike

Saturday 3/29: Bike, outside! about 60 minutes @ 19 mph. (hilly loop)

Hurray! I got back on the horse today. Outside on the bike, actually moving through space, for the first time since the Fall. And for the first workout of the week. This is my normal loop - about 18.6 miles (I forgot to reset my computer today, but I have ridden it a lot). The many small climbs make it function like an interval workout if I am trying to maintain a decent tempo. So we'll call this our interval workout for the week.

My cold lingered, migrated to my chest, and I was coughing and feeling under the weather most of the week. I decided to rest and get better rather than try to squeeze in runs punctuated with periodic expulsions of lung butter. I missed working out this week though, in part because it was also a fairly stressful work week. So getting on the bike felt really good. My toes were cold (it was about 45 degrees) but it was sunny.

I would have had a faster avg. speed but there was a big headwind for the first 7 and last mile. That was the coldest part too.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Training Log: 21.2

my shoe

Saturday, 3/22: 9 miles in 1:10:02 or 7:47/mi (PMP -:18); Long/Tempo Run

After taking most of the week off to recover from my cold, I felt well enough today to get back on the road. We had 6 or 7 inches of snow yesterday and last night, despite the fact that we passed the vernal equinox. So it was cold but sunny, and the roads were mostly clear by this afternoon.

I was not quite 100%; I had just a bit of chest congestion and that ferro-alveolar (yes, I made that word up) taste that comes from exerting oneself to the point of mild exercise-induced asthma. Still, I was able to keep up a steady pace once I got going. I figured that doing 9 miles at a good tempo pace would be a good way to get back on track.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Not much running or biking this week because I seem to have picked up a rhinovirus on my trip to Minnesota. I hit it early with the Zinc swabs, so I am hoping to be back in business soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Training Log: 21.1

my shoe

Monday, 3/17: 6 miles in 48 minutes or 8:00/mi (PMP - :05)

I'm in St. Paul today for a brief research trip, so it was an early morning session on the hotel treadmill. I was grateful for the central time zone, since getting up at 6 to run felt like getting up at 7:00 for me. Jeff, also on this trip, joined in the fun too. We had a nice view out of our window, potentially, but it was dark outside. I ran on the right-hand side unit. The picture below shows an older model than the one they had there, which was pretty nice.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Training Log: 20.3

my shoe

Friday, 3/14: 6ish miles in 50 minutes

I accidentally deleted this post...don't want to write it all out again. The gist: nice day! Spring! Ran on campus with John. Fun!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Training Log: 20.2

my bike

Tuesday 3/11: 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

Good workout. There's something wrong with my trainer though. It's leaking hydraulic fluid and it is making a bad squeaky sound. Winter is almost over though, so if I have to get it serviced (if it is, indeed, serviceable, I can do it soon).

Watched the Paris-Nice Prologue while riding too. Felt bad for those guys, as it was cold, rainy, and windy. I can relate to that!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Training Log: 20.1

my shoe

Sunday, 3/9: 15.1 miles in 2:10:03 or 8:36/mi (PMP +31).

Today's long run was a struggle. I felt slow, tired, and angry for most of it. Sick of running in the cold. Last 7 miles into a 10mph headwind; cold, cold, cold. Definitely one of the worst training runs I've had.

Still, I was on the prescribed pace for today's long run. That's good I suppose. I mapped out a course of 18 miles, but ended up walking the last three because I developed a big blister along the side of my left foot. I could have toughed it out, but my foot would have been pretty torn up. Better to slow down and train another day, I figured.

Summary of today: ugh.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Training Log: 19.3

my shoe

Saturday 3/8: 4.2 miles in 34:00, recovery run (with benefits)

10 minutes warmup @ 9:05/mi
2 miles @ 6:58/mi
10 minutes cooldown @ 9:05/mi

This was mostly a recovery run, with a longish WI built in@ a little over a minute below PMP. I'm not big on intervals, as the astute reader of this blog will attest. I mainly wanted to use this week to rest a little more than usual.

Today marks 11 weeks to go before the race. And tonight we turn the clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time. I told myself way back when I began that I would treat that day as a milestone (it extends the training day, after all and I felt that it would be a nice moment as my runs got longer that the days got longer too). Sadly, they won't be getting much warmer in the short term. I was hoping for that too.

I got a reminder yesterday about the real reason I am doing all of this. Not the marathon, that's just my latest motivational goal. The real reason I am running and riding is all about living longer than I would otherwise, given the genetic strikes against me. As of more than a year ago now, I'm ahead of diabetes and heart disease and I plan to stay out front.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Training Log: 19.2

my shoe

Friday, 3/5: 7.4 miles in 60:00 @ 8:05/mi (PMP), pacing run

I like it when a workout is easy to understand: one hour at planned marathon pace. Today's training run simulates the first hour of the race. Felt good. In fact, I felt better and better as I went along, which is a nice sign.

Come to think of it, I felt best on Sunday's half-marathon effort during miles 7 and 8 too, but that was partially because they were among the least windy. The last 4 miles were especially unpleasant. If I had been paying more attention to wind, I would have ran the opposite way on my loop course.

No such worries on the treadmill this evening, of course.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Training Log: 19.1

my shoe

Sunday, 3/2: 13.1 miles in 1:45:51 or 8:04/mi (PMP -1).

Much better. I was shooting for 8:30/mi, but I basically had this one on autopilot. I only looked at the watch twice. One at 5 miles and once at 10 miles. It was basically the same pace for those two splits 39 minutes and change each time. This means I ran the last 3.1 a little slower than I had better learn to take it out more steady or I will likely see my per mile avg. drop after the halfway mark.

Good to know. Trying to train smarter.

Two other factors worth noting, though...

1) the last 3 miles were into the brunt of a cold, stiff headwind. It was really tough coming in. I didn't feel especially fatigued, but it was not pleasant either.

2) I need to drink water on these long training runs; that likely made a difference too. Plus, it will be good to practice to get the stomach ready for race day.

Question: What % of the U.S. Population Has Completed a Marathon?

At breakfast today, Les was wondering how common it is in the U.S. for someone to have completed a marathon. Turns out it is pretty rare.

In 2006, the most recent year for which I could find trustworthy numbers about marathon finishing rates, about 410,000 people completed marathons according to a Running USA/RRIC report. That's up from the previous year estimate of around 395,000, by the way.

The U.S. population estimate for 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was 299,398,484.

This means that about .001 (that's one one thousandth) of the U.S. population completed a marathon in 2006. A select group.

One more little nugget...median finishing time for U.S. male marathon finishers in 2006 was 4:15:34.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Training Log: 18.4

my bike

Saturday 3/1: Tempo on the trainer, 76 minutes
6 x 8 min WI @ Tempo; 4 min spin warmup, cooldown, and RIs between WIs

Solid effort and a relatively long ride, as trainer workouts go. It's March, so there are good college basketball games on. This makes longer rides a little easier. Today I watched the epic tilt between Valpo & Wright State. Valpo dominated from beyond the arc in the first half, but WSU hung in with a stout inside game. I am sure the coach was telling them to bust it inside and rebound (ok, that's what all coaches say...), because when they did that, they were scoring.

One other note...the hardest two WI's today were the middle two. I really bounced back nicely after riding about 40 minutes. I'll have to remember that little bounce when I am out suffering in the pack later in the year.

A Little About PMP

I have a lot of time to think on the treadmill these days. Yesterday, I thought about PMP, or Planned Marathon Pace. The term, as I have been using it here, comes from the folks at the Furman Institute for Running Science and Training. I've been mostly following the FIRST "FIRST marathon" training plan (PDF).

But the concept of PMP is interesting in and of itself. As a runner, I didn't really understand it. As a cyclist, it makes perfect sense. Here's why. PMP is a race pace goal designed to be sustainable over a long period, long enough for your body to be fatigued, like a marathon. Think of PMP as max sustainable effort for the given distance.

Ok, let's get this out of the way..."it's hard out here for a PMP..." (I have to give a shout out to Mike for thinking that one up, though I shudder to think how often that phrase is uttered by folks attending this event since 2005).

Before, I had only competed in short races: 10k was the longest I had ever really trained for, and I mostly did 5k. At this distance, you can sustain an effort that is at or above your lactate threshold. Not so for a marathon. Also not so for bike efforts. It's far easier to empty the tank on a bike, and so going into the red zone too early and/or too far is simply not an option if your ride is of any appreciable length. This goes for the weekly club ride, the weekend century fundraiser, or the local criterium.

My PMP is 8:05/mi, which corresponds to a 3:32 marathon. To break 3:30, the PMP has to be less than 8:00/mi. Here are some other interesting numbers to consider:

To qualify for Boston Marathon, age 37: PMP 7:26/mi for a 3:14:59.
2007 Bayshore Marathon Winner: PMP 5:24/mi for a 2:22:16
World Record Marathon: PMP 4:45/mi for a 2:04:26

As I mentioned when I began, I will be happy to finish my first marathon. I'll be thrilled to do it under 4:00 hours. That would mean that I could avoid getting lapped by the current world record holder, as it would take him at least 4:09 to get around the course twice...