8/30/12 Training

Today’s training called for a 45 minute tempo run.  Due to traveling and the heat of the afternoon, I opted to run this workout on the treadmill at night.  I started out conservatively and gradually worked up to a steady 10K race pace before returning to a jog for a cool down.  In the 45 minutes, I was able to run 5.923 miles.

During the run, I watched the last part of the Chiefs vs. Packers pre-season game.  After watching this game (and the prior pre-season games as well), I am worried about how the Chiefs will do this season.

This weekend’s runs reflect the lower mileage week — six miles at marathon race pace on Saturday and 12 easy miles on Sunday.  We’re forecasted to receive some much-needed rain from the hurricane tomorrow and Saturday, so Saturday’s run could be a wet one.  Sunday’s forecast looks hot, so I hope to get it in early in the morning.

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8/29/12 Training

Between meetings and dinner, I was not able to run outside while in Jefferson City yesterday.  I instead settled for a run on the treadmill at the hotel at night.  It was a pretty plain run of 5 miles in 42:46.  I passed the time by watching the HBO series Hard Knocks which follows the Miami Dolphins during the pre-season.  I enjoyed my time with my friends in Jefferson City and we were able to get a lot accomplished.

8/28/12 Training

Tonight’s workout was one of my toughest during this marathon training session.  The training schedule called for seven 800 meter intervals.  It doesn’t sound too daunting, but I set my sights on continuing where I left off the last time I ran 800 meter intervals.  Last time I was able to run six intervals at 3:00 for each one.  My target for the workout was to maintain this pace but add one more interval.

I jogged a half mile to warm up and then started the interval session.  I ran a half in three minutes and then would jog for a quarter and start all over until I reached number seven.  It was all I could do to hold the pace the last quarter of a mile as I was running on fumes by then.  After I finished the intervals, I jogged another quarter to cool down.  I was able to keep the 3:00 half mile pace for each interval.  The final distance was 5.75 miles in 45:58.

I am proud to report that the heel stretch my co-worker seemed to work again tonight.  I am very excited that this might be the answer I have been looking for in several months.

I’ll be traveling to Jefferson City tomorrow, so I hope to get a good run or two in while I spend some time there.  I look forward to spending time with my friends from JC, always fun to exchange stories and catch up on missed events.  Speaking of traveling, I will be heading to Baltimore in the middle of next month.  Like JC, I always enjoy touching base with my friends there.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to get some good runs in while we’re there.

8/27/12 Training

Yesterday’s run was an easy recovery run after Sunday’s 20 miles.  I waited until the night to get the run in to allow as much recovery as possible.  Since it was dark, I ran this on the treadmill.  It was 4.1 miles in 34:06 or 8:19/mile.  Not too bad for a run that started extremely slow to work out all of the kinks.

One of the major kinks was my right heel.  It has always been a little tender ever since I became serious about building my base earlier this year.  Luckily, I have a trusted friend and co-worker who was a former runner and gives great advice.  She saved me from further injury several years ago by recommending a change to another type of running shoe.  This time she appears to have saved me from enduring some pretty awful heel pain.  Just like her change of shoes suggestion a few years ago, her advice this time was just as simple.  She showed me a simple heel stretch using a door jamb and moving your hips towards the jamb for a better stretch.  It worked like a charm last night and hope it continues.  This morning was the first morning in a long time that my right heel was not stiff and sore.

 

8/26/12 Training

I finished the week by completing the first of three 20 mile runs on my marathon training schedule.  Completing the run was a bit tougher than I thought, but I was able to grind it out to finish the week.  We spent most of the weekend at the Country Club Plaza area in Kansas City, which meant today’s run was shifted from a morning run to an afternoon run.  The time we spent on the Plaza was a nice little getaway, definitely a glimpse of those that obviously have more disposable income than us.  But visiting the area also brought back a lot of memories from my first marathon.  There is always something special that a runner feels when the return to a course they ran previously.  This was no different.

I was hoping the earlier rain and clouds would cool off the temperatures for the run.  Unfortunately, I felt like I was running in a donut of clear, bright sunny skies with clouds all around tempting me with cooler temperatures thanks to rain and cloud cover that never materialized.  This meant higher temperatures and humidity.  At the start of the run it was 84 degrees with 62% humidity.

I guess the good thing about those conditions is that it forced me to run by Hal Higdon’s advice for the weekly long run.  To paraphrase, he believes the long runs are designed for endurance, not speed.  He proposes using a pace one to two minutes slower than marathon race pace during marathon training.  I certainly had to do that today.

The run was 20.01 miles in 2:50:34 or an average pace of 8:31/mile.  The totals of the week were 50.85 miles in about six hours and 42 minutes.  The upcoming week will be a step back week in terms of mileage to give my body a little rest.

8/25/12 Training

Today’s workout was scheduled for a 10 mile run at less than marathon race pace.  After yesterday’s day off from running, I was excited to hit the road again this morning.  Not to focus too much on the pace, I decided not to look at my watch for a majority of the run.  This little bit of freedom allowed me to think about whatever came to my mind.

The first series of thoughts centered around creating a strategy for the upcoming marathon.  At least for now, the thought is to run a controlled, even pace through the first 15-20 miles.  I’m hoping that translates to something around 7:15/mile pace on average.  With such a strategy, I hope to avoid hitting the “wall” later in the race and actually feel stronger later in the race.  If those would go according to plan, I would love to have some sub-seven minute miles towards the end of the race.

Without concerning myself about pace, I tried to mock this strategy on today’s run.  Instead of measuring the pace at each mile (often more frequently than that), I measured the run by effort.  The first seven miles were at a comfortable pace and I tried increasing the effort over the last three miles.  It’s a bit of a physical and mental challenge to increase the pace once you have settled into a good groove for several miles.  Your muscles react differently, especially at the beginning of the change of pace.  What I discovered today was that even though the change of pace takes a while for the muscles to grow accustomed to, it certainly helps that your body is warmed up well.  Soon, the changed pace becomes the new normal.

The second prong of this strategy is taking each mile one mile at a time.  This can be especially helpful if the last mile was particularly bad — either too slow or too fast.  By concentrating on the current mile, you can put the prior miles behind you and focus on getting back to the strategy by starting with the present mile.

The final piece of the strategy is knowing and documenting the strategy.  As the marathon grows closer, this strategy will take a more concrete form.  Sharing my expectations through this blog will help hold me accountable as my training continues as well as the marathon itself.

I also had some very general thoughts on today’s run about nutrition that I hope to add under the nutrition topic soon.  As far as today’s actual training run, it was 10.15 miles in 1:20:34 or 7:56/mile average pace.  The encouraging part of the run is that despite not watching my pace by looking at my watch, I was able to increase a comfortable pace into a quicker pace in the latter stages of the run.  The first five mile split was 40:58 compared to 39:36 for the final 5.15 miles.  When focused on increasing the effort in the final three miles, I was able to run at 7:32/mile pace in a controlled manner.