I have elected not to enter the Philly Marathon on November 17th. The change has impacted my training a bit, and thus I am not ready to do what I feel like I am capable of doing. I did place 33rd out of 1900 runners in the Maine Half-Marthon two weeks ago, but still, I need more time. I will stick to some base running until mid December. Then, I will gear up for a spring half-marathon race and the Boston Marathon in April. Today was a nice run, I must say. Nothing too hard. 9 miles at a 7:10 per mile pace. 5 of those miles were around a 6:45 – 6:50 pace.
While leading a history institute in the state of Oklahoma, I discovered for the first time that I had up to three male participants who love to run. After day one, I joined both Mike and Ton for an easy 10 mile run. We did not push the pace too much seeing that we started at 5:30 and it was still very warm. Today, my sessions were cancelled due to a crazy storm that brought winds up to 80 MPH. That is some crazy stuff there. So, my new buddy Tom elected to join me for a mid-week medium long rum. Tom is faster than me, and he is far more experienced. He has done and won ultra marathons, as well as competed in a number of road races.
The goal today was to do 13 miles at 7:24 pace. And that is what we did. If you throw the 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down, our run total was 15 miles; we hit the last mile at 6:58 pace. I bit fast but it felt great. Getting some of these runs in now feels great as I gear up for the Philly Marathon (I think) in mid November.
This is a small bit of advice I most recently shared with my distance runners.
Great article below. Remember, we are runners; we are never out of shape; however, we might need to fine tune our body and mind for racing. When I train, I am never out of shape. Even when my miles are reduced from say 80 per week before a big race, to 30 miles a week the month following, I am just maintaining a good solid base and resting as I gear up for the next mesocycle of training. As a runner, you too must have this mentality. It is not the thought of do I have to run, but when can I run. What do I need to do so that I do not miss a workout. Even easy slow recovery runs are essential in building and maintaining one’s running economy. Missing a workout is not bad. But, consistently missing runs and core work does catch up.
Other things to consider, good runners always pay attention to the small things. I would like for you guys to pay attention to these things:
1. Being a leader on a team. We are not individuals with an individual coach. Those runners are running just for themselves and not for the good of the team.
2. Using practice to help others around you get better. Again, this is a leadership issue.
3. Taking the time to fully stretch. If you are injured it is very difficult to improve.
4. Hydration. Knowing what works for you and always carrying your own hydration to practice.
5. Proper dress for practice (i.e., shoes, tops, shorts, etc).
6. Watch. You cannot get better by running on how you feel. If a runner tells you that, I am not sure if they are “really” getting better.
7. Focus. It is what we do.
This week officially kicks off 6 – 7 weeks of base work; I have done pretty low mileage stuff with no speed work since my last race. I am pumped to up my miles just a bit. And, focus on a new set of running goals. Though my next stage of training is geared toward racing the Boston Marathon, I am hoping to have much emphasis placed on lowering my half marathon time. I am racing far less than I did by this time last year. I think this is a good thing. I have discovered that marathons are too hard on the mind. Spending months watching a great degree of anxiety build is nerve racking to the soul. Furthermore, it kills the mind far more than it does the body. However, the body tends to recover far faster than the mind…particularly after a sub par race. I am set to get in 44 miles this week. I realize this is not a lot, but it is perfect for base training. I am not sure my mind is ready for the heavy stuff — not yet anyway.
I had what was probably my best run in two weeks. I did 7.15 miles @ 7:35 per mile pace; it felt pretty easy. Not a lot of effort. I am adjusting to the warms Houston temps too. I will be cautious and focus on maintenance and conditioning over the next month. I am not set to start a new cycle of training until June 1. But, easily running under 3 hours is the focus.
Total Miles today: 7.15
I did an easy 6.4 mile AM recovery run, which felt really good; I kept the pace nice and slow. However, it as my afternoon session that caught all of the buzz with me. My friend Peter Gottwald, who operate out of Germany for Smart Running, asked me to perform a test to determine whether my weakness is found in my performance, or in my speed. Here is what I did:
- 5 minute easy run
- 5 minute run at a faster pace
- 5 minute run at an even faster pace
Then, I ran 10 x 30 meter sprints. I walked back after each repeat. I followed this with 5 x 100 meter repeats. To conclude this test, I ran a hard 1,000 meter…which I complete in 3 minutes and 28 seconds. Peter asked me to record my heart rate after I ran the 1,000 meters. Then, I recorded my HR one minute after I completed the 1,000 meter run. Peter used this information to predict my time for my next marathon. Though a good time, I am not happy with the findings. As I stated to Peter in an email, I might not hit my next goal in Boston. But, I will keep training for it. We shall see.
Total Miles today: 7.4
I did a search seeking advice on preparing for hills. I have done very little hill training. In truth, I did none as I trained for the hilly and difficult Kansas City Marathon. But that seemed to have workout. Living in Houston is very challenging when it comes to hill running. The reality of course, is that one must travel an hour North of the city or West towards Austin to find any significant hills to train on. But, I think I have a new plan, as noted here by Coach Greg McMillan:
Overland vs. Treadmill Running
In treadmill running you don’t have to overcome wind resistance since you stay in the same spot. As a result, you need to set the treadmill to 1 percent incline (unless doing hill repeats) to approximate the 7 percent energy cost you usually use to overcome air resistance. Second, in treadmill running, the ground runs out from underneath you instead of you pushing against the ground to propel yourself over it. As a result, the biomechanics are slightly different. Also, since there are no curves or undulations in the surface of the treadmill belt, your footplant is exactly the same nearly every stride. Take care when starting treadmill running to let your body adjust to the different demands. You need to gradually introduce treadmill running to your winter routine, and it’s a good idea to do some preparatory easy treadmill runs before you do treadmill training.
1 Set: 90 seconds @ 6 percent grade and marathon pace
1-minute recovery @ flat jog
1 minute @ 7 percent grade and marathon pace
2-minute recovery @ flat jog
Do 6-10 sets.
Workout No. 1 comes from masters ace and long-time coach Gary Silver, who lives and trains in flat Florida. “This is a great hill program on a treadmill. You want to run the hill at your 5K race effort, which, in this workout, occurs at just slightly faster than your marathon pace. Increase the incline simultaneously with the speed — do not start your clock until the treadmill is at 6 percent and the speed has increased to marathon pace. I suggest four to six sets the first week’s workout, then six to eight, then eight to 10. If you were to do this hill workout leading into the Boston Marathon, I think you might even say that the Boston course is flat!”
Maybe I should start thinking about this race. I am not mentally there yet. I fear that I might be looking past this race and thus, will not perform as well as I need to. OK. Austin’s race is now on my mind. I think I might even have a small fan base out to inflate my ego as I pace my way through 13.1 miles.
It is very difficult to locate any type of incline here in Houston to train. I have made plans to travel to Austin just to train on hills. Though there are no hills here, there are a number of overpasses that represent our complex road system; however, I am not sure the city allows runners to run on them. Better yet, I have ZERO interest in suicidal actions. Our campus has a nice athletic and training complex. Recently the athletic department upgraded our “hill, which was created to give our athletes an additional resource to train and improve their endurance.
Coach Pete’s training has me operating in what he calls macrocycles; it is an interesting process that works in five mesocycles.
Mesocycle 1: Endurance and increasing miles. I started off at 80 and will top off at 105 miles per week.
Mesocycle 2: Speed and endurance. I will use this cycle to push my miles over 100 per week while focusing on my lactate threshold. Ideally, this stage should get me closer to performing the distance at my ideal pace.
Mesocycle 3: Getting ready to race. Lots of miles and speed work. Again, I use this periodization to train my body to feel the race.
Mesocycle 4: Taper. Though I work to cut my miles here, they still remain high. After this stage, I should go into my race feeling renewed.
Mesocycle 5: Recovery and prep work for the Chicago Marathon in October.
I scheduled an A/B week for week 15. This was to offset traveling and vacation during the Christmas break. I will repeat week 15 B starting December 27. I should log 90 miles during the “B” week schedule.
Monday: 11 miles easy
Tuesday: 4 miles in the AM. 10 miles in the PM with 10 x 100 meter sprints
Wednesday: 13 miles
Thursday: 6 miles AM and 5 miles in the PM
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 17 miles with 8 miles @ 7 minute pace
Sunday: 6 miles
12 mile AM run today; I felt good seeing that I just did 10 late yesterday afternoon, and 14 total. The first 9 miles were @ 7:43 pace. The last 3 miles were @ 7:06.I am learning that every run does not have to be a race. Better yet, I need slower runs such as this to off set injuries and add heavier miles to my weekly base.
Though I will have totaled 80 miles after my 30k race Sunday, I am liking my new perspective on total miles. I recently read an article in Running Times in which elite runner Amy Begley joined Alberto Salazar’s Nike training program. Once she joined the team, Salazar looked to cut down on the number of injuries she faced. Thus, he concluded that once her miles went beyond 65 per week, she become susceptible to injuries. So they tool on a new approach. They started counting her total volume of miles. For example, though Begley might only run 65 miles per week, she can do running type activities that will her base, such as underwater treadmill running, aqua running, cycling, and elliptical machines. After reading this piece, I too decided to emulate her model, seeing that I have been plagued with constant running injuries dating back to when I first started in college.