7/31/12 Training

Today’s scheduled workout was a 40 minute tempo run.  It consisted of 10 minute warm up, 10 minute transition to 10K pace, 10 minutes at 10K pace, and 10 minute cool down.  I decided to perform the workout on the treadmill as the workout was in the afternoon and the temperature was too hot.

I was pleased with today’s effort.  It was very similar to my last 40 minute tempo run with the last part of my 10K portion at 6:15/mile pace.  I ran 5.489 miles in 40 minutes.  Not a lot of thoughts today, as I tried to stay focus on the pace at hand.  I also listened to my iPhone – so the music helped pass the time.

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7/30/12 Training

Today’s run was the product of a quick text from my dad.  After reading my blog from yesterday, he simply texted to remember to keep it simple.  Reading between the lines (which is difficult to do in a short text message), I think it was his nice way of telling me not to over think things.  Some runs are simply to keep your current condition, and they won’t reveal the meaning of life.  Go out and run; go out and reach for your goal.

Today’s run easily fit into this concept.  A short, quick run with little analysis and thought, just running.  The run was 3.04 miles in 21:08.  Every once in a while we need a quick reality check and I think today’s run was mine.  No excuses, no worries about the temperature or wind, just pure enjoyment of the ability to run.

7/29/12 Training

This week’s long run was interesting.  I finished the 16.01 mile run in 2:11:08.  It was a comfortable pace, but I certainly had some issues along the way.  In the spirit of yesterday’s post, I hope to chalk them up as learning lessons.

Shortly after starting, I noticed an unusual pain which started in my right knee and quickly extended to my right hip.  Not going away, I stopped to walk to see if the change of pace helped any.  The pain stayed through the first mile with a decreased pace, but the pain started going away after I was finally warmed up after the first mile.

Not long after putting this behind me, my watch then started acting up.  From the two mile mark to the finish of the run, I put up with the continuous beeping from the error message on the watch.  I had to periodically tend to the watch throughout the run as various issues would pop up every couple of miles.

The best part of today’s run was the fact that I found a completely new area to run not far from my neighborhood.  The new area offers a wide variety of scenery ranging from warehouses to residential streets closed to vehicles to tree-lined roads which made me feel like I was deep in a forest.  I look forward to splitting up this new area in upcoming runs.  The changing scenery and the sense of discovery let the miles roll by this morning.

Finally, with only about 0.10 miles left in the run, I rolled my ankle.  It happened as I transitioned from a sidewalk to grass on my way to run on the road.  It definitely stretched my foot, but did not affect the rest of the run and hasn’t swelled since then.

As all of these things occurred on the run, one thought continued to run through my head.  It involved the beauty of the 18 week marathon training schedule.  The true beauty of the schedule is that one gets to know their body incredibly well.  The trick is to learn and remember along the way what works well as well as what doesn’t work so well.  The other beauty of the training schedule is that over 18 weeks worth of running and preparing, you face many different combinations.  Combinations of weather conditions, sleep patterns, eating patterns, etc. help the runner determine what works the best for the individual.  It’s that experience that also adds confidence to the runner when things don’t go quite as planned before or during a race.  Drawing on prior experience from training during the race can be a tremendous mental aid.  Even though the runner uses the marathon training schedule to determine the best individual preparation, the combination of variables help develop confidence to be flexible without throwing the runner completely off their plan.

This week’s totals:  39.25 miles in 5:01:48.  Today’s run completed Week #7 of Hal Hidgon’s Advanced II marathon training schedule.  Next week’s mileage will increase again, so I’m starting to get into the meat of the training.  I’m looking forward to the challenge.

7/28/12 Training

If Wednesday’s run was a test, today’s run was a lesson.  At least one lesson.  I’ve recently written about trying to get to race pace faster in the actual marathon race by getting used to the process in training.  I tried to put this theory into better practice this morning.

My first mile was a bit quicker than expected as it was right at my minimum marathon pace, 7:26.  The second mile was faster at 6:54 due to more of a downhill grade.  The third mile continued the same pace at 6:53.  The fourth mile started today’s first lesson.  I started feeling the faster than planned pace along with the uphill grade.  The lesson learned is not to get too caught up at the beginning – the marathon is not a race that one can “bank” time early in the race to use later.  The other lesson:  any increase in grade is really felt when running at race pace.  This definitely proved I need to continue my hill repeats as scheduled.  The fourth mile slowed to 7:04, but still ahead of the minimum pace of 7:26.  This was the point in my run that I started this blog in my mind — the lesson of how I started out too fast and barely hung on at the end.

Along with the fifth mile came the next lesson.  Especially with faster paced runs, it is sometimes necessary to separate your mind from your body.  My mind was still stuck with the negative thoughts from how this blog would be written.  But when I took stock of how things were really going, my body was not as bad off as my mind was telling me.  My legs were a bit tired and the pace was challenging, but that is exactly what you want out of such workouts.  When my watch displayed 7:09 for mile 5, I had to remind myself that even though slower than the prior miles, it was still 0:17 quicker than I needed.

Mile six gave me a few more lessons.  Dispelling the negative thoughts creeping into my mind, I started to realize how important rhythm is in maintaining the right pace.  About halfway through this mile I made a u-turn to head back home.  That is when the next lesson came.  As easy as the rhythm makes keeping a pace, any change in that rhythm makes maintaining the pace much more difficult.  Turning around made me feel like mile 4 when I hit the hill incline.  I completed the mile in 7:04.

Probably too confused by all of lessons through the first six miles, my mind was too full for any additional lessons for the rest of the run.  Mile 7 passed in 7:08 and mile 8 passed in 7:03.  The total effort resulted in a 7:05/mile pace at 56:46 total time.  I was happy with the effort and results.  It’s these types of training runs that I lacked previously and I hope to continue such efforts to run better than my 3:15 marathon goal.

Due to the temperatures, I had to run early in the morning.  The positive outcome of this was it freed the rest of the day to watch the Olympics.  It was a fun first full day of events.  Some of the highlights included the men’s road race, swimming, volleyball, and gymnastics.  I cannot wait until the running events start.

Olympics Opening Ceremony

I’m watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony as I type this blog and am absolutely loving it.  What a fantastic job of weaving their country’s story into world history.  I must admit, I am certainly following this a lot better than the Opening Ceremony in Beijing.  Here’s some of my favorite parts:

  • James Bond and the Queen “parachuting” into the stadium;
  • Relax! proves that 80s music still rules;
  • Parade of the countries;
  • Even the commercials (especially Ryan Hall’s AT&T commercial) — I’m enjoying this more than the Superbowl!;
  • David Beckham and the torch;
  • Lighting of the Olympic cauldron (although I was hoping Roger Bannister would do it); and
  • Sebastian Coe’s speech — I remember watching him run during my childhood;
  • Chariots of Fire and Bean was hands-down the best part – proves runners should never take themselves too busy.

I’m so thrilled by the ceremony that I feel inspired to run an eight mile run at marathon pace — wait, that’s tomorrow morning.

7/26/12 Training

I was happy with today’s run, even though the numbers may not tell the whole story.  As stated yesterday, I was not sure how my legs would react after the tough run last evening.  The Higdon schedule has a 40 minute tempo run for today.  The make up of the run is 10 minutes of easy jog, 10 minutes increasing to 10K pace, 10 minutes at 10K pace, and finally 10 minutes returning to easy jog.

I was able to run 5.47 miles in 40:00.  My legs were a little sluggish from yesterday’s workout, but the effort to keep up the pace was there.  A majority of the third section was uphill, so those splits are a bit misleading.

As I write this, I’m watching Olympic soccer.  I plan on taking full advantage of having tomorrow off from running by watching as much Olympics as possible tomorrow, especially the opening ceremony.  Every Olympic athlete amazes me in terms of the effort and commitment they have made.  They serve as true inspirations.

7/25/12 Training

Today’s run was a bit of a test. After feeling good following yesterday’s “hill” workout, I wanted to push the envelope a little to see if I could sustain a similar pace as my repeats without the incline.

I’ve almost resigned to using the treadmill during the week and hitting the road for the longer runs on the weekends due to the high temperatures. Today was no different. Using the treadmill might have its advantages, though. I was able to quickly increase my pace right away and I was able to easily increase the pace when needed.

The run was 4.002 miles in 28:11, better than 7:03/mile pace. The test today was to quickly get to that “cruising” speed and then hold it. I would love to get this type of run consistently under 7:00/mile.

I’m not sure what to expect from tomorrow’s workout. It is supposed to be a 40 minute tempo run, but today’s effort might impact my ability to give my full effort. Perhaps tomorrow is my next test knowing that Friday will be a rest day before the longer runs over the weekend.