Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Into high gear...

So after an odd Spring of training, I'm officially starting my Fall marathon training program next week. This week is crazy and I'm not going to try to start, only to have evening plans, family dinners (with relatives), and other things and stuff drown out my training on week 1. I'm not exactly sure when the race this Fall will be so I'm ok with starting the first week OR two in June.

I feel like the last few months have gone ok....not as consistent as I would like to have been, but I'm up to 8-10 miles on Saturday and I've been going as a follow-up on Sunday to Castlewood to gut it out on the trails for a bit. I started doing that as more of a loosen-up run after Saturday, but once I get out there I just can't help myself...I have to push it. That place is killer....

So, my Saturday mornings for the rest of 2010 from 6am-8am will be taken with long runs over at Grant's Trail and/or Castlewood. I'm going to start my long runs at 8 miles over at Grant's Trail, since that's 2-4 miles longer than any of my weekday runs. I'm hoping to be up at the half-marathon mark for weekend long runs by mid July. I wouldn't mind running that distance every weekend for a whole month just to get used to running the first half comfortably. If I can breeze through the first half, I can work hard on the next 6 miles, and gut it out on everything from mile 20 to mile 26...cuz God knows the last 6 is harder than that first 20 sometimes.....

Anyway, I'm still here, still running, and man is it getting HOT. I'll be slimming down, speeding up, fueling up, and moving forward from here as quick as I can.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Castlewood Run...and other updates

Alright, I'm back in business here after a bit of a blogging break and an elongated bought with an upper respiratory infection that put me out of commission for WEEKS. I've been running the last 3 weeks getting back into shape and it's paying off I think. I just need to be sure that I've built up a strong enough base so that when I start my summer training program for my fall marathon I'm ready to go.

I went for a run on Saturday on a fresh route and felt OK....didn't have the pop and stride that I do when I feel really GOOD. But, I put in about 5-6 miles and got to enjoy the sunny and 65 weather. That was refreshing. Then yesterday I decided to go out again and hit up the trails at Castlewood for some adventure and more hard training.

The trails are always a different feel, tempo, mindset, etc... than just running on the roads. There's definitely a raw and primal feeling you get when you are running through the woods on rugged terrain as fast as your legs will take you. It is really rewarding to be in a place with your training where you can sort of disconnect your head from your legs, and enjoy the scenery and the effort, while your legs are pumping and moving quickly underneath you. Yesterday's run was MUCH better than Saturday, and I felt like I could go on forever!

I ran the Riverside trail, came back around to the parking lot, and headed straight up the Lone Wolf ('Cardiac Hill') climb towards the lookout....that was a lung buster but I felt strong and ran the whole hill, which is a good sign for where I am in my training. I hit the top and kept it moving through the bike and horseback trail to the right until I got to the end of the 'summit' and started the switchbacks back down towards the bottom. I passed several bikers on the way down and it's a good feeling to be able to return the favor and say, "On your left!!!" as you blow by people on bikes. I felt like I was running down the switchbacks at about 10% shy of the borderline between being out of control, and being just straight up FREE. I did hit one sharp rock on the way down that aggravated the blister on my left foot that has been bothering me. Other than that, I headed down the bottom, and then went back to the Riverside trail for another half-loop.

Overall, it was about 9 miles I think, and it was about an hour of solid running. I love that place, and I love the feeling I get after blazing through those trails. I feel like I'm in a good place for my summer training for Boston. I just need to tweek a few things, make sure my gear is working right for me (blisters and chaffing...ick) and I'll be good to go!

Ok, moving on, moving forward, and planning the next week of running. I'll be at Castlewood again this week, you can bet on that.

Friday, February 19, 2010


So I had a little bit of an epiphany while I was out running last night. I had a good run...went 4 miles in 26:34, and ran comfortably for the most part, and well within myself. (didn't push too hard, and certainly not anaerobic at any point) So that's a good thing. But I was experimenting with my pace and my stride a little bit and I thought about the things that usually make me burn out or build up lactic acid during a hard run. I mean, let's face it, up to now I haven't been the best at pacing. My runs usually end up like an up-tempo interval workout with long sections of surges and fast pace efforts. That's good every once in a while but it really doesn't help you to learn how to pace yourself and run within what you KNOW you're capable of.

In the past, whenever I'd push the pace a bit, and I'd realize I knew I wouldn't be able to hold onto that pace for long I'd just try to gut it out...I'd hang on for dear life and push that much harder to hold onto the pace. In turn, when I DID actually slow down and somewhat fizzle out for a bit after that, I REALLY slowed down, and it took me a while to get back up to the pace I was at before the surge.

So yesterday, when I felt like I wasn't going to be able to hold onto the pace I has sped up to, I just backed off ever so slightly, took my recovery break at my original pace, and then slowly eased back into the faster pace I was running. This was SO much more effective, and I didn't loose any time or momentum because of it. It really helped to hold off the lactic acid buildup until much later in my run.

This is such a simple concept, and for so long I was thinking about it totally backwards...always trying to grit my teeth and hang onto a pace that realistically isn't good for me. It's more than ok to push during a run, and it's great to train your body to run fast, but I need to be looking out for my run as a whole and not just "in the moment" speed that I may be latching onto.

This post was completely useless to 98% of you, but it's ok...I just needed to get that in writing, and put something out there for me to mentally munch on this week.

Side note, tomorrow I'm running with the Fleet Feet team at 7am...I guess there's a pretty good group out there that meets for casual Sat. AM runs every week. Should be a good time...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The plan....

In the last week I've been trying to identify the things that make sense for me and the things that I think I need to solidify if I'm going to really do this the right way. I've outlined a plan for the next 10 months, split into 2 segments of 5 months, each with a different focus. Here it is:

Phase 1: The Base (5 Months)

  • Start by building my base from current mileage to consistent and comfortable mileage.
  • Average 25-35 miles/week, with a basic weekend long run at 1-2 miles longer than normal weekly runs.
  • Establish a solid training/racing shoe that fits my needs, and would work well for the marathon distance.
  • Learn what it feels like to run a 7:15 mile, and start working on even-paced runs.
  • Do core-work and basic ab training during the week.
  • Be consistent, avoid injuries, and don't overdo it!
  • Begin consistent stretching, and efforts at inreasing flexibility.
  • Begin dedicated efforts for running hills better. (Stairs and hills - specific workouts)
  • Avoid anaerobic threshold runs, oxygen debt training, and heavy interval surges mid-week when building the base. (pace training, and energy conservation)

Phase 2: The Buildup (5 months)

  • Start summer training program in June for marathon race in Oct., Nov., or Dec.
  • Build from 25-35 miles/week to 50 miles/week minimum, comfortably.
  • Add 1 speed training day per week (track) to the mix.
  • Run the 20 mile long run distance twice during the program. (average the results)
  • Focus long runs on pacing, consistency and negative splits.
  • Be consistent about Saturday long runs. Schedule the time...NO excuses!
  • Emphasize proper cool down methods (heart rate and hydration) for better recovery.
  • Learn to eat and drink effectively and comfortably on runs longer than 10 miles.
  • Continue to do core-work and ab training every day.
  • Continue to increase weekly stretching and flexibility work.

So that's it! Let's get to it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm back.....

Well, I'm back at it....I mean, I've been "at" it for a long time. (10 years, to be exact) But, for all intents and purposes, I'm "back at it". After a lackluster 2 years of off and on running and rarely ever racing, I've started putting the pieces together for what I hope to be a very rewarding year of running. There are so many things I want to do, and so many things I want to do so much better than before. I've always had the drive, and almost always had the structure, but I've almost never combined the two in a way that is truly effective. There IS a perfect combination of disciplines that I'm seeking. I want to be honest with myself and I want to be able to look back at this year when it's all over and know that I did everything I could to accomplish my goals.

So what the heck am I doing this for? Well, first of all, I love it. I really do. It's my "thing", and it's like that nagging pulse in the corner of my mind that never stops beating. Maybe it's heredity that gives me that weird passionate sense of competition. Maybe it's the 'firstborn syndrome' that makes me crave structure and discipline. Maybe it's just something that's built into all of us that just so happens to be prominently in the foreground of what I consider important in my life. Who knows! All I know is that I love this, and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability. This year is about discipline, honesty, the 'humble' approach, consistency, and just straight up GRIT. And yes, this sounds like a New Years resolution, and YES, resolution are (say it with me know) "made to be broken". But, this is quite a bit more than that I think. I'm aware of the sacrifice needed, and I'm also aware that this year is going to be really tough. I'm also aware that there's a chance I may not accomplish everything I want to accomplish....but I have to try, and I will.

So here's the gameplan! Starting right now I'm on the warpath to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Hopefully that'll be the 2011 BM, but depending on how things go it could very easily be the 2012 race. I don't know yet. But for starters, lets focus on the 2011 race. Here's what I need to do:

Boston Qualifying time (Male, 18-34): 3:10:59
Pace Needed to Qualify: 7:17 / mile
Time frame: (Feb 2010 - Dec. 2010)

There it is...plain and simple. This will be bold text that I see in my head when I'm out there putting in my daily work. This is what the next 10 months is will be my accountability and my motivation.

The next year of blog posts here will most likely be less poetic, and more driven by the minutia of the daily training grind. Dont' worry, it won't be TOO geeky, but I must warn you in advance, it might just borderline on 'runner nerdy'. There is a certain cultic vibe that runners give off, and the details surrounding my efforts may sound a little obsessive. So there it is, you've been warned and can now read and check up at your own risk.

That's enough of an intro....more details to follow!

Happy running....