First Real Workout

Today’s Run

Time – 1:04:15
Distance – 6.93 miles
Pace – 9:16 min/mi
Elevation – 203 ft.

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Feel like this when you workout?

Marathon(?) training workout was 12 x 1 minute at 5k–10k effort with 1 minute easy run rest between, plus warm up and cool down. Warmup of 2 miles, 12 sets at 7:10–7:55 pace (consistency will come with time) for the hard running and 9:00 and below pace for the easy running. Then 3 miles of cool down. This was a great workout!

Finding the Edge and Riding It

This workout felt good, I was able to run all of it without too much trouble, which means that I probably ran it a little too easy. There was a couple of stops in the middle because of traffic lights on the easy running sections, which may have contributed to the recovery even more. All in all, I feel pretty good, and I think these kinds of workouts will help improve my running, and show me I can run fast. I mean, come on! 12 minutes at sub–7:55 pace means that I have a new mile PR, right? Not really…

I need to make sure, however, that I’m actually improving. I can go out and run hard for 12 minutes in the middle of a one hour run and have it be helpful, but if it’s still not that hard, it doesn’t do me as much good. The goal is to break down the body so that it rebuilds itself stronger. The key to doing that as efficiently as possible is to find the edge between improvement and injury, and to ride it. Gain as much improvement as possible without injury.

The issue, and the reason that so many athletes get injuried, in my opinion, is that this line of demarcation moves. Somedays, it’s easier to get hurt than others. Bodies get tired, inflammation hits, or the repairs from the last workout are not completed yet. Breakdowns here are a function of too much work. That’s the difficulty I’m going to have to work out. Not every run can be the same, nor can every workout be the same level of effort. Some days, I’m going to be able to do more work than I think I can (like my last run). Others, I’m not going to be able to put up the numbers I have in the past.

This, I think, is the crux behind “effort-based” workouts. Running based on the “feel” of a 5k or 10k means that on days that seem harder, you can still put up a good workout without too much loss in efficiency. Running to hit a goal time or pace is still good, and required, in some workouts. But the majority can be a workout of effort, and improvements can come that way.

What are your thoughts on this? Comment below.

Meeting Old Acquaintances

Today’s Run

Time – 48:50
Distance – 5.04 miles
Pace – 9:41 min/mi
Elevation – 194 ft.

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Do I know you?

More cold running. The marathon training plan said 40–50 minutes of easy running, so that was the plan. Lots of light jogging around the quick loop through town. It felt really easy, and I had to slow myself down a couple of times because I started to go sub–9:00/mile pace. That’s a great problem to have, I think.

Say, aren’t you…?

Out running this evening, I ran into a guy I knew from college. I haven’t seen him in nearly 20 years, and we didn’t get to spend too long catching up because he was with his family, and it was cold. It was good to run into him, though, because he’s been living a couple of towns over for a while, and we had not connected yet.

This made me think about the things you get to see when running. I had read an article on Runner’s World’s website many years ago that was an account by a runner of the adventures he had with his small group of running friends. There was a lifetime of stories, including being chased by dogs and people, finding things along the roadway, getting propositioned from the windows of passing cars, and other strange-but-true tales. There were discussions, debates, arguments, and silence. There was solo runs, runs of two or three, and races. It was a collection of the stories that are gathered over a collection of years.

My meeting last night was another of the stories I get to add to my own collection. It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s another memory I get to keep from my own running life. And that makes it special for me.

Up the Pace

Today’s Run

Time – 1:22:21
Distance – 9.0 miles
Pace – 9:08 min/mi
Elevation – 269 ft.

Ran outside. Tried to run the miles faster to force the legs to work. I was able to hold around a 9:00/mile pace for the mileage, except for a couple of bigger hill miles. This felt really good, and I surprised myself a little bit with how far I could run hard.

Marathon training starts today

As a part of my Strava membership, I get access to training plans for various distances. Today is supposed to be the start of my marathon training program. The program starts with a Rest Day, which is good, as it coincides with my normal day off. There’s 4 planned runs for this week, along with two additional “Rest Days” that can be converted into easy days if I want. I’ll plan to run on one, and rest the other.

The other point to this is, though, that I’m still torn about changing to the half marathon. It’s a distance that I know I can do well at, I have a PR that I’d like to break, and I want to keep working on speed. I’m worried that full marathon training will keep me from getting faster in a way I would like. I’m also concerned that my winter running didn’t have as much distance in it as I wanted.

My first marathon isn’t going to be a world record debut, this I know. But I would like to be able to hit my goals and make a respectable showing. I also don’t want to get injured because I decided to force the issue instead of working up to the distance.

This feels like a lot of excuses. Maybe, in the end, I’m just scared of the distance. Maybe. In a 100 mile ultra, speed is never an issue because there’s no way to go “fast.” In a marathon, there’s room to be quick. I’m not scared of the 100 mile distance. I don’t know why I would be scared on the marathon.

Today’s Run x 2

Today’s Run x 2

Run 1 – Wednesday

Time – 40:37
Distance – 4.2 miles
Pace – 9:39 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

Treadmill run at the hotel. No TV to watch, just a window to stare out into the evening skyline in Kansas City. Didn’t really push hard as this was a recovery run. Every treadmill brand feels different, and this was no exception. A little stiffer, but not bad on the legs.

Run 2 – Thursday

Time – 1:12:09
Distance – 7.4 miles
Pace – 9:39 min/mi
Elevation – 482 ft.

I wasn’t looking to run hard as this was an outside run from the hotel into parts unknown. I had the cold wind at my back going out, and then it was bitter coming back. Lots of hills in KC, and the sidewalks were a little icy in some places. The run felt great, though, and I was able to put in the miles without much thought. I need to add more effort to some of these runs, though. I’m going too easy too often.

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Running while on the road…wait…

Traveling for work makes running more interesting. The running clothes get left in the back of the shower during the post-run rinse to remove the locker room smell, and most runs outside need to be out and back to remove the risk of getting lost. But, new sites are pretty cool, and I got to see thinks that you don’t pick up on from the Uber as you drive by.

When I travel, my blog is going to suffer, I can tell. The hope is to keep putting my runs out there, along with my thoughts, so I can keep it all straight. Time will be the X factor.

In the meantime, I am realizing that I have fallen into the trap of too many runs at the same speed and duration. Lots of 5–7 mile runs at low to mid–9:00/mile paces. This is going to get to be a problem. I need more workouts, and better paced easy runs, to get faster.

What is Productivity?

Today’s Run

Time – 41:16
Distance – 4.3 miles
Pace – 9:27 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

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One mile warmup, 12 x .25 mile with an increase of 1 MPH on the treadmill every quarter, and then a cooldown. It wasn’t easy at the end, but it felt good to run hard. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I had a lot more strength than I thought I had. I want to be a lot faster than this, but to start at 9:30/mile and go down to 8:00/mile on a continous run makes me feel like I can run hard.

Productive Running, Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the Garmin Forerunner and that it is tracking how “productive” my runs are. Garmin’s website has an overview on the subject:

Is your current training intense enough, or long enough, to help improve your fitness? How do you know if you’re working hard enough to make a difference in the long run or if you’re not pushing yourself hard enough? Training status helps you make decisions about future training by automatically taking into account changes in fitness level, your current acute (7-day) training load and any change in training load with respect to previous training. In essence, it tells you the effectiveness of your current training and provides guidance to help you improve your training decisions.

So, effectively, the watch is keeping track of my last 7 days, reviewing the work I’m doing, and judging how that work reflects on my current fitness. The page also talks about how as fitness improves, the amount of work necessary will increase (seems self-evident, but, then again, “Coffee is hot” as the thermal cup from McDonald’s says).

I can’t believe that this is overwhelmingly accurate. It is a good measure, if taken in context. The watch will show the change in fitness relative to it’s own measurements. I can rely on it to rate itself against it’s own baseline. I’ll need to be sure to continue to monitor how I’m feeling on my own. Only I can judge my effort and fatigue. If I’m tired, or sore, or just mentally ready for a day off, I need to take it, no matter what the watch says.

Oh, and according to my watch, today’s workout was “Maintaining.” Grrr…