Monday, August 27, 2007

Running Fast is Hard!

A very important part of my marathon training is speed training. It is also the second least fun part of training. The first is hill training. I haven't been doing much in the way of hill training so far, so right now speed training is the least fun part. I shot an email to my coach Terry for some advice. This is part of his response:

---As an example, if you run your 800 m at 3:10 pace, theoretically you should be able to run a 3:10 marathon. The key to Yasso's is repeatability. You should be able to run them CONSISTENTLY within 5-10 seconds of the same time for each repeat. Generally a 400m recovery jog is run between them. You should concentrate on working your way up to between 8 and 10 of these.

Another option for you would be to do ladders, working your way up from 200m, 400m, 800 m, 1 mile ( with a recovery of about 1/2 each distance) and then work your way back down again.

Still another option, which worked well for me, is to concentrate on the Yasso's but with MINIMAL recovery between them (15-30 seconds). This will feel very much like racing, and is likely to be the hardest of the workouts of suggested. You will need to experiment with these to see which workout is best for you. Remember, you do only ONE of these workouts per week.

Lastly, another option from speed work is to do FAST hill repeats. Find a short,(100-200M ), moderately steep hill, run the uphills hard, and then walk or jog back down. Work yourself up to 10-12 of these. I know several people who swear that these are as effective as formal track work. Again, you will need to experiment to see what works for you.---

I was kind of hoping he would have something different for me, but I guess not. I used Yassos to train for the Flying Pig and he is completely correct. They were very accurate at determining how fast my marathon pace would be. I ran them at 3:30 most of the time during training and ran a 3:37 marathon.

I tried the Yassos with a short rest last week, and that wasn't for me. I need to keep moving, so I switched to the 400 jog in between. It gives a little more recovery time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I make questionable choices

It has been ridiculously hot here in Cincinnati over the last week. Averaging in the mid 90s. Yesterday and today the temps topped out at over 100F. Don't worry though, the humidity is somewhere in the upper 80% range. So you take a shower, get all clean and fresh, walk outside, and immediately start sweating and feeling gross and sticky. It's lovely.

A normal person, a smart person, would probably stay inside, limit activity and enjoy all enmities modern life has provided. I prefer to dress up in a chicken suit and run around downtown assaulting people with brochures and candy and follow that up with a run right about the time that temps reach 100 degrees. I don't think it needs any explanation.

Okay, I'll explain. Tuesday we had our official kick-off for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Run Like Hell. As a volunteer I had the privilege of taking part in the event on fountain square. I took one for the team and put on the chicken suit. I've dealt with hot and uncomfortable before. I used to be a baker. I spent 6 hours a day standing in front of an open oven. That was hot. The very next day I dealt with hot temps as I'll explain in a moment, but none of them compares to putting on that costume.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of sweat pooling in a rubber beak right in front of my mouth and breathing hot air into a rubber mask that goes right back into my face. I also had a choice in the mask. I could either breathe clearly, or see clearly...out of my left eye. I had to alternate, because doing both just wasn't feasible . On the bright side I think that confirms that I'm not claustrophobic.

How would you choose to follow up a day of running around in a chicken costume? I chose to go for a run in 100 degree heat. I went to my first Team In Training workout on Wednesday after work. I knew it was hot outside, but I work in a basement office all day with no windows. I have absolutely no sense of what it is like in the outside world while I'm working. I finally overheard someone talking about it as we were walking out to have our run. 101 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Brilliant! Let's go run. Maybe it was the chicken suit experience that toughened me up, or maybe it was just the experience of having a group to run with instead of running alone, but it wasn't so bad.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Plans are Staring to Take Shape

I have a plan that is starting to form around this goal of a 3:10 marathon. I am pretty sure I'm going to make an attempt at the goal. I'm going to work up to the half marathon in October, and see how that goes. If the half goes well, then I'll move on from there. I think it will go well.

The plan is to start running marathon pace long runs now. I'm running 8 mile long runs at the moment, and I'm not quite up to running 8 miles at a 7:15 or faster pace. Yesterday I was able to run 4 miles at a 7:15 pace, and 4 miles at a slower pace. I'll use that as a starting point. Every week I'll add on a mile at race pace to my long run. So, next week I'll run 8 for my long run. The first 2 miles will be at a slow, warm-up pace, the next 5 at race pace, and the final mile as a cool down.

During the week I'll be mixing in speed work, easy runs, hill work, and tempo runs at a faster than 10K pace. That should be interesting. My tempo runs have definitely not been up to that speed up to this point. I'm just hoping that since I have a goal to motivate me, that will help. I'll also be working in my core, abs and strength work along with some cycling. It's a tall order for sure.

I also started round one of fundraising for Team in Training. I decided to go with the easiest a most obvious route first. I sent out about 50 emails yesterday. While I'm giving that a few days for responses I'm going to make up some business cards with the information on it. I think that is a great idea. I've run into a few people that said they would be happy to contribute. If I have a card on me...bam! Done deal. I'm also going to approach my in-laws about doing some sort of fundraiser through their church. I'm not sure what yet, but like I said plans are just starting to take shape.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Bid for Boston?

I have much to consider tonight and over the weekend. I've been trading emails all afternoon with one of the Team in Training coaches about my training plans for the Disney Marathon. My ultimate goal is to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time, and I was thinking about going for it at Disney.

After some discussion I'm beginning to wonder if that is the best idea. I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but I don't know if I fully understand just HOW hard it is going to be to achieve the goal. As the coach put it "You would need to drop your time over a minute a mile to accomplish your goal... I don't want to discourage you, but I DO want you to be realistic and recognize that, while doable (depending on how hard you are willing to work) this will not be easy. Typically, I would have you do this over 2 marathons (dropping 30 sec/mile each marathon)." The "over a minute" is in reference to his comparison of my first marathon time of 3:37:14 which is about an 8:20 pace. I would need to bring that pace down to a 7:15 pace. That sounds like a lot, but I must also consider the fact that due to poor nutrition planning that's an 8:20 with a limping, cramping final 6 miles. I easily lost 10 minutes at the end of the race last time. The cramping has since been remedied with the help of some electrolyte capsules that I'll be using during the race. Taking those 10 minutes back or any part of those 10 minutes makes the deficit seem more reasonable.

On the plus side Disney is a flat course. I tend to do well on flat courses as do many others. That will be to my advantage. On the minus side the coach suggests that I race every other weekend a 5k or 10k to increase my speed. This is probably the most efficient way to increase speed, but it's not really the most budget friendly way to do it. The race fees can very quickly build up.

It's all just a little overwhelming. I need some time to digest this information and try to formulate a plan. The coach's suggestion was to work toward the half marathon, and then begin formal speed training after that to prepare for the marathon. Maybe that is the key. I don't have to make a final decision right now, but see how the half goes. Once that is over I'll have a more clear picture of where I am in my training and whether a bid for Boston is going to be realistic.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back in the Swing

We've been back from a trip to Michigan for a few days, and I'm starting to get caught up and back into the swing of everyday life. Part of getting back into that swing will be getting back to making regular posts on this blog. I'll have more reason to post here on a regular basis as I kick off my fund raising and training for the Team In Training trip to the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. I've got my fund raising website set up and will start soliciting for donations Click on the new Team in Training banner there at the right to check out my site.

The trip to Michigan was made in part as a vacation and in part to help some family out. It also gave me an opportunity to make another step toward completing a goal of mine. I found a 5k race to participate in while we were there knocking off Michigan in my Cross Country Challenge. I'm not going to do a full blog entry report on the race, but here is a quick recap...

5th Annual Lakeshore Miles For Meals 5K Run & Walk

I didn't have any particular expectations going into the race. I'm still looking for that sub 20 minute 5k race, but I wasn't expecting this to be the one. I had two things working against me: lack of sleep, and stiffness from the previous day's long drive. With that in mind I decided to just give it my best and let everything else take care of itself. That was enough. I ran a very good, evenly paced race. I was averaging right around 6:30 minute/miles give or take 6 seconds. If I made any mistakes it was in the last mile. I thought I saw the finish line, so I kicked it hard. It turned out that I still had about a 1/4 of a mile. That made for a very hard, long kick to the finish.

I finished 16th overall with a finishing time of 20:20. The best part was that I finished 1st in my age group! I knew I had at least a top 3 finish wrapped up going into mile 3, but I had no idea that I running 1st. That was a great feeling. You've got to love the smaller races. There is no way I would have finished 1st in my age group in most of the larger races. That doesn't matter though. I will simply bask in the glow of the victory!

Hopefully I'll be back very soon with some Team In Training updates, Run Like Hell updates, and some race results as summer winds down and the fall race season heats up!