9/30/12 Training

Today’s Training Run Summary
Distance:  12.0 miles
Time:  1:43:11
Pace:  8:36/mile

This Week’s Training Distance:  38.83 miles

With my recent success on the treadmill, I decided to continue the streak with today’s long run on the treadmill.  Although 12 miles on a treadmill can get a little boring at times, I was more than excited to get the full run in at a decent long run pace.

My heel felt much like yesterday, it took a decreased period of time for my heel to loosen up.  Even though I was running at a slower pace, I tried to keep focused on thoughts or situations that might occur during the marathon.  For example, I limited my liquid intake to the intervals the race will have (mile markers 2 and 5 and then every two miles after that point).  I also switched over to drinking Gatorade during the run since that is what will be used during the marathon itself.  I also ate two bananas halves during today’s run.

As stated earlier in the week, I am concentrating on staying well hydrated now. I am also trying to eat as many fruits and vegetables over the next two weeks to help maintain a healthy diet.

I am pleased with this week’s training.  I was able to accomplish every run in this week’s training, which was much better than what I expected after Saturday’s first run back after being off for nearly two weeks.  This month’s mileage was actually pretty low compared to previous months in this training session.  Thanks to my two weeks off, I only put in about 111 miles in September.  I am hopeful that it will be good enough for me to reach my 3:15 goal.  I definitely have a much different perspective than my other marathon races and I am hoping that will make the difference in this race.

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9/29/12 Training

Today’s Training Run Summary
Distance:  5.0 miles
Time:  38:57
Pace:  7:47/mile

Even though the weather was beautiful this morning, I decided to run on the treadmill.  My heel felt really good when I woke up this morning, so I think the absence of hills last night helped tremendously.

With my achilles feeling better at the start of the run, it loosened up much quicker than yesterday’s run.  I intentionally ran slower than race pace today, just to ensure I didn’t push too hard.  I did complete the last 1.5 miles at race pace; however.  I tried to focus on how that pace felt, trying to record the muscle memory of what I will need during the marathon.  I hope such perspective will reward me late in the race like a great basketball free throw shooter stepping up to the line and sinking free throws when the game is on the line thanks to muscle memory due to thousands of practice shots.

Tomorrow’s run will be an easy 12 miler.  With only two weeks until the marathon, next week will contain reduced mileage with even fewer miles the following week.  This week has given me the confidence that my marathon goal of 3:15 is still achievable.  Although I have been guarded in my enthusiasm after the injury, I think I can finally start getting excited.

 

9/28/12 Training

Today’s Training Run Summary
Distance:  5.0 miles
Time:  37:13
Pace:  7:27/mile

Tonight’s run was back on the treadmill.  Although unintentional, it was a nice break from yesterday’s hills.  My right heel was a bit touchy during the day, probably from the hills.  I was not sure what to expect tonight as my training plan called for five miles at marathon race pace.  Since returning from my injury, I’ve run a few miles at or near race pace, but certainly nothing close to stringing together five consecutive miles in one run.  I was nervous to say the least.

My nerves continued as my stride was noticeably off the first mile and a half.  But then, like turning a switch, it loosened up and things felt fine.  As the understatement of this entire training period, the next three and a half miles went much smoother.  I was pleasantly surprised to end the run right on my marathon race pace.  I tried to reinforce the race technique I hope to employ in a few weeks:  smart racing concentrating on each mile, one at a time.  If tonight’s run is any indication, I think I will be fine in terms of cardiovascular shape, but it’s the whole mind over matter (or body) issue that will prove challenging.  Hopefully by concentrating on each individual mile, I will counterbalance that issue during the marathon.

As a few side notes, I enjoyed lunch with one of my friends from the office today who will also be running the Prairie Fire Marathon with me.  Although we have not had many runs together lately, it was great to touch base with him to catch up on training and look forward to the trip to Wichita.  The second note deals with our bumper cucumber crop.  I continue to pick one cucumber each day, mostly from one high yielding plant.  They make easy and quick snacks, especially at work.  As an added benefit, I recently learned that thanks to their high water content, they are a great vegetable to eat as I continue focusing on ensuring I stay well hydrated.

9/27/12 Training

Today’s Training Run Summary
Distance:  6.01 miles
Time:  51:28
Pace:  8:34/mile

I was feeling a bit sore yesterday, so I decided to take the day off from running.  After a day’s rest, I was ready to run again today.  My marathon training schedule called for a five mile run yesterday and a five-miler today at marathon race pace with Friday off.  I decided to trade yesterday as a rest day instead of tomorrow.  This meant a five mile run today with the same at race pace tomorrow.

This evening’s run was quite enjoyable in several ways.  First, the weather was absolutely beautiful.  It was overcast with the temperatures in the low 70s and no wind.  Second, the recent rain has really made the area around Lake Jacomo very lush and green.  After about 0.5 miles running on the road, I decided to take advantage of the freshly cut grass near the roadside.  What a great decision that was.  Not only did it feel better for my heel compared to running on the road, but I was also able to spot one large wild turkey and two deer during the off-road run.  This experience also harkened me back to my base training days earlier this year when simply enjoying the run was the goal — no times, no goals, no races — just enjoying the run.  I even stopped a few times just to soak in the wildlife and amazing scenery.

Pleased with this turn of events, I stopped worrying about any concept of time for the run.  I even picked a few turns which meant adding some tough hills to the run.  Mind you that I did not run them fast, but certainly enjoyed the sense of accomplishment after reaching the peaks.

In terms of my achilles, it’s the same old story:  a little sore and tender at the start of the run but it has been loosening up well within a half mile with little pain after that point.  Today’s softer running surface seemed to help as well.  I’m definitely optimistic that I can reach my 3:15 marathon goal in Wichita if I can continue running each day between now and the marathon.  The training at this stage focuses on maintaining your fitness, I’m not sure much is added in the last few weeks of any marathon training schedule.  I’m trying to focus now on getting into the marathon mindset, especially preparing for the last 6.2 miles as well as preparing by fueling and hydrating now.

9/25/12 Training

My marathon training schedule called for a 45 minute tempo run.  I guess technically I can call it a tempo run since I had a slower pace at the beginning and end with a faster pace in the middle, but I didn’t run as fast as usually during the middle portion.  My right heel felt pretty much like it did yesterday, a little sore at the beginning but better shortly after warming up.

During this tempo run, I was able to cover 5.78 miles (not too far off my pace for the same workout on 8/30/12) or 7:47/mile pace.  I was pleased with the effort while at the same time avoiding straining my Achilles too much.

Only 18 days until the marathon.  I hope I continue progressing at the same rate, and if so, I feel I will be ready to run the race competitively and shoot for my Boston qualifying time of faster than three hours and 15 minutes.

9/24/12 Training

Tonight’s run was another encouraging outing.  It was the first time in two weeks that I actually ran the distance suggested in my marathon training schedule.  The other exciting item from today was my heel pain, both walking and running, decreased noticeably today.

The run was 5.05 miles in 42:59 or 8:30/mile pace.  It was the best my right heel has felt in weeks.  I truly focused on getting the miles in tonight and did not worry about the pace at all.  Interestingly enough, overcoming this injury has sharpened my focus during my runs.  I’ve been intent on trying to avoid any additional injuries this close to the marathon.

That focus has put an end to any thoughts during my last few runs.  Cccasionally, when things are feeling good, I might slip in a thought or two about how things might feel during the race or how I will warm up and stretch to ensure the tendon feels as good as possible.  For now, I’m completely content with some thoughtless miles.

9/23/12 Training

I’m ecstatic to post another blog about my second consecutive run.  My heel was still tender starting today’s run, but after stretching it after a quarter of a mile it seemed to loosen up quite well.  As with previous runs, the tendon seemed to stretch out more as the run progressed.  I wanted to at least double yesterday’s effort at a reasonable pace.  I was able to surpass both expectations.

Before the run I was questioning whether or not I would reasonably be able to run next month’s marathon.  After the run, there was no doubt in my mind I could.  I have to train smart and continue to pay close attention to my heel, but I have the confidence it can be done.

Today’s run was 3.01 miles in 24:25 or 8:07/mile pace.  It’s a far cry from the other 16.99 miles on my training schedule that were not ran, but I was pleased to be able to run this without much effort — a sign that I can continue making an active and meaningful contribution to my training before the marathon.

This upcoming week marks the beginning of the taper process before the marathon.  The mileage will start reducing now, most notably the week before the marathon.  I will attempt to follow the mileage listed in Higdon’s training plan but perhaps not the method.  I will cut out any hill or speed work and concentrate on trying to increase the flexibility and strength of my Achilles tendon.