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…

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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!

Things You Notice

Today’s Run

Time – 2:18:36
Distance – 13.2 miles
Pace – 10:29 min/mi
Elevation – 382 ft.

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Nothing like this here yet…

Strava says my Suffer Score was “Extreme” at 171. Apparently, long runs can do that. It was a bit tiring at the end and much cooler than I expected with the wind (15–20 MPH from the northwest..that’s cold stuff right there!). I made a short-sleeve shirt and shorts work with my Runwell ball cap, but when I got out into an open area, it was chilly. I’ll have to take wind chill into account more closely next time when I prepare. All in all, for a half marathon distance, it was a good run. I maintained pace VERY consistently throughout. I’ve got that pace and heart rate locked in. I’d like to get to a point where I can run more at “Endurance” pace (below 122 BPM), but that’s a little ways off at a reasonable speed. I can hold this one with proper food and hydration for a long time if necessary. I needed salt and electrolytes near the end, so I’ll need to take that into consideration for the future. I don’t have a source picked out yet, so it’s time to research.

What I Find Myself Paying Attention To On The Run

  • The leaves haven’t turned yet. It’s the Ides of October and the trees are (mostly) green. Lots of leaves have fallen, but the really wooded areas near here have not done much in the way of colors yet. Time to Wikipedia leaf peeping and Autumn leaf color, because I have an addiction to information found online.
  • Cold temperatures have WAY more nuance than they used to. I now understand why you can buy three different version of the same coat at Eddie Bauer with different linings, fills, or thicknesses. I used to only have two coats: one for rain, and one for cold. Everything else was just a fat guy in a T-shirt.
  • Drivers don’t look both ways very often before moving. Sometimes you get a person that pays attention, but most people only look at the direction of traffic that will hit them first. They don’t glance the other way until they are rolling (sometimes its only a crawl, but the wheels are turning). LOTS of people making right turns don’t look to the right, which means they miss people (or runners) wanting to get into the crosswalk. I’ve had to wait on more than a few people who would crush me if I didn’t stop because they won’t look, despite the fact that the crosswalk has the right of way. Thus, defensive running.
  • Nothing is better than running under a blue sky. Can’t be beat…

A Tale of Two Runs

Today’s Run

Time – 1:11:21
Distance – 6.2 miles
Pace – 11:27 min/mi
Elevation – 148 ft.

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Different day, same intention…and the same result. I went out to do an easy 5 miles after the hard run yesterday, and I did 6.2. I was tired at the start, and my legs did not want to go faster at all, which was fine with me. This was a recovery run, and I treated it as such. The middle miles were a little quicker, but, all in all, a fine run. Glad I went.

“It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known…”

All I have to say to Charles Dickens’ is, “It better be!” The grande Americano I just put back probably won’t help, though.

I ran yesterday hard, and paid for it today. I had no giddup in the legs, and I was forced (But was I? Really?) to run slower today. I can’t complain, though. I kept the heart rate down and used these miles to flush the legs and let the aerobic benefits take effect.

It’s amazing how two runs that look the same can be so different. It says even more so, though, that each run has an effect on the other. Switch them around, and the fast day doesn’t happen because of the drag caused by slow day. Put the slow day afterwards, and it builds on the fast day.

Interestingly enough, two of the fastest miles today were 2 and 3, which is the same as yesterday. I also ran a quick last mile both days, which tells you how much I wanted to get home.

Tomorrow is supposed to be when I make up for today’s missed long run. I’m 21 miles into this week so far, and if I go the planned 12, it will be my longest week ever (I think…I still can’t find one of my running logs). 33 miles is a lot, but I’m still feeling really good and I don’t have any significant aches or pains. I’m a little sore here and there, but it’s gone in the morning and I don’t carry it around with me. Not bad for a guy who’s pushing 40.

Wow…that last sentence blows the mind a little bit…

Not My Best Decision Ever

Today’s Run

Time – 1:00:06
Distance – 6.2 miles
Pace – 9:34 min/mi
Elevation – 150 ft.

 

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Quiet night for running…

I went out to run 5 miles, and did 6.2. This run felt great! I’m really able to take advantage of my fitness and do some quick days. I had a fast mile in the middle (according to Strava, an 8:39, which is the fastest I can remember), a new 5K PR, and a new 10K PR. This isn’t exactly good when I already had two fast days this week and I was thinking the long run would be in the morning, but I’ll have to push it to Sunday, instead. Easy miles tomorrow!

I Know I Keep Going On About This

It’s getting repetitious, I’m sure, to hear me go on and on about how great I’m running, or how fast I feel, when I’m only just getting to runs with a pace under 10:00/mile. And that’s fair, it is probably getting a little old. Certainly, the goal of this blog isn’t to toot my own horn (although, what is the purpose of most blogs, anyway…). I don’t want this to be about how great I am, or “Look at the good I’m doing!”

Instead, I’m using this blog as a way to get a long view of my running as I continue down this path. I know that the days will come when I will feel like running just sucks, or that I’m not getting any better, or that it’s all been a waste. Those will be the days that I’ll turn around and look back at runs like this.

I’ve said it before, every run is another day working on the house that is my fitness. They build and strengthen the walls, the interior, the roof. Every run adds more structure, more stability, and more capability to the heart, the lungs, the bones, and the joints and connective tissues. By going out and moving whenever I can, I get healthier than I was yesterday.

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Strava has something to say about my run.

Today I ran the fastest 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 1K, 2 mile, 5K, and 10K I’ve ever run on Strava. They are also all most likely the fastest I’ve ever run those distances, period. I’m the lightest I’ve ever been weight-wise. I’m in the best shape and have the best mental state I could have. I probably need to drink more water, if my kidneys have anything to say about it, though…

Of course not everything is rosy. Baby Girl arrives in about 6 weeks, and I don’t feel anywhere near ready. We need to pay off some bills. Little Buddy and the Teenager are growing up a lot faster than I would like, and I have to start my Master’s thesis in 8 weeks. There’s a ton on my plate at work, and I need to be spending more time studying and learning for that.

To steal from Robert Frost…“But today, today I ran fast, and that has made all the difference…”

Winter Is Coming

Today’s Run

Time – 41:41
Distance – 4.3 miles
Pace – 9:40 min/mi
Elevation – 158 ft.

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I tried to push hard tonight. I wanted to run fast because it was cold and I need to add a few faster runs during the week. Not everything can be at 130 BPM heart rate. It felt fine and never felt like I pushed beyond where I needed to be to go the full four miles. I might be able to hold this pace for 10K, which means that a sub-hour is not out of the question. Strava says that I ran a PR for 5K (29:25), and I think that was with a pretty big hill and a head wind. I’m wondering if I have sub–29:00 in me right now.

Left Turn!

First “cold weather” run outside today. I put on gloves, a hat, and a long sleeve shirt because it was in the low 50’s and windy. The gloves might have been a bit much, but I was warm enough into the wind. I was surprisingly comfortable, despite the breeze and a little bit of drizzle at the very start of the run. I didn’t get really sweaty or too warm, which probably saved me from a uncomfortable situation.

When I ran the last time around, there was so much starting and stopping with walk breaks that I would get cold, and overdress, and then get too sweaty, and then get cold, and…you get the idea. Slowing down a little, working on consistent pace, and smart decisions are going to make this winter much better. I’m thinking there will be more outside time for me this year.

More time outside is always better!