Monday, August 31, 2015

Training log - Week ending 8/30/2015

This week was 81.5 miles of running, 17 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Good week, so yay.  This is my second week at 80-ish miles; next week is a cut-back, since I'm racing a 5K.  Then another high week at 80-85 before racing a tune-up half.

We had a break in the humidity, which opened the door for a confidence boosting workout on Tuesday.  We were scheduled for 2-3x(1600, 800) - generally one of the tougher workouts for me, since I like to drop the pace a bit on each rep of a workout.   For that reason, I prefer workouts with identical length intervals (i.e. 8x800) or downward ladders (2000, 1600, 1200, 800, 400).  Pulling back on the pace while shifting from a shorter interval to a slightly slower paced longer interval is hard for me, especially if I'm running the workouts hard. 

For this one, I was determined to get the max number of reps done, which meant that I ran the first two sets very cautiously.  For the third set, I decided to release the brakes a bit, and was pleasantly surprised to break 6 minutes for the third 1600, without straining or trying to run that fast - it just happened.  It's not a particularly ground breaking split - I used to regularly split 1600s in less than 6 minutes.  But that was all before I tore my hamstring at the attachment two years ago, and I was also running my workouts a bit too hard back then. This is the first time I've broken 6 for a (almost) mile repeat since I tore my hamstring, and to do it without straining, struggling, or racing the workout (and then to follow it up with a solid 800) was awesome.

The rest of the week was also good.  I was a bit disappointed to only do a 5K tempo on Friday.  For one thing, though I dread 8-10K tempos on the track like nothing else, I also know that the 30-40 minutes running at 10 mile/half marathon pace does great things for my fitness.  I also take a while to find my groove in track tempos, which is fine for longer tempos.  But when you've only got 12 or so laps, you have to hit pace pretty quickly.  As my splits show below, I was still a bit sluggish the first mile before finding my rhythm.  And it probably wasn't a bad thing to do a workout that was out of my comfort zone.  (I did whine a bit).

And my weekend was great.  I had a good long run on Sunday, but the real highlight was on Saturday, when our cat, Izzie (Isabella) had some visitors.

Kathy, one of the people from Healing Hands,
gave me a framed version of this photo,
featuring Izzie and the toys she managed
to steal despite wearing a cone.
As a backstory, Izzie was surrendered to a veterinary clinic in Salisbury, MD by the local Humane Society, due to severe allergies.  She was supposed to be euthanized due to those allergies, which had caused her to lose much of her fur and made her unadoptable.  But none of the vets at the clinic could bring themselves to put her to sleep, due to her youth, friendly personality, and the treatable nature of her condition.  So...she became a resident cat at the clinic, where everyone fell in love with her. 

And then, after about 9 months in a cone, when the clinic had figured out the combination of medications that controlled her allergies, they let us adopt her.  That was in February.

This past weekend, some of the employees at that clinic happened to be in town, and stopped by for a visit.  Cue several hours of playing with and spoiling Izzie - they brought two bags worth of new toys. 

It was really awesome to meet them (well, except for my sister - I knew her already...) and to have the chance to thank them for trusting us with Izzie.
Isabella, some of the crew from Healing Hands, and ALL THOSE TOYS.


Dailies

Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 6 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; 3 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  13.5 miles, including 3x (1600, 800) with half distance recovery (6:16, 3:01, 6:11, 3:00, 5:59, 2:53).  Then did some injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles very easy (9:29), followed by a yoga class and then another 6.5 miles very easy (9:07), followed by drills and four strides.   2 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday:   8 miles very easy (9:04), followed by drills, 2 strides, and a yoga class.  Later, another 2.5 miles very easy (9:06), and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work.  3 "miles easy poolrunning and foam rolling at night.

Friday:  12 miles, including an 5K track tempo in 20:14 (6:41/6:26/6:23/0:44).   Followed with some injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.    Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  12 miles very easy (8:54) plus drills and four strides, followed by upper body weight stuff and foam rolling.  3 "miles" easy pool-running in the afternoon.

Sunday:  18 miles progressive, split as 9:39 for first 3 miles, 8:40 for next 6 miles, 7:56 for next 4 miles, and 7:08 for last 5 miles.  Followed with some injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming.  Yoga and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Training log - Week ending 8/23/2015

This week was 79 miles of running, 15 "miles" of pool-running and 5000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

(I guess I should have run another mile)

And, I'm into the rhythm of marathon training.  Which I really like.  Long runs are my favorite workout by far, and I also enjoy racking up easy mileage (as odd as that seems).

Plus, we did my favorite track workout on Tuesday - a pyramid of 400, 800,v1200, an optional 1600, and then back down with 1200, 800, 400.  The fact that each interval is a different length makes it easier to mentally break up the workout, and it's also a good way to make sure that you get a full four miles worth of intervals in.  If you're doing 6-8x600, the decision point really comes after rep six, and a lot of times it's just easier to shut down the workout then, especially if your teammates are as well.  But when doing the pyramid, the decision point comes earlier in the workout, when you decide whether or not to do the 1600.  Once you've done that, each interval is a bit shorter, and so it's easier to just complete the whole thing.

Friday's workout was long intervals on the track - 3200m, 800m recovery, and then 1600m.  Since I was only doing 3200, I decided to hang with a group of slightly faster people for the first 2 miles of their 4-5 mile tempo.  The first lap felt a bit slow even by my standards, but I didn't want to push stuff or pass them - after all, they were a) faster than me and b) had a longer distance to cover.

And then my coach called out our 400m split - 7:20 pace.  That was "leisurely" according to my coach, and slower than marathon pace for me, never mind everyone else in the group.  And everyone woke up.  :)  And I hung on for the next seven laps at somewhere between 6:15 and 6:20 pace - possibly one of my more painful workouts, though I can laugh about it now.  It was good practice in gutting it out.

Sunday, I had another of my coach's 4-3-2-1 workouts on tap - segments of 4, 3, 2, and 1 mile at marathon pace, each separated by one mile easy.  I normally do these on a flat segment of pavement, but this weekend that route was blocked by construction, forcing all of us doing this workout to use the C&O Canal Towpath instead.

Some people (mostly those with histories of stress fractures) love the towpath. Others can't stand it because it's boring.  For myself, I don't mind the boredom factor (still beats the track), but too many miles on the soft, occasionally unstable, sometimes rocky surface make my joints hurt and aggravate the various chronic injuries I try to keep at bay.  Plus, I've tripped and fallen on the towpath enough times to be leery.  Despite all that, it was our best option, so I sucked it up, running with cash in my pocket so that I could bail out at Carderock and call a cab if things started to hurt too much.

The workout itself went well.  The first four miles were pretty rough - there's gentle but steady elevation gain over the first four miles (a false flat), with the occasional short sharper hill at each lock that's just enough to screw up one's rhythm.  After that, we got to turn around and run back, benefiting from the slight downhill.    Overall, it was a hard workout, and I was glad to get it done.  My hips and feet did hurt intermittently during the workout, and I was pretty sore right after.  Some gentle stretching and a solid night's sleep helped a lot, though, so hopefully no longer term damage.

Despite the heat and the slightly slower towpath surface, the pace of this workout ended up being the same speed as my previous 4-3-2-1s.  Not sure what to think about that.  On the one hand, this is supposed to be a "marathon pace" workout, and 6:50-7:00 is not a realistic marathon pace for me right now (and also feels way too hard for marathon pace).  7:10-7:15 is closer to my actual current abilities, and I'm certainly not targeting a sub-3 marathon this go-round.  On the other hand, when I discuss with my coach, he's fine with the pace I'm running, and tells me not to overthink it.  And I am definitely prone to overthinking.  So I guess I'll just not worry about it, and continue to run this workout at somewhere between marathon and half-marathon pace, until my coach tells me to slow down.


Dailies

Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 6 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; 3 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  12 miles, including a pyramid workout of 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 with half distance recovery (1:37, 3:05, 4:40, 6:13, 4:35, 3:01, 1:25).  Then did some injury prevention work and 1800 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles very easy (9:42), followed by a yoga class.  Later did another 6.5 miles very easy (9:03), followed by drills and 2 strides.   2 "miles" easy pool-running and a massage in the evening.

Thursday:   8.5 miles very easy (9:28), followed by a yoga class, and then another 2 miles home (9:07) plus drills and 2 strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work.  2 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Friday:  13 miles, including a long intervals workout of 3200 (12:47, split as 6:32/6:15) and then a 1600 in 6:09.   Followed with some injury prevention work.  Did 1700 yards easy swimming in the afternoon, plus foam rolling.

Saturday:  12 miles very easy (9:18) plus drills and four strides.  Followed with upper body and core strengthwork and foam rolling.  2 "miles" easy pool-running in the afternoon.

Sunday:  16.5 miles as a "4-3-2-1" workout - segments of 4, 3, 2, and 1 mile at marathon pace, each separated by one mile easy.  Splits were:

4 mile: 28:01 (7:04/6:55/7:01/7:00) ~ 7:00 pace (uphill)
3 mile: 20:35 (7:03/6:46/6:45)  ~6:52 (downhill)
2 mile: 13:45 (6:54/6:52) ~ 6:53 pace (slight downhill)
1 mile: 6:37

Followed with 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.  Skipped yoga and injury prevention work because my hips were pretty darn sore.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Training log - Week ending 8/16/2015

This week was 60 miles of running, 11 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

A cut back week, with a 5K race at the end.  This was also supposed to be our second week back at the track, but that got sidelined when we discovered the track was closed.  Since most of us were on a tight schedule and couldn't relocate, we opted to run loops around the outside of the track on the sidewalk - each lap was about .82 miles.

I was apprehensive at first, but ended up really enjoying the workout and preferring it to the track.  As tough as concrete is, the firmness of it is easier on my body than the bounciness and near-continual turning of the track - I was surprised at how good I felt on Wednesday, as compared to my normal morning-after-track easy jog.  And the path we took had some mild rises and falls, with the descents coming at just the right point in each rep.  I felt good enough to want to try for 5-6 repetitions, but my coach shut everyone down at four.

For the latter half of the week, I reduced the workload and the intensity, before racing a 5K on Sunday.  I raced simply because I hadn't done so in a while, and needed to get back out there.  Judging by the splits (last mile 40 seconds faster than the first), I definitely needed the practice.

Dailies

Monday:   In the morning, some upper body strengthwork, yoga, and 5 "miles" easy pool-running.  3 "miles" easy pool-running and foam-rolling in the evening.

Tuesday:  12 miles, including a workout of 4xthe concrete loop with 2:30 minute recovery (split 5:25, 5:20, 5:13, 5:09)  followed by some injury prevention work and 1100 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 7.5 miles very easy (9:18), followed by a yoga class and then another 7 miles very easy (8:49), followed by drills and two strides.   Foam rolling in afternoon.

Thursday:   10 miles very easy (8:54), followed by drills and two strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling and 3 "miles" easy poolrunning at night.

Friday:  7 miles, including a mile up-tempo at 6:41.   1350 yards easy swimming and foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  3.5 miles very easy (9:13) plus drills and four strides, followed by foam rolling. 

Sunday:  3.5 miles warming up, 5K race in 20:16.  Later did another 6.5 miles very easy (9:06). Followed with 1550 yards easy swimming.  Yoga and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Race Report: Leesburg 5K, August 16, 2015

I ran the Leesburg 5K today, finishing in 20:16, which was good enough for 4th (the top three won prize money - oops).

This was my first race back since Grandma's Marathon in June.  I'm not a fan of 5Ks.  Or August races.  Or August 5Ks.  But racing is one of those things that needs to be done regularly, or you get rusty.

How rusty was I?  Well, let's look at the splits....

Mile 1: 6:52 (admittedly most of this mile is uphill, but come on...)
Mile 2: 6:27
Mile 3: 6:12 (downhill)
Last bit - 46 seconds

Um...yeah.   I'm a huge believer in "start slow/finish fast", but I think I overdid it a bit here.  Keep in mind that 6:52 is slower than half marathon pace for me.

Granted, going out carefully was my strategy for multiple reasons.  The Leesburg 5K course starts on a downhill for about a third of a mile, then has a fairly significant climb for the next mile, before leveling off and then gently descending back to the start.  I a) run best with a negative split by effort and b) cannot recover from oxygen debt once I'm in it.  Thus, the last thing I wanted to do was to blast the hill.

Additionally, I know that when I haven't raced for a while, I sometimes go out faster than I should, and pay for it at the end.  I wanted to avoid that mistake today.

So when the gun went off and everyone surged on the downhill that started the race, I hung back and let them flow past me - a huge mass of people.  With the solid mile-long climb ahead of us, I figured many of them would come back to me.  After we turned and began to climb, I held my same effort level.  For about 30 seconds, people continued to pass me.  Then the tide started to shift, gently but inexorably, and I stopped being passed and started passing people. 

I held my controlled effort until I hit the first mile marker, at which point I upped things a bit (and felt a bit of sympathy for those who were wilting this early in the race).  I was still fairly in control - I wanted to be able to make full use of the downhill on the way back - but my increased effort meant that I was pushing through various groups, and picking off women right and left (didn't care about the guys that much).

This second part of the course involved a hairpin turn and also a loop through a high school parking lot that was marked with cones.  Things got a bit tricky here - like trying to pass slower drivers while winding through a construction zone on the highway.  Or like trying to do a workout on a very crowded track.

I also found the route through the high school a bit confusing - there were cones, but it was never clear to me which side of the cones we were supposed to be on.  I just did whatever the person ahead of me did, and hoped it was the right path.

Another tight turn out of the school lot and we were headed towards the trail - we'd make a right turn there and take that nearly all the way to the finish line.  As we turned onto the trail, I dropped my version of a hammer, and passed the last woman/girl in front of me.   At that point, there was no one left ahead of me (that I could see) to chase, so the last mile became a hard solo push.  It would have been nice to have someone ahead of me to focus on, but I guess the flip side of that is that it's better to be ahead of others than behind them.

I hauled ass down to the last turn, which was followed by fairly steep hill to the finish.

I have to admit, I love it when shorter races have steep uphills at or near the end.  I'm not a very good uphill runner, but I am very willing to hurt pretty hard at the end of a race.  And while hills in the beginner or middle of a course reward the runner who is good at running uphill, a hill at end of the course benefits the runner who is willing to close his or her eyes and hurt like hell while counting to 10 repeatedly.  

When I turned the corner, I just forgot about the previous parts of the race and imagined I was doing a hill repeat workout - up and over - worry about oxygen after you're done.  And then I was done, and started worrying about oxygen again.  And remembered that I really hate 5Ks.

I was a bit disappointed when I first flipped my watch and saw the time - it had felt like I had run much faster.  And then I checked the splits and realized that I had, except for the first mile.  Ah well.  As pacing mistakes go, I'd rather make that one than another.  And that's why we run rust-busters, right?

That time was also good enough for 4th overall female.  In a race where the top three get cash.  D'oh.  But such is life.  Knocking the rust off and getting out of my marathon pace comfort zone was the primary goal of this race, and I did that, so woo.

Other notes:
  • At race start, the temperature was 69, dew point 62.  That's not bad for an August race in Northern Virginia.
  • Left my house at 5:45, and got to Leesburg around 6:25.  Arguably a bit early for a 7:45 race, but I needed to register, and also knew that parking could be tight.  This was about perfect timing - I found parking fairly easily, but traffic started to back up and snarl about 5 minutes after I arrived.
  • Warmed-up by jogging the 5K course once, and then did some drills, an extended stride, and a few shorter strides.  
  • Allergies and air quality were bugging me pretty badly.  Oddly enough, I didn't feel like they affected my race at all.  But despite using my asthma meds pre-race, I really struggled to catch my breath post-race, and during my cool-down jog an hour later I felt like I had a tight band across my chest that wouldn't let me breathe (even checked my sports bra and heart rate strap to confirm they weren't too tight).  First frost can't get here soon enough.
  • I'm amused by the fact that I've broken 40 for 10K in the past few years, but not 20 for 5K.  Probably part of this is that I need to run a fast 5K course in cold weather.
  • I met a reader post race!  And Scott was not only nice enough to introduce himself to me, he also had a great race - breaking 20.  Excellent! 
  • I got an age group award, which consisted of a gift certificate to a running store (honestly, the best award besides cash) and a cowbell.  Cat is not quite sure what to think of cowbell.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Training log - Week ending 8/09/15

This week was 74 miles of running, 9 "miles" of pool-running and 5000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

This was my first official week of marathon training, and also a return to the track, which just reopened after being closed for the summer for construction.

The first workout back is always a bit like ripping a band-aid off, and this one was no exception.  After several weeks of cruise intervals and hill repeats, running fast on the track on Tuesday felt strange, and my legs stayed asleep until halfway through the second 1600.  Of course, part of this was because I got started warming up a bit late, and so I didn't do any drills or strides before the workout - when you're not limbered up, the first few reps will be...interesting.   But part was also the adjustment.  I ended up breaking my own rule and doing some 200m repeats just to get the legs turning over (I wanted to do 400s, coach told me 200s, we compromised with 200s at 400 repeat pace).

Similarly, Friday's tempo was an adjustment.  I find continuous tempos to be mentally challenging, and doing them in circles on the tracks adds to the difficulty.    I've learned that if I'm physically straining during a tempo, I'm running it too hard.  Mental struggle is all part of the workout, though.  But I got it done and was satisfied with the workout.

This coming week will be a cutback, as I'm racing a 5K on Sunday as a rustbuster.  After four weeks at 70-75 miles per week, it's time for a down week, so this works perfectly.  Then I'll bump the mileage back up the week after.

In the coming weeks, I'll also be working on trying to keep my interval workouts restrained so that I can max out the reps.  I know from past experience that I get my biggest return from a higher volume of controlled intensity.  Eight reps of 800m at 3:05 does a lot more for me than six reps at 2:55.  I just need to remember that when I actually do the workout.



Dailies

Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 5 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; 2 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  13.5 miles, including 2x (1600, 800) with half distance recovery (6:18, 3:00, 6:11, 2:52), followed by 4x200 with equal distance recovery (43, 40, 41, 40).  Then did some injury prevention work and 1400 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles very easy (9:25), followed by a yoga class and then another 5.5 miles very easy (9:19), followed by drills and 2 hill sprints.   2 "miles" easy pool-running and a massage in the evening.

Thursday:   5 miles very easy (9:16), followed by a yoga class.  Later, another 4.5 miles very easy (9:03) with drills and 4 strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  11 miles, including an 8K track tempo in 33:48 (6:52/6:49/6:45/6:45/6:37).   Followed with some injury prevention work and 2100 yards easy swimming.    Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  10 miles very easy (9:16) plus drills and four hill sprints.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:  16 miles progressive, split as first 3 at 9:26; next 4 at 8:42; next 4 at 7:56; last 5 at 7:02.  Followed with some injury prevention work and a yoga class.  1500 yards easy swimming and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Training log - Week ending 8/2/2015

This week was 73 miles of running, 7 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

I finished last week feeling pretty rough, but a day of complete rest seemed to do the trick.  Though Tuesday dawned ridiculously hot and steamy, I had a good workout anyway (part of the trick was pacing very conservatively).  Ditto for the rest of the week - I felt decent in the humid weather, and then better as things dried out later in the week.

This is my last week before I start training for the Philly marathon, and so I was only scheduled to do a 14 mile long run.  However, a friend was doing her long run on our 21 mile loop, which was unfamiliar to her, so I ran the first 16 miles of our long run loop with her.   I hope it was helpful to her to have some company and assistance at following the route; for me it was a good strength workout as the route was net uphill.

It was also my longest run since Grandma's about 6 weeks ago, so it was nice to finish the run feeling good, and even so very slightly tempted to finish the 21 with her (and yes, I know that would have been a really dumb thing to do).

Summer's tricky to train in, because I find it very easy to overtrain at this time of year.   The humidity and heat drain me and hurt my recovery, and we don't get the bonus "rest days" from workouts being cancelled due to ice and snow.  But at the same time, if one backs off too much in the summer, you're behind the curve come fall.

So far, it feels like I'm hitting the right balance this summer.  Let's hope that continues.

Dailies

Monday:   Off.  Felt lousy, so skipped everything except for foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  12.5 miles, including a workout of 4x1 mile with 3 minute recovery (split 6:53, 6:31, 6:43, 6:25 - odd reps were uphill; evens were downhill)  followed by some injury prevention work and 1250 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 8 miles very easy (9:41), followed by a yoga class and then another 5.5 miles very easy (9:06), followed by drills and two hill sprints.   Foam rolling in afternoon, plus 3 "miles" easy pool-running.

Thursday:   5 miles very easy (9:17), followed by a yoga class.  Later, another 4 miles very easy (8:48) with drills and two strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  12.5 miles, including eight hill repeats.   Followed with some injury prevention work and 1750 yards easy swimming.    Foam rolling and KMFDM concert at night.

Saturday:  9.5 miles very easy (9:06) plus drills and two strides, followed by upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work and foam rolling.  4 "miles" easy pool-running in the afternoon.

Sunday:  16 miles progressive, split as first 3 at 9:12; next 4 at 8:23; next 4.5 at 7:56; last 4.5 at 7:28.   Followed with some injury prevention work and a yoga class.  1000 yards easy swimming and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Training log - Week ending 7/26/2015

This week was 70 miles of running, 11 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Not the greatest week.   Tuesday's planned workout got cut short due to horrible humidity and heat (no argument here).  The weather was better later in the week, and I had a solid hill workout, but then I didn't feel great for Sunday's long run, pulling the plug when I started to feel like I was straining.  I hate pulling the plug on hard runs, but I gain nothing by running myself into the ground.  I've also got some sinus pain, and mild head-spinning symptoms when at rest (weirdly, I only notice the head-spinning when I'm NOT running). 

There's several potential causes here - the humidity is one possible cause; others include not getting enough fluids, not eating enough, overtraining, fighting off a bug, or allergies.  I'm suspecting it's one of the last two - I know of at least one other friend who's been fighting allergy symptoms this week, and head spinning/ dry sinuses are often allergy symptoms for me.  OTOH, Brian had a few days of sinus issues, so it may be a bug that he's given me.

Regardless of what the cause is, the best first response is rest, eating well, and drinking a ton of fluids. Can't hurt, especially since I'm between training cycles, and there's no need to push stuff if I'm not struggling.   So that's my plan for this coming Monday, at least, and then I'll see how I feel.

Dailies

Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 5 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; 2 "miles" easy pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  11 miles, including a workout that was supposed to be 2x2 miles with 3 minutes recovery.  Modified to 2 miles, 8 minute recovery, 1 mile (7:10/6:37, and then 6:36)  followed by some injury prevention work and 1750 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 5.5 miles very easy (9:51), followed by a yoga class and then another 8 miles very easy (9:03), followed by drills and 6 hill sprints.   Foam rolling in afternoon, plus 2 "miles" easy pool-running.

Thursday:   5.5 miles very easy (9:23), followed by a yoga class.  Later, another 3 miles very easy (9:08) with drills and 4 strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  12.5 miles, including eight hill repeats.   Followed with some injury prevention work and 1750 yards easy swimming.    Sports massage at night.

Saturday:  10 miles very easy (9:26) plus drills and two strides, followed by upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work and foam rolling.  2 "miles" easy pool-running in the afternoon.

Sunday:  14 miles progressive, split as first 5 at 8:51, next 5 at 7:45, last 4 at 7:21 (but with a 2:00 break halfway in the final part).   Followed with some injury prevention work and a yoga class.  500 yards easy swimming and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Training log - Week ending 7/19/15

This week was 70 miles of running, 10 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

The 70 miles this week was a bit of a whoops...I've been trying to keep my mileage in the 60-65 range until marathon training starts in a few weeks.  But my team's workouts have been temporarily relocated to sites about 3-4 miles from home - I jog each way, and those miles (especially the cooldown) add up.  I am keeping my non-workout miles very easy, and I'm hoping that controls the risk from a high mileage week.

This week was also my first full week of workouts, with mile repeats on Tuesday.  We did the repeats on a bike path that has a slight grade, meaning that the odd-numbered uphill reps are a bit slower than the even-numbered downhill ones.  It also means that when given your choice of 3 or 4 repeats, you'll just automatically do four, since it seems silly to skip the last downhill rep.

(of course, when it's your first workout back, and a fairly humid day to boot, it's not THAT silly to stick to three repeats.  Unfortunately I didn't figure that out until I had already started the fourth mile.  Oooops.)

Other than that, the week was pretty uneventful, and highlighted by a decent long run on Sunday, where I (hopefully) successfully tested my formerly bad hip by running fast on a long downhill stretch.

The back story is that my right inside hip has historically HATED running fast downhill for extended periods of time.  Hate in this context means a pretty strong stabbing sensation, followed by a few days off from running.

The issue was originally diagnosed as osteitis pubis on the right side, with a treatment plan of "try not to do anything that makes it hurt - if it hurts, you have to rest it."  Then an MRI about two years ago confirmed the osteitis pubis and also noted a chronic tear in my groin on that side (where an abdominal muscle and my right adductor attach to the pelvis).   The fancy language in the formal report was "[c]hronic degeneration of the adductor­rectus abdominus aponeurosis with small focal tear on the right."

It was theorized that the groin tear was causing pelvic instability, which then led to all sorts of injuries.   So, we addressed the tear with two rounds of PRP injections last year to kickstart healing, and I've also been working like crazy in the gym/at yoga on my pelvic stability (there's about 10 jokes you can insert here).

My hope was that the healed tear and improved stability would fix the pain-while-running-fast-downhill issue, but a test run last summer resulted in the same stabbing pain.  So, I've been avoiding running fast on downhill stretches, which means that I've avoided running my team's 21 mile "loop" during marathon training, in order to minimize the risk of setback (the loop finishes with a significant downhill stretch).

But...this morning was the perfect time to test my hip out again - I've got a few weeks before marathon training starts, and the upcoming week is going to be pretty bad heat and humidity-wise.  If I have to skip running for a few days due to my hip acting up, let it be this week.

So, I ran out (uphill) and back (downhill) on that troublesome stretch.  And deliberately pushed my hip pretty hard, hitting 6:45 - significantly faster than my marathon pace - on the last 2 miles on that section.  As a marathon workout it was too fast and counterproductive (and I'll pull back next time); but as a "let's really test this thing" it was right on.

And the good news is, no stabbing pain during the run or immediately after - a refreshing change.  If nothing hurts tomorrow (and I don't expect it to), I'll consider my hip to have passed the test.


Dailies

Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 5 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  12 miles, including a workout of 4x1 mile with 3:00 recovery - split 6:43 (up), 6:26 (down), 6:31 (up), 6:28 (down), followed by some injury prevention work and 1250 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 3.5 miles easy (10:05), followed by a yoga class and then another 8.5 miles easy (9:06), followed by drills, 2 strides, and 2 hill sprints.   Foam rolling in afternoon, plus 2.5 "miles" easy pool-running.

Thursday:   5 miles very easy (9:13), followed by a yoga class.  Later, another 3 miles very easy (9:10) with drills, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  13.5 miles, including seven hill repeats.   Followed with some injury prevention work and 1600 yards easy swimming.    Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  10 miles very easy (9:03) plus drills and four strides, followed by upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work and foam rolling.  2.5 "miles" easy pool-running in the afternoon.

Sunday:  14.5 miles progressive, split as first 4 at 9:36, next 6.5 at 8:48, next 2 at 7:20, and last 2 at 6:45.   Followed with some injury prevention work and a yoga class.  1150 yards easy swimming in the afternoon.  Foam rolling at night.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Training log - Week ending 7/12/2015

This week was 64.5 miles of running, 9 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

(and yes, it drives me nuts that the week ended on a half mile. We all have our neuroses.)

This week was a careful return to training. I added in drills and strides after my easy runs during the middle of the week.  Friday was almost 3 weeks post marathon - close enough that I was OK'd to start back to hard running with a conservative hill loop workout - six repeats of running hard for about 2 minutes up a hill, then about 90 seconds jog, a stride focused on turning over the feet, and then jog down easy to the start of the hill.

It's a fun workout, and one of my favorites, even though I'm a really poor uphill runner.  I think I love it so much because it doesn't involve little circles on the track, and my whole team is consistently cheering each other on as we run.

This is pretty much how I imagine
I look when I run.
I feel that the uphill segment of the workout really targets my weakness, so I'm happy to have a chance to work on it. The downhill segment focusing on leg turnover/high running cadence, on the other hand, targets a debatable strength of mine.

As the owner of a short body with disproportionately short legs for my height, the only way I get anywhere is by moving my legs quickly.  I'm intrigued by those who struggle to meet that magic 180 cadence - I overshoot that on my very easy runs (usually mid-180s), and my marathon pace cadence is in the low 190s.  Fast speedwork on the track is about 200 steps a minute.

So when we come to the fast turnover part of the workout, I usually try to up my cadence a little, but focus more on the "good running form/don't overstride" guidance, which is really the underlying goal of increasing turnover for most people.

But, on Friday, empowered by the cadence sensor on my Garmin, I decided to try to truly max out my cadence once, and see just how fast I could turnover my legs.

The answer is to the left.  About 250 steps per minute.  Yee-haw!

It's a dubious achievement, but I'll keep it anyway.

For the next few weeks, I'm in maintenance mode - marathon training for the Philadelphia Marathon (my fall goal race) will start in late August.  Until then, I'll hold where I am now - about 60-65 miles per week, with my speedwork consisting of long intervals on Tuesday (1-3 miles per interval) and hill repeats on Friday.

Dailies

Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 5 "miles" easy pool-running in the morning; 2 "miles" of easy pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  10 miles aerobic (9:31 pace, but can't call this one "easy" due to the combination of high humidity and hilly terrain), followed by some injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling in evening.

Wednesday: 3 miles easy (9:54), followed by a yoga class and then another 7 miles easy (9:26), followed by drills, 2 strides, and 2 hill sprints.   Foam rolling in afternoon.

Thursday:   5.5 miles very easy (9:41), followed by a yoga class.  Later, another 3 miles very easy (9:10) with drills and 2 strides, and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  10 miles, including six hill repeats.   Followed with some injury prevention work and 1500 yards easy swimming.    Sports massage in the afternoon.

Saturday:  12 miles very easy (9:12) plus drills and two strides, followed by upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work.  2 "miles" easy pool-running in the afternoon. Foam rolling at night.

Sunday:  14 miles progressive, split as first 2 at 9:44, next 6.5 at 8:36, next 2.5 at 7:45, and last 3 at 7:09. Followed with some injury prevention work and a yoga class.  1000 yards easy swimming in the afternoon.  Foam rolling at night.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Training log - Week ending 7/5/15

This week was 56  miles of running, 10 "miles" of pool-running, and 5000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

This was my second week of marathon recovery.  Nothing too special.  I'm still weaning myself off of my post marathon eat all the bad stuff for a few days and also working a lot on overall strength and fitness.  I did start adding in form drills this week, post easy running, and also let myself run a bit harder on Sunday.  Not a real workout, just picking up the pace out of the 9s and back into the 7s to stretch the legs, heart, and lungs.

I also tried some easy pool-running at night, hoping that could be a way to supplement my land-running miles.  I've found in the past that running in the evening just screws up my sleep that night - any benefit I get from the extra miles is outweighed by the loss of recovery from poor sleep.  I have hopes that an evening double of pool-running won't have the same effect.  However, I did have some trouble drifting off after Tuesday's evening pool-run.  I'm not sure if it was the pool-running itself, or that I did it too long, so I'm going to try a shorter stint one evening this week, and see if I can sleep well after that.  If I can't, then so much for the pool-running double.

Plan for next week is to up the mileage a bit more and add some strides, while backing off on the yoga.  I've gotten my hip stability back to where it needs to be, post race, so now I can return to focusing more on running itself.

In other, completely non-running related news, I discovered that the entirety of In Living Color, the awesome sketch comedy series from when I was in high school, is now available on Youtube.  I *loved* this show.  Though it's nowhere near as shocking as it was when it came out (seems almost tame), it's still very funny.  Some references are a bit dated, but the comedy itself is still fresh.  I leave you with this classic - The Wrath of Farrakhan.

 
 
Dailies

Monday:   Upper body weights, yoga and 5 "miles" easy pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  8 miles easy (9:15), lower body weights, and 1500 yards swimming.  5 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 2.5 miles very easy (9:24), yoga, and then another 6.5 miles easy (8:46), followed by running form drills.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:   5 miles easy (9:12 pace), yoga and then another 2.5 miles easy (9:11), followed by drills and some some injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  10 miles very easy (9:28), followed by yoga.  In the afternoon, 2000 yards easy swimming. and foam rolling.

Saturday:   8.5 miles before and after a race that I cheered at, followed by yoga.  Upper body strengthwork and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday:  12 miles aerobic (7:59 pace), upping the pace to 7:00 for last mile, followed by some running drills.  Then did 1500 yards easy swimming, some injury prevention work, and yoga.  Foam rolling at night.