Monday, March 30, 2009

Easy Run Monday

I took an easy fun run today. I ran one time around Lake Ivanhoe which is 2.5 miles. My legs were a little stiff from running yesterday, but felt great after about 1.5 miles. By the time I was in a groove, the run was over. That's perfect for what I intended to do.

Tomorrow's run is at 6AM, so I don't have a lot of recovery time. I'll definitely have to get a good warmup before the group run.

mileage today: 2.5 miles
so far this week: 7.5 miles

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Long Run turned into Average Run

I had every intention of running 3 laps around Lake Ivanhoe today during the rain, since it was supposed to do that all day. Didn't happen. Either did my 3 laps. The sun came out and it got hot. 79 degrees at my run time.

I took off at a pace that I thought I could do my 7.5 miles with relate ease. I felt real good after 2.5, which is 1 lap around the lake. At about 4 miles, I started to feel tired and having a hard time. I usually feel good when my mind is wandering and I'm thinking about anything but my breathing and arms and legs.

When I hit home at 5 miles, I called it quits. 51 minutes. 10:12 average pace. The good thing is that I kept an even pace the entire time and thought I was running around 10 minute pace. When you can tell the relative speed you are running without using a clock, that's a good sign of your progress.

I feel a little let down, but instead of completely resting tomorrow as I planned, I will take an easy run at some point during the day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 Weeks to Race - Time for Tempo Run

I know it's only a few weeks to my next 5k. For some, it's no big deal, but I only run 2 or 3 races a year. So I get an email today from Vanos, a coworker, and he says that he has something going on with another team. I don't know if he's putting money on it, but pride is enough for me.

I put 24:30 on my expected time for the race. He says that I need to dig deep and try to shave off a couple minutes. Doesn't sound too hard. I ran 2 minutes faster than that at last year's corporate run, but my last 5k time was 24:30.

I tell him that I'll know if I can take off 2 minutes in another couple weeks. Time to guage my progress. That's right. Tempo Run Time. For newbies, that means that I am going to run my race pace. Usually, you'd run a bit shorter distance. I want to see exactly where I'm at, so I need to run a 5k.

After dinner, I get on the net and search on for a 5k course in my neighborhood. I find one that is 3.15 miles. Nearly perfect.

I figure it's a little cooler than what I can expect on race day since the sun was already down.

I started off with a mile and half warmup. I have a decent sweat going and head back home to check the time. My watch broke, so I have to check a clock. My cell phone says 9:20 and I head out the door. Conveniently, the 5k course I found goes by my street. I take off and I feel like I'm running a little fast. Maybe around 7 minute pace. I feel a little out of breath after about a quarter mile, so I ease back just a hair. I keep about the same pace through 2 miles... just over 7 minutes.

When I hit about the 2 mile mark, I start getting tightness in my mid-back. I'm obviously getting tired and my core back muscles feeling tight and painful is the signal to work on them. I will have to increase my mileage on long run days from around 5 to about 7 or 8 miles and on easy run days, I will need to include some middle back and lower back training.

I slowed down the final mile plus, but still finished up at 9:44pm. So I did 3.15 in 24 minutes give or take 30 seconds since there is no second hand on my cell phone.

I did some calculations based on an even 24 minute run. My average pace was 7:37. If I ran just .05 less, my time at that pace would have been 23:37. It will be a little hotter at 7pm, but I didn't sprint tonight either. To meet my goal of 22:30, I need to shave off just over 20 seconds per mile in the next 3 weeks.

In addition to longer runs once a week, I need to make speed work mandatory. For the 5k distance, I probably need to do 880's on the track. 440's are better for mile speed and 1 mile repeats may be too much for the 5k.

I need to run 7:15's on race day or better. I probably need to train for 6:15 speed on the track. That makes my 880 repeats around 3:07. I will probably do my speed work on Saturday. I'll need to do 4-6 repeats to do any good. I'll only have 2 Saturdays of speedwork until the race, so I better do all 6 both times. Some people try to run faster as they go, I will try to ladder my times. Start fast, taper, and end fast. Something like 3:00, 3:07, 3:15, 3:15, 3:07, 3:00.

The last time I ran 440 repeats, I was running around these times, but I wasn't doing 2 laps each time. Saturday is going to be tough, but Vanos said I need to dig deep. My old cross country coach used to tell us to dig deep sometimes. It brought back some good memories. It definitely fired me up for tonight's tempo run.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

5 Miles - Cool Night Run - Very Sore Afterward

Started at 8:40pm. It was cool... around 68 degrees and a little humid. Started off slow using heel strike form until my knees and thighs were warmed up. That took about a mile. Then, I switched to ball strike and I felt more at ease and got into a groove.

I coasted through 4 miles and then everything started to fall apart. I got tired. Kept having to remind myself to keep my arms pumping and I was losing stride length and turnover speed. The last mile was hard to eek out. Both calves started to tighten up and I got a cramp under my right ribs in the last half mile.

I pushed through it and completed at 9:24pm. 5 miles in 44 minutes. That's a pace of 8:48 and I know I started slow and ended slow, so I must have been running in the mid 7's for a couple miles in the middle of my run.

It is now 2 hours since I completed the run and my calves are tight and my feet are very sore. Need to log more miles per week.

Somehow, I am not as sore when I run in the morning vs. running at night or in the afternoons. I wonder if it is related to getting the lactic acid moving through my body during the day while I'm working.

Does anyone notice that they are more sore after evening runs versus morning runs?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Working the Core Muscles

Thanks to my Runner's World magazine, I found a few core exercises to use after my runs. The issue that has the core workouts has Lolo Jones on the cover and she is featured in the article about how important it is to strengthen your core muscles.

If the term "your core" or "core muscles" is foreign to you, it refers your stomach, lower back, and butt muscles. For the scientific names and pictures, you'll have to get the mag. I'm not typing that much. These are the muscles that keep your pelvis level while running, walking, etc.

As explained in the article, one of the benefits for runners is more endurance. For some, it could be as simple as less back pain.

I have been incorporating some core work the past few days during a couple walks and again today after my morning run.

I started the running workout with a mile warmup on the treadmill. In a ten minute time span, I started at 20 minute pace walking and ended up running pretty hard at 6 minute pace. All in all, I covered 1 mile and had enough time to do a couple quick stretches before the group run.

We did 3 miles as our normal routine and after 3, our group leader wanted to know if anyone wanted to do another lap. We covered another 1.4 miles at a slightly faster pace than the first 3 miles.

The first 3 miles, I felt congestion in my lungs. It was the kind of congestion related to the passageways feeling swollen rather than a mucus type. After the initial portion, though, the congestion went away.

So all told, just a hair shy of 5.5 miles.

I went into the gym, rehydrated with some water, and then hit the exercise mats to work on my core muscles. I did alternating Superman lifts, planks, and side planks.

This was all started at 6AM and finished by 7. Only one thing on my mind all day after that workout... beer. I had to wait out 11 hours till I could get a beer.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

When it's cold, the treadmill is your friend

I have been starting off my Tuesday morning group runs with a warmup on the treadmill. I needed a thorough warmup after a ride in 41 degrees on my scooter to the gym.

Let me tell you, I was glad when a friend of our group leader came up to me and told me that she was running late. That gave me an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill.

I started off walking around 20 minute pace and slowly made my way through 15 min pace, 12 min pace, 10 min pace. I eventually ended up at 7 minute pace and was fully sweating. I had to take off my winter cap and hooded sweatshirt.

I was ready for my run. I already logged 2 miles, so our 9-10 minute pace 3 mile run was going to be easy. I stripped even further and took my warmup pants off and I don't know if that was a great idea. I need to get a pair of those running tights for next winter season. It's pretty much too late for this year. Any suggestions on a brand or type of material?

We had a nice run. I paced one of the slower runners and kept him with our pack by asking him to do a quick burst of speed about half way through the run. I don't always care about every runner, but you can see that this guy doesn't have a lot of running experience and he is trying. He's got the will power, but just needs a little work on his technique/form and obviously needs to log more miles, which just takes time.

He has been running for about 4 months and has done a few 5k's in that time, but was unsatisfied with the fact that he hasn't really improved much in this performance. I advised him to incorporate some speedwork once a week for a few weeks and he should see some improvement. One of the biggest problems with newbies to anything is that they don't know what you mean even though they have heard the term.

What is speedwork?

I gave him an example of some speedwork. I basically told him to try the same workout I did on the track this past Saturday. Start with about 15 minutes of warmup which should be about 1 slow mile. Then do some light stretching and run a lap around the track at about the pace you would like to run a mile. Then, run a recovery of 1 lap at about the warmup pace. Repeat 4 times. Cooldown jog.

I hope he tries it. I would like to see him improve and know that maybe the coaching I received in high school and at the Track Shack sessions will be passed on to a fellow runner and he will stick with it. It's hard to keep doing something when you don't see results.

Today's mileage: 5 miles

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Claritin To The Rescue

After 3 hellacious, allergy-draining weeks of constant clogging and running of my nose, I finally caved. I went to CVS and bought a pack of Claritin-D. The pseudoephedrin gives a boost of energy since it opens up your air passageways. Within a couple of hours, I felt so good that I didn't just feel like going for a run... I wanted to hit the track.

So I did. I took the scooter down to Howard Middle School, which is open to the public as long as there are no school children present. You can't beat that for a public policy.

I started off with a warmup mile run around Lake Eola, which was packed. It went up into the low 80's and everyone wanted to head out to the lake for picnicking, photobugging of the birds, letting their kids roam around the playground, and general walking around. It made the lap a little annoying, but I only had to do one, so I tried to grin it out.

Warmup done. I did a very light stretch routine. I did one hamstring stretch with my legs at shoulder width and grab my ankles and hold for 30 seconds. I also did a quadriceps stretch by holding my ankle behind me (by my buttocks) and hold for 30 seconds and then alternate legs. That's it. I was losing sun and wanted to get started.

My goal was 4x400 with 400 recovery. In my head, I was going to run these at 5k race pace, which should be around 8:00, so that equals 2:00 each. I instead ran them at 6:00 pace, which is 1:30 each. It was just right. My legs got a light burn by the end of the lap and my fingers just started to tingle.

I really felt the workout in my lower quadriceps near my knees and in my buttocks. I little more in my right side than my left, which attribute to running the standard counter clockwise around the track. I have to remember to run clockwise next time, so that I keep balanced muscle tone and growth.

Finished up with a half mile cooldown.

This workout was 3.5 miles. With my morning run on Tuesday of 5 miles, I totaled 8.5 miles for the week. For most people, this would be 1 run for the day. The forecast calls for rain today, so hopefully that will clear some of the oak pollen and I can breathe normally again. We'll see.