Showing posts with label planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label planning. Show all posts

Friday, May 16, 2014

Brooklyn Half: The calm before the storm

7 miles around the park then five straight to Coney Island
The Brooklyn Half will happen in less than 24 hours. This will be my third half marathon and my first NYRR race. My training for Brooklyn started well and stayed on track until I accepted a full time position on top of my consulting practice. This caused my training program to go off the rails. However, until this week, I did manage to maintain my targeted weekly mileage.

Today is dark and gloomy and heavy rain is predicted for a good part of the afternoon, going all the way past midnight. Better that happen today than tomorrow. I'm working from home today, which will involve a busy morning. Later in the day I'll turn my attention to preparing for the race.

The increased security practices that have been put in place after the 2013 Boston Marathon are restricting what can be carried to races. I need to figure out my gear strategy since the only acceptable bag for race transport is being distributed today at the pre-race party that I cannot attend. Fortunately, SIOR and her entourage will be able to hold our stuff and hopefully get it to us at the finish.

I'm looking at tomorrow with a combination of excitement and curiosity, although I'll admit to being a little nervous about the logistical complexities. I also need to run 13.1 miles in the morning. I've done it before, and my weekend base runs should have prepared me for that distance. The last time I ran a half marathon was in 2012 and I managed to meet my performance goal. Unless I find some unexpected strength and energy that will allow me to maintain a competitive pace, I will be running this race purely for the experience tomorrow.

A large part of the excitement tomorrow is the shared experience. The Runsketeers (SIOR and TPP) will be there, plus friends LS, KWL, FS (among others). I've only run in Brooklyn once, when Adventure Girl and I crossed the bridge through DUMBO and then north to the water. I've always wanted to run in Prospect Park and, from the course map, it looks like I'll be spending more than half the race in and around it. Once we leave the park, it's a straight shot along Ocean Parkway. I hope the wind is coming from the north on Saturday!

Until then it's waiting time. Morning will come soon enough and my friends will be at my house by 4:30 AM as we begin our journey to Grand Army Plaza. This should be fun.

Friday, January 11, 2013

At long last: 2013 running goals

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I realized last night that I never posted last year's running goals. In prior years I had done that on the blog, but I guess I just forgot to do it for 2012. I'm not sure what goals I would have set last year, beyond hoping to improve my half marathon time and participating in a race I'd never run before. I did both of those things last year, so I guess I achieved something. This year I'm thinking about the following as my 2013 running goals:

1. More weekday running diversity.
For practical reasons, my running routine has become less and less adventurous. My weekday 4:00 AM runs were once daily adventures where I'd run on different streets each day and then scramble to get home in time to stay on schedule. This devolved into running the exact same route, every day, to stay within a rigid time frame. Worse, some time last year I stopped doing outdoor runs on weekdays in favor of the treadmill to minimize prep time and maximize recovery time

Goal: Run outdoors at least once a week before work. Establish at least one alternate route to take every other week.

2. More NYC running.
Way back when, I'd frequently run in Central Park, on the West Side bike path or even over bridges to New Jersey or Brooklyn. Regular running partners Adventure Girl and JQ have left the east coast and I've had trouble finding running buddies who are willing to commit to workday runs.

Goal: Monthly runs in Central Park, with or without a partner.

3. Break the neighborhood running habit on weekends.
Just like my slide to predictable routes and then to the treadmill on weekday mornings, my weekend runs have become fairly mundane workouts that take place mostly around my neighborhood. My excuse has been that local runs save time (which is in short supply on weekends) but boring running really undercuts the experience.

Goal: One run outside of my neighborhood every weekend (weather permitting).

4. Return to racing.
Event date changes and race cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy disrupted my running momentum. I am completely out of the racing habit and don't have a race on the schedule until Marcie Mazzola in April.

Goal: Run at least one race prior to April's event. Bonus: Run a different half marathon than the RXR LI.

5. Participate in a group run (club organized or otherwise).

Goal: find a an open meet-up, local club run or organize one myself. 

Unlike years past, I've decided not to put in any performance or distance goals this year. If I meet my race goals, performance will take care of itself. I have run enough distance at this point to know I can run more. Besides that, I'm not sure running more than 13 or 14 miles is really that beneficial to my health.

Now that I've posted these goals, I guess I need to start working on them. This weekend will present my first opportunity to do that. Bethpage, here I come.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The week that won't end

Today's workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

I've always thought that busy weeks go by quicker than slow ones but that isn't true for this week. Yesterday's schedule was too tight to fit in a workout because I needed to be on a 5:50 AM train. I'm facing similar pressures today but on a normal schedule, so at least I had time for my weekly elliptical session this morning.

I'm on vacation next week and I couldn't be more ready. I'm planning to get some distance runs in during that time and also continue to work on overall speed. I'm hoping that the storm that's predicted on Sunday won't involve snow. I'd be disappointed to have to do vacation runs on the treadmill.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A look ahead in 2012

It was great to wake up and realize I had a scheduled rest day this morning. Coming off a three day weekend, it's always nice to ease into the work week by sipping coffee and watching the news. Somehow, going from a deep sleep into the cold wet weather to run lacked appeal today.

I'm thinking about my running goals for 2012 but I haven't yet set them in stone. I would like to do more running outside of Long Island than I did last year. As a subset to that, I would like to explore more off-road venues. I'm hoping to participate in as many races as I did in 2011 and to improve my half marathon time by at least ten minutes. I did five personal bests in my ten 2011 races, so it will be hard to repeat that this year. But I promise to try.

I'll be listing my full set of goals soon. The most important, as always, is to finish the year as excited about running as when I started it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What's next after Cow Harbor?

Unlike most races, the Cow Harbor 10K always happens on a Saturday which makes the weekend seem extra long. Last year I did an easy recovery run the next day and eased back into my normal routine with a  rest day on Monday. I usually get one day of respite after races or long distance runs and don't feel the muscle soreness in my legs until the following day. That isn't the case today though. My calves feel extremely tight and the thought of doing a run today, even an easy one, is out of the question. In fact, I'll probably take another rest day tomorrow and resume my normal running schedule on Tuesday.

Speaking of schedules, I'm trying to plan the rest of my races for the year. Last year I went from Cow Harbor in September to two races in November (with no race in October). My favorite distance is 10K, but there aren't nearly as many 10K's to choose from as there are 5K races. The Huntington (NY) Big 8 10K race is on October 22nd, but I may have a scheduling issue that weekend.

If I can't race on 10/22 then I may run a 5K in October instead and run Hope for the Warriors and the Long Beach Turkey trot (both 10k's) in November. I've never run a race in December, but I'd consider it. I'll check the calendar to see what's going on. Suggestions are welcomed!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Training for the half marathon with strategy in mind

Today's run (street): 2.55 miles

Training was on my mind this morning when I went outside for my run. My plan was to do a tempo run and focus on sustaining a faster pace than I've averaged over the last couple of weeks. It's been warm the last few days (if you call 40 degrees warm) but this morning it was a frosty 27. I started my run at a moderate pace and brought up my speed after the first mile. I ran my remaining distance around 30 seconds slower than my 5K pace and I finished running at about a 9:15 pace.

Many half marathon plans I've seen mix together a combination of short runs, intervals and long runs in addition to cross training. I know myself well enough that I'm not going to do intervals on a regular basis but I will consciously work to include farleks and tempos. By running on the treadmill I adopted a habit of starting slowly and working my way up to faster paces and I've been doing that on my street runs although faster is a relative term.

I think it really comes down to building up my base to the point that I can draw upon any competitive tools I have later on in the race. That strategy seemed to work last fall when I successfully attained two consecutive 10K PRs. My running buddy Dave suggested that I focus on base during one of our runs and he was right. I think I'll see if he has any other ideas to help my training.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend running: Bethpage, NY Marathon and time travel

I decided to skip yesterday and today's workouts to give myself a chance to further recover from my cold. I learned from my bout with pneumonia that running, instead of resting, can be a bad trade off. I originally planned a run with JQ for lunchtime but he needs to attend a meeting. I could run alone but it's probably better for me to rest. I've suffered a painful sinus condition over the last couple of days and thankfully I'm feeling much better this morning.

I'm planning to meet Dave tomorrow at Bethpage for a long run, probably seven or eight miles. I haven't done a run over six miles since Brian and I reran the Cow Harbor course a couple of weeks ago so it will be good to catch up on my miles. After this weekend I'm racing the next two (11/14 & 11/21 -- both 10K) and I'm running a 5K on Thanksgiving with my wife and kids. Another good reason to take today to rest.

If the timing works I'll head downtown around noon to the Jacob Javitts Center to visit the NY Marathon expo. My friend FS is running it for (I think) the third time and I'm excited for her. She and her husband are great competitors and they do many NYRR races. They also run marathons and half's in different parts of the country along with the occasional 100 mile bike run. I'll be cheering for her on Sunday. Also notable this weekend is a special run that Adventure Girl is leading at Yale. She's taking her Harriers running group out at 1:45 AM on a long run with the goal of returning to their starting point before they even left! Note that daylight savings time starts at 2:00 AM : )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Saturday I hit the streets again

Okay, I'm psyched for tomorrow. I'm planning to get 8+ hours sleep and then go for a 2 mile neighborhood run that I've mapped out on Gmaps. I know that I need to mitigate my speed from the beginning and not fall into the "This feels great, I can push harder" mindset. I made that mistake on Monday when I slid the speed control far enough over that I ran in the low to mid 9's for the first mile. I dialed it back after that but the damage had been done and I was fully spent after 15 minutes. I was so tired from the run that I fell asleep 30 seconds after I finished. I'm sure that if I had started with a more modest pace I would have felt much stronger by the end. I probably would have been able to go a full 20 minutes as planned. My plan for tomorrow is use a modified version of my race strategy - start at a moderate pace and reserve enough energy to push hard at the end. In the case of tomorrow it will be: start slow, stay slow and have enough left to finish my planned route.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The great indoors

Weather reports were calling for snow this morning so I planned ahead to stay inside. Working out indoors is a great time saver, especially the night before when I spend ten or so minutes preparing my gear for my morning runs. No need for headlamps, reflective vests, hats, gloves, etc., when you're on the treadmill or elliptical. I woke up and looked outdoors to see a winter wonderland. The neighborhood had a coating of about an inch of snow and I debated whether to go out and run just because it looked so nice.

I realized that I'd be way behind on prep and wouldn't even get 20 minutes in so I chose the elliptical instead. That was a good choice for two reasons. First, I got in 30 minutes and played around with resistance to help build up my quads. Second, in the time I was working out on the elliptical the winds had picked up and the rain had moved in and I would have been caught in it had I chosen to run. My elliptical workout was just perfect and I appreciated going 30 minutes during the work week. I'm hoping that whatever is coming through New York today will be finished by tomorrow. If it's cold but dry tomorrow morning I'll run outside. If it's cold and wet I'll be back on the treadmill. I'm still ambivalent about that but it sure beats the soggy alternative.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Decisions and anxieties

I just checked the extended forecast for Falmouth, MA on Sunday: 58 degrees and a 30% chance of precipitation. In my perfect world it would be a little colder than that but 58% with clouds could work just fine. I have a lot of decisions to make between now and Sunday at 8:30 AM:
  • What clothes should I run in?
  • Should I change between my first and second leg (legs 1 & 4)?
  • What gear should I bring along (HRM, Garmin, iPhone, gloves)?
  • Which running shoes should I wear?
  • What pace should I target for each leg?
  • How will I handle hydration?
  • How can I keep my legs flexible between my runs?
  • Should I do a practice run on Saturday or take advantage of rest?
I'm also concerned about following the course and not getting lost. I think the race people mark the route with CCM labels spray painted in prominent spots. I hope so because it would be humiliating to leave my teammates stranded due to a navigational snafu. I worry that I'm not worried about the first leg and too worried about the second. In the end it's just a race and I'll figure everything out or things will get figured out for me. Like I've said in previous competitions, I'm just going to run my race and hope for the best. In the end, if it isn't about having fun just why am I doing this?

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