Hardest workout? Or hardest workout ever?



So on Wednesday afternoon when I got home from work I did an 8 mile tempo run with a half mile warmup and cool down factored into the distance so 7 miles at my goal pace which was 15-30 seconds faster then my goal marathon pace. I wanted to do the first 2 miles at 30 seconds faster and the next two about marathon pace and then the next two at 15 seconds faster then marathon pace, then one mile at my marathon pace. I was able to do the entire run at the goal paces (treadmill speeds tend to be different for some reason) and felt solid throughout the run. You can see the data on from Garmin Connect below.

As far as a workout goes in this 20 week program its was in the top 5 for difficulty but not excessively hard or over the top. Yet two days later my legs are still feeling it! So much so that I did not run the 4 miler I had scheduled for Thursday. This is the first significant soreness I have had during this whole program. Not sure exactly what it means, but I am taking it seriously and my two runs this weekend are going to be at a relaxed pace for sure. My resting heart rate is not changing (I use a BASIS watch to monitor my heart rate and it gives me my waking heart rate every day) in fact it trending downwards.

Coincidentally or not I have also lost 2 pounds this week, from 221 to 219, I tend to hover at a weight for a few weeks then drop 2-3 and then hover again. sort of like stair steps. So that's a positive. But I would guess dropping weight would not lead to soreness in my legs, unless the 2 pounds I loss were cushioning my legs.

THE 2014 NEW YORK CITY MARATHON by The Ginger Runner



I love this guys videos, this is one of my favorites, he is genuine and enthusiastic about what he does! If I ever get good at this marathon thing, his ultra-running videos will likely inspire me to do an ultra marathon some day. Because naturally if you can do a marathon, why not do more?

Week 12 was not as bad as it seemed



So with refereeing kicking off and my weeks running schedule seemingly in chaos, it actually will turn out okay. I have been able to get my mileage in, this is a lower mileage week (22) in any event. After Wednesday's slow stationary game I did a center between Lakes HS and Evanston HS and was quite energetic getting in close to 4 miles (Garmin Forerunner 10 lost signal at some point during first half so not entirely sure). Think speed training when you think of refereeing, lots of wind sprints.

Overview of the program so far

I was looking at my wall calendar and noticing that I seem to miss Fridays' weightlifting quite a bit, (4 times in 12 weeks) which I am okay with, since the weightlifting was more general fitness related then marathon training related.

My sense is that I am doing okay with the training, while initially dreading the long runs. I have been able to do three of 15, 17, and 14 without to much difficulty, averaging a 12:30 per mile pace which I am happy with. On the horizon I have three more significant ones 12, 15 and 20, then I taper down. There is no dread with the long runs now, just a question to myself, since they have all been on a treadmill of how to keep my concentration up, since its oh so boring!

I am very happy with the 12:30 minute per mile pace I appear to be able to sustain, that equates to a 5:30 marathon which I would be very happy with. My pace for the Madison Half last November was 13:01, and I have to say my fitness has improved quite a bit since then, I am 4 pounds lighter, but visually more trimmer throughout the legs, arms and waist. This improved fitness I think translates into the ability to shave 30 seconds off my regular pace. Having said that I would be happy to sustain a 13 minute pace for the marathon as well!

In two of my long runs I was able to check my half marathon time as a split, and got a 2:47 and then a 2:42, and while both are unofficial, my official best is a 2:50, that's a nice feeling!

Refereeing injects chaos into the my running!



So this week I started refereeing high school, and of course once I started that, my well thought out marathon training plans went to crap. I had a JV game on Tuesday, which is generally anywhere between 2.5 to 3 miles of running. This game was so one sided, I basically stood in the same spot for the entire game, getting less then 2 miles of actual movement (could barely count as running) in during the 2, 35 minute halves.

Wednesday I had another game where I got the miles in, I think, but my other Garmin (Forerunner 10) decided that sun spots would not allow it to link to GPS satellites and stop midway through the game, and refuse to engage, fortunately I always wear two watches when I referee.

So today is Friday and I am off, but I have a game Saturday morning with 10 mile training run scheduled as well, so I am likely to do that in the afternoon, then I have an all day clinic for USSF refereeing on Sunday and need to do 5 x 1 mile speed work that day, and have no idea where I will be able to slot that in, given those clinics go on forever.

Week 11-- Report



So after an okay Week 10, with a missed run, and rested legs, the downward half of the 20 week program began.  With a run outdoors no less! I had an early morning meeting on Wednesday so I left the run until the evening. I was able to get it in brilliant sunshine and 45 degree weather as well!

The next day was interesting because it was 8 miles and I had just run the above mentioned 4 miler less then 12 hours earlier, I did not feel it during the run, but I felt it later that day going up and down stairs at the office. I ran both runs slightly faster then my goal marathon pace and felt decent throughout.

I then did some speed work on Saturday coupled with a  Mile  at 9:22  and some Yasso 800's  at 4:56, 4:59, 5:04, and 5:01, I was very pleased with both sides of the workout. If I can only do 10 of those 800's at that pace, since the ability to do 10 in the same range is the Yasso 800 premise as a predictor of your finish time. I would take something near in that 5 hour range in a heart beat.

I did my long run the next day, and other then being sore, nothing to report of interest, although I think I am going to use Clif Shot Blok's for my fuel on race day, those seemed to work best for me. I am also going to incorporate some more lunges into my weight training as well, to strengthen my lower core a bit.

So for the week just under 30 miles with limited issues!

Let it go!



This is me last summer before the Quarterfinals
of the Islamai Games held in Chicago.
So I was up in Wisconsin refereeing in a soccer tournament indoors this weekend and thought that I could get some running in but in reality I did not run nearly as much as I was supposed to.

I had a 5 x 1000 and a 13 miler on the running schedule, The indoor games did not move at the pace I expected, so I am unable to really point at any part of that and say I ran 5 miles or whatever. So I missed the long run portion of my weekend. By the way a good HS Varsity center will take me about 4 to 4.5 miles in running, being an assistant (run the lines with a flag) is about 2.5 miles.

When I got home Sunday afternoon I had a choice between doing the speed work or the long run, and I decided to do the 5 x 1000 meter workout which I did in (6:07, 6:10, 6:18, 6:13, 6:15 = 31:03) with 3 minute recoveries I need the 3 minutes after the 3rd, 4th and 5th sets, for sure. My heart rate went right down into the high 80's during recovery and ended in the 140's each rep, which is roughly what I was aiming for, and I set the treadmill at 5.8 mph throughout.

So I am not sweating the missing 13 miler, this was supposed to be a lower mileage week after two big weeks with the 15, and 17 milers included. This week I have an 18 miler to look forward to on the weekend and a week of 33 miles my highest yet. The refereeing left me with probably 6-7 miles of running, so in reality I am 5-6 miles short of my weekly goal. So like the headline says, let it go!

Week 11 is a rocky one so far.



So after having three weeks of harder then normal running week 11 is a scale back week. with 4, 8, 3 and 13.1 as my runs. I struggled to do the 8 miler, in fact only making 3 miles, and that took massive "bargaining" just to get that far. Interestingly the day before I had run 4 tempo miles very well and in fact was about 10 seconds off my best 5k pace for the whole 4 miles. My guess is I overdid it with the 4 mile tempo run.

I decided to let the dismal 8 mile attempt go and just move on, so on Friday I had a good weight lifting session in the morning, and then in the evning my daughter convinced me to go to the gym with her. So I ended up running a 5K in at 37 minutes with a quarter mile walking warm-up. So go figure.

This weekend I am refereeing an indoor soccer tourney in Wisconsin, these games tend to be stationary, with limited running, unlike an outdoor game where I can get 4-5 miles in. So I may do my speed work on a treadmill at the hotel (5 x 1000 with 2 minute recoveries) and then the 13 miler when I get home in the evening on Sunday.

As for the rest of me, weight is slowly dropping off me as I train, I am down 6 pounds since the start of the program in middle December (226-220) and 36 since January 2014. The weight training is paying off my arms, chest and back all feel fine and are more toned. I do limited work with my legs, I do squats 1-2 times a week, and they seem to help, since my legs have consistently been in good shape throughout this training.

When/if I continue the marathon plan towards Chicago this fall, I need to address my nutrition plan, and what I eat, because I can tell when I eat crap I feel like crap. That is however going to have to wait until I get better organized with this process.

The Halfway Mark, or its all downhill from here? Week 10 report.



So week 10 is in the books...half way home! Not as good a week as I wanted, cut the midweek 8 miler in half, with zero motivation. However the 4 Yasso 800's on Saturday I handled in the 5:07 to 5:10 range, which I was very pleased with. The long run on Sunday of 17 miles was very good, I handled it well, and my recovery is fine (as I type this at 7pm).

I fueled with gels and shot bloks and that was okay, I prefer more solid stuff, but for portability on race day I may opt for the gels since I can carry more.

The blister I got on the 15 miler last week, has not really fixed itself , right now, its skin is gone and the blister is drained, and I have 2 days off, so hopefully it will toughen up. It was bigger then my band aid blister thing I put on it today so sadly it ripped the blister open when I tried to gently remove it. Once this heals, I am going to take preventive measures in the future. There are some things I can do going forward.

It may be time for a new pair of shoes as well. I was planning on breaking in a new pair around 8 weeks out so I may move that up.

Day 66 is here!



So today is day 66 of my training program. Why is this significant? Because when I started this 20 week program, the race was 132 days away. 66 is half way there! Kind of daunting at the time, but it seems to have gone by so fast. I have not missed any running during the first half, I have however cut some runs short, for a variety of issues. The total miles I have shorted myself is 5, which I am okay with. The only days I have missed were my weight training days, which were not part of the training program in any event, and I have missed 4 of them.

I am not however, halfway there in mileage, the program has 460 miles total, and I am at 170 through week 9. Week 9 was my first 30 mile week, the next weeks are 32, 30, 28, 22, 29, 27, 39, then 22, 21 and then 35 (race day included).

I have been able to handle my goal pace pretty well, which is pointing towards a 5:30 marathon. The pace is roughly 12:30, my Wednesday and Thursday runs are all about pacing and tempo, with the Saturday run generally about speed and repeats, and the Sunday run being long and slow distance type runs.

I have experimented with a couple of different Galloway Run/Walk options, a 3 minute run and a 1 minute walk seems to work well, recently I have been doing a .35 mile run and a .15 mile walk concept that is basically a 4/2.20 run walk, which is also comfortable and seemingly effective.

Hopefully I handle the second half as well as the first half!

Week 9-- My longest run yet!



So even when I was in college and actually in shape, I never ran much more then 5-7 miles at a time, and never more then 10 miles, so my two half marathons qualify as my longest runs ever done at age 54 and 55 no less. Well no longer! Yesterday I did my first of 4 long runs of 15+ miles with a 15 miler (17, 18, and 20 are the others).

In addition I was able to set an unofficial PR for the half marathon of 2:47 which is 4 minutes and change faster then my Madison Half Marathon in November 2014.

I ate 5 various power bars along the way making sure my eating coincided with the actual aid stations at the Wisconsin Marathon (roughly every 2 miles), so I would eat and then be able to wash down the remnants at the aid station. It seemed to work, I stuck to about 125 calories and 30 carbs every 30 minutes, which seemed to work quite well, I was strong throughout the run, and did not feel weak from lack of energy at any point. In fact I ran the last 3/4 mile at a nice steady pace.

I am going to try gels for the next long run, since I was really only able to pack 6 bars on board and I really need about 8-9 to get the marathon distance. But that's why you experiment ahead of time. Either that or get a bigger pouch! By the way, I made a rule that even though I was on a treadmill, I only ate what I had in my waist pouch, to simulate actual race conditions, which went well.

I have been using a modification of my regular 3 minute run, 1 minute walk, recommended by the Galloway system and doing a .35 mile run and a .15 mile walk, which is like a 4:00/2:30 run walk sequence. I only did this to break up the boredom of running on a treadmill, but actually find it more comfortable for some reason. I am going to set my Garmin to the 4:2.5 time for the midweek runs in week 10 and see how that goes.

The rest of week 9, my runs on Wednesday and Thursday went very well, (4 miles of tempo, pace and 8 miles of steady pace) leaves me at 27 miles for the week, also my record.

Today I am running in the Round Lake Area Park District's foundation's Annual Frosty 5K, I have gotten age group medals in this race before, although today my legs might not be ready for a sustained effort. My goal is the 33-35 minute range for the day. Medals depend on how many people show up in my age group, if its 3, I finish 3rd. Its 14 degrees for race time at 11am, so that might keep attendance down.

NOTE: PR in the 5K at 34.21... see yesterday's post.

Frosty 5K-- Race Report



Okay news flash! It was cold out today, 16, according to my Garmin website. I was able to run a 1 minute 15 second PR at 34:21 breaking my old PR set in my last 5K for NICASA, even while debating stopping because I was so damn cold, for the first half of the race. Then my body temp must have gotten to the right point because I felt no cold the rest of the way.

I just missed a medal, finishing 4th in my age group, about 45 seconds behind the 3rd place runner and about 10 minutes behind first and second.

Overall I did not feel any residual problems from my long run the day before, which was nice to know, I loosened up indoors on the soccer field at the sports center with no discomfort, and literally other then incipient frostbite was good the whole way around

Wisconsin Marathon Route



So I drove up to Kenosha yesterday to drive the route of the marathon jut to get a feel for it. Flat with the potential for tons of wind, hopefully not. I also found this video on the race site, that now makes more sense as I follow it in my mind.


Week 8 is all over...12 more to go until race day!



So week 8 is done and wrapped up, 22 miles, runs of 3.5, 3.5, 7 and 8.25 miles. Today's run was supposed to be longer but I was ran out of food around Mile 5, and since I was so not paying attention to anything this morning, eating wise, by mile 8.25 I was bonking. Not the smartest move in the world.

Overall a good week, dropped a pound so I am down to 221, from 256 in January 2013, I can tell something is going on the last few weeks because clothes that were fitting a few weeks ago, are looser, then a month ago or so.

I am driving up to Kenosha today to recon the Wisconsin Marathon course today. Not so sure if eyeballing it ahead of time is a good idea, but I did get some value out of the Madison Half recon, it paid off to know about the giant hill at mile 8, that was good to be prepared for. I misread the map in Madison and was unaware of the slow uphill to the finish which took some time out of me, so a more diligent recon is needed here.

Week 7-- Slow and Fast



Despite the traveling to DC this week I had a decent week of training. I got 23 total miles in running with about 10-15 miles of walking in DC and at the convention center. Lots of the miles were long slow distance, which was good.

I also did 4 Yasso 800's as speed work on Sunday, in times of 5:40, 5:32, 5:34, 5:35 with a mile warmup and half mile cool down. Bart Yasso a long time senior manager for Runner's World Magazine and runner of 100's of marathons invented this workout. The thinking is that a few weeks before the Marathon you do 10 x 800 at a steady sustainable pace with a small spread in the time. This would be your projected marathon time based on your fitness, so if I were capable of running 10 of these (I am not right now) with a about a 2 minute break in between them, my likely finish time would be in the range of a 5:30 to 5:40 marathon.

So on to week 8 which is slightly altered, I am going to bring my tempo run up to Tuesday, since I have a speaking engagement in Barrington at 8am in the morning on Wednesday, its also a 13.1 run on the weekend, that I call test race. I am going to mimic all the fueling and the hydration needs as well as the clothing choices I have for the marathon. Testing out a few different outfits depending on race day weather, so I can follow the old adage "nothing new on race day".

Week 8 will have 27 miles of running, which will be my biggest week yet in terms of volume, but still in line with no more then a 15% increase in mileage from week to week.

Good Long Run Today



Had a nice solid 2 hours on a treadmill today, ran pretty well throughout. Tried a GU 100 calorie vanilla bean gel as my 40 minute fuel, which was not bad. Doing speed work tomorrow of 3 miles which will bring the weeks total to 23 miles.