Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interval Training - newspaper article

I thought I was doing really well until I read this article. Kudos to the 66 year old Abels running a 65 second 400 meters. This article goes over the concept of interval training and at the end, there is a chart outlining an example 10 week routine. Enjoy!

Interval training for runners -

Running Partner

Tuesday and today, I had the pleasure of having my girlfriend ride her bicycle next to me while I ran.  Yesterday, it worked, but my legs hurt.  I didn't have a chance to warmup.  I only ran 2 miles, though, so it wasn't all that bad.

Today, I had my long run day.  Keep in mind that I primarily run 5k's, so my long days are 5 to 7 miles.  I ran 4 miles before heading back by home and picked up my girlfriend on her bike.  I was already well warmed up and ready to go the same speed as her cycling.  Again, keep in mind that she isn't cycling like Lance Armstrong.  I wish I could run that fast.  Doesn't everyone though.  We did just over 2 miles together and today, she kept giving me motivation to keep pace.  She was saying things like, "Keep those knees up" and "you got this."  I didn't ask her to do it, which made it so much better.  She's such a great person.  It was like having a coach and not having to pay for one.

In the end, I ran much faster than I have previously during my long runs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

440 Birthday Repeats

I took 3 days off to celebrate my birthday early.  Today is my birthday (July 26th).  Had some nice relaxation time at St. Augustine Beach this weekend.  It is time to get back to work and run 440 repeats to start the week.

I felt good on my warmup even though it was in the 90's again.  I had a full bore sweat going on by the time my 2 mile warmup was over.  Due to the heat and humidity, I just didn't feel like speeding up my pace during my warmup.  During the last half mile of my warmup, I usually like to speed up the turnover rather than adjust anything with my stride, but I didn't even have that today.

I did a quick stretch and got into my first 440.  My legs were not ready for that.  The whole first turn and back straight felt tight and clumsy.  I ran 1:28 and that is usually a fast lap since I'm usually not out of breath yet.  Couple that with the heat and it didn't feel like I was going to have a good workout.  I ran the next one in 1:23 and it didn't hurt at all.  Now things are starting to feel good.  The 3rd lap was 1:22.  Feeling good.  I need to get a 1:20 in the final 440.  I had to give it everything I had.  I couldn't believe my watch when I came around.  I hit 1:15.  I haven't run a 75 in forever.  What a great birthday gift for myself!!

I'm sure I will feel my age tomorrow when the soreness kicks in.  Time to ride my bicycle home.  Tomorrow is 5 miles easy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Speed and Recovery

Wednesday's workout was 440 repeats.  I started out with 2.5 miles for a warmup.  That led to the track.  I know I have to peel 4.5 seconds per lap off my mile time to hit the 6 minute mark, so I had to give a little more effort.  I have been trying to run 1:30's and better, so I was aiming for 1:25's.  It went like this...

and...  1:40

I was doing great until that last one.  I hit the 220 mark and came to a complete stop.  My breathing was out of control, so I stopped for about 10 seconds.  I looked at my watch and instead of completely giving up and walking it back, I got back into Lane 1 and finished up in 1:40.

My last 440 repeat workout, I ran 1:30, 1:29, 1:27, 1:25.  That comes out to 5:51 and my mile time was 6:18.  With that data, but without a compensation for the slight speed increase, I figure that I would need to run a combined 5:33 in splits to hit the 6 minute mark.  This workout came out to 5:50.  I had great progress until that last lap.  I ran 39 seconds at the 220 mark, so if I kept that up, I would have run 1:18.  That would have been 5:28 and that would have bettered my goal.  Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.

Even though I didn't realize my goal for the workout, I ran much harder on those repeats than the previous same workout.  My legs were killing me on Thursday.  I planned on taking it easy for my easy 5 mile run, but I didn't think it was going to hurt the entire run.  What was supposed to be a slow 2 mile warmup turned into a slow 5 mile warmup.  I ran around 52:30 and hurt the entire time.  At least it was soreness and not actual pain from tears or something like that.

Today is a welcome off day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fartlek Workout

Quick update to the log.

I knew I was going to run 5 miles today, but just couldn't figure out if I wanted to do an easy run, a tempo run, or fartlek.  I started off with a 2 mile warmup and quick stretch.

As soon as I took off, it wasn't an easy run.  With the heat, I wasn't going to do a tempo run, so a fartlek workout it was.  They are always fun.  They may hurt a little, but they are the most fun of any running workout to me.

I broke the fast portions into 1/4 to 1/2 mile segments broken up with 30 second walks.  I finished up with a half mile cooldown and a quick stretch of the hamstrings.  Tomorrow's plan is 400 repeats on the track.

Monday, July 19, 2010

LD Run

LD or Long Distance run.  Sometimes you'll see people post LD.  It's short for long distance.  This is where you get the endurance in your training.

Usually, people will run these on the weekend when they have more time.  For marathoners, this is the build up runs while prepping for the longer distances while usually not going the actual distance of a marathon since that can break you down physically and you may not want to do that while training.  For a mid-distance runner like 10k to half marathons, you'd probably run about the same distance as your race.  If you are short distance runner like myself, long distance means more like 6-10 miles.  I run 5k's, hence the title of my blog.

I like speed work, but I have to work on my endurance.  You can take a world class sprinter like Tyson Gay or Usain Bolt and without LD runs, they aren't going to get good 5k times.  So that's what I had to run today.  I was supposed to run LD yesterday, but I felt that I needed to relax on the weekend, especially after hitting my goal time.

I got 6 miles logged.  I could have sworn it was more like 7.5 miles.  Nope.  Just 6.  It took me 58:30 to run 6 miles.  That includes my warmup miles, but still... if I can run in the 7 minute range fairly easy, then why am I running 6 miles close to 10 minute pace?  I will blame it on the heat and the humidity for now, but I need to see some improvement out of myself on these longer runs.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mile Time Trial

I have a goal of running a 6 minute mile by August.  That's only 2 weeks from now.  This spring, I ran a high 6.  I figured I was around a 6:30 right now based upon my 440 splits during my last two track sessions.  I was running around 1:30 and slightly under.

Today, I prepped for my run with the new Gatorade fruit punch flavored G Pre.  It is basically different forms of sugars and vitamins from what I can tell.  It's not too many calories and it definitely gave me a little energy.  It says to consume the liquid 15 minutes prior to your workout.  I drank the pouch's contents and then jogged a 2.5 mile warmup around Lake Eola and environs.  I could feel a little boost around the 2 mile mark.

Anytime I take pre-workout supplements, it reminds of the best advice I ever received from another runner.  Back in high school, one my fellow harriers used to consume a few tablespoons of honey before a race.  That worked wonders.  I don't recommend it for long runs, but for running 3 miles, it helps.  Thanks Tom H.

Well, my time trial to see where I am and if I'm even close to hitting 6 minutes in another time trial that takes place in 2 weeks went well.  Setting the stage, it was a mostly clear day.  Around 6:30pm and 93 degrees. says it felt like 100 degrees.  Whatever.  It was 93 and there's no denying it was hot.  Being Florida, it was naturally humid.

I took off like I was running my 440 splits, because that is my eventual goal in two weeks.  Why not see if it's possible now.  1:29 on the first lap.  Perfect.  Could I keep it up?  Almost.  3:07 on the second lap, which translates to 1:38.  Nine seconds off the first lap.  I was starting to worry in my head.  That, of course, is the killer of champions.  Doubt.  I would not fall prey to this evil.  4:44 on my third.  That's 1:37 which is practically the same speed as the second lap.  Maintaining speed at this point was a victory since I didn't fall off pace any more.  Did I mention it was windy?  Wind at my back on the back straight and running into it on the finish.  I gave it all I had on the last lap.  I obviously slowed down, because with a decent kick on the last straight, I ran a 1:34.  My estimated time of 6:30 was beaten.  I ran a 6:18 mile.  Twelve seconds faster than I expected.  I just need to take off 18 seconds.  That's 4.5 seconds per lap.  That's possible.

Tomorrow is my LD day.  I can sleep well tonight knowing I am on track to meet my upcoming goal.  Now, it is time for some Chinese takeout and a movie.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Track Shack Celebration of Running 5k - Next Race

I signed up for my next race.  It is the Track Shack Celebration of Running 5k.  It is August 14, 2010 and it starts and ends in front of the Orlando Science Center in Loch Haven Park which is just north of downtown Orlando.  I ran it a few years ago just after pulling one of my hamstrings.  It's a relatively flat course and takes you past Track Shack.  This is their anniversary run.  I don't remember how many years they have been open or what year the race started.  Betsy or Jon Hughes can probably tell you that if you're interested.  They are the founders of Track Shack and they still run it today.

Ran 5 miles today.  It was cool and when I say cool, I mean it was low 80's.  It was humid like crazy, though.  I had a good run.  Started with a 2 mile warmup at 12 minute pace.  I was really sore and stiff.  Not sure why, because I didn't even run yesterday.

I now have two goals for August.  I have trying to work on my speed a little bit by doing some track work once or twice a week.  The first goal is to run a 6 minute mile.  I don't think I'm there.  I might be able to squeeze out a 6:30 mile if I run until my legs burn and feel like concrete on the last lap.  The reason is that I want to get into the fast training group with Track Shack's WRAP Program and that starts August 2nd.

The second goal is the Celebration of  Running 5k.  I have one month.  I'm thinking 23:20.  There we go.  That's 7:30 pace.  I know I'm not running that right now, but that is easily obtainable if I stay focused for the next 4 weeks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Alternate Way to Deal with Hamstring Tightness

Everyone knows the old tried and true methods of dealing with tight muscles.  The oldest and easiest method is to warm up by walking or jogging slowly to get your blood flowing and literally warm your legs.  Then, stretch.  That's it.  Close to this method, but requiring assistance is massage.  Some can do this regularly through services rendered for a fee.  Some of us cannot afford or justify the expense on a regular basis.  Stretching by a personal trainer works as well, but also falls under the 'I Don't Get Paid to Run' category.  In recent years, it is common for athletes to use a device called The Stick, which is like a padded rolling pin.  Sometimes you'll see football players using them on the sidelines to massage their hamstrings.  I haven't tried it myself, so I can't really say anything good or bad about it.  Maybe they'll read my blog and send me one.  Wink. Wink.

Here's my situation... I regularly have tightness and aches in my right hamstring.  I thought it might have something to do with either my right leg being a different length than my left or from running around the track the same direction every time.  My solution is to try pushing off my left leg just a little harder than normal and see if there is just a slight difference.  Maybe I don't have a perfect stride after all.  I'll get over it.  Meb can rest easy now.

I tried it on my last speed workout on the track.  I don't know if it's a perfect solution, but my right hamstring was not sore and tight after the workout like it normally would have been.  The problem is that my left hamstring was sore and tight.  Either my theory is way off base or I just needed to tweak the amount and try to find the right amount of push for each leg.  This could take some form work.  I will have to start devoting time each workout to form runs to perfect my stride.  It would be nice to have a video camera or two at the track to analyze my stride and see where I have deficiencies in my form.

It may take some time and work, but I may be onto something here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Morning Races - Mental and Physical Preparation

If I have a preference for the time of day to run, it is definitely late afternoon to early evening.  If there is a time of day that most races are held, it is the opposite... early mornings.  This means that I have to get up earlier than normal and also have to be ready mentally and physically with all pistons firing before I would normally start my workday.

The mental part is not that hard.  If anything, there are less distractions from a full workday to cloud your focus.  If you mentally prepared yourself the night before, you are going to wake up with the race in your mind.  Your running gear is laid out near your bed and maybe the breakfast is already prepped on the counter.  These visual cues help get your day started.  These cues say that you are prepared and your mind fires off into visualizing driving to the race course or in this particular instance riding my bike to the race.  While you are riding, you are thinking about actually running.  When you get to the course, you can see how many people are arriving.  You check out the scene to see the starting line.  Your blood pressure is starting to rise a little and your heart starts to tick up a notch faster.  You see how far back from the start you are and then anticipate getting into a good position.

I have found over the years that most runners don't know themselves and don't run for time other than the current race they are running and have no clue what their pace will be.  Not even a clue.  Unfortunately, I was honest again and put myself in the 8 minute pace group at the starting line.  This means that all of the 9 minute pace runners will be next to and in front of me.  I get to wait for them to weed themselves out as they can't keep their starting pace.  Good job newbies.  This was considered a fun run, but it still annoys me that people just want to line up near the front with a complete disregard for others.  If you aren't fast enough to be in the first row of runners, your time and place aren't really going to matter other than your own personal satisfaction.  So line up in the proper pen.  If you run 9 minute miles when you are working out every day, then you aren't going to bust out a 7:30 pace in a race.  It's not going to happen.  You might do a 8:45.  Maybe even 8:30.  Wrong pen.

I find myself using my arms to help others navigate their way away from me more and more these days.  When an inexperienced runner decides to cut me off without checking their mirrors, they are getting a stiff arm.  It's not personal, because they didn't use their peripheral vision.  I'm just protecting my space, so I don't get tripped or have to adjust my gate base on someone else.  The sad part is that these newbies usually weave in one direction and find out that the hole they wanted to get into only gave them a few feet advantage and they burned up more energy moving side to side instead of waiting a few more seconds and then being able to move between a couple runners directly in front of them.

I probably should have just given in and run up on the grass and dodged bushes and spectators and photographers and burned up my energy zigzagging, but I just didn't want to go through the hassle.  I ran a 7:55 first mile.  I was hoping to run around 8 minutes, but with the amount of energy I had, I could easily have run 7:30 that morning if I had open sailing to open up my stride a little more.  It's funny to look back at photos from the race and to find that the proof is there.  I was constantly looking for a hole to no avail and looking down at the ground so I wouldn't literally run on someone's heels.

Back to the theme, the other part of running in the morning is being prepared physically.  This is the part that I have a hard time with as I am getting older.  I used to be able to jump out of bed, put on my shorts and shoes and hit the road.  I didn't prefer to do this, but there weren't any repurcussions.  A few years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about heart and circulatory function.  I have heard that platelets are still doing their work early in the morning.  They are clogging up holes that need fixing while we are sleeping.  Well, when the alarm clock tells you to get up, your platelets may still be working like they have time.  Anyway, I went for this run a few years back and after about a mile, my chest hurt really bad.  It was an ache near my heart like nothing I have felt before.  Instead of using my head and stop, I kept running and finished my planned run for the morning.  That pain in my chest didn't go away until the next day after a good night's rest.  I jumped right up before that day's run and I will never do that again... unless my home is on fire.  There's always an exception to a rule.  From now on, I am giving my body time to rise.  That's one thing.

The other thing in the morning that needs time is bowel evacuation.  I like that term.  Evacuation.  That's a clear visual of what I needed Sunday morning before my run.  The lesson here is that I did have an evacuation that morning.  The problem is that I needed to have another evacuation after mile marker 1.  I kept telling myself that it was just a little gas, so I'd let a little out.  No problem.  A quarter mile more and let a little more out.  Another tenth of a mile and a little more.  You get the picture.  Around mile marker 2 and feeling decent about my time of 15:35 (7:30 split), it was a different story.  This was no longer just gas.  You can feel the it.  Trust me.  I did.  And I now started to clinch my butt cheeks.  Not too hard, but enough to keep the flood gates closed.  Yeah.  Another tenth of a mile and a little tighter.  By 2.5 miles, I started cramping in my lower right back.  Awesome feeling.  With a quarter mile left, I got a cramp in my left abdomen as well.  I just wanted to give up, but I was close and slowing down was only going to prolong my visit to the port-a-let.

When we rounded the corner, the 3 mile clock was immediately visible and people just started to rush by me. This was usually my time to shine.  I hate getting passed and especially at the sprint.  I was definitely in some pain.  The clock didn't matter anymore.  Just the finish and what awaited.  See my face below.  That's coming up on the finish line.  Everyone else is making their finish count like it's the Olympics.  I have another event in store.

The lesson is to make sure you are prepared in the morning.  To be the runner, you must have everything in place and go to bed early.  Don't eat too late in the evening the night prior to a race.  Get up early and make sure you are prepared physically as well as mentally.  Now you know why.

Watermelon 5k - Mead Garden - Winter Park, FL - 24:36 (-5 second from start = 24:31 unofficial)