Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mixed Bag

I wound up doing the 1000m repeats today (Saturday) as I still had some soreness in the legs on Friday.  The temps have been climbing lately and it was close to 80 degrees today.  The plan was to do four, see how I felt and if I felt good go ahead and do a 5th.  Unfortunately, four was all I got in.

I'm not sure if I just don't have enough gas in the tank to hit these workouts the way I'd like because I'm tired, because I need to back off the pace on the daily runs, or because the temp was 15+ degrees warmer than the previous sessions, but I haven't been 100% lately.

4 x 1000 w/ 1-min rests:  3:32, 3:24, 3:27, 3:26.  

I just didn't feel like I could hit the time if I added a 5th - not good.  HR was up a little, probably due to me not running workouts in greater than 60-odd degrees in a while, so the 75-80 was a slight shock to the system, but that's not a good enough excuse - something isn't quite right.

However . . . . .

Last week I got back into doing my 2 x 200m as part of the warm up - but I made sure not to time them because I just wanted to get in some long strides to get me ready for the intervals.  Today I decided to go ahead and time them.  In the winter, these warm up 200s started off at about 32-34 seconds.  Soon they got down to about 30, and with the constant speed work, they eventually worked their way down to 29 and then 28.  

I haven't done any speed work in months, but I was hoping that I hadn't lost too much speed and that the 200s would come in close to 30, maybe 31.

So as to avoid any possibility of having an issue w/ the hamstrings, I made sure I ramped up into the pace for the first 30-40m before getting up to a fairly solid speed.  Coordination felt good, and I knew instantly I was way ahead of where I started last winter.  Upon finishing I was expecting to see a time under 31, maybe even close to 30-flat. . . . . so when I looked down and saw a 27.92 I was a little taken aback.  I actually thought the time must have been wrong.  I slow jogged back to the starting line and ran rep #2 exactly the same way - 27.91.  This was surprising - close to mid-season form on the 200s right out of the gate - in March?  

Clearly whatever is bugging me during the interval/threshold sessions is showing no ill effects on the speed.  So although I was hoping to do better on the 1000s, I was very happy to see that kind of pace on warm up 200s.  It's like I'm picking up right where I left off in early January.

In order to try and resolve these issues I'm having getting the workouts in the way I'd like, I'm going to back off on the pace a little bit on the daily runs.  For me, I think it's OK to have all the runs at a nice steady pace when I don't have two workouts/week, but when I start adding these workouts - I think it would be best if I back off some on the in between days.  I'm hoping that, and perhaps some more sleep will help me to hit these workouts as they're drawn up.


Fri, 3/27:  5-miles @ 6:56

Sat, 3/28:  5-miles including 4 x 1000m (3:32, 3:24, 3:27, 3:26)  (2 x 200m warm up - 27.9, 27.9)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Running Sore

Woke up Wednesday feeling OK, but like watching the dark clouds off in the distance and hearing the thunder claps sooner and sooner after each successive flash of lightning - the soreness from the previous day's leg lifting started creeping in hour by hour.  By the afternoon, the "clouds" were directly overhead, and it became quite uncomfortable.  Time for the "recovery run", I said with a laugh.  I went out and did the standard 5-miler.  (somehow I was less sore when running)

Today it was a similar deal - less soreness, but I can still feel it.  That's what I get for slacking on the leg lifting for 2-3 weeks.  The run today was only 4-miles as I just didn't have time to do anything more.

If feel good tomorrow, I'll pull in my threshold work from Sat to Fri - otherwise it'll just be another easy day w/ the workout on Sat.


Wed, 3/25:  5-miles @ 6:55

Thurs, 3/26:  lifting (upper-B, abs) stretching and rolling
PM  4-miles @ 6:55

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Return of LIH (Long Interval Hell)

How can you tell when Spring has sprung out here in sunny CA. . . . . more precisely in Cupertino, CA . . . at the community college . . . near the track??  Well, it must be when that old guy is out there looking like he's about to die!!

The target workout: 

1-mile (5:20 pace - slightly slower than interval pace as it's my first session)  4.5-min rest
1200m (5:16 pace)  3-min rest
800m (5:12 pace)  2.5 min rest
400m (5:00 pace)

Unfortunately, I didn't do such a good job sticking to the target.  The focus of the workout was supposed to be the 1200m and 800m.  The mile was strictly there for pre-fatigue.  My plan for the mile was to run the quarters in (77-80-80-79) which would give me a few seconds to play with.  

Being that I haven't done anything faster than the cruise intervals to this point, I figured I'd need to make sure I didn't get comfortable and go out too slow, so that was my thinking as I started off.  In hindsight, I should have checked my split at 200m to monitor my pace, but I tried to run the first lap on feel and make any necessary adjustments after 400m.  Big mistake - when I came through the quarter I was shocked as hell to see a split of 67.  "Geez, that's nuts - I have to slow down".  Of course I didn't want to just go in the tank on the 2nd lap, but I made sure I slowed some.  

Second lap in 77, which put me at 2:24 at the half.  At this point I was sure I heard someone laughing. . . it was me.  I couldn't believe I was blowing the workout this badly - no way I'm going to get this whole workout in after this.  I thought about cutting this rep at 1200m to leave more in the tank, but decided against it.  Yes I probably blew it, but just slow down and do your best to do as much of the workout as you can, I figured.  3:47 at 1200m - I didn't feel that bad, but I knew I absolutely had to slow down - not only had I probably blown the workout, but the way these quarter splits were forced to come in after the first lap made even this mile a huge disappointment.  I finished up in 5:08 - nice time, lousy splits - and way off target.

Now the hard part - trying to come back w/ similar paced runs only minutes later.  For the 1200m lap #1 came in at a solid 74, but soon after I was really feeling it.  I couldn't shake a 5:08 mile that quickly.  Decision time - start slowing and do the 1200m or shorten the rep.  I decided to keep the correct pace and cut this rep at 800m.  No way I was going to be able to hit pace for the full 1200.  800m in 2:34.  

I was OK for the rest of the workout:  800m #2 in 2:35, and then to get back some measure of respectability I lengthened the final rep from 400m to 600m - 1:52 (on target pace of 5:00)

Overall - not a very good workout.  The mile was way too fast early which led to terrible splits and compromised the rest of the workout.  The 1200m which was supposed to be the focus of the workout needed to be sacrificed because I instead made the mile the focus.  However, I will give myself some credit for pulling it together and running the last two intervals well.

The good news (or bad news depending on how I look at it) is that I'm going to be doing a lot more LI workouts during this build - and now that I understand my current capabilities a little better, I should be a better judge of pace going forward.  

After the workout I headed to the gym for a heavy lifting session on legs, core and abs.  (I figure if I'm going to be sore, I better get it all in one shot)  I'm pretty dead right now and I'd imagine I should have no trouble sleeping tonight.


Mon, 3/23:  off (scheduled)

Tues, 3/24:  4.5 miles including, 1-mile (5:08), 800m (2:34), 800m (2:35), 600m (1:52)
PM  lifting (legs, abs, core)  stretching, rolling

Monday, March 23, 2009

Catching Up (on posting)

It's been almost a week since the last post - been a little busy.  The rest of the week went down as follows:

Wednesday saw a return to the gym for the first time in I don't know how long (great to be back) followed by a nice steady 5-miler.  Thursday's run was about 6.5 miles at a slightly easier pace, and Friday was 4.5 miles at a good steady clip.

Saturday was the threshold workout which wound up being nothing more than a 2-mile run at 5:46 pace.  (4-miles w/ warm up and cool down)

Sunday was supposed to be the long day, but the weather was lousy and I felt like taking a break - so a big fat zero for Sunday.  

This week sees the return of the long interval sessions (finally!)  Tuesday's workout is going to be a bear, but I'm really looking forward to it.  It's been too damn long since I've run at a halfway decent pace.  Threshold running is difficult because of the length of the runs vs the short rests - but the fact of the matter is, 5:40 pace puts me squarely in no-man's land:  Too fast to be comfortable, too slow to be fun.  (as a result I can't say I enjoy those sessions much)

Of course long intervals hurt like hell and I'm sure I'll be hating it about halfway through every single session I do - but at least I'll feel like I'm out of "base mode" and finally training once again to run middle distance races.  (although it's been difficult to tell w/ my non-racing history, that really is the point of this whole thing!)


Wed, 3/18:  lifting (upper-A, light legs, abs)  stretching, rolling
PM  5-miles @ 6:52 pace

Thurs, 3/19:  6.5 miles @ 6:59

Fri, 3/20:  4.5 miles @ 6:45

Sat, 3/21:  4 miles including 2-miles tempo @ 5:46 pace  (if you can call it that - just 2 lousy miles)

Sun, 3/22:  Off (unscheduled)  Weather sucked, felt I'd rather take a break.  (for shame!!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No Sleep Express Rolls On

Between a very intense and stressful time at work, preparing for what will be a tax return from Hell, and a mild ear infection - sleep has simply been non-existent for me.  Five hours Sunday night, and just four on Monday took me out to 7 consecutive nights w/ five hours of sleep or less.

Unfortunately I had hill repeats on the schedule for Tuesday.  During my 3-mile warm up prior to the hills I felt somewhat sluggish.  This session was not going to be pretty.  Where I usually do 10 x 1-minute repeats, Tuesday's session was going to be slightly different.  10 x 45-seconds broken down into 3-sets.  4 x 45-seconds, 90-second rest, 4 x 45-seconds, 2-minute rest, 2 x 45 seconds.  The good news was that I'd be getting a little extra rest - the bad news was that even though the repeats were slightly shorter, they were going to be much faster.  

I hit the first set pretty hard.  I was surprised how quickly I recovered after set #1, and went out hard again to begin set #2.  After the sixth rep I really started to feel it, and by the 8th rep I was fried.  I took my 2-minute set break after #8, but I still felt lousy.  For a second I thought about just bailing after eight, but thought better of it.  Repeat #9 wound up being the 2nd fastest one of the lot, but it left me dead in the water for #10.  I did the best I could but it was a struggle the whole way.  

Looking at the data afterwards, this was surprisingly the fastest hill session I've ever done.  I don't know how long I can keep doing this w/ no sleep.  I'm bound to crash here sooner or later.

Quite odd to have it such that the hardest part of my training is sleeping!


Mon, 3/16:  off day (scheduled)

Tues, 3/17:  6-miles including 10 x 45-second hills

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Getting by on Little Sleep

I got a whopping 4-hours of sleep last night, and not much more than that the previous 4-5 nights.  I figure eventually it catches up with me - and perhaps that day was today.  Twelve miles on the schedule the day after a workout.  I was a bit concerned that I might be out of gas as I was definitely tired and sluggish during the day, so when the time for the run approached I felt I needed a little "boost".  

I found a few mini candy bars in the pantry (Heath, Hershey's, and Nestle Crunch to be exact).  They were just the bite sized little buggers, but I figured they'd do the trick.  (Hey, until Guinness comes up w/ a recovery drink, you gotta do something!)  I also made sure I took a packet of Roctane (the magic beanstalk beans equivalent of energy gels) that I'd take at about the 5-mile mark.

The candy/Roctane combo worked to perfection.  Twelve miles at 6:51 pace in the hills capping off a 43+ mile week.

Tomorrow's an off day for running - if I can't get a good night's sleep tonight at least I can rest up some.  Hills are Tuesday so I need to get a few Z's before then.  I don't think Nestle's Crunch works on hills . . . . . . 


Sun, 3/15:  12-miles @ 6:51 pace

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hitting the Cruise Button

I ran my threshold workout today in the form of cruise intervals.  3k-2k-1k w/ rests of 1-minute per km of the previous repeat.  (i.e. 3 minutes, and 2 minutes)  This workout was originally scheduled for Friday, so here's a quick recount of the events that forced me to push out.

Wednesday:  The day after the hill repeats.  I had an easy 5-miler on the schedule as a recovery, but for whatever reason I not only had little soreness, but I actually felt very good during the run.  And that "save it for Friday" that I mentioned to myself on the way out the door seemed to get thrown out the window by the second half.  The last two miles were 6:14 and 6:16, and I was very comfortable the whole way - tough to explain how I felt that good the day after hills.  However, a short time afterwards I got a cramp in my left calf (probably due to lack of hydration again - ah that beer and running thing!) and the tightness stuck w/ me for a couple of days.

Thursday:  Thankfully I already had an appointment scheduled w/ the CMT Thursday afternoon.  The morning 5-miler was horrible, I felt like I was crawling - the calves were very heavy.  The CMT dug in there pretty good meaning the Friday threshold work was going to get bumped to Saturday to allow the muscles to recover.

Friday:  Another 5-miler, but this time the calves felt much better by the 2nd half of the run - I was ready for the faster work on Saturday.

Saturday:  I had been running my cruise intervals slightly under 5:40 pace thus far, but that was for 1km, 1-mile, and 2km repeats.  Today I had a 3km on the schedule and I wasn't sure where in the realm of "comfortably hard" a 5:40 pace 3k would put me.  I figured I'd just try to hit a few 85 second laps and see how I felt midway through.

As is usually the case w/ me - when I don't do a proper warm up (meaning 2 x 200m after the mile jog) the first part of the first rep tends to be slow, so when I came through lap #1 in 1:28 I didn't think too much of it.  However, when the 2nd lap was also a 1:28, I knew I had to pick it up.  I quickly found my 3:30/km pace and pretty much held that the rest of the way clocking the 3km in 10:37.  (5:41 pace)  Clearly, the slow laps in the beginning cost me the sub-5:40.

I was good and warmed up for the 2km and that one came in at 6:59.  (5:37)

Just 1000m to go.  With the longer runs already in the bag, this one felt like a simple run around the block - 3:24.  (5:28)

A pretty good workout, and no trouble from the calves.  I'm hoping that remains the case after tomorrow's long run, but I'll have to wait and see.


Wed, 3/11:  5-miles @ 6:36 pace.

Thurs, 3/12: 4.6-miles @ 6:58 - really felt sluggish, calves were very heavy.  Appt w/ CMT in afternoon.

Fri, 3/13:  5-miles @ 6:55 - calves felt tight in the beginning, but much better by the end.

Sat, 3/14:  6-miles including 3k-2k-1k (10:37-6:59-3:24)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to the Hills

Today I ran my first set of 1-minute hills since the Fall.  Nothing special, 8 x 1-minute w/ a 3.5 mile warm up.  (was supposed to be 10 x 1-minute, but I really started to feel it in the glutes after just 6, so I made the decision to do two more and call it a day)  In October I got very sore after my first hill session and it wound up affecting my next workout, so this time I decided to pull it back a little until I see how my body reacts over the next two days.  Other than that, the session went OK.  The pace was good, but I'm hoping that by my 3rd session I'm hitting these guys much faster.  

Also, I wound up running 5-miles on Monday which is usually my day off.  After the 12-miler on Sunday I figured I'd go out and do a recovery run, but the pace came much easier than I was expecting and I wound up going faster than I'd have liked.  

If all's well tomorrow, I should be looking at a couple of easy days and a threshold workout on Friday.


Mon, 3/9:  5-miles @ 6:50 pace

Tues, 3/10:  6-miles including 8 x 1-minute hills

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nice Finish to a Haphazard Week

For the most part, this was a week I'd like to forget.  However, yesterday's threshold session was fairly solid, and today's long run went well.  Twelve miles on the schedule today, and after laboring through the first few miles (mostly because they're uphill) I started to feel better and the pace began to pick up.  

Overall the run in the trails averaged 6:44 pace w/ an ave-HR of 158.  This winds up being about 3-beats/min lower than the 10-mile run at the same pace I did back in November, and the HR data compares favorably to the period where I was hitting my long runs between 6:40 and 6:55 every week.  I'm hoping this means I'm finally making progress again compared to where I was before the injuries.  

Because of the two missed days, the weekly mileage came in at a meager 29-miles.  After 3-weeks of building up my mileage after the injuries, I guess I can claim I was due for a down week, but unfortunately I'm not dumb enough to believe my own BS!  : )

The weather should be good this week, so I'm looking to get it going again.  10 x 1-minute hills early in the week, and a tougher threshold session late in the week.  The Sunday long run should be about 12-miles again before moving it up the following week.


Sun, 3/8:  12-miles @ 6:44 pace.  Average HR-158

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hectic Week

Unusual for me, but I haven't even logged into the running blogs this week.  I've got some catching up to do in that regard.  Work has been all consuming lately, and to be honest, for the first time in a long time, I didn't spend much if any time even thinking about running.

I managed to get in a few runs, but it hasn't been easy - a bad storm forced me to miss my Tuesday run all together, and work forced me to skip Friday.  I can't recall the last time I missed a day of running that wasn't injury related, so to have two in one week was an unpleasant surprise.  

Wednesday I ran 7-miles, 5-miles on Thursday, and I did manage a decent threshold workout today (Saturday).  Today's session was 2k-2k-1k w/ 2-minute breaks.  The times came in at 7:02 (5:39 pace), 6:58 (5:36 pace), and 3:28 (5:34 pace)  Not bad really - the first one felt very comfortable and the second one was hard.  (the 3rd one probably should have been longer.  Just not enough time to get into it, but w/ my difficult/stressful week at work that has left me feeling drained almost every day, I didn't want to push it too much)


Mon, 3/2:  Off day (scheduled)

Tues, 3/3:  AM:  Lifting (Upper-A, abs)  stretching rolling
PM:  Off (unscheduled - weather)

Wed, 3/4:  7-miles @ 6:55 pace

Thurs, 3/5: 5-miles @ 6:56 pace, Appointment w/ CMT

Fri, 3/6:  Off (unscheduled - work)

Sat, 3/7:  5-miles, including 2 x 2k, 1k w/ 2-min breaks (7:02, 6:58, 3:28)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Solid Week

In what seems to be the case every time I go for my Sunday run - the wind, rain, and slick (very) muddy trails were all present.  Today's "long" run was increased to 11-miles (up from 10 last week)  Started off conservatively - if my legs were a little tired before yesterday's workout, they'd certainly be tired today, and this was indeed the case.  

Of course tomorrow's my off day so I didn't want to just mail this one in.  I can rest up tomorrow.  First half averaged about 7:08, second half averaged about 6:48.

This closed the week out at 42-miles, which is my first 40+ week since November.  Average pace for the week came in at 6:42 (of course the workouts certainly help w/ that)  Not counting the workouts, the average was 6:55 and that seems to be a good steady pace for me these days.  

Plans for next week aren't finalized yet as the weather is going to play a big factor, but I'm hoping to log 40-44 miles again w/ two workouts and a 12-mile long run.


Sun, 3/1:  11-miles @ 6:58 pace