First Run in the Rain…And What’s Next…

Today’s Run

Time – 51:12
Distance – 5.1 miles
Pace – 9:54 min/mi
Elevation – 192 ft.

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If only I had a whiteboard this big…

Four runs now at sub–10:00 pace. This is becoming a thing. I didn’t want to go out this fast, and had slowed down some, but then it started to rain, so I sped up to get home quicker. The run felt ok. I felt a twinge in my right hamstring, and it’s got me nervous. Tomorrow is an off-day, so I’m hoping that will set things right. The pace felt good, I didn’t have to work too hard, and I enjoyed the run, despite the precipitation. Can’t complain today.

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Post-run

What’s Next?!

In considering what I want/should do next, I’ve got a couple of options, to be sure. I’ve thought about THE GOAL a lot since I’ve started this blog. Each run is building to that one purpose: To run Western States 100 as soon as I can get qualified safely and through the lottery successfully.

In the meantime, however, I’ve talked about other goals and ideas. Running fast miles, running fast 5K’s, running fast marathons…in essence, running fast. One thing that I’ve found which makes the most amount of change happen in the speed department is long, slow miles with occasional speed workouts built in to the plan. Running a lot, at the right pace, makes all of the difference. So, by this logic, more is better, right?

There’s a lot of science to back this up. Tim Noakes, Arthur Lydiard, and others all have written and studied the concept extensively. I’ve been researching this as much as I can to figure out what to do next.

So, here’s The Plan. While it might seem self-evident given my long-term goals, I still need to think it out and say it out loud (or at least, type it out to the world) what I’m going to do to make it real. The plan is to get to 40–50 miles a week of training in the near term (by the end of the year) with a marathon plan after Christmas that will keep my mileage high through April. Then I back down the mileage into the 30–40 miles/week range for post-marathon until June (about 6 weeks of recovery) then start back up with the building to 70–80 miles a week before the 100 miler in the fall. That’s going to be the plan, I think. I still need to hash out a few things around the training periods that will be built into this, especially in the run-up to the race late next year. We have a family vacation that we’ll be shooting for in late November or early December, so an autumn race will fit that nicely into the recovery after the run.

So, that’s The Plan.

I think…

Good Food FTW

Today’s Run

Time – 1:20:47
Distance – 8.4 miles
Pace – 9:43 min/mi
Elevation – 215 ft.

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Something of a change…

This is my third run this week under 10:00/mile pace. Time to slow down! I cut my long run mileage by 25 percent for today’s run. Intentional easing off this week to give my body a break before I ramp up to 35–40 miles/week in the next block. I tried to run today a little harder than the “easy run” pace that I’ve been working with lately. This (along with a serious headwind!) caused a slow 5th mile and I dropped pace by 40 seconds/mile. I was able to pick it up after that and finish around the run’s pace for the remaining miles. Long run pace should be a little quicker than yesterday’s run, so this was good. I didn’t bring water or food, and I was feeling it by the end. All things being equal, I was able to make it the whole way without too much trouble.

I Continue to Bury the Lead

Post-run today, I weighed myself and the first number on the scale was a “1”! This is huge for me. I’m super excited that the months of diet, exercise, and changes and choices are coming together.

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The Big Moment!

The obvious question might be, “How did you do it?” I’ve talked about it in the past in other blog posts. I’ll say this. Weight loss can be done via exercise, if you are willing and able to do enough to overcome what you are eating. That’s how I lost 65 pounds 10 years ago. Certainly, running has helped me get these last 10–15 lbs. off in the last few months. There is something else, though.

If you fill the engine of your car with bad fuel, it will seize, the internal components will fail, or the engine will just not run with it’s best efficiency. You can’t burn calories long and hard enough if you don’t have good fuel to burn. You’ll eat up your engine, get injured, or worse.

I’m no medical doctor, and I’m certainly not an expert at this, so take what I say accordingly, but this is what I do know. Good food = good body. If you eat correctly, your body will respond as it is supposed to respond to good food: It will run right, burn energy as it needs to do so, and will change in shape.

I once heard something, “Exercise creates the shape of my body. Diet is what I wrap around that shape.” In other words, exercise creates muscle, but if you eat garbage, you’ll be covered in garbage. The first thing I noticed when I changed how I was eating was that the dry patches on skin on my elbows went away. I didn’t change how I was scrubbing them, and I didn’t add lotion to my morning or evening routines (in fact, everything I had been trying didn’t seem to work). Once I started to eat correctly, my skin cleared up, my body responded by burning off the fat and getting rid of the crap that had been hiding out inside of me.

“Healthy food” is becoming something of a misnomer. “Good food” is something that you can recognize when you look at it, instead of having to open the seal (you know, for “freshness”) to get a peek. It resembles what it looked like when it was growing, instead of being manufactured. “Good food” tastes delicious when it’s all you eat, instead of filling your diet with sugars and fats to add flavor (or hide the mechnical taste when it was assembled).

Just my two cents…

Combining Things, Like Eggs and Toast

Today’s (Yesterday’s, Actually) Run

Time – 1:02:21
Distance – 5.9 miles
Pace – 10:24 min/mi
Elevation – 129 ft.

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Great pairings in breakfast history…

Easy running day. Kept the pace down, but with my fitness increases, the runs have been slowly getting faster. It felt really good, and it was nice to get out in these extra “warm” days in autumn. Just need to work on my food intake. I’m taking in too many calories after the run. We’re almost out of cookies, so that will probably help if we don’t get anymore. (Guilty as charged, your honor…)

Putting Two Things Together Can Be Fun

During the run today, I got a phone call on my headset from Best Friend. He and I got to shoot the bull for about 45 minutes while I was running. He’s been taking up running, too, so it was fun to talk a little shop while working my way around the loop.

Combining a couple of things together always seems to make the days go by smoother. I do audiobooks in the car during the commute because I just don’t have enough time to read, and I have 45 minutes to spend whether I want to or not. Doing blog posts or catching up on social media is an obvious choice during breakfast and morning coffee. So, running and talking on the phone seems completely normal, right?

WHAT?!!

Consider this concept: easy running days are supposed to be at a “conversational” pace. I’ve talked about this before in run summaries. The easiest way to limit your running to a pace in which you can talk is to talk while you run. It’s almost too self-evident.

I don’t always have the luxury of a running group. I do get to enjoy the Wednesday night Runwell group, which has been a fun addition to my training. But I’m out there 5 days a week, and my running friends are few. Thus, Best Friend gets his phone call answered and I get ensure a slow, low-HR run. Win-win for everyone!

Of course, the strange looks from people I pass as we discuss Broadway shows and past college antics is the trade-off…

A Day Late…

Today’s (Yesterday’s, Actually) Run

Time – 45:21
Distance – 5.0 miles
Pace – 9:02 min/mi
Elevation – 73 ft.

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Who’s that guy in the back?

Day off, then group run with the Runwell group. I started late, caught up to the front of the pack, and hung with them for 2.5 miles. I turned around and decided to keep up the fast pace back to the store. The negative split showed that I can finish fast, even at 5 miles with a LOW 9:00/mile pace. I’m happy with the way that my fitness is coming together! New fastest 5K (27:50) and two mile with back-to-back sub–9:00’s. All of that running at sub–145 BPM heart rate is showing itself.

Why I Believe in Long, Slow Mileage

You can’t type “Running” into YouTube or Google and not come across a video or blog post about the benefits of long, slow running. I was, for a number of years, a mixed believer on the subject. I knew that running a little slower would keep me from getting hurt, but as a triathlete all those years ago, I only had two or three days a week available to run, so I had to make the most of it. Now that I’m only running for the most part, I’m finding that I can’t (and, frankly, I don’t want to) run hard every time I go out.

I like to run. I like to run as often as I can. I would run every day if I thought that I could get away with it, but the Wife and the kids would probably hide my running shoes if I did. Instead, I make it a point to run at least 5 days a week. This means that I have to run a couple of those days back-to-back, which slows down a few of these runs in order to remain injury-free. Plus, as I’ve been getting back into running, hard and fast hasn’t really been a possibility.

The Apple Watch affords me the luxury of knowing (at some level) a relative heart rate. I can, therefore, run based on a number that corresponds to different thresholds. Having done a little bit of internet research, I concluded that my running needed to be below 145 BPM in order to be an “easy run.” This correlated to a pace in the mid–12:00/mile at the beginning. A near crawl by most standards.

Perseverance…along with a willingness to look silly as I shuffled down the road…soon paid dividends. The pace moved to the low–12’s, then the 11’s, and into the 10’s. Thus we arrive at my run yesterday, in which I held it together with the fastest group (not running fast, mind you, but the lead pack, nonetheless) for 2.5 miles. All of this with a heart rate below 156 BPM for that part of the run. This would be how I would expect to race a 10K. It’s that kind of pace!

Apparently, I’m much faster than I thought. I’m not going to be meeting any of my other goals anytime soon, but I’m on the right track. Perhaps it IS time for that mile time trial…

Cash In The Bank

Today’s Run

Time – 31:02
Distance – 3.3 miles
Pace – 9:19 min/mi
Elevation – 78 ft.

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Four days in a row, crossing over from last week to this week. This is supposed to be a rest week, so I’ll take a mile off each run and only do 8–10 on Sunday. Mileage should end right around 25–27 for the week.

Today was quick. Probably much faster than should follow the long run, but I’m finding that my legs are pretty strong. I’ve got to be careful about spending too much of the savings I have in the “Strong Legs” account, or I’ll find it empty and then I’ll get injured.

Paying into the “Running” Account at the Bank of Fitness

Running is like putting money in the bank. If you keep adding to the account, it will grow. If you don’t, there are fees and charges that slowly pull all of the money out of the account. If you run too hard, too fast, for too long, it spends the money in the account. If you race, it spends the account.

Overtraining is just spending more than you make. It’s like that credit card I got in college that eventually became the STUPID decision that took years to fix. Too much hard running will only slow down your running because you’ll have to rest up and wait for healing to get back to normal.

Days like today are fine occasionally, but I’ve got to be careful with the hard stuff. This wasn’t a “scheduled” workout, and I didn’t need to push so much. When you have positive balance in the account, it’s easy to spend a little bit of it. Sometimes fast running feels really easy. I can tell that it’s not taking as much effort to hold a faster speed, and the heart rate is telling the same story. The training is working.

I’ll just keep puttin’ that cash in the bank!