Monday, September 6, 2010

Cool Weather And A Solid 22-Miler

Cool weather has arrived, making last Sunday the perfect day for a nice 22 mile run. I did the first 5 or so miles at a relaxed pace, remembering my bad experience from last weekend’s long run, and then steadily picked up the pace through the run, finishing the last 5 or so miles at close to marathon race pace. Average pace for the entire run was 8 minutes per mile.

Next up for this week, I have a hard tempo run on Wednesday where I get to try to run 6 miles at a 6:26 to 6:30 pace. After that, my next important workout for the week is my 17 mile long run this Sunday with 10-12 miles at marathon goal pace of 6:50 per mile. I am still not sure how realistic those paces are, but I am hopeful. Cool weather should help.

Unfortunately, my body may not hold up over these last two weeks of training. Just last Saturday I noticed a few painful twinges in my right knee, and today there is some stiffness and mild pain. I will ice it and pray. If I start to feel more knee pain, then I will make this week my last week of training and do a four week tapper like I did last year. After all, it is better to miss one week of training than to get injured and miss my race!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goal Time and Tempo Runs

I have not posted here as regularly as I had hoped, but I am still working towards my goal. In fact, I am approaching the end of my training with only three more weeks to go before my tapper.

The question still remains: will I be able to break three hours.

I am still not sure what the answer will be. I would like to say that I will easily reach my goal and run something fantastic like 2 hours 52 minutes or something like that. Rather, it is more likely that if I do break three hours, it will only be by a few seconds at most. Weather will have a large part to play. If it is hot, then I will not be able to do it. If the temperature is in the 50s or low 60s, then I have a shot.

In these last few weeks, I have been getting in my tempo runs and the times have been improving a bit, but the hot weather we’ve had this summer here in Chicago has really slowed me down. For instance, I did a tempo run back in March/May and was able to run about 6:36 per mile pace. Just a few weeks ago, I ran 6 miles at about the same per mile pace. I feel that I am much stronger now, though, because I found that pace much easier to maintain and temperature was in the 70s to low 80s with fairly high humidity, whereas the conditions this spring were in the 40s/50s with very little humidity. Also, I ran an additional two miles at that pace, and I suspect that I was going closer to 10K race pace while running my first few tempo runs this spring.

As the weather cools, I hope to bring my tempo times down even more. Ideally, I would like to be able to run just under 6:30 pace for at least my last two tempo runs. I feel that would indicate that I have the fitness to just break three hours.

The bigger test, though, will be hitting my goal race pace on some longer marathon race pace training runs I have planned. I ran 14 miles last week with about 8 of them at around a 7:00 to 7:05 pace. That is a lot faster than what I was running last year, but not at the 6:51 pace I need to just break three hours. I hope that as the weather cools, I can push the pace a bit and run a little farther at that goal pace.

If I do not break three hours, I may still be able to beat my PR of 3:02:xx. I suppose that would be good enough to keep me motivated for next year’s training.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Long Overdue Update

I haven’t written for a few weeks. Here are just some quick updates on my training:

First, I started my 18 week training program last week with a 65 mile week. I decided to go with Pete Pfizinger’s 70 to 85 mile training program. The program starts at 65 miles and peaks at just short of 90 miles a week.

The first week went fine – though I was a bit tired after doing a 9 mile tempo run followed by a twelve mile run the next day. I was also perhaps a little aggressive on my 17 mile long run over the weekend, paying for it this week… It happened yesterday on what was supposed to be a moderate-paced eight mile run. It wasn’t the eight miles that did it, though, but running those ten 100M strides towards the end. I followed the run with a 12 mile run (was supposed to be 13) this morning during which I experienced some extreme tightness in my hips and throbbing pain in my right hip and groin area that spread into my lower abdominals.

Which leads me to my second point: I’ve come to realize that doing any sort of fast speed work or intense hill running is probably not in the cards for me. I suspect this is because my hip flexor muscles and muscles in the groin are way too tight and I probably have some unhealed muscle strains from this winter and my crazy snowy trail running adventures.

Fortunately, I seem to do fine on tempo runs and aerobic pace runs – which leads me to my third point: namely, that I now realize just how much I hate following canned training plans like the Pfizinger plan that I **was** following. Come to think of it, I was injured last year after starting a Higdon 5K training program… could there be a pattern here?

My new plan is to train similar to what I did last year, only add an extra intermediate long run (12 to 15 miles) mid-week, some longer tempo runs, and maybe the occasional long marathon pace run (all ideas I am taking from Pfizinger).

Here is hoping I feel better tomorrow.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fast 16 Miles

I surprised myself on Sunday by running 16 miles in around 2 hours, or about a 7:30 per mile pace. The day started out muggy, with temperatures in the low 80s by the time I finished. In other words, it was a lot hotter than I am used to. But I felt surprisingly strong and had plenty of water with me.

After I finished, my legs actually felt fairly good and I was not as exhausted as I thought I would be. I drank a water bottle full of chocolate milk immediately after finishing and then walked about a mile to cool down. Later in the afternoon I felt a little stiff but still surprisingly good.

I am not sure why it felt so easy, but I feel that part of the reason was the difference in running course. I have been doing my 14 to 15 mile runs on rolling paths and trails; I ran my 16-miler on a flat biking trail.

After a day of rest on Monday, I feel ready for another week of running. I am also starting to feel more confident that my time goal for Chicago later this year is not totally unrealistic. Who knows, maybe I might even surprise myself.

Training Summary for Week of May 17th, 2010

I hit 60 miles this week without too much difficulty. The following is my training summary for the week:

  • Monday: cross-training day with strength training.
  • Tuesday: 10 miles at a brisk pace
  • Wednesday: 8.4 easy miles
  • Thursday: 12 miles at a brisk pace
  • Friday: 6 easy miles and some strength training in the evening.
  • Saturday: 8.4 miles at a moderate pace
  • Sunday: 16 miles run at a faster than expected pace

Total weekly mileage: 60.8