Running Log 11/2-11/8 in which I review a week of questionable training choices

There’s a reason chemists, physicists and other hard scientists rely so much on their charts and graphs. Sometimes a chart really does explain something better than is possible with a tick-tack of letters strung together from across the keyboard.

November 8th update

However, being the literary nerd that I am, I do both.

The weeks leading up through the beginning of October have been very consistent in terms of speed sessions, rest days, and long runs. However, since my 5K race and timid approach to cutting out the rest day before my long run, things have gotten kind of funky. Without a real running plan, I have no idea what to do these two weeks before my goal 5k. I can’t decide whether to do a cut-back week (as I normally would after three weeks of building) or another week with the same mileage and types of workouts before heading into a cut-back week right before the 5K… it’s all up in the air and I have no guidance, but a lot of hope riding on this race. I’ve written my goal time on my desk board, in my journals, and here: 21:14, which is a 6:50 mpm pace and totally doable; I’ve just never done it before.

So that’s that. Coupled with some pretty spontaneous personal plans and familial obligations, I’ve had to adjust my training a few times this week. This resulted in two shorter long runs rather than the usual one long run, as well as an active rest day in the middle of the week and some hill work when I don’t have a hill to train on and haven’t touched my incline on a treadmill (beyond going at the usual .5) in forever.

Monday, 11/2- check-in run for the PF and knee symptoms I was feeling after Saturday’s long run. Legs felt good after Sunday’s rest, so I did end up going for almost 6 miles at a pretty good clip: 8:05 mpm. I wasn’t pushing it, so I didn’t feel too guilty about nixing an easy run, but still had no solid verdict on the symptoms.
11/3- That’s where Tuesday’s run came in. I was on campus late again, waiting for my ride, so I left right away after my office hour and ran to the beach (I know, it’s nice to go to a university that is 5K from a warm beach- but I don’t make it there nearly often enough). I headed out and returned on a meandering trail right outside my university. The sun was strong, and my calves and knees had a few issues throughout the beginning miles, but then things settled down and I enjoyed it.
However, when I got back from the run, I found out I wouldn’t have the next afternoon to run, and since I have to be in class at 8 AM, I didn’t feel like an even earlier day than usual on Wednesday, so I added a few miles at the gym (before weights) to give myself some buffer for the next day. Hence, I have 10 miles for Tuesday.
11/4- turns out, I could have run Wednesday afternoon after all, since the plans that were made that cancelled my run were also cancelled, but I kept it an easy day anyway. Leisurely swim in the evening light (it’s experiences like these that remind me that I do like Florida weather… sometimes)
11/5- I didn’t do speed work on Tuesday, but didn’t feel like doing it Thursday either, so I compromised by doing 6 miles of hill intervals. These were fun and seemed to cause less problems with my knees than the usual speed work does. I did a warm-up, .25 at 4 incline, .25 at 5, .25 at 6.5, .25 at 7, .25 at 8, .5 at 8, .5 at 7, .75 at 5.5, .5 at 4 and then something else through the rest of the time (including 7.1 speed at max (15.0) incline) with .25 jog rests at 1.0 incline. All the hills were done at 7.1 or higher (maxing out at 8.3 at 7 incline, which was hard!) The rests were at 6.7 or more, which were only possible since the reduction in incline each time felt like a rest in itself. I didn’t get my heart rate totally high as often as I usually do with speedwork, but it seemed like a solid workout.
11/6- an easy short 2.35 miles with circuit training. I can do a hand walk across parallel bars for 25 meters now, which is exciting. :-) And four pull-ups! I’m happy with how my overall fitness is progressing. This was a reasonable run and felt really good considering I had just done interval training the day before.
11/7- Saturday 9.68 miles with the running group. Ran with a biker, and both of us were so intent on showing the other that we could keep up, that we did the first half in 8 mpm pace. I knew we had started off too fast… and I usually like to head slowly into my long run, speeding up along the way, but I also didn’t want to disappoint my new partner. However, after she checked her Strava halfway through (I haven’t been wearing my watch since it broke last weekend), she slowed down. I stayed with her through mile 8, but after she said she wanted to go 9 versus 10, I sped up to do a little extra so that I could get back to the store (where we all meet) around the same time she did. It was a good run, but so humid that I ended up dehydrated and out of it for nearly the rest of the day. Lame, since it was a shorter long run. Also, because I was at just under 35 miles for the week, and I like to have my mileage pretty consistent when I’m not building it, I got in half a mile picking my car up from the shop (nothing serious, just an oil change!).
11/8- active rest with a nice swim (this time a little more serious with freestyle and goggles).

So, my total for the week was 35.1 miles, and while I still haven’t decided what to do next week, I’m thinking of a medium one with difficult speed-work, and an easier one leading up the race. What do you all think? Hope you had/have a good week with a great weekend, and that the next week starts off smoothly (no more daylight savings jetlag symptoms ;) )

Advertisements

Running Update: 9/23-9/29

I’ve been posting fairly regularly, so I guess that means I’m in something of a running groove right now. Came just in time to start actually building a base for marathon training.

It could have something to do with the shoes because, since buying the Gel-Nimbus 17s, I haven’t been dealing with as many leg niggles. I still have a few, and they still made me think that a few rest sandwiches were in order, but even after not taking a rest day after my “long” run this week, I’m feeling okay.

The trick is to go slow and steady.

I do want to go faster again though. I think having two shoes to rotate will help with that, so I bought myself a pair of Nimbus 16s. I had these shoes last fall and they worked well for me.

asics-nimbus-16-womens-pink-main

I loved the mint green, neon pink combo of these, so decided to get them again.

My training, since the awesome 5K in the gym last Tuesday, resumed Wednesday with an easy 3 miler with some circuit training at the park. Then, I decided I needed an extra rest training 9-23day and would run Friday before the “long” run. I did run Friday, but decided sleeping in on Saturday to recover from the week and nip my oncoming cold in the bud was more important. So I did the 9 miles on Sunday. Yesterday the foolishness started, where I thought I could handle a run after a short “long” run. I probably can, but I had also done some strength work at the gym on my legs, which I don’t usually do. I ended up with a very easy pace and I also felt it today on my not-too-significantly-shorter run.

I have yet to see how the rest of the week plays out, but the plan is: run tomorrow and Thursday, rest-day Friday, 13-miler Saturday.

We’ll see how this goes.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Race Ready- How do you know if you’re ready to race?

 How do you know when you’re ready to race? Generally, you don’t. However, there are usually a few indicators in your ability to follow a training plan and the runs in the days leading up to your race that will let you know if you’re ready or not. 

For example, let’s say it’s the week leading up to your 5K on the weekend and you do two one-mile runs at 5K race pace. Then, after a short rest, you do two 400 meters at 1-mile pace. If you complete these, you’re in pretty good shape to target that race pace for the 5K on the weekend.

Usually, if you’re able to nail a certain interval workout at race pace or better, you can feel fairly confident that you’ll be able to tackle similar distances during the race. Keep in mind that interval training runs are controlled environments in which you’re expected to feel pain, but also able to recover and do another good run the next day. Races are clearly more intense, painful, and allow for a much harder effort since few people actually need to conserve energy and speed for the next day or following days (unless you’re, you know, doing a hat-trick or something). Those shows of speed that you pull off in a training run are good indicators of the speed you can draw on during the race, especially if you follow a pretty easy regimen for the week with a rest day before or two-days before the race. 

Some other ways to know if you’re race ready is if you’re motivated to break a PR or a certain time, if you’ve been training for at least 4 weeks before a 5K or 6-weeks before a 10K, have good base, have been watching the diet and not gaining weight over the course of training… there’s many factors that come into race preparation. 

However, it’s also possible to be physiologically ready and not feel ready at all. This happens to many runners, especially the day before the race when one would rather just have the next 24-hours be done with and the race have already happened. It’s similar to the experience of putting alcohol on a wound. You know it’s going to hurt, but you know the wound needs to be disinfected and that you’ll be relieved afterwards. At that point before a race, the best thing to do is distract yourself. If you’ve done the training and you’ve done your best to prepare, even in last minute preparation, you’re going to be fine.

So, after that how-to, let’s see if I can follow my own advice. 

Monday’s run: 2 x 1 mile at 6:50 mpm with 5 minute rest; 2 x 400 meters at 6:18 mpm with 3 minute rest; 2 mile warm-up, 3-mile cool down. I should feel good that I nailed the pace for both miles, but I can’t help but be nervous. Goal for Saturday is to break 21:30. 

Intervals, doubles, and rest days

I haven’t been very good at keeping up my blog, but I’ve been having good running weeks–enough to think that going to the race next Saturday is a good idea after all! My mileage is staying consistently at or below 35 miles per week, which doesn’t sound like a lot (and it’s not, if we’re talking marathon training), but it’s good for 5K race-prep, and the workouts I’ve been doing are definitely more intense than I would be doing during marathon training. 

I stupidly ran around 1300 last Sunday, which as anyone can tell you is the hottest part of the day. Combine Florida heat with Florida humidity and an 11 mile run, and you can start imagining the state I was in at the end. I basically had to peel my running shirt off over my head. 

funny-wet-cats-1

Now, imagine something even less attractive and more sun-dazzled, and that was me.

As if that experience wasn’t enough to convince me, this week I did my two heavy tempo/intervals runs around noon as well, and ended up hanging my clothes outside before I got into the house. I had to brace for the cold air-conditioning each time too, and it doesn’t sound as pleasant as it sounds. 

Daily Weather History & Observations- What I’ve had to run through (looking at the range between the avg and the high, since I usually ran around noon or 1300): 

2014

Temp. (°F)

Humidity (%)

Aug

high

avg

low

high

avg

low

24

93

86

80

85

67

52

25

93

87

81

88

74

59

26

91

88

84

67

62

52

27

91

85

79

74

62

53

28

90

86

82

76

69

63

29

93

86

82

79

67

55

30

93

86

81

77

66

55

So, on Sunday, I rounded out the week with an 11.3 mile run. Monday was a rest day on which I really just walked a bit around my home-university’s campus. Tuesday was tempo interval day, but I skipped it and did a light run instead (sometimes this happens before TOM). I just wasn’t feeling up to it by the time I got around to it at 1700. I also didn’t want to do a hard workout so late in the afternoon and have trouble sleeping. But Wednesday, I had all day and after a carb-heavy breakfast decided to do that tempo workout. According to the plan I pilfered from my college running coach, I was set for 3 x 10 minutes at tempo pace with 2 min. jog recovery that I turned into 4 min.s. Woops. No wonder I was able to keep the pace at or above 7.8 mph consistently. Part of that also had to do with the fact that I was on the treadmill at the gym and had air-conditioning, albeit a struggling, weak fanning system. I reverted to some old habits that I picked up last year during training, and that was to make my run to the gym my warm-up and the run home the cool-down. This meant that I could use the interval setting on the treadmill to complete the actual workout with water and sweat-absorbing towels nearby. I picked up this habit because I didn’t have a GPS watch then, but now that I have my TomTomRunner, I can do intervals anywhere. Problem is, in the early afternoon in south Florida one wants to be nowhere outside… Being inside for part of the run, even though I ended up soaked through by the end anyway, at least enabled me to get in 4 miles for warm-up and cool-down and complete 5.4 miles for the tempo intervals. 

The tempo workout Wednesday was good, followed by a solid easy run on Thursday. Friday was interval day and because I was lazy and it really was TOM, I ended up not motivating myself to go out until half past noon again. But I did the same thing I did Wednesday, where I ran to the gym and did my drills and intervals there. The workout this time called for 20 x 45 secs FAST with 1:15 minute jog recovery. I initially set my run pace for 9.0 mph and my jog pace for 6.1 mph, but found myself upping the pace each intervals because it felt too easy. After a quick water break halfway through, I set the pace for 9.5 mph. It was definitely harder, but bumping it up every so often to 10 mph made me feel like a bad-ass. 

picture wtfcontent BADASS

Any run where I have witnesses to how hard I push myself makes me feel like a badass. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy running on a treadmill at the gym.

Of course, I am aware of the critique of running on treadmills for regular training runs and high-intensity runs, and I also know that it’s not a habit I want to develop again. The constant changes in speed without the natural speed-up, slow-down can be damaging long-term to muscles and bones. I also know that the speeds I run on the treadmill, especially short-term for 45 seconds, are not actual representations of what I can run on the road (as in, I probably would not have run that fast, heat and humidity aside). The treadmill’s belt works in a constant forward-pulling motion on my feet, meaning I use less energy to propel myself forward when I propel myself off the ground. I’m aware of that. Still, I enjoy my treadmill intervals sometimes because it helps break up what is otherwise a very long run. Friday’s run ended up at just under 10 miles, and then I did doubles after a break for lunch. Total for Friday was 12.1 miles… and so as you can see, this is how 5K training differs significantly from longer distance training. Basically, the interval and tempo runs days are longer days, since the training is designed to make you prepared for more intense speed rather than enduring speed. I see it as something that MYABR. 

So after Friday, which I wasn’t horribly beat-up after (a positive development in my training), I had a cross-training day by working in the garden all day (trimming trees and hedges, pulling weeds, raking, and carrying bags to the curb). I don’t know if gardening quite counts as cross-training, but I was using more core and arm muscles than in running, and it was less anaerobic. Plus, it got my heart going a few times and I got to get all sweaty and dirty. :-) 

Today, Sunday, I may go out for a run 6 miles or less. It really depends on how into my work I get. Hope everyone had a good week! 

To race or not to race… Hey!

I can’t decide if I want to race next weekend (not this weekend, but the first of the month). But before I get into whether or not I should do it, let’s back-track a bit to the days where I raced every week and sometimes twice a week: high school cross country.

you know you’re a 90s kid when someone yells at you “run, Forrest, run” and you know what they’re referring to. We don’t have to backtrack that far now…

During high school, all the self-discipline I needed was to change into my running clothes (consisting of a cotton t-shirt and soccer shorts… I didn’t get fancy [or smart/cotton in Florida?] until college) and make it over to the cross country coach’s classroom. There were coolers with water and Gatorade, a group of running buddies, and a coach with a plan waiting for me. Now, I have to organize the times I run, the workouts I run, and I am almost always solo unless my brother deigns to join me. During high school, I also got to run races for free. I didn’t have to worry about the funds to pay registration fees or figure out ways to get to the races and pay for said gas. I had it made, as a runner. Now, on my TA funds (most of which go towards fueling myself for running), I find it hard to regularly sign up for a race.

Imagine how much money I would save if I quit running… all that food, laundry, running shoe material

Also, I have other things to worry about, like priorities. I had priorities in high school too, like getting good grades, hanging out with friends, having a boyfriend, but I also had a set amount of time to train every day and I needed surprisingly little sleep (though, based on my later results, that’s probably not true).

Now, my academic and social responsibilities require more work and more time. My responsibilities to my family are especially increased, and I am less likely to pop-off on a weekend morning to disappear for hours at a time. So, I am less likely to sign-up for a race because I feel that I am less likely to train for one or make it to the race. Take the last race for example, the Berlin City-Nacht 10K; I had to miss it… two months training out the window.

Therefore, in light of all the obstacles, I don’t know whether I should register for the race in question that’s coming up. Some factors that come into the decision are the fact that I’ve had a nagging plantar fasciitis issue and that I am preparing for MA exams that make it more likely for me to blow off a training run (like the one I’m avoiding for today).

I need to go for a run today… eh

I also don’t know if I’m prepared for this run. I have about four weeks of 30+ mileage weeks and the starts of cross country training. But I also haven’t been running very fast, and I won’t be able to train this weekend properly.

But now comes the fun part. What do you all think? I have 25 dollars that may or may not go towards the peanut butter fund.