Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wind induced Turkey Trot flashback

Wind chilly
Today's run (neighborhood): 5 miles

This morning I saw that the temperature was 33°, but the wind was making it feel like it was 19° outside. I weighed the pros and cons of going out or staying inside. I decided that I'd rather endure challenging winds than five mind-numbing miles on the treadmill. In retrospect, I'm not sure that was the smartest way to go

One of the reasons I chose to run outside was to confront this cold weather breathing issue straight on. By coincidence, the first three base runs I've done since starting my half marathon training have happened on the three coldest days. The theory I'm exploring is that cold air is affecting my ability to breathe efficiently and causing me to struggle far below normal lactate threshold. Interestingly, I found something online that said facial cooling triggers the vagus nerve (grow up, it's located in your face) which can slow up heartbeat.

I've had trouble getting my heart rate above 80% of max on these cold runs, so the answer may be in there somewhere. My plan this morning was to run fairly easy, since I did intervals yesterday. I started out feeling okay, but not speedy (which was fine). I was also wearing more layers than a pâte feuilletée and that was probably slowing me down. The wind was brutal and running directly into it practically stopped my forward progress. It was like a flashback to the Long Beach Turkey Trot last November, but happily without the sandstorm.

Race fitness: It's just a matter of Venn
The two main objectives to my training are to increase my endurance well enough to cover 13.1 miles and improve my stamina to allow me to maintain a targeted pace over that distance. I'll be honest and say that today's run did not provide any sign of improved speed, but I was able to handle the mileage better than on Sunday.

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be much like today's. If that's the case I'm going to stay inside and run my three miles at "pace" on the treadmill. I'll plan to run longer distances outside and keep the speedier workouts indoors until the weather gets warmer. If that's what it takes to bridge stamina and speed, I'm willing to spend a little time on the treadmill.

16 comments:


  1. that wind was something! was happy to be on trails for most of my run. cold weather definitely affects pace for a lot of people- both with breathing, and blood flow to muscles.

    some thoughts on your recent posts. i find that i frequently have "off" days (meaning sub-par) when i start increasing volume, and particularly both speed and volume simultaneously. i think it's an adaptation, but it can sure be discouraging sometimes. it seems to be a pretty common experience from what i've read.

    one idea you might consider is slowing down one of your midweek runs to a boringly slow, easy pace instead of running most or all at or close to goal race pace. then when you go out for your long run on the weekend, start off slower than you intend but run the last 3-5 (as distance increases) at your goal race pace. it'll be a tough workout for sure, but one that works for many.

    also, i've never been able to maintain conversations even when running slowly ;) that's not to say i didn't love group runs when i could do them. some people are better at that than others, tho. for me, talking definitely affects my pace. i can still manage group speed sessions, tho- and enjoy chatting in between repetitions.

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  2. Hi Carla. I've been concerned about my recent struggles with long runs and I think you are right about the simultaneous focus on speed and volume. Last Sunday I clearly went out too fast and never really recovered throughout the rest of the run.

    Your suggestion of a mid week tempo makes sense. I think I'll try that tomorrow and start my run easier than I'd planned.

    I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who struggles to run and talk at the same time. Even in my fittest, I've always struggled with conversation except when running the easiest paces.

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    1. I'm sorry, I think that was partially my fault that we started out too fast. I always do that, in both racing and training. PLease don't hesitate to kick me in the ass next time and tell me to slow down.

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    2. The weird thing is that our speed when we started (per Garmin) was relatively sedate. But it felt harder to me than that pace. That should have been a tip off that "d be struggling later in the run.

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  3. hi again-

    re the conversation thing, are you also a "mouth breather" (as opposed to nose)? i am, and i have always thought that was a big part of why i have trouble w/talking while running. it's a totally runner-specific thing, just as heel-striking and toe-striking are, and i've known many super-fast runners who are as well. (you can hear us coming 'a mile away'!)

    i think i may have been confusing wrt to suggestions in my last two comments. there are of course, numerous guides to long distance running, but two of the most popular are the "pfitzinger" and "lydiard" plans. these are geared more toward marathoners, but the same principles apply (imo) for half marathons.

    in the "pfitz" plan, it is advocated to do a midweek long run/tempo. this is in addition to the weekend long(er) run. i'll just refer you here for lydiard: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/training-lydiard-way-28-weeks-pr

    to make a long story short (after reading many masters' blogs) i think "pfitz" is the way to go for distance runners. lydiard is just too much speed for older folks' recovery. i'm sure many will disagree with me, but i've seen (without a positive case to date) every ordinary masters' runner who does the latter to suffer a "career"-ending injury.

    anyway, it seemed from your posts that you were trying to hit your goal race pace in most of your weekly runs. i was suggesting that you step back on one (or even two) of those days, and instead do a "progression" type long run on the weekend. but you could do that midweek as well (as suggested by the "pfitz" plan). and then do your long run at a comfortable pace.

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    1. I didn't realize that ability (or inability) to talk and run is an individual's trait and not a measure of conditioning. That makes me feel much better. I am a mouth breather so the deck is stacked against that for talking. I also fear that my breathing issues are a residual effect of my pneumonia in 2010.

      I always thought the Pfitzinger method was performance oriented while Lydiard focused on LSD. I will take a look at both programs. Following a formal training program has always been an anathema to me but I'm finding it helpful right now. Otherwise I know I'd default to doing the same questionable and probably ineffective workouts.

      I do need to rebuild my speed but, to your point, I may be trying to do too much too soon. I agree that building base is the priority.

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    2. Carla is right. As you know, this is my second Pfitz marathon cycle. I only run fast twice a week (maybe a third if it's on the schedule) during my speed work. The rest of my runs are between 1:00-1:30 slower than my marathon race pace.

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    3. My concern about running slowly is that my body starts thinking that's the pace I should run all the time. I'm hoping this base training will help me sustain more speed for longer periods soon.

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    4. I know. That's why I'm doing longer base runs on Wed and Sun and speed work once a week.

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  4. Oh yeah, I am impressed you ran in that crazy wind! I ran to and from the gym and on the way back I thought I was going to fly away.

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    1. Since you weigh about half of what I weigh that was probably a possibility.

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    Replies
    1. I would be happy to test/review. Please send me a note at editor(at)emergingrunner.com for details.

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  6. i should add an asterisk to lydiard, b/c i know the criticisms will come from (typically) people who've begun running in middle age and who have seen tremendous improvements in a (relatively, to me at least) short period of time. but that initial improvement is very much related to one's intrinsic (ie, genetic) ability. improvement beyond that becomes a much more difficult problem.

    it's something that ends up frustrating the same folk, think the sky's the limit and that with enough effort they will be running 5 minute miles, and then quit out of either frustration- or more often major injury- after all that effort b/c it didn't happen.
    in the end, it's what you want to accomplish. personally, running has been such a huge part of my life that i'm willing to sacrifice abstract goals in favor of the ability to continue.

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    1. I returned to running as a middle-ager and saw moderate improvement in performance in the first six months. I plateaued at that point.

      I used to go out for pace every time, but now it's about having a good experience. Every once in a while I can run 26:xx 5Ks and 55:xx 10Ks, but those times are becoming less common.

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