Sunday, March 27, 2011

Training log - Week ending 3/27/11

This week was 40 miles of “real running” and 75 “miles” pool running -- training log is here.

Still working on keeping stuff slower -- my rule for the tempos right now is to do the first mile no faster than 7:00, and slower is fine. For some reason, this makes the tempo HARDER from a perceived effort standpoint -- I can't quite explain it, but running a slightly slower pace seems to stress a different system that's a lot weaker (and needs to be strengthened). Oddly enough, this gives me confidence to keep running them slower -- clearly it's hitting something.

Of course, I had every intent of keeping the brakes on on Tuesday as well, but failed to do so. This ended up being a major issue, as I was having breathing issues -- for some reason, when I get in trouble or start to strain, my natural instinct is to pick the speed up. In this case, it resulted in me crashing.

Need to keep things slower. I may shoot for at least starting whatever next week's workout is at 5K-10K pace (or even tempo pace, if it's a longer interval), and then upping from there.

As I noted, my breathing has been a problem this week. As always, the symptoms are almost EXACTLY like asthma (feel like I'm breathing through a straw). However, the pulmonary department at GW University has tested my lungs thoroughly, and told me it's not. Rather, it's broncho-spasms (like to what happens with asthma) that are triggered by irritation to my esophagus, generally from acid reflux, though high pollen seems to do it as well (apparently asthma is brocho-spasms triggered by something else). High pollen on Tuesday made me feel horrible, while low pollen counts on Wednesday and Sunday had me feeling fantastic (Friday was somewhere in the middle).

I have an inhaler, which helps the immediate issue (calms down the broncho-spasm), but also irritates my esophagus, perpetuating the acid reflux problem over time. The plan right now is go back to using the inhaler for races -- hopefully such limited use won't cause me too much issue.


Monday: In the morning, "5 miles" – 50 minutes easy pool-running (got kicked out due to lightning, so used the balance of the time to do an extended foam roller/stretching session). "7 more miles" of easy pool-running (70 minutes) in the evening.

Tuesday: In the morning, 6.5 miles on the track. Did a 1.75 mile warm-up plus drills and strides, then a track workout. For some reason, my breathing was a real issue this morning. My lungs weren't clogged, but I felt like they simply weren't working well at extracting oxygen. I had a bad feeling about the workout when I was gasping during my strides, but you never know until you try, so I gave the workout a shot, figuring I could just go slower.

That was the plan, anyway. The prescribed workout was 2x(1600, 800, 800) with half-distance recoveries. I was shooting to do the first mile between 6:20-26, then the two 800m repeats in about 3:03 each, and then push a bit harder from there. Actual workout: 6:15, 3:01, 3:04, and then 3:14 as coach shut me down halfway through the second mile. Again I went out too hard, and paid the price. The 6:15 didn't feel all that hard, but by the second 800m repeat I could tell I was in real trouble. I didn't protest too much when he pulled me, though I was frustrated with both my mental discipline and my stupid lungs. Weird thing is that the heart rate monitor indicates that my heart rate never got out of tempo range even though I was struggling. This wasn't a fitness issue, but an air delivery issue.

Annoyed. Did a few more easy laps on the track, then hit the pool for "6.5 miles" of pool-running/pondering my sins. In the evening, a weights session with a personal trainer, followed by "4.5 miles" of easy pool-running (45 minutes).

Wednesday: In the morning, 11.5 miles outside at easy pace (8:46), followed by "2 miles” of easy pool-running (20 minutes, just to shake stuff out), and then some leg strengthwork. "8 miles" of easy pool-running in the afternoon.

Thursday: In the morning, strength-training and then "11.5 miles" – 1:55 hours easy pool-running. In the evening, "3 miles" of easy pool-running (30 minutes)

Friday: In the morning, 8 miles on the track, including a 2 mile warm-up, strides and drills, and then a 4 mile tempo at 6:57 pace (7:12/6:52/6:53/6:48 for 27:45) followed by a 2 mile cool-down and then "6.5 miles" of easy pool running (1:05 hours). Pilates class in the afternoon, plus some quick leg strengthwork.

Saturday: "12 miles" of easy pool-running (2 hours) in the morning, plus a mile of land-running (running along the course watching the National Half). Light strength-training in the afternoon.

Sunday: 13 miles outside on the Mount Vernon trail. Did a half-mile very easy, then a break for a team photo shoot, and then 5.5 miles out at about 8:00 pace, followed by 6 miles back at what the Garmin says was 7:05 pace (but probably closer to 7:10), and then an easy mile cool-down. The entire run felt very good (I note the pollen count of 2). Followed with "9 miles" of easy pool-running (1:30 hours). Also a yoga class at night.


  1. you know, a lot of people were feeling awful on tuesday because of the pollen count. I struggle as well (although i didn't run last week) - I think it has such a huge impact on perceived effort.

    I was so happy to have you for Saturday's land mile. it got me over a hump I didn't realize I was on until it was over. :)

  2. My training partner is incapable of running anything but full out, even when we map out our runs before hand. He is, by nature, a competitor and front runner. We all have different traits. IMHO, as long as you don't get injured or not recover in time for your next fast.

    I, on the other hand, should have done the same last week. Tried to save a little for a 5K race a couple of days later, but ended up with 2 very average runs.
    Good running, dry and wet.

    Fang Hsieh
    Morun67, st. Louis, MO

  3. I was definitely gasping for air on Tuesday, although I wound up having one of my better workouts in a long time, but I think that was mainly because I knew I didn't have to do the whole workout! :)

    Great week, I can't wait to see how you do at Cherry Blossom, I'm going to figure out how to pay you back at a point on the course! ;)

  4. Where do you find the time for all that?! I can barely get out of bed for work, never mind strength training and pool running for hours first!

    Your return to running is encouraging for me. I've only a week or so left in this stupid boot and I can't wait to get it off. I'm also scared to death of course, and afraid I'll never have the courage to start running again. I'm so worried I'll end up back in the boot, not even able to take my doggie for a darn walk.
    You seem to have come back well though!

  5. @Laura -- I work from home and have some flexibility in my hours, so I avoid a lot of commuting time or the need to get dressed. I do work about 50-60 hours per week, but I have some control over the timing. And, training is more important to me than watching TV, etc....

    @Fang -- good points about us all being different, but I know that I benefit more from workouts that are slower and longer. And, my coach wants me to go slower, which means that I do my best to go slower.