Showing posts from July, 2007

Embracing Cross-Training, or Trying To...

So I spent a lot of time last night reading over marathon plans in the Lore of Running and considering how they stacked up with the one I've just started - the Veterans' plan from Runners World, which appears (kind of, missing a lot of key info) here . And along the way, I've been consistently returning to the FIRST plan, which is here . These thoughts are in my mind for the following reasons: 1) Without getting on the trails last week, my legs were pretty sore. 2) I keep thinking of my triathlon training. It never made me a better cyclist, but I do believe the cycling made me a better runner. 3) All marathon plans have key runs and recovery runs. In a plan like the FIRST plan, cross-training replaces recovery runs. Some runners - myself included - call these miles "junk miles." They're not really junk, mind you - consistent aerobic work helps the aerobic base. However, if you can boost your HR to the same level and for the same duration in a non-weight beari

Kind of Not-Great Run, Part Two...

Today's run, like Friday's run - also had mixed results but for different reasons. Back to Friday's "What is Tempo?" discussion, I've decided that henceforth, I'll define Tempo runs as being those that give me an HR of 157-160. I've been experimenting with HR more and 157 clearly puts my body in a different state. So for now, that's the plan. Fast forward to this morning - very early - 2 am, when the storms rolled in. I'm a good sleeper, but the period from 2-6 was crazy... thunder upon thunder upon thunder. Fitfull sleep all around. When the alarm went off at six, I wasn't sure what to do. The plan was go to the park and relax the legs on the trails with the club. But things had changed: 1) I was on very little sleep. 2) The trails are difficult? How much worse would they be after 3 inches of rain? 3) I don't know the trails well enough to put together 14 good miles, which the plan called for. 4) There were still storms swarming all a

They Can't All Be Good...

Not a great run today. The plan called for 3 miles of tempo sandwiched around 3 miles of warm-up cool-down. As mentioned yesterday, I was hopeful to do them faster - 6:45-6:55 pace. Instead, the splits were 7:28, 7:17 and 7:40. Let's the excuses begin: 1) A storm was coming and in fact hit me just when the fast stuff ended... but most of the fast stuff included 20mph head and cross winds. 2) Hills. Not big ones. But not small ones, either. 3) Fatigue. Still feeling Wednesday's 1000's. Also, this week's introduction of cross training means I have 1 rest day per week, instead of two. 4) Wimpishness -- My HR for the 3 tempos was 156, 159 and 159... I really should be pushing 160-162's on those. All of that being said, I'm still confused to know what tempo pace I should be using... Some books suggest tempo should be your Anaerobic Threshold, which should be in the 6:45-6:55 range, while others suggest it should be closer to 1/2 Marathon pace (7:15-20 for me)... Eith


The plan called for 5 miles of recovery today so that's what I did... kept my eye on the HR, which resulted in quite a slow time after yesterday's intervals... 8:27 pace for the whole thing. Good news is that the average HR was 141 - 8 beats slower than the average on my long runs, which happens to be the prescribed difference for HR in recovery as compared to long runs in the book The Cutting Edge Runner , which I highly recommend. As I use all the mathematical crutches offered - HR monitors, VDOT charts, etc... I'm and more amazed at how much the math usually does make sense. Tomorrow will be challenging -- a tempo run and truth is, I've been doing my tempos a bit slower than I should according to the geek charts. Gonna try and bump it a notch.

Diabetics Pump it Up....

A ferociously well-researched article in the Times today looks at diabetics doing endurance sports . Marathoners, triathletes and even the RAAM team made the news. A great read all the way around.

1000 points of pain....

If you were an astute reader, you may have noticed that earlier this week I said my interval workout was planned for Tuesday... However, the week is lining up different (good different) than I planned, so it was actually today. The plan called for 5 x1000m at 5k race pace with a 2 min. recovery between each interval. This concerned me because just 2 weeks ago, I did 5 x 800m at 5k race pace with 3 min. recovery and recalled it as being painful. That said, today's effort went pretty well. The goal was 6:30 pace (4:07-4:10), but here's the pacing I did: 6:28 6:23 6:24 6:25 6:23 If it were a 5k, my total time would've been 20:22, which is 18 seconds faster than my fastest 5k, though truth be told, it's been a while since I raced a 5k, so I think that's probably an accurate number. Both McMillan and VDOT suggest this translates to a 3:17 marathon, so I'm a little off pace, but not by much. I also learned that the 1000 is a stupid distance. I generally ran the 800 to

No Dope....

Funny.. when I posted yesterday about Bear Grylls possibly being a fraud, I'd just read about Vino being booted from the Tour . Yet I didn't write about that - instead I picked on a man who may or may not drink his own urine. Why? Truth of the matter is, if Floyd Landis has taught us anything, it's this: testing procedures for cyclists suck and they need to be changed and how the news of failed tests is reported needs to be changed, too. As Floyd said in this great interview with ESPN , "All I want out of this is the next time Dick Pound opens his mouth and says someone is guilty, the rest of the world says, 'We'll wait and see.'" Fair enough, Floyd: let's wait and see. Incidentally, the fact that we even know about the failed test is further proof that the system is wrong. Floyd's quote on this: "Just as in my case, LNDD (Laboratoire National de D├ępistage du Dopage / National Anti-doping Laboratory) has leaked the test results t

Aren't There Any More Great Heroes?

This article says that Bear Grylls is a fraud. Incidentally, I always had a hunch that some of the stuff wasn't completely legit.... for instance, when Bear said he'd never drunk urine before, I wondered why he'd do it now. Still, I think it's a great show and whenever there's a TV crew involved, it's a TV production. True survival people say that for their money Survivor Man is the real deal. While this may be true, Bear's show makes for better TV, and I say if you believe everything you see on tv, well...

The Secret to Biking: Get Faster By Not Doing It.

So today was - literally - the first day I've been on my bike since April's triathlon. After that day, I decided to make this a running-only summer. Biking and I have very much of a love-hate relationship. Historically speaking, I'm not very good at it. After a long winter of being on the wind trainer, I had a bike split on the tri. of averaging 16.3 mph -- right around the bottom fifth of my age group. Considering I was top fifth in my age group on the run, it wasn't hard to pick a focus for this year. But my just-started marathon plan has 1 day of cross-training per week and one day of either cross-training or running, so back on the bike I went today. The workout only called for 45 minutes, but I did 12.5 miles during that period. In other words, I'm currently faster on the bike after three months of no training that I was at the tri after 3 months of decent training. And while my overall fitness is a bit better than it was for the tri. in April, I don't thi

Working Ahead...

One of the few people who "knows" me offline told me this week that my blog comes across as "cocky" or "know-it-ally." In a way, that bothers me, because nobody likes to like like a jerk. Then again, this blog is pretty much only about me and if you don't know yourself, well, that's not a great place to be, is it? Anywho... So today was supposed to be a 12 mile run, which I planned on doing with the Lancaster Road Runners Club on the trails... however, there were a few "issues" with doing this... 1) Time - the LRRC is a social group. It starts a little late and has water stops. Coupled with the 15 minute drive to and fro the park plus the inherent slower time of trail running, time was gonna be a problem. 2) What about next week? This week is the official start of my 16 week Harrisburg marathon plan. Trouble is, next Sunday calls for a 14 miler and next weekend's activities could make that effort tricky. And while I'm not such a s

Oh... Deer.

So I had a tempo workout scheduled tonight. Typically, that means a warm-up/cool down with 2-3 miles @ 7:00 pace on the roads. Problem is, the trails were calling to me: "Come here - we're softer/cooler/quieter/funner." And I wanted to listen to them, so here's what I did: Went to the park and did most of the run on a heavily wooded loop that's about 1/3 of a mile according to the GPS.... Very tricky footing, but relatively flat. Relatively controlled. Did a 1 mile warm-up and turned on the gas. I set the Garmin up for HR and distance only, kept the HR between 160-164 the whole time and pounded out 3 miles at tempo effort (though, being trails, the actual pace was between 7:40 and 8:00. Here was the wild part - on the third lap of the tempo, I come up on two doe right in the middle of the trail. They probably let me get within 10 feet before they scampered away. Next lap (1/3 mile later), they're still there and let me get within 5 feet. At the end of the work

Two Reasons You Should Pick Up the Newest Copy of Running Times...

1) The cover story is on Anthony Famiglietti , my favorite pro. on the circuit today... Great article on both the runner and the character that make Fam one of the best in the game. 2) The next to last article is the regular column from "The Shoe Guy." This month, "The Shoe Guy" has a back and forth exchange with a guy by the name of Marcus. I'm that guy. Those were my questions and he provides you with the answers. It's about shoe durability and stuff like that.

The Other Me...

As a professional-father-husband person, there's not exactly gobs of free time. In my 20's, I found exactly none for me and that was a mistake. I was a boring person, I suspect, and not a very pleasant one, either. In my mid-twenties, I took up writing -- scribbling short stories and a novel that ended up with a "close but no cigar story" from the publishing houses in NYC. And after that, quite frankly, I had enough of the writing for a while. Realizing the importance of doing something besides being a marketing guy and yelling at the kids to quit fighting, I filled up the time previously occupied with writing with running. And that's been good, too. (It's new commenter- Sarah's pointing out the Pushcart nomination in my bio that has my brain on this track.) I expect down the road I'll become a writing runner, though for now I think I'm probably 1 or the other, because the professional thing puts food on the table and husband-father gig reminds me

Mile... stone.

So yesterday was the 1 mile run in this year's Office Olympics. Our actual Office Olympics are being held tomorrow, but because this event can't be held amongst the cubicles, this event has taken place over 4 or 5 heats in the past week at the local high school track. Yesterday was the final heat, and the only one I was able to make. It should also be noted that this is the first year that the mile was added to our Olympics... we've had a lot of people take up running in the past year, though, so there was considerable interest, which was cool. As Nate blogged about , there were four of us, all knowing what we wanted to do and where we hoped to finish. My goal going into it was somewhere between 5:50 and 5:54. My secondary goal was to win... and the other fastest time in a previous heat was a 5:57. In my entire life, I've never won a race out-right. Not when I was running 4:57 miles, 11:01 two miles or 17:55 cross-country 5ks -- back then, I ran with some mighty fast du

Fireworks Later in July...

Results have finally been posted in the Ephrata Firecracker 5 mile run I did on the morning of the 4th. As I expected, they had me at 34:11 - though it took me about two seconds to cross the starting line, so I'll go to my grave calling it a 34:09. Results weren't posted by age at all, but overall I came in 78th out of 546. That puts me in the 14% percentile, my highest finish percentage-wise to date. Link to results here . Because there's often neat cases of symmetry in running, I checked out what 14% would've been in last year's Harrisburg Marathon and Hand-on-House 1/2 Marathon (my next two key road races): At last year's Harrisburg Marathon, the 14th% finisher came in 66th, in 3:27. At last year's Hands-on-House Half, the 14th% finisher came in 56th, in just under 1:34. For what it's worth, 1:34 is a couple minutes faster than my 1/2 goal time of 1:35-36, but 3:27 is a good bit slower than my marathon goal of 3:15. As one moves up in distance, I *thi

Mission.... Accomplished!

Truth is - I was terrified of this week. With the kids having 3 swim meets (2 at night, 1 all day yesterday), 3 days of jury duty, and 40 miles in the log plan, I didn't know what was going to happen. But in the end, all of it did happen. Jury duty was the single most boring event of my life. 3 days of torture by boredom. Nope, I never got called and our group of 100+ only saw 1 case. In between, I read, and read and read. Most days around 11:00, I went to the only room with a TV (where it was about 85 degrees) and watched the end of the Tour de France. At night, I went through my e-mails from work, dealing with the handfull that required immediate attention, and delaying the rest. The swim meets were typical. What was atypical was having 3 in a single week. The kids did great, though, with many PR's and boy wonder pulling out and 8th and 9th (out of 45) in two races in yesterday's invitational. And amazingly, I didn't miss a single run - Wed., we actually got off jury

On Track... So Far

With a high today of 95ish and with the kids having a swim meet tonight, I had 1 reasonable option for today's interval workout: early morning. Ugh. This week is a nightmare in soooo many ways: going into it, I knew I had 3 days of jury duty and 3 nights of swim meets and a dentist appointment. Coupled with either a 24 hour bug or a bad cheeseburger Sunday night - I'm really not sure how I'm going to get through it all with a 38 mile week. But the reality is that the way you do it is 1 mile at a time, so there I was toeing the starting line on the track at 6:50. Except, then I wasn't because a bird had his leg stuck in a grate on the track, so my warm-up got delayed while I freed the little sucker. Don't know if he'll live, but he flew away, so at the very least I spared him getting cooked on the track when the sun got high in the sky. Anywho, good deed for the day done, it was back to the warm-up (1 mile), followed by 5 800's, with a 400 recovery after each

Milk Run

So as I was getting ready to go out the door last night, the wife goes, "Hey, why don't you bring some milk home." And at first, I thought the idea was preposterous. While the nearest store is only a half mile from the house and I was heading out for a five miler, who among us carries something when we run? I mean, maybe an iPod or a water bottle, but groceries? But then, a few thoughts occurred to me: 1) Back in days of yore, wasn't the real purpose of running to catch things, like food? 2) When you think about it, modern running tends to be a relatively selfish activity. We take time to accomplish something that benefits nobody besides us (aside from better life insurance rates). 3) Ah, hell, I raced yesterday. It's an easy day today anyway. So I did it. Ran 4.5 miles. Got two half gallons of milk and brought them home at roughly 8:20 pace. Some thoughts: 1) A gallon of milk weighs a lot when you run with it. 2) It actually only weighs 8 pounds and when I ran my

From the News of the "No Duh."

This article says that diabetics can get more blood sugar improvement from exercise than from medication or food changes. I'll go out on a limb and say they're referring to Type 2 diabetics since us Type 1's die without insulin. :) But nevertheless, I can get what the study is saying.... a long run lowers my blood sugars for several hours - last Sunday's 12 miler kept me lower for nearly 15 hours. However, the lack of carbohydrates at a meal will only affect your blood sugar until... well, until you eat carbohydrates. And once you do, the body doesn't handle them much differently just because you didn't eat them last meal. As far as medication goes, I'm also not surprised. A body with a faster metabolism will respond better to all things, including medication.

A Somewhat Successful PR

The Ephrata Firecracker 5 mile was today. Despite my g-mapping, the course wasn't as flat as I expected. As a matter of fact, the second mile really sucked. However, there were plenty of flat places and downhills to go along with it, and the end result is that I did a 34:09, which translates into a VDOT of 47.81, which doesn't sound much better than my 5k performance with a VDOT of 47.62 just over two months ago. Then again, there is a difference.... when I ran the 5k 2 months ago, I'd just come down off a taper for a triathlon. In other words, I was ready and rested. Today I'm coming off my biggest mileage week ever - it's 3 days after a 12 mile run and 1 week after an interval workout. In other words, I had a slightly better VDOT performance without tapering at all. The only reason any of this matters is because I want a 3:15 in the Harrisburg Marathon to qualify for Boston. My performance today correlates to a 3:17:59. However, you can also go backwards with VD

On Floyd-Watching, Floyd-Reading, Philly Observing, and Trail Running...

First up a photo - this one from last month's Smith's Challenge 10k - that 6.2 mile romp in the woods, where I finished 38th out of 148th. The "official photo" is blurry, so I've tweaked it in Photoshop. However, I did not straighten my number. Half of the race number was ripped off when climbing a fallen tree and I ran the rest of the race with it basically tucked into my race belt. Anywho, while we're on running, June ended well - 130 miles, my best month by 30 miles. There were long runs, interval workouts and I ended the month healthy. All good things, since my marathon program begins in four short weeks. Yesterday also saw a 12 mile run, 8 of them on trails, and the whole thing was very relaxed and easy, yet at almost the same pace as my half marathon just 8 months ago. So all in all, everything is good. I've got a 5 mile race on Wed., and hoping to run a much smarter, faster time than what I went through at the Red Rose. In other news, Floyd Landis c