Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time for Some Fun at the Track

A bit of a dilemma today - I'm ramping my mileage back up 'slowly' and w/ the past 2 days, I've logged about 16 miles so far this week.  I'm also bringing back the long Sunday run (starting back up at 11-12 miles this week) so that makes 27-28 this week already.  I had 34 miles last week and my longest week thus far is still a very modest 41.  I don't want to do any more than say 38 miles this week. . . . meaning I've only got about 10 miles left over the next 3 days.

I figure Saturday will be perhaps a 6 mile easy day heading into the Sunday run, (along w/ an off day Friday).  That left just about 4 miles to play with today - so, what to do?  I haven't done any threshold work this week, but the 2-mile repeats (usually totaling 6 miles) is too long, and I just did a 5-mile tempo run last week so too soon to repeat that effort. . .   I could do the 1-mile threshold level repeats, but I usually do some extra running there to make it a worthwhile day - again going over the mileage.

So I eventually said "the hell w/ it - today is just going to be a day to go out and have some fun."  My idea of "fun" today was to go ahead and do three 1-mile repeats, but instead of doing them at threshold pace (6:10-6:16) w/ 1-minute breaks, I decided to increase the pace a little and lengthen the breaks such that my HR did not get above the top end of the threshold range (about 92%)

I figured I'd target about a 5:50 pace and then maybe ramp it down w/ each subsequent mile.  I was really looking forward to this as I felt good even w/ the 9-miles in the hills yesterday and today was just going to be a day to go out and have some fun running.  As has been typical of our weather lately, the second I got to the starting line the skies opened up and the rain came down.  It figures.  No big deal, nothing was going to ruin it for me today. . . . First lap of mile #1 was about 1:24 so a little fast.  I slowed the pace slightly and came thru lap #2 at 1:27.  The pace felt smooth and easy, a quick check of the HR showed I was still in the 150s so no issues there.  I held the pace even the rest of the way coming thru the finish at 5:46.  

Being that this wasn't a "interval session" per se, I didn't go to a 2-lap jog before the next one.  Instead I just walked 1 lap.  I didn't stop moving, but obviously I was allowing the HR to come most of the way back down.  I started the 2nd mile about 6 minutes after the first one ended.  (yes this is a long break, but this was not going to be a hard day)

Mile #2 almost a carbon copy of mile #1 except this time the first lap was 2 seconds faster at 1:22.  Slowed the pace for lap #2 and held it constant for the last 3-laps coming thru at 5:43.  

Last mile - lap #1 was 1:21, the middle laps were 1:27-1:27 and on the final lap I ran controlled negative splits for each of the last three 100m for a 1:23.  Total for the last mile was 5:38.

Average HR for the 3 repeats was 156-163-165 so the last one was in the threshold range.  More importantly, the peak HR's were (167-170-171) meaning the peaks on the last two miles were slightly above 93% max.  (yeah that's a bit higher than I wanted)

I didn't record all of the 1/4-mile splits, but I remembered the times and as I went back thru the data - one very interesting thing jumped out.  Of the 12 laps, 8 of them were run at 1:27  (the first lap of each mile was usually a little faster, and the last lap of the last mile was faster as well)  But for the most part - this was a bunch of 1:27 laps that were run smoothly, comfortably, and for the first 1 3/4 miles - easily.  The significance of this is that 1:27 per lap comes out to a 5:48 pace. . . which is exactly the pace I'll need to run to go under 18-flat in the 5k.  

Now of course, my training is likely not going to set me up for this until the end of the year as I'm going to be primarily training for the track season this summer.  So, I'm not going to be developing enough endurance until the base work starts up again in September.  (I still have 6-weeks of base left now, but that's clearly not enough to get me there)

Anyway, today was fun.  Was this the "best possible workout" for me today to further my development - probably not, but who cares.  Sometimes you just have to do a workout because you feel like doing it.  And in the process (and totally by accident) I learned what the pace of an 18-flat 5k feels like.

Training:  5 miles (including warm up and cool down)  Mile repeats (5:46-5:43-5:38)  6-minute walk between reps.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Moderately Easy Day

Knee's been OK  (knocking on wood)  If all continues to go well on that front, I'm lined up to get back into the long runs starting Sunday.  Ran 9 comfortable miles in the hills today at a 7:36 pace.  I'm scheduled to do a short threshold day either tomorrow or Friday and an easy day Saturday to set me up for the long one on Sunday.  

Training:  9 miles @ 7:36 pace

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back on the Trails

Weather has been decent enough over the last 24 hours, so I tried out the trails in the park today.  Sloppy, but I expected worse.  Nice to get back into the hills.

Training:  6.7 miles @ 7:13 pace

Monday, January 28, 2008

Weekly Recap - Base Training Progress

No running today, just some lifting and core work.  For the week (ending Sunday) I totaled about 34 miles, which gets me back to the level I was at a couple weeks ago before the knee started acting up.

My running trails have been essentially "un-passable" due to the constant rain so I've been spending a greater portion of time at the track.  The negative here is that I'm not receiving any benefits of doing daily runs in the hills, but the positive is that about half my miles were run at sub-7:00 pace w/ no issues.  I think the knee is healthy enough at this point to start ramping up the mileage slowly and that will be the focus going forward.

In regards to the Base Training:  6 weeks in the books.  The weekly mileage for the 6 weeks looks like this:

1. 37 Miles
2. 35 Miles
3. 41 Miles
4. 34 Miles  
5. 20 Miles  (4 zero days - decided to rest the knee, supposed to be about 43 Miles)
6. 34 Miles  (Ramping the miles back up)

My Season Plan calls for me to up the Threshold workouts from 1 per week up to 2 for the next 3-weeks, however due to the setback, my weekly mileage isn't as far along as I'd like.  I've got 6 weeks left before the hill phase, so my priority at this time is to get the mileage up to the desired level by that point.  (although I will be sure to ramp slowly as it's really the distance that bothers the knee)

So, the plan is most likely going to change - I'll continue the one threshold workout per week w/ a longer MP run (instead of the second T-run) to help get the mileage up.  

After that I have a 3-week period w/ one Threshold run and one Hill workout per week before jumping into the full Hill Phase.

Training:  lifting + core work

Sunday, January 27, 2008

MP Run to Finish the Week

Really bad storm blew through last night keeping me up most of the night.  The wind was REALLY bad - so much so that I had to spend about 3 hours in the rain this afternoon rebuilding a section of Redwood fence that the storm not only blew over, but blew into several pieces.

The good news was that the rain stopped for a few hours this morning so I headed out to the track to get in a quick run before tending to my "fence duties".

I've been reading Mike's blog where Mystery Coach talks about back-to-back workouts where, if I understand it correctly, you "activate" the muscle fibers w/ a hard workout and then work to "condition" the activated fibers the next day w/ either a Long Run or perhaps a MP run.  I'm sure I don't have it exactly correct, but I have seen Mike run some fast intervals on  Day-1 and follow it up w/ a long run on Day-2 so I couldn't help but think "hey, w/ my tempo run yesterday, perhaps I should do a MP run today and turn this into a bit of a back-to-back".

The reality is, as I mentioned yesterday my cardio always crashes long before my legs feel anything - so the ONLY way for me to stress my leg muscles is to hit them hard two days in a row.  I was really curious to see how my legs would hold up after yesterday's run and a Long run today would put me over my limit for the week so a MP run was the choice.

Planned on doing about 7 miles and I figured I'd let the pace settle in to whatever seemed right.  After a couple miles at about 7 flat I decided to go w/ that for the first 4 and then move the pace into the 6:40's for the remaining 3 miles.  Legs really showed no ill effects from yesterday other than the right calf being a little sore.  All in all a decent run - and even if my understanding of back-to-back's is NOT correct and I therefore did not execute that properly, at least I was able to give my legs a bit of a workout over the past two days.

Training:  7 miles @ 6:53 pace (7:05-6:56-6:57-6:57-6:51-6:47-6:38)  Ave HR-157, Max HR-163

BTW - if anyone can let me know whether or not my understanding of back-to-backs is correct, it would be greatly appreciated

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Long" Tempo Run

The plan for today was to do 7-8 miles at a moderate pace, most likely on the treadmill - but much to my surprise, instead of the huge wind and rain that was called for, we had a no-wind day w/o a single drop of rain.  (Nice going once again Weather Man)  With the forecast calling for rain straight thru until next weekend (but who knows what that really means) and not knowing when I may have decent conditions again - I decided to move Tuesday's Threshold run up to today.  

Up until now, all of my threshold runs have been in the form of Cruise Intervals - for me that's been either Mile repeats at threshold pace w/ 1-minute breaks or 2-Mile repeats at threshold pace w/ 2-minute breaks.  No threshold run has been longer than 3-miles straight thru.

Today's threshold work was a 5-mile Tempo Run.  Of course this isn't really a "long" Tempo Run - I just called it that to signify that the run was longer than 20-minutes in length. Reason being, in Daniels book - if your Tempo Run is longer than 20-minutes you should adjust your pace slightly depending on the amount of time you're running OVER 20-minutes.  

In my case (Threshold pace about 6:16) for a run about 5-miles in length, I was going to be adding 9-10 seconds per mile, so 6:25-6:26 pace.  

During warm ups my legs felt amazingly strong . . . . unfortunately I knew this wasn't going to help me one bit today.  Because I haven't been running long enough yet, my cardiovascular system is very poor at this point.  On a run like this I knew for sure my heart and lungs would be over stressed LONG before my legs even knew they were out for anything more than a leisurely stroll.  I expected today's workout to be tough - and it was.

As I expected, I cruised through the first 3 miles (6:27-6:25-6:24) before it started to get tough.  Also as expected, legs were fine, breathing was not.  Early in the 4th mile I considered picking up the pace for this mile and just stopping after 4.  However, this run was shaping up exactly as expected and I told myself beforehand that it was going to be interesting to see where I was mentally when this point came along - and here it was.  I convinced myself to hold the pace steady and to get to 4.5 miles - if I still wanted to stop after 4.5 miles, I'd go ahead and stop.  Of course once I got to 4.5 w/ just a half mile to go, there was no way I was going to stop and in fact I started to feel quite a bit better.  (Amazing how I'm clever enough to find a way to talk myself into this and yet still somehow dumb enough to fall for it) The last 2 miles came in at 6:26 and 6:23 giving me exactly a 6:25 average - right on target.  

As I said, this was tough - definitely tougher than my negative split workout last week or my fartlek-type session that finished w/ a 5:48 mile.  It's just the breathing - the legs were fine.  (I'll know my cardio is actually half way decent if I ever get to a day where my legs are sore as that has yet to happen)  

Looking over the HR data after the run - average HR was 166 which is about 91% of max, so right in the Threshold range.  However, my average HR for the last 2.5 miles was 170 (almost 93% of max)  That's a little high but pretty much expected as I knew this one wasn't going to be easy.  

Really glad I got thru the whole 5-miles.  I think it's going to give me a nice mental boost more than anything else.  This run's going to need to get up to 10-miles by the time July rolls around, which I don't think will be an issue.  

Training:  6 miles (including warm up and cool down) 5-mile Tempo Run @ 6:25 pace (6:27-6:25-6:24-6:26-6:23)  Ave HR - 166, Max HR - 171

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Rain

Well, the forecast says 10 straight days of rain.  At this point the trails are beyond slick so that's out, and going to the track to run lap after lap in the wind and rain didn't seem all that appealing - so I headed to the gym to hop on the hamster-wheel.  (Man I really hate running on those things)

Easy day - scheduled to do 8 miles, but I somehow hit the "emergency stop" button by accident after 6.5 and I just wasn't motivated to punch the program in again so that was that.  I guess I'll make it up tomorrow.

Training:  6.5 miles @ 7:48 pace - (treadmill)
yesterday - lifting + core work

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fartlek-type Session @ the Track

Being that yesterday was an easy day, a bit more effort was scheduled for today.  Again, I'm at the track due to the fact that the flat, soft surface and sure footing are better for the knee.  

The plan was to do 7-8 total miles w/ the first 2 being easy and then alternate between quicker miles and easy ones.  I figured Mile #3 would be at about 6:30, Mile #5 at about 6:20, and then Mile #7 at about 6 flat.  I wanted the other miles to be easy, but not "too easy" as I wanted to have some fatigue going into Mile #7 to sort of simulate a race where I needed to pick it up and have a good mile at the end.  I decided the "easy" miles would be about 7:35.

On Mile #3 I felt a bit sluggish and was behind the pace a bit.  Rather than pick it up to hit the number, as usual I just let the workout unfold at whatever seemed natural.  The 3rd mile clocked in at 6:38.  Mile #5 felt better and I pretty much hit the target at 6:21.  My HR was coming down nicely on the easy miles which were being run at almost exactly 7:35, and going into the last mile I honestly didn't feel that fatigued.  So, I picked the pace up slightly during the last half of the last easy mile to get my HR up going into the final mile.  Although this last mile wasn't going to be run hard enough to be considered a "test", I did want to experience picking up the pace to a decent level starting from a reasonable HR.  

I entered Mile #7 w/ a HR of 158 which is below threshold HR, but I was hoping that the 6.5 miles (including warm up) that I had run previously would provide some level of fatigue going into this last mile.  I hit the first quarter at 1:30, so exactly on pace.  The half mile split was 2:57 so the pace had picked up on quarter #2.  At this point, I felt like I had a great deal of energy.  (which is surprising because I've only had about 10 hours sleep in the last 3-days)  I picked up the pace again and decided to run negative quarter splits for this last mile.  I ran very relaxed the whole way and Mile #7 came in at 5:48 - which was better than I was expecting.  Like the negative split workout I did last week, I finished the workout knowing I still had more in the tank.  

Overall, the 7 miles averaged exactly 7 minutes w/ an average HR of 156.  Obviously my fatigue level was not as high as it would be going into the last mile of a race, but it was encouraging to throw a 5:48 up there in the 7th mile knowing I could have pressed harder if I wanted.  

Training:  8 miles (including warm up and cool down)  (7:38-7:27-6:38-7:31-6:21-7:37-5:48)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Few Easy Miles in the Rain

Ran an out and back from home to the Park, the 6.7 mile loop to the top of the hill.  Because the pace was slow I didn't worry about my knee in the hills, figured it'd be fine.  The rain made the trail muddy and slick which kept me from picking up the pace on the downhills which was fine for today.

Training: today - 6.7 miles @ 8:15 pace
yesterday - lifting + core work.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Negative Splits @ the Track

The plan was to do 7 miles today close to MP.  I decided that I'm going to avoid the hills for a week or two (except for maybe the very easy runs) until I'm confident the knee is back to 100%.  It's not so much the up hills that I'm concerned about, it's the additional impact on some of the steeper downhills - it's just not worth taking the chance.

Obviously 28 laps on the track is quite boring, so in order to alleviate some of that boredom I typically play a game where I have to run every mile faster than the last one.  In addition to reducing some of the boredom (although not much) it forces me to NOT turn the run into a Tempo Run - which I will occasionally do as I'm used to going at a faster pace when on the track. 

I ran the first 2 miles at 7:07 and 7:04, holding myself back much of the way.  The next 2 miles came in at 6:58 and 6:55 and again I was fighting to keep the pace slow.  By the start of the 5th mile I decided to let go of the reigns a bit and settle in at whatever pace seemed natural - the 5th mile came in at 6:44.  By now I was feeling great - fully warmed up, no knee issues, the breathing was very easy (somehow easier than the earlier miles), and a quick check of the HR showed me easily below threshold level.  (Whatever HR strangeness I was seeing yesterday wasn't here today - perhaps that's because I'm now about 95% recovered from my cold)

The pace continued to drop with out having to think about it.  The 6th mile was 6:34, and during the last mile I actually considered adding a mile or two to the workout because I really didn't want to stop.  My pace was in the low 6:20's now and I considered running an 8th mile at about 6:15 and then perhaps adding a 9th at about 6 flat. . . . but then I came to my senses.  Still recovering from a cold, not 100% out of the woods on the knee, and the whole reason I'm running negative splits is to keep the pace controlled and NOT turn this into a tempo run!  So I cruised in at 6:21 for mile #7 and called it a day.  

Got home and iced the knees just to be safe.  It certainly felt good to finish a successful workout while wanting to do more.  I'm also glad I did not go ahead and tack on another 2 miles - really would not have been a smart thing to do. 

Training:  7 miles on track. (7:07-7:04-6:58-6:55-6:44-6:34-6:21) Average-6:49, HR-158

Note: Ran 8 miles in the hills at 6:57 pace also w/ HR-158 last week.  This helps to confirm the 10-second delta between running on the trail and on flat surface for a given effort level.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Unplanned Time Off

Woke up Tuesday w/ a bad sore throat and some serious congestion.  Probably wouldn't have held me back much, but I also had some pain in my left knee.  Running on some hard surfaces through the holidays back on the East Coast I had been in a bit of an ice+ibuprofen post run routine for the past 2 weeks.  I told myself that if the mild discomfort in the knee got any worse, I was going to take a few days off.  So on Tuesday morning w/ the knee bothering me a bit and the awful cold, it was an easy decision to take a few days off. . .

Today, was the first day back.  The next workout was scheduled to be the Threshold running and being that it's the "miles" that bother my knees, never the "pace" - a low mileage day on a soft track seemed like as good a place as any to get back into it.  

First thing I noticed prior to the run was that my resting HR was a good 5 beats/min higher than normal.  I imagine this has to do w/ my still being a little sick and probably somewhat dehydrated.  I figured there was a good chance I'd need to cut the workout short, I just hoped that the knee was OK.

My current T-pace is about 6:16/mile, but I usually run these workouts on feel and adjust if I'm off the pace by too much.  The plan was to run three 2-mile repeats at about 12:32 w/ 2-minute breaks between each 2-mile interval.  

Thankfully the knee was fine through warmups and the first 1/2 mile of the first interval felt good.  Took a look down at the watch and saw a 5:56 pace - too fast.  I did my best to slow down, but it really just felt easy - I figured this was due to the fresh legs.  I relaxed the pace to 6:08 and everything felt great.  Then I took a look at my HR to see that it was again 5 beats/min above normal.  This seemed strange to me because typically my breathing is a bit heavy if my HR gets up that high, but it felt like a normal T-run today.  Was my HR up because I'm sick?  Should this have been expected because my resting HR was up 5-beats/min?  Or was it because the pace was a little faster - and if this was the case, why didn't it "feel like" I had a higher HR?  If I was a more experienced runner, I guess I'd know the answer.  I decided to just let it go, and continue the run on feel.  I finished the first 2-mile at 12:15.  

Second repeat - same thing.  HR climbed faster and higher than normal, but I didn't feel as if I was putting in that kind of effort.  At this point, I became concerned that this workout simply wasn't accomplishing what it was supposed to do, - I'm either stupidly going too fast (but it didn't feel like it), or my sickness is somehow causing a higher HR than normal for a given effort level.  Rather than run a 3rd set at the wrong HR, or slow down to where it felt like I wasn't getting the proper work in (and also considering the knee), I stopped after the two intervals were completed.

When I got home I checked this workout against previous ones, and sure enough - my HR was 5-6 beats higher for a given pace than it was last week.  I guess the good news was that the pace "felt" like it had the prior week - the HR was just different.  So that begs the question - when you're running a Threshold workout and the HR is just high that day do you A) cut the pace back that day to get the HR to the proper percentage of max-HR, or do you B) forget the HR for that day and run the workout at the pace that feels correct? 

Training:  5 miles (including warm up) Two 2-mile repeats @ 6:08/mile pace w/ 2-min break.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Starting Base Week #5

Two workouts today:  am - a trip to the gym for some lifting and core work.  pm - a very easy 8 miles.  

I'm scheduled to do a Threshold workout tomorrow in the form of some cruise intervals.  Three sets  of 2-mile repeats (at about 12:30) w/ 2-minute breaks between sets.  Last time I did this workout I did two full sets + 1-mile on set #3 for a total of 5 Threshold miles.  (My HR climbed a bit too high after the 5th mile so I decided to cut it short)  That was a few weeks ago, so I'm hoping to get all 6 miles in tomorrow, but this workout is tough for me.  The 2-minute break goes by quickly, especially after the second set - and doing 6 miles at T-pace w/ only a total of 4-minutes of break time is not an easy day.

Training:  lifting + core work, and 8 miles @ 7:58 pace.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Easy Run to Finish the Week

Once again the weather was good and the trails have been steadily drying up after the horrific storms that came thru last week.  My pace today was probably a little faster than I wanted to go, but the HR "peak" of today was no higher than the '"average" of yesterday's run, so I probably wasn't off by much.  The total was 7 miles @ 7:28 pace w/ an average HR of 148.

I only ran 4 days this week as opposed to the usual 5 to take a bit of a "down week".  Week #4 of my base training shaped up like this:

Mon: 9 miles - including 3 Mile repeats at (6:02, 6:07, 6:06 w/ 1-min breaks)
Tue: No running - did some lifting and core work
Wed: 11 easy miles @ 7:43 pace
Thurs: OFF
Fri: No running - lifting and core work
Sat: 8 miles @ 6:57
Sun: 7 miles @ 7:28

Total: 35 Miles (down from 41 last week - will start to increase mileage again next week)

Training: 7 miles @ 7:28, HR-148

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Great Day to Run

Since about Dec 27th, I've either been running in bitter cold w/huge gusts of wind (back in PA and NJ thru the holidays) OR torrential rain (back home in CA) that made the footing on the trails absolutely terrible - the downhills were very slick and quite scary.

Additionally, I've probably been increasing my weekly mileage a bit too quickly during the past month - so I decided to take a bit of a "down week" this week in terms of mileage by running only 4 days instead of the usual 5.  Meaning, that aside from a day at the gym yesterday, I had the past two days off.

Today the sun was out, the temp was almost 60 degrees, and although the trails still had several muddy puddles - the footing was vastly improved compared to a few days ago.  So for the first time in about 2 weeks I was going to be running w/ good footing, a "normal" amount of clothing, and well rested.  

The plan was to do 8 miles, and w/ the conditions being good for the first time in a while, there was no doubt that the pace was going to be up in the MP zone.  Being that these runs in the hills add 10-12 seconds/mile compared to running on level terrain - I figured I was in for about 7:10's on average.  After hitting a nice 7:19 first mile, I started heading up the 2.3 mile stretch of the hill.  When I clocked in the 2nd mile at 7:14 up about a 3% grade I knew I was in for a pretty good day.  This is where the trail gets tough as the last 3/4 of a mile the grade is over 5.5%.  After cruising up that 5.5% portion again at 7:14 I thought I had a shot to average under 7:00 on the day.  However, I did not want to go that quickly if my HR got above the MP zone (or above 87% of my max-HR)  As is typical, I wasn't able to go as quickly as I would have liked down the first mile of the trail coming back as the footing is not that good and the slope is a bit steep.  By the 5th, 6th and 7th miles I was clocking in 6:35's and the HR was still under the target.  The last mile is back up a hill and so as not to have my HR spike up at the end, I slowed the last mile down to 6:58.  

When I was able to go back and look through the run I was really happy with the results:  6:57 average pace at a HR of 86%-max.  A good effort, but I easily could have gone faster, and being that the hills do add at least 10-12 seconds/mile to your average pace as compared to flat ground - this equates to a mid-upper 6:40's run under Threshold HR.  For me - this is a good run.  

Tomorrow I plan to finish up w/ an easy run of only 7-8 miles.  (I usually like to put in a long effort the day after a run like this - but this week the plan is to keep the mileage down a bit, so I'm going to stick with that)

Training:  8 miles @ 6:57, HR-158

Goals for 2008

For me, most of 2008 comes down to the July-August time frame as that's when I'll be running the Masters Track and Field Meets.  I also plan to run some 5k's and 10k's, and I will likely go for a time in the 5k sometime in the Fall.

One thing I need to keep in mind when setting goals for this year is that this is just my first year of running, and my aerobic fitness (no matter how hard/well I train this year) won't be very good.  I expect that even though I ain't gettin' any younger - my best Masters times will likely come in 2009 or 2010.  

The 2008 season for me will essentially be a learning experience.  What I hope to do this year is to better understand what types of training work well for me, build my aerobic fitness, slowly and steadily increase my weekly mileage throughout the year (except for the period of time where I'm trying to peak for the track season), and get some good racing experience under my belt.  

With that said, it's pretty damn wimpy to title something "goals" and not throw some numbers up there, so here they are:

  1. 800m -  sub-2:13
  2. 1500m -  sub-4:40
  3. Mile -  sub-5:00
  4. 5k -  sub-18:00

Are these times aggressive for what will be a 40yo guy in his first season who hasn't run for 20 years?  Yes they are. . . but I need something to shoot for.  Needless to say, I won't be terribly disappointed if I don't hit all of these times.  But I do expect to hit at least one of them, and come very close on the others.  If nothing else, it will be interesting for me to track my progress to see how close I can come to these goals.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Season Plan - 2008

The primary focus of this year is to run the best 800m, 1500m, and mile I can during the summer track season.  So all training prior to August will be geared towards these events.  I will likely be running a few 5k's along the way, but I will not be training for them - they'll be treated more like tempo runs.  After the track season ends, the plan is to go back into a base building cycle for at least 12 weeks.  I may run a 10k or two during this time to see how I'm progressing, and it's possible that I even run a half-marathon at the end of the year.

Generally, the training for the track season will look something like this:

Base Training:  (16 weeks - started in December '07, running thru the end of March)

The Base period will be broken down into four sections - 
  1. Objective to simply build up mileage from about 32/week to about 45/week.  There will likely be one Threshold running day per week typically in the form of cruise intervals (In this case the intervals will be mile or 2-mile repeats w/ rests between intervals of 1-minute per mile)  Note: these are just Threshold pace runs, NOT actual "interval" training.  (6 weeks)

  2. Continue to increase weekly mileage up to about 52/week.  Instead of one Threshold run per week, up it to two.  One will still be the cruise interval workout above, and the second will be in the form of a long Tempo Run.  (In the case of the long tempo run - runs over 20 minutes in length - the pace gets adjusted to something slower than your actual Threshold pace.  For example if you're doing a 45 minute Tempo Run, you would add about 15 seconds per mile to your usual T-pace) (3 weeks)

  3. Keep mileage at about 52/week.  Go back to one T-paced run/week, but add one day/week of hill repeats. (3 weeks)

  4. Again, keep mileage at about 52/week.  Drop T-running entirely and move to two hill repeat workouts per week.  One of these hill workouts will be more short steep hills and the other will be longer hills w/ a more gradual slope.  (4 weeks)
Also, during the base phase there will be 2 or 3 days/week of lifting and core work.  

Note:  Most people consider hills a separate category from base work, but I consider it just a phase within the base work.  Since it's coming at the end, it's really the same thing - it's just how you want to define it. 

Phase II:  (6 weeks - end of March thru the middle of May)

At this point I'm leaning heavily on the Daniels' materials.  I'm still not sure whether I'm going to more closely follow the 800m program or the 1500m program.  I'll need to determine that sometime in February or March.  The primary goal of this phase is to work on running economy and some speed.  That will mean a good deal of what Daniels calls Reps.  (these are similar to Intervals except #1 they're run at a faster pace, and #2 instead of short jogging recoveries, you're often times taking long recoveries)  The idea of the "Reps" is to be able to run each one w/ the same quality as the one before, and being that the pace is actually faster than Interval pace, you'll definitely need longer rests to recover.  The main difference between Reps and Intervals in Daniels' definition is that Intervals stress your VO2Max, whereas Reps do not - instead they assist your speed and running economy.  Because of the longer breaks, Rep workouts are not as demanding as Interval workouts, and recovering from these Rep sessions is not as tough.

Phase II calls for either 2 or 3 quality days/week (Reps, Threshold workouts, or hills) one long run and the rest of the days easy recovery runs.  During the first 3 weeks of Phase II, I plan to substitute 1 hill repeat workout for 1 quality day.  During the last 3 weeks hills will be dropped entirely and all quality days will more closely follow the program.  

I may add some plyometric work after the hill work has ceased.  Lifting and core work will continue during this time.

Total mileage will still be at least 52/week, and perhaps that total may be increased to 55-58/week.

Phase III:  (6 weeks - middle of May thru the end of June)

This is the toughest of the phases.  Each week shapes up pretty similarly to Phase II in that there are 2 or 3 quality days, one long day and the rest are easy recovery days.  However, Interval work takes center stage during Phase III.  As I mentioned above, intervals are meant to stress your VO2Max - although they are run at a slower pace than Reps, the shorter recovery periods and the fact that ALL recoveries are jogs and not complete "breaks" makes these workouts very tough.  Not all quality days are interval workouts, typically just one/week but it is the most important day of the week here.  If the plyometrics are going well, I'll continue to do them during this phase.  

Total mileage will be whatever the mileage is at the end of Phase II.  If it's still 52/week then that's what it will be here.  On the other hand, if the mileage was increase to say 56/week by the end of Phase II then, I'll stick w/ that.  Mileage should NOT be increased during Phase III.  Also, core work will continue, but most of the lifting will be eliminated.

Phase IV:  (6 weeks - end of June thru the middle of August)

This phase is meant as a final sharpening to peak for the specific events for which you are training.  In my case (shorter distances) I'll be doing a lot of Fast work and Reps along w/ some easy paced running. Intervals are dropped here.  Also, weekly mileage is decreased about 20%.  I imagine that I'll be doing whatever workouts I've found work the best for me during this time.  This phase should be a lot less stressful than Phase III both physically and mentally.    

I'll be doing most of my racing during this phase from early July all the way thru August, so all extra work will be ceased.  (i.e. lifting, plyometrics, most of the core work, etc)  The idea is to be as physically and mentally fresh as possible.

After the season is over I imagine I'll take a short break of about a week to 10 days before beginning a new base cycle.  I'm not exactly sure what my plans are going to be at this time, however I understand that in order to fully realize my potential I'm going to need a lot of improvement in my aerobic fitness.  I also understand that a great deal of the benefits that can be obtained thru aerobic work take several years to develop.  So. . . . I'm sure I'll be stressing base work after the season to get ready for the following year.  I may run some 10k's or even a half marathon just for fun and although I'm not exactly sure what my plans are going to be in the fall - I imagine upping my mileage and several months of base building will be a large part of the routine.

Adding Info

I couldn't figure out a better way to add info to the right hand side of the page other than to write a post and then use the "link" page element to get that info permanently on the page.  Unfortunately it still shows up as a regular post, so the page is going to look a bit funny for a while until I get everything up there.  I still want to get the training log (which I'll periodically update) and my season's goals up on the right.  

I guess that means we'll have two more "posts" up here that I don't really want. . . .


Way back in High School, I used to run sprints up to the 400m.  Back then we never really did much if any distance training - it was typically all anaerobic work - 200m repeats, 800m repeats, etc.  The coach also had me doing a good deal of lifting on legs as well as killer sets on the stationary resistance bike.  

By my junior year I was a state section level runner, and as a senior I missed going to state finals in the 400m by one place in the sectional meet.  (top 5 went to states, and I got 6th of the 8 in the sectional final)  

I realized at that time that my lack of any aerobic training was probably holding me back from becoming a better runner.  I also realized that although I made the sectional finals in the 100m as well, I didn't have enough speed to be a sprinter at the division-1 college level.  I figured my best chance to continue running in college was to do some heavy aerobic work in addition to my speed work and perhaps become an 800m runner.  I had run the 800m in under 2 minutes in practice, but I never ran that distance in a meet and I knew I certainly was not trained properly for that event.  

Thinking that I had some potential to become a fairly decent middle distance runner in college, I met with the track coach early in my freshman year to see if I could join the team.  Well, unfortunately for me the track team was loaded w/ middle distance runners, but they didn't have many guys who ran the sprints very well.  The coach told me he had a place for me on the team as a member of the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams.  

In hind sight I should have accepted this offer, worked my butt off, ran on the relay teams while doing the training necessary to become a good 800m runner - but knowing for sure that I did not have enough speed to run as well as I would have liked against division-1 sprinters in the 100m and 400m, being enrolled in an electrical engineering program that I knew was going to be tough and require a lot of time, and just being 18yo and not all that keen on not being able to do exactly what I wanted to do. . . . I didn't join the team . . . and that was pretty much the end of my running career.

. . . . Fast forward 18 years.  I came across the Masters Track and Field Rankings on the web and started looking through the times.  My first thought was gee, this should be easy.  I'll go out and get in shape for a few months and I should be running w/ these guys in no time.  Not-so-Much!!  After doing some running for about a month or so I went to the track to see what kind of 400m I could run.  (after all my solid 1 month of training in the past 18 years certainly should have prepared me for an excellent time)  I felt pretty good going around the first turn, nice first straight away.  I started to get a little gassed in the middle of the 2nd turn and did my best to give it all I had to get in.  "Sure", I thought "probably lost a little time during that last 130 yards, but how bad could it be?"   I felt pretty good the first 220 meters or so.  I took a look down at the watch. . . .Sixty-one point five.

"WOW - what the hell happened to me! How did I ever get THIS slow!?"  I figured I'd be able to run a 1/4 mile under a minute until I was about 80yo!  Needless to say, my appreciation for Masters running jumped about 10x in those 61.5 seconds.  I continued to train although I really didn't know exactly what I was doing, just going through old workouts that I remembered from HS.  In another couple of months I brought my 400m time down to 59.4, still a good 10 seconds away from my top HS time.  A short time after, I got really busy w/ work and before I knew it, I stopped running all together.

About a year and a half later I began getting the itch to run again.  But this time, I wanted to train properly, I wanted to add a lot more aerobic running, and I wanted to focus on events that were longer than 400m, namely the 800m, 1500m/mile and even 5k's and 10k's.  Additionally, I wanted to develop a training program that I could sustain as all the constant speed work I was doing before really got mentally draining more so than physically.  

I started doing some running in September '07.  I got one of Galloway's books and although I certainly got some useful info there, his style just wasn't for me.  A guy who owns a running store where I live (he also won the '07 Oregon Marathon in his first ever marathon in a time of 2:25) showed me Daniels' Running Formula (2nd edition).  I immediately got hooked.  By November I was going through some of his general fitness programs and by December my fitness level was significantly better than it was back in September-October.  However, one thing was missing. . . .my aerobic fitness was WAY behind my speed.  I realized I really needed to focus on base training for a solid chunk of time before gearing up for the 2008 summer season.  That's when I began to read runners' blogs and started reading up on some of the Lydiard teachings.  By late December I decided to dedicate 16 weeks to base training before jumping back into the Daniels' stuff (which will be either his 800m or 1500m program)  

So here on January 11th, I've been running for about 4 months, and I'm into the 4th week of my base training.  I'm primarily training for the summer track season where I plan to compete in the Masters 800m, 1500m, and mile events.  I will also be running some 5k's along the way.  The current plan is to go back to base training in the fall after the track season ends and perhaps add some 10k races at that time.  

If you're an experienced runner and have any advice, I'm certainly willing to listen.  As I've said, I don't have all that much experience in training for middle distance or longer distance events and I'm hoping to learn as I go.   

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Easy Day

I'm currently in the 4th week of base building.  (scheduled for 15 weeks)  The first 5-6 weeks are being used to up my weekly mileage from about 32 miles/week up to about 45-48 miles/week.  Last week was my first 40 mile week ever as I totaled 41.  At this point I'm running 5 days/week.  I will eventually up this to 6 days/week, but I probably won't do that for at least 2 months.  

Yesterday was an off day for running, although I did go to the gym to do some lifting and a good deal of core work.  Today was an easy paced 11 mile run in the park.

Training:  11 miles at 7:43 pace.

Monday, January 7, 2008

First Post

Hi guys, welcome to the blog.  As it says on my profile, I'll be a Masters runner later this year and I'm looking to participate in both the Track and Field season this summer (800m, 1500m, mile) as well as running some 5k's and 10k's throughout the year.  Next year I may look to add some longer races to the mix.

I started running in September '07 and began actually "training" in November.  Before that I haven't run much since HS.  Actually, outside of a 7 month period in 2004-2005, I have done almost no running for about 20 years.  I ran track back in HS and was a state section level sprinter (100m thru 400m) back when all the girls wore spandex and had really big hair.  (or were they just the guys on MTV?)  In any case, I'm looking to see what a former sprinter whose been away from the sport for almost 20 years can do.

I'm just figuring out how to get all of the info I want to post up on the page - some background info, goals for the season, training log, etc. - and I hope to have that done in the next few days.

For now, I just wanted to get today's workout up on the board:

Today was a Threshold running day w/ a few easy miles to follow.  The workout was to be three 1-mile repeats at Threshold pace w/ a 1-minute rest between each mile.  As is typical for me, the T-running was done at the track.  At this point, my T-pace is about 6:16/mile, but being that I haven't done a single run above MP in over a week due to the holidays, I felt like kicking it up a little bit.  I wound up hitting the first mile at 6:02, which was a little faster than I wanted to go.  I dialed down the remaining 2 miles to 6:07 and 6:06 which felt about right as the second half of the last mile had my HR pegged at about 92% of max-HR.  (a little above the 88%-90% target of my T-running due to the 10 second/mile increase in pace)  I finished up w/ 5 fairly easy miles in the hills at a 7:38 pace.  (I'll be showing the elevation profile of this trail where I do most of my easy runs)

Training:  9 miles (including warm up) w/ 3 mile repeats at T-pace minus 10-seconds 6:02, 6:07, 6:06 - followed by 5 miles at 7:38 pace.