New Longer Run

Today’s Run

Time – 1:06:19
Distance – 7.10 miles
Pace – 9:20 min/mi
Elevation – 243 ft.

Went out a little further on an out-and-back. 7 miles is a good distance. Tried to keep it easy, but the end was a little tougher as I came back into the wind and had the big hill to get home. Nothing too crazy, but it wore me down more than I would have liked. All in all, the run wasn’t bad, and I need to get the mileage back up.

Some runs need to be longer

Before the move, I had a good, standard run route that I would do regularly which was about 6.5 miles. It wasn’t too far, but it made the shorter, faster runs much easier and put a good amount of miles on my legs. Three of those a week at an easy pace, and I would have 30 miles in the bag with my other 2 days.

I’m needing to push to do that kind of mileage again. 30 miles a week felt like a solid amount that would build fitness and keep my weight in check. Frankly, running that much allowed me to eat cookies. Come on, let’s be honest, that’s what it’s all about. The cookies!

Seriously, though, I like runs of about an hour. They fit well into my schedule, I get a good workout, and I feel pretty positive at the end. I’m not too torn up from a lot of distance, but I get a healthy amount of exhaustion from the run. Plus, when I get home, I can use the excuse of being tired so that I can offer to sit and hold Baby Girl for a while.

She’s growing up too fast.

New PR!

Yesterday’s Run

Time – 50:35
Distance – 5.11 miles
Pace – 9:53 min/mi
Elevation – 144 ft.

pexels-photo-433452

2 miles of warmup, 1 mile time trial to check speed and see how I feel, and a 2 mile cool down. There was a significant headwind in the front straight, so that brought the time down. 7:45! New PR for the mile!

Getting Faster

I decided that it was time for a mile time trial to see what I could do. Boy, did I pick the wrong day. I didn’t sleep well, the wind was a nightmare, and I missed lunch. Pretty much a recipe for disaster. I was sure that I could probably run something that I wouldn’t hate, but as soon as the warmup was done, I figured it was all over. I almost considered just doing another 3 miles on the track at tempo pace (8:20–8:30), and then calling it a day.

But I chose to go ahead with it anyway. I was a good time to get it done, and I have never run a mile faster than 8:06, so I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to put together 4 laps on the track at 2:00 each, and go just a little bit faster at the end.

After the first lap, I was at 1:55. Well, this is good! 4 more of these and I’m at 7:40. Interesting. Sure, the front stretch was tough because of the wind, but maybe I can hold on.

Then the wind picked up. At one point in a turn, I got pushed over a lane. Laps 2 and 3 were just about hanging on at 2:00 a piece. Final lap went through with a little more of a push, and I did 1:50 to get my 7:45.

Now I know that I’m faster than I was (or ever, for that matter). I know that I can do better than this. Even a slightly calmer day, and I can get into the 7:30’s. This could be a really great summer with continued consistency and a little more speed work or hill runs. Maybe the hills to my house are not so bad, after all.

Ben Kenobi was Right

Today’s Run

Time – 57:23
Distance – 5.78 miles
Pace – 9:56 min/mi
Elevation – 187 ft.

pexels-photo-131045

Slightly warmer means outdoor run. Easy pace for 40–60 minutes before tomorrow’s workout. It was hard to keep up the pace, and my legs felt heavy. Not tired, just heavy. The food intake the last couple of days hasn’t been the best, so I’m pretty sure that’s not helping.

I love waffles

To be more precise, I love gluten-free, blueberry toaster waffles. Cook two of them twice so they’re crispy, cover one in chocolate hazelnut spread, and the other in apple cider or strawberry vanilla jam…I could eat these everyday.

But that wouldn’t be healthy, of course. They’re calorically dense, have limited nutritional value relative to fruits and vegetables, and get a little pricy when not on sale at the supermarket. They are good though.

I’m realizing that my running was starting to look the same. 40–60 minutes of comfortable running 4 days a week with another “long run” that’s 75–90 minutes isn’t a menu for success and growth. It’s, at best, maintenance. I’d probably get a little faster, but not much. And it would take a really long time to get there.

There’s a running site out there called Let’s Run. It is probably the best source for track and field/road running news on the planet. These guys get it right. They also have their World Famous Message Boards. These are probably the worst place for anything resembling reality. Think of it this way, the message boards are the Mos Eisley cantina of the internet. In other words, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Be cautious.

There are, however, nuggets of truth and good information sprinkled throughout the trolls, smugglers, posers, and self-proclaimed near-Olympians. I’ve read more than a few reports of people who, having run the same every day, didn’t improve much over a period of time. When adding speed work and more definitive long runs, they jumped in speed and endurance. This is the real live data I’m seeking.

Of course, the old adage, “Your mileage may vary” applies, but the intention of looking here isn’t to figure out how fast I’m personally going to get. It’s to reinforce the idea that the workouts matter, even when tired legs get in the way, or the desire to run in the cold isn’t there, or the treadmill starts to look like a medieval torture device. It’s the motivation that if I just keep running, things are going to happen.

More Workouts, and a Change

Today’s Run

Time – 1:10:03
Distance – 8.00 miles
Pace – 8:45 min/mi
Elevation – 148 ft.

IMG_1779
What are you going to do?!

Hard workout. 1 mile warmup, then 7 hard miles at half marathon effort. i felt like i was really working at this one. it took a lot, but i was really pleased with how it came together. I think that a 1:50 half marathon isn’t out of the question at this point.

So I’ve made a decision

After some deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to change from the marathon to the half marathon in April. With the move, the arrival of Baby Girl, Master’s work, and some job changes, time is going to get away from me. I haven’t been able to add to my mileage as much as I would hope, which is a function of life as much as anything else. Rather than go into the marathon just trying to hang on, I’d like to work hard at getting faster in the half and putting up a good number of which I can be proud. My half marathon PR is around 2:20, which I set back in 2005. I think it’s time to make that number look a lot better.

This means a shift to a new workout program through Strava, which will start on Monday. Here’s to getting after it!

First Real Workout

Today’s Run

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

healthy-person-woman-sport-2.jpg
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.