Showing posts with label base. Show all posts
Showing posts with label base. Show all posts

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pride goeth before the run

Our patriotic flag courtesy of a local Realtor
Today's run (street): 5.1 miles

The route
Happy Memorial Day weekend. I kicked off this morning's run with a couple of bruises to my ego. My plan was to expand my route beyond my neighborhood and run in a nearby business park. I was five minutes into the run when I heard a cheery "Good Morning!" from a runner who'd come up and passed me like I was standing still. He was no kid either. I wanted to yell, "Hey, I'm slow because I have a herniated disc!", but he was already out of sight. Plus the fact that my slowness has little to do with the disc issue at this point.

A couple of minutes later, I detected motion to my left and saw a teenage girl pass me by. She was really moving, smartly sticking to the sidewalks for safety. I've developed a fear of our neighborhood sidewalks, whose uneven surfaces have caused me to trip a few times. This young woman gracefully floated by with no apparent concerns about that happening.

After those experiences, I resigned myself to jogger status and settled into my run. I crossed the middle school field that leads to a path to the business park. I hadn't decided whether to run one or two laps around the main loop because I'm still avoiding hills whenever I can. I went around once and followed that with a half loop before heading over to an adjacent neighborhood. The temperature felt even cooler than yesterday and there was a noticeable wind coming from the west.

Yesterday's run felt much harder, but I had run a minute per mile faster on Friday. I didn't worry about my pace (not that yesterday's was anything to brag about) and that made the experience extremely enjoyable. In fact, I felt I could run all day until I was a quarter mile from home and began to fatigue. It's been a long time since I've covered five miles and my conditioning  reflected that. Still, it was my longest run this year, if only by a tenth of a mile.

Until I am fully free of my injury I'll continue to focus on distance rather than speed. I've always found that when my base is solid, the speed will come. As long as I keep doing these long, easy runs, I should get myself back to a 6+ mile base by mid-summer. At that point I can decide whether I'm ready to think about performance and a possible late summer 10K.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Great weekend runs despite the hills and rain

Today's run (street): 5.2 miles
Yesterday's run (Bethpage trail): 6.25 miles

It's been a good weekend for running, starting with Friday's morning's fall-like conditions. Yesterday I decided to break out of my neighborhood's boundaries and headed to Bethpage to run the bike trail. It was a little warmer than on Friday, but very comfortable in the shade. I got a late start and didn't arrive until 9:00 AM, and the trail was packed with happy looking cyclists, runners and walkers. I picked the northern direction, running towards Sunnyside Boulevard.

It's been some weeks since I've run the undulating hills at Bethpage and I felt every one. The stretch between Washington Ave and Sunnyside was the toughest section of my route and I felt some relief once I reached the top of the last hill. The rest of the run was easy and I was almost sorry to stop when I reached my endpoint.

Later in the day we hosted a dinner for friends and, by the end of the evening, I was ready to sleep where I stood. I worried that I overdid it on my run and that I wouldn't be able to go long today. I ended up getting an earlier start this morning and took off under dark cloudy skies. Around the two mile point it started to rain, and I thought about turning back home. I decided to keep going in the hope that it would soon clear up.

My gamble paid off, and the rain stopped about ten minutes later. I ran another 20 minutes before completing 5.25 miles. Running only four times a week (these days) requires that I cover at least ten miles on weekends. Less days mean longer distances per run, and his has helped me establish a pretty good base. My speed is still well below target and I think that's due to an utter lack of anaerobic training on my part. I plan for a speed workout some time next week and try to get  that back on track.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Run interrupted, for a very good reason

You just can't escape it
Today's run (street): 6.25 total

This morning I planned to go out for six miles, but circumstances caused me to break the run into two parts. I've been trying to run at least 6 miles mid-week to reinforce my base. The news was reporting 40 MPH winds so I went with running pants and two top layers, including a heavier weight half-zip. It turned out that the winds weren't anywhere as bad as reported.

I started off well and I was looking forward to covering my distance at a comfortable pace. I was almost at my first mile when my cell phone rang. I always check to see who's calling, in case it's an emergency. I recognized the number as a big client, but I couldn't answer the phone in time. I listened to the voicemail and headed home to call them back.

Although my run was interrupted, it was worth it. I'm keeping my consulting practice, but now I'll also be taking on a full time position. This will be the first time I'll be commuting to an outside office since I left my old company in 2013. I'm very excited about this new opportunity, but I am concerned about how it will affect my training over the next few weeks. In order to be ready for the Brooklyn Half, I'll need to maintain my current mix of speed and base running.

Once all the paperwork was signed, I went out to complete the balance of my run. In between the first and second part of today's run I had lunch and I wondered how I'd do running on full stomach. The weather had turned cloudy and it looked like it might rain. I was grateful that my distance dropped to five miles, since I'd already done a mile earlier in the day.

There was more wind the second time I went out, but I appreciated it because I thought it might help simulate the effort needed to take on the first big hill at the Marcie Mazzola 5K on Sunday. I moved along fairly well, but the Garmin was showing paces that were at least 30 seconds slower than perceived effort. After calculating true distance, it turned out that I was running about 15 seconds per mile faster than what the display said.

Overall, I met my distance target, although not all at once. I recently read that two-a-days are actually a good training strategy, but I can't remember why. I'm supposed to taper at some point for Sunday's race although I'm not sure I can afford to reduce volume at this point. Maybe I'll rest tomorrow and go long again on Friday.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Full contact running on the Bethpage bike trail

Today's run had its ups and downs
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 7.25 
1,600th Emerging Runner Post!

Speed is one thing and endurance is another. I've made progress on my pacing over the past week, but that was with distances ranging from 3.1 to 3.4 miles. Doubling that distance reveals opportunities for improvement. This morning's workout confirmed my need to focus on base mileage. The good news is that I'm not as far off from my target as I thought.

Bethpage at 7:30 AM is usually a quiet place, but when I arrived, the parking lot was 3/4 full. Judging from the streams of people with stadium chairs and kids walking with soccer balls, I assumed there was a tournament or clinic happening at the athletic fields. It didn't look like they were charging for parking, so I was lucky to get there before the whole lot filled up.

According to News 12 Long Island, the temperature was 64 degrees and, at that hour, the bike trail was mostly in shadow. I wore my new Virratas for the first time on pavement (yesterday's run was on the track), and they felt very good. I had none of the problems I'd experienced with the Kinvara 3's (when new) during my half marathon training. Then again, those issues could have been with my feet, not with the shoes.

My first half mile was a little rough, and I wondered if I was pushing myself too much following three consecutive hard workouts. I decided to ignore the discomfort because the transition from anaerobic to aerobic breathing is sometimes difficult. Once I hit the first mile, I knew I would be able to manage the planned distance.

Bethpage's bike trail is rolling, and the north trail is predominantly uphill, all the way to the end. Me and my friend KWL ran it all the way to Woodbury a couple of months ago, and that was brutal. Today, I viewed the hills differently, because I knew all the elevation I was experiencing on the way up would come back as downhills on my return. Yet there were times when the trail seemed to run uphill in both directions. While that was true, I had few troubles along the route.

My plan was to run as far as Washington Ave, turn around and come back, a distance of about 7.25 miles. I had the path more or less to myself on the way north, except there were some reckless riders zooming along without helmets. That's a dangerous decision when you're exceeding 20 MPH on downhills. By the time I changed direction for the return leg, there were numerous other runners, walkers and even more cyclists.

At around the five mile point, where the path is only wide enough for three people, I saw a man and two women running in my direction. They were running three across. As they came closer, I decided we had a math problem. I kept expecting the woman on the left (who was lined up with me) to drop back or move up to her right. But fifteen feet away, they were still spread out across the trail.

I moved as far to the right as I could go without spilling onto the shoulder, so I stood my ground. The woman tried to squeeze by, but she miscalculated the space and her arm caught the point of my elbow. I have very hard bones so I'm sure that hurt, although I didn't feel a thing except contact. It was too bad that we'd bumped, but she saw me coming for at least 30 seconds.

The remainder of the run was contact-free and I felt like I was moving well throughout every section. I focused on shorter strides on the two final hills, and tried to maintain my normal cadence. In the end, It was my longest run of the year. I barely squeaked in under 10 min/mile but this run wasn't done for performance. This week has been about speed, distance and a few hills. I'll need to keep it up this coming week. After all, you're only as good as your last run.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

SNAP'd out of the gully

Surprisingly good energy snack
Today's run (street): 5.2 miles

Unlike blogger friends A.S.E., Petite Pacer and A Running Chick, who regularly do long distance training runs, I've seemed to settle into the 3 to 4 mile gully. This time last year I was gearing up for the LI Half Marathon and regularly running 8 to 12 mile weekend runs. With no half to prepare for in May, and a recent bout of pain around my hip, I've lost some critical base conditioning. I went out today determined to cover at least five miles and I managed to do that.

Non-runners think that a long distance run would be hard, because they perceive the challenge as not "having enough wind." Runners know that the toughest part of a long run is battling both tedium and muscle fatigue. Let's face it, much of running is voluntarily suffering and while we've all found "the zone" at one point, most runs are teeth gritting experiences. Nature's way of getting us to keep doing it involves the release of endorphins at the end. This make us forget how much we hate running.

I headed over to the local business park by way of a loop through the neighborhood. I'd forgotten to turn left into the middle school that has a passage to my planned destination. I ended up doubling back a bit, and taking the penalty of running up an unplanned span of inclined road. In the scheme of things, that mistake probably made it easier to achieve today's distance goal.

Before I left on my run, I tried a half portion of SNAP infusion "super candy" that was given to me by my friend KWL. I went out later than I expected and was feeling pangs of hunger as I prepared. This was due to only having a small breakfast hours earlier. SNAP contains a combination of antioxidants, electrolytes and carbs and the whole package (I had just half) is only 110 calories. I expected it to taste good, but this was legitimately great. Good enough to compete with real candy.

It didn't occur to me until I'd reached the first half mile that my effortless running may have been enabled by the supplement. Despite forceful winds chilling the already cold air, I felt great, engaged and ready to cover more miles. I didn't work out yesterday (though I covered a lot of ground on foot) so perhaps that break from running helped me today. But the positive experience I had with SNAP made me want to try it again.

I covered the business park and an adjacent neighborhood before turning back towards home. I enjoyed the run, but maybe I'm just brainwashed by the endorphin effect. I'll blame my middling performance on the combination of head-on winds and the hilly route around he park. No matter, I finally broke 5 miles for the first time since early March. Compared to the others, it's still not impressive distance, but it did push me out of my gully.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How pounding headaches lead to base building

There's something about daylong meetings spent in airless conference rooms that causes me to experience pounding headaches. Tuesday's meeting was intense. I lead an industry group that focuses on some fairly technical subject matter. After the sixth hour of intense debates and discussions, it became exhausting. A different meeting followed on Wednesday, and by 10:00 AM I knew I'd be in for a rough day.

I went to bed last night hoping I'd wake up feeling better. I set my running clothes up for a morning workout,  but the need for additional rest and the slight presence of a headache dissuaded me from getting on the treadmill. I think it was a good decision. This is the second or third week in a row where I took Thursday as an additional rest day, but in every case I felt the rest was justified.

The difference between running five days a week versus six isn't great, but it does put me a little behind against my weekly mileage target. So far, I've managed to make up for the loss of weekday miles on weekends. In a way, it has motivated me to extend my weekend long runs a little further than normal. I've been looking to build my base back up and that's a way to do it. I just wish the process to get there this week wasn't so painful.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Eleven miles at Bethpage, without fuel nor water

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 11.2 miles

I had plans to run with my buddy Dave today, but he had a scheduling issue and needed to postpone. The plan was for Dave to accompany me on his bike while I ran. Last February, I wrote a post about Dave's racing nightmare when he suffered a heart attack during a 10 mile race. Since then he has responded well and has been cleared for runs in the 2-3 mile range. It shows that even if you suffer a heart attack, being otherwise fit will certainly accelerate your recovery.

The temperature was in the high 30's when I went out at at 8:30 AM, and I'd purposely under dressed knowing I'd be generating heat over my long run. I wasn't that uncomfortable, even at the beginning, and by mile two I was glad to be in running shorts.

I wore the Spiras thinking they would minimize the possibility of foot problems, but I detected the slight pain in my left foot that I'd assumed was specific to the Kinvara 3's. After a few miles the pain decreased and I thought I had it licked. Turned out it wasn't so simple. By the end my feet were very uncomfortable.

The only nutrition I took for the entirety of my run was a GU gel that I had prior to the start. I took along a GU Roctane for refueling later in the run, but I didn't feel as though I needed it. I also brought a water bottle but didn't take a sip during the run. I wasn't being macho by denying myself nutrition and hydration, I just wanted to test whether I needed it. Did my body use fat as an energy source after glycogen depletion?

After many weeks running the Bethpage bike trail, I've become familiar enough with the route that I know how far I've gone without looking at my Garmin. I also separate the course into stages, based on landmarks. That helps me psychologically, especially as I increase my distance each week. Today I ventured within a mile of the bottom of the trail, located in Massapequa Preserve. I may end up doing an end to end run next time.

On my way back I was happily surprised that my energy level never fell too far and when it dropped a little, I quickly rebounded. I saw many runners, walkers and cyclists today and one sap who was walking along the trail, smoking a cigarette. Why do something healthy like that and smoke?

I did experience a drop in energy with about 2 miles to go. I knew I was facing the toughest part of the route and resigned myself to the work. Running the penultimate hill was easier than I thought it would be, but the final hill was a bear. Still, I finished 11.2 miles feeling in better shape than I did when I ran 9 miles a few weeks ago.

I'm on vacation this week and next weekend is the Marcie Mazzola 5K (on Sunday). Due to that, I'll skip my base run as I taper. From now until then, speed will be my focus. I'm curious to see if all this base building will help me push the pace over a decidedly shorter distance.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Top of the mornin' run at Bethpage State Park

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 8.2 miles

Green Day
Happy St. Patty's Day. I'm not Irish, but in honor of the holiday I wore my kelly green quarter-zip on today's run. This was to be my weekend base building run and, after a later than usual start,  I headed over to Bethpage State Park.

When I arrived I saw a few dozen runners dressed in green circling the parking lot in what looked to be an informal race or a fun run. Many wore leprechaun hats or green St. Patty's themed headgear. There were no signs saying what the event was for, but people seemed to be having a good time.

I wore the new Spira Stinger XLT's because I was curious to see how they would do on a long and hilly run. After getting past the first short hill and making my way down the long hill that followed, I was into the wooded section of the bike trail where the first mile seems to come quickly. I felt a little stronger than last Saturday, when I ran the trail for 7.4 miles. I hoped that I'd feel even better as I went along today.

The XLT's provided a responsive platform and felt comfortable underfoot throughout the entire run. It wasn't until I was into my third mile that I detected a hot spot above my left heel. I hoped it would go away but it grew worse, and when I reached 3.75 miles I needed to stop for a minute to adjust my sock and re-tie my lace. That did the trick and I continued south, passing over the Southern State and turning around at Linden St. after passing the 4 mile mark.

There were many runners, walkers and cyclists on the trail today. I recognized a lot of the runners that I see almost every time I run at Bethpage. At one point on my return leg, I was behind three women who were trotting alongside a man who was race-walking. They were all dressed in St. Patty's attire. This group took up the entire path and I had to run in the dirt on the left side to get by. They acted annoyed that I didn't greet them when I passed them. One woman yelled an unfriendly-sounding, "Top of the mornin' to ye!"

This was the third consecutive weekend since I started my half marathon training and I was pleased with the way I felt throughout the first six miles. Like last week, it was the last two miles that really challenged me. It's as much mental as physical. The last mile and a half have the biggest hills, and I always dread the final long climb.

I made it through the second-worst hill that comes a mile before the start (and finish). I was hurting but still managed to pass a few slower runners as I made my approach to the last hill. I gritted my teeth and went for it, slogging my way along the longest half mile of the run before finishing with a short downhill run to the parking lot.

It was a hard workout but I improved on my pace from last Saturday's 7.4 mile run. I don't think I'd do too well if the half marathon was next weekend, but there are still six weekends to train before the race. Tomorrow's run will be for recovery. I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seven hard miles at Bethpage

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 7.25 miles

It wasn't exactly night and day, but today's run went far better than yesterday's struggle on the trails. I really wanted to stay in and skip my run, but my wife pushed me out the door saying that I'd complain all day if I didn't get my run in.

I decided that a long run was in order, so I went out to Bethpage around 9:00 AM.Yesterday I'd confirmed that the park would be open this week. The last time I visited (admittedly many weeks ago), the gates were closed and locked with a sign saying "Park closed to winter sports."

There were only a few cars parked in the big lot so I found a spot near the entrance to the bike trail. I was a little nervous when I started off, concerned that I'd be once again plagued with low energy and sore legs. By the time I reached the top of the first hill, I knew I had enough fuel to get me halfway through my intended seven miles. The question was whether I'd have enough to get me back.

The weather was very nice -- mid 40's, clear and sunny. Being that it was the middle of the week, there weren't too many runners and cyclists, although there were some. I bounded down the big hill knowing that, when I returned later, it would not be so much fun. I always dread that last challenge, especially after many miles of hard running.

Bethpage's bike trail is rolling, with very few flat sections. There are a couple of steep hills to deal with between miles one and two. At least on the way back you get nice downhills when you need them. It's much easier for me to run long distances at Bethpage than almost anywhere else, because it's a linear course and therefore easier to gauge progress.

I felt fine through the first three and a half miles so, after the turnaround, I picked up the pace to get past a group of walkers who had suddenly appeared ahead of me. Taking on seven miles today was a calculated risk because I have not run that distance in months. My current base is closer to four miles and by mile five I was starting to feel fatigued.

There's a point about 1.5 miles from the trail head where the path rises steeply over a short distance. On the way out it's not a problem on fresh legs, but on the way back it can be a struggle. I used my usual technique of pretending I was running downhill which works okay on 2% grades, but not so good on this monster.

I did manage to get over that hill and enjoy a mostly downhill run over the next quarter mile. Still, that final long hill loomed large and I just kept thinking about how good I'd feel once I finished. The hill was as hard as I thought it would be, and only the view of the top and the level road that followed, kept me going.

I finished my run and semi-collapsed in my car's seat, guzzled 20 oz. of water and headed home. Tomorrow I'll take it down a notch and do an elliptical session at an easy pace. Today's run was my longest in months, and it felt very hard. Hopefully it will push my base a little further. The half marathon is in May and I have a long way to go before I'm ready.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Today I ran like a Kenyan

As if...
Today's run (street): 5.4

Don't be impressed by the headline of this post, I wasn't channeling Geoffrey Mutai winning the ING NYC marathon this morning. Quite the opposite, actually. While Kenyan runners regularly hit five minute miles in competition, they tend to do their long recovery runs at an extremely slow pace. That was my plan today and I kept to it.

The training schedule that I've followed over the last few years has been to run five days a week, with additional cross training on a 6th day. I rest on Mondays unless I'm not feeling well or if I'm tapering for a race.

With a schedule like that, I shouldn't have issues with running strength or stamina but I sometimes hit the wall around 30 minutes into a run. Since my policy has always been, "Once I start, no stopping" I run through these low points and will occasionally rebound strongly. People have said that even though my frequency is high, my base is fairly low. This is true. My weekday running distances average 2.5 miles due to time limitations. On weekends I'll go longer, but the shorter runs play havoc on my base.

My monthly mileage numbers this past November and December were down about 10% from the prior year. I know it's because I wasn't consistently doing 7+ mile distances as I had in 2010. I've decided to work on my base with 5 miles being my lower limit for weekend runs. Last Sunday I ran the 5 mile Hangover Run and this morning I did a 5.4 mile neighborhood run.

Five miles isn't particularly long but I needed to motivate myself to get out today after suffering three tough runs since Sunday. I figured that running slowly would make it easier -- and it was --  until I hit 4 miles and started to suffer fatigue. I didn't fully understand why, since I'd run over a minute/mile faster last Sunday. Unfortunately, running like a Kenyan didn't yield the results that I'd hoped to attain.

A week of tough running has convinced me that I need to give myself a two-day break to restore my fitness to normal levels. Since I can't resist running on weekends, I'll target Monday (my usual rest day) and Tuesday as recovery days. I'll see if that does any good when I get back to it on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Slight concerns for my 10K readiness

Today's run (street): 3.25 miles

I would have like to cover more distance this morning but I had an early appointment that limited my running time to about 30 minutes. It was 38° according to News12 when I prepared for my run and I bundled up with long pants, long sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. I worried that I'd get too hot at some point but with only thirty minutes on the road I stayed fairly comfortable throughout my run.

Yesterday's performance was sub-par and that workout served only to keep continuity in my schedule. I felt a little pressure when I went out today knowing that this weekend is the last time that I can train at any real distance for next weekend's Hope for the Warriors 10K. I am still feeling under the weather so I compromised on intensity and focused on maintaining a pace that was roughly between my daily run pace and my targeted pace for the 10K.

I had no mechanical problems with my stride and felt no fatigue, but I wasn't at the level I want to be on race day. I followed an extended version of my usual course and thought about form and cadence. The run began to feel harder at the two mile mark and this concerned me because that is only a third of a 10K. I decided to ignore the difficulty and worked to maintain speed by using arm swing to increase leg turnover.

In the end I achieved my pace goal but I still have some concerns about the fragility of my six mile base. A longer run tomorrow should give me a better sense of my readiness. I'm looking forward to watching the NYC marathon tomorrow and that will help motivate me to cover some distance. I have a few friends who are running the marathon for the first time tomorrow and I'm hoping that they have great experiences. Knowing how hard a half marathon can be, I admire them very much.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bethpage base run better than expected

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 6.7 miles

With Cow Harbor happening next week, I knew I needed to put in a few more base miles before I begin my training taper. Last year I spent a lot of time focusing on the Cow Harbor route and the strategy to run it. I even did a trial run of the course to understand firsthand the challenges of James Street, Waterside Drive and Pumpernickel Hill.

I haven't done too much thinking about it this year and I'm guessing that's okay. I know from last year that I should take the first mile slow despite the temptation to sprint along Scudder Avenue's downhill sections. Better to reserve energy for the end of Bayview Ave. and James Street's "Widow Hill." I'm really hoping that the weather will be cooler than last year, when the heat and humidity sent half a dozen people to the hospital. Even so, I know I'll reach a point during that race when I'm questioning why I'm doing it. All it takes is all you got.

I went over to the bike path at Bethpage State Park this morning. It's my favorite place for runs on pavement that are longer than four or five miles. The theme of today's run was time, not speed. I didn't care how fast I ran, I just wanted to run at least an hour to help reinforce my conditioning. Bethpage isn't quite as challenging as Cow Harbor in terms of elevation changes, but it's rolling. The bike trail has two hilly sections that can be tough to get over and the worst of it is at the end.

I brought along my hand bottle that I filled with Gatorade G2 and the air was so cool that I didn't take my first sip until I was past the 2 mile mark. Although my perceived effort was fairly low I was maintaining a better pace than normal for this type of run. I was actually annoyed when I looked at my Garmin at the three mile mark to see I was pacing around 9:10 per mile because I wanted to do this run closer to 9:50.

There were many runners and cyclists on the path. I noticed more running groups than usual and I wondered if the Ocean to Sound Relay was happening today (I checked later and saw that it will be held on the 25th). I changed direction after a number of runners coming from the other side had passed by. I feared getting swallowed up by them and preferred to draft in their wake. Nothing surprised me more than when I started passing them, first a few single runners and then entire groups. I was simply maintaining my pace. Interestingly, I wasn't passed by a single runner all day.

By mile five I was beginning to tire but I wasn't losing much speed. I continued to drink the G2 and almost finished it just before I took on the long hill that comes at the end. I didn't take the hill fast but I did maintain a steady rhythm as I ascended. I really appreciated the final 50 meters that is all downhill.

Most women ask for roses
I got to my car and was able to sit down immediately because I had placed an AllSport SeatShield covering on my car's seat. I got a couple of these water/sweat proof covers after my wife (rightfully) complained that towels on the seats don't do a good enough job. She gets mad when I occasionally take her car to runs and her seats end up moist from sweat. These covers, at about $20 apiece, seemed expensive when I realized that they're made of material that's similar to recyclable shopping bags. But the covers fit very well over the seats and kept them dry. If that result makes my wife happy then it's worth every penny!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Racing the hurricane

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 7.1 miles

Apparently there's some rain and wind coming our way as Irene makes her (its?) way up the eastern seaboard. At least we've had time to prepare, but with a million people in the NYC area under mandatory evacuation everyone is pretty much on edge. With the hurricane coming later, I went out early to Bethpage to get in some training miles.

There were plenty of people on the trails at Bethpage this morning, along with golfers who were getting in a few rounds before the storm. It was cloudy, but humid, and I was glad that I wore my new Mizuno singlet. I brought along my water bottle that I filled with 1/3 ice and 2/3 Gatorade G2 to help keep me hydrated. The combination of the two kept things bearable over my entire 7+ mile run.

My goal distance was eight miles but I decided that I'd shorten that by a mile because it's been a long time since I've run more than a few miles in the Hattori's. I didn't want to invite injury andwith the high humidity, it was the right thing to do.

By the end of my run I was looking forward to getting past the last long hill and quite happy when I finally finished. Considering the weather, I thought I'd performed well and I was pleased that I was able to work on my base. I'll either be on the treadmill or the elliptical tomorrow, unless we lose our power. That being the case, I'll revisit my core workout in the dark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seven seconds separates two runs

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

This morning's run was almost exactly like yesterdays. In fact, the only difference was that today's run took me seven seconds longer than on Tuesday. Same route, same weather conditions, same start time. I think my seven second difference happened in the first few minutes when I got off to a slightly slower start. My standard practice has been to start at a moderate pace and gradually increase my speed so that I attain negative splits on every mile. I try to throw in some anaerobic sprinting at the end of my last mile which, at the end, tells me a lot about my state of conditioning.

Although Sunday's 6+ mile run would have been a typical weekend distance for me a few months ago, it was a noticeable jump in length compared to my recent runs. I was glad not to have suffered any ill affects from going 30% longer than usual. No second day hamstring or calf aches like I'd get following a 10K race or a 10 mile recreational run. I'm thinking about upping my distance even further this weekend and targeting 8 miles of LSD. I think if I reestablish my long run base to the level I maintained in winter I'll do okay at the Dirty Sock 10K later this month.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Protect the knee and then build the base

Half marathon finish
I went out after work with some friends and got home later than I normally do. That cut into my sleep and I decided to rest instead of running this morning. I'm very close to full recovery from my half marathon last weekend but my knee is still a little sore. I compare it to how it felt last Saturday, the day before my race. I didn't feel guilty for skipping a workout today because I feel another day without impact on my knee can only help.

I had hopes of going out this weekend and doing at least one heroically long run to mark my post-half arrival. I'm now thinking about a different approach, where I cap my distance at around four miles on each run. That way I can protect my knee as it recovers and add distance each week until I'm back to 10+ mile base runs.

I had lunch with my friend CMc yesterday and he reinforced the need to do training runs at (or longer) than my targeted race distance. This makes sense since I'd never run 13 miles before Sunday and my performance took a tumble after 11. A steady diet of 10+ mile runs at least once a week will put me in good shape to run another half, should I choose to do so. Even if I stay primarily with 10K's I'll see great benefits from that type of training. I really want to be better prepared for my next race.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quantity or quality?

Today's run (street): 4 miles

I sometimes see references to "quality miles" and "junk miles" in running magazines and I'm still not sure what that means. I've always believed that any run that doesn't contribute to injury or lead to exhaustion (and illness) are beneficial. Perhaps for people who run 20 miles per week (like me) every mile is a "quality mile." Miles gained on hills or doing speed work may be of even higher quality.  It could be that for 70+ mile-a-week runners that an extra five or 10 could be considered gratuitous, with little extra benefit.  If I ever get to running 70 miles per week I'll know if that's true.

My thinking about quality miles started this morning as I considered my run. I've run or crossed trained every day since last Friday and my average distance per run has been longer during this vacation because I've had more time to run. We're expecting rain and heavy winds starting tonight so Friday's workout will have to happen indoors. I decided to get in my last outdoor run before the weekend on the streets of my neighborhood since the residual snow has rendered most other venues un-runnable. After a fairly average start I began to tire at the 2 mile mark. I've been concerned that my success building my base closer to 8 miles toward the end of last year has eroded due to the lack of opportunity for longer, wide open runs. Darn this snow!

As I ran around the local roads today I thought about the benefits I was gaining from this four mile run. Like yesterday, I completed my route feeling spent, but unlike Wednesday, I didn't run all that fast. I guess I'll consider today's workout a "maintenance run." That sounds a lot better than calling it "junk miles."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Running cold and hot

Today's run (street): 5.2 miles

How cold is cold? 30 degrees? 20? How about 13? That was the temperature that News 12 Long Island had at the bottom of the screen while I dressed for my run this morning. A switch over to channel 4 in NYC showed a significant difference: 28 degrees. I wasn't sure what to believe. I geared up for sub-20 degree weather wearing half compression shorts under compression pants, calf sleeves and four top layers. I wore my warmest fleece hat and my ASICS glove/mittens and thick acrylic socks with my Kinvaras. It felt cold when I stepped outside but not really too uncomfortable. Cold minus wind is usually tenable until you get to the single digits.

I started the run by focusing on a shorter stride that allowed me to maintain a cadence in the high 80's. This did not translate into any great speed but it got me warmed up quickly. About 30 minutes prior to my run I had a Cliff Gel that contained 25mg of caffeine. I have found that consuming a gel 30-45 minutes before a run makes the first mile a little easier. Once I hit my stride (pun intended) I decided to extend my planned route because I was really enjoying the run. I criss-crossed the neighborhood and as I got nearer to the end I was fairly warm. I wished at that point that I'd only worn three top layers. By my last mile I was pleased to note that I had enough energy to maintain a brisk pace. I still feel that my base is not as solid as it was in November when I could manage over 8 miles without a thought. I can do the mileage but my performance tends to degrade around the 6 mile mark.

I have a race coming up in three weeks and though it's only 4 miles I want it to be four fast miles. I have tomorrow and the Monday holiday to get in some distance runs and it would be great to run some trails. This week's snow will prevent that but I'm hoping to get to that soon. It was a good running start for the long weekend. I'm not really sure how cold it was on today's run but I wouldn't mind duplicate conditions tomorrow.

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