Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Running w/Friends

Today I had the pleasure of running part of my morning run with Eric and my afternoon run with Marc. This morning's run was my two hour jaunt around Eastport. Total mileage was ~15.7 with the last 5.7 in the company of Eric. I spied him up ahead just after passing mile 10. His usual morning run is ~10 miles but he starts a little later than I do normally. This makes a meet hit or miss. Also, I believe he runs more often than I do as I see him out on my rest days. Anyway, great to have a friend to run with that early in the morning. Felt good the entire way except for a 6 mile case of the hiccups. Running with hiccups was a new experience. I think I spooked several deer because of this and they almost ran me down. I started composing a new song for my kids: "Daddy got run over by a Maine deer". The sun didn't rise until mile 15 so it was a dark jog.

This evening I hooked up with Marc for a 40 minute run around the streets of Calais. We are foregoing the normal river trail due to the lack of lights. Marc doesn't think the track in Canada has lights so that's out too. So, taking advantage of the streetlights on side streets, we weaved among the neighborhoods with our reflective vests and lone headlamp (I forgot mine). Marc filled me in on his amazing runs in the old world. Ran in Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, almost got hit by a bus, and now his kids are addicted to scones. All in all, a good time was reported. Only one mishap to mention: it appears when Marc was sent out to hunt for food for his starving family one night, he got sidetracked by a computer device capable of emailing. Much time was spent it appears in emailing his running buddy back in the states. When confronted with his tardy return by the ravenous family, Marc accidentally told the truth and confessed to being sidetracked by modern communications equipment available in the lobby. Wouldn't you know, she brought the doghouse with her and Marc was in. Poor guy. This also explains the single email for the duration but he did sneak off a postcard to say running was going well.

Tomorrow's schedule calls for an easy afternoon run with no morning slog. Slog being the operative word for tomorrow as the weather is supposed to be nasty. Rain, snow, wind. I believe they have canceled sunrise too.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Week Cut Short

Thursday saw another double with 11.5 miles in 1:30:13 for the morning outing and 4.2 miles in 31:34 for the afternoon amble. Veteran's Day - had the day off. In both runs the legs were sore - especially in the quads. During my evening run the batteries died in the headlamp so it was quite dark. When I came home I realized that the battery cover was just loose. I should buy new batteries just in case. Well, I took Friday off and then got up at 4am Saturday for my morning 1 1/2 hour jog. The forecasters were calling for snow and I was very excited about a "silent run" with a slight powdery padding and the hushed sounds of a small New England town awakening amidst a thick flurry. Oh no, not for me. Instead it was cold, raw, & wet. The wind was whipping out of the north making huge droplets of slush-water stick to my spectacles. Cars were out in force spraying up the gunk from the road while my feet progressively got wetter as I splashed through the inch of slush that occupied my route. I dressed too warmly of course because I was afraid of getting an early chill. So instead, I was a little overheated which made my pace very slow. It took me 1:40 to do a 1:30 run. To top it off, my legs were "spongy". Just plain tired. I put the 11.2 in with a time of 1:40:38. The good news was I left early enough so the day wasn't blown.

The bad news... Last night my hamstring on the right leg was giving me sharp pains each time I turned or twisted. This usually occurred when I went down into the cellar to fetch some more wood for the woodstove. Unfortunately, this meant no Sunday long run. I called it off last night, took some Motrin, and sat on some frozen vegetables. The day off, anti-inflammatories, and the ice has seemed to work. I've been running down into the cellar all day without any pain. Tomorrow is a day of rest anyway, so I will have an additional day to cure this issue. It is just unfortunate as the long run is key. However for the long run to be key to my sucess, I need to avoid letting it be key to any failure. Therefore, it is better the long run was scrapped for this week. So for the week I logged 46.3 miles - about 20 miles short of my goal.

The reason for the pain I think is two-fold. One of course is the mileage. Anytime I put consistent miles on I suffer annoying setbacks. However, I have yet to find the perfect balance to allow for none of these. So I put more value on minimizing the setbacks as best as possible rather than getting upset when they arise. Secondly, on Thursday, most of my day was involved with moving wood from point A to point B. This involved a lot of lifting, throwing, bending, and stacking. Activities not normally associated with my laid back lifestyle. I am hoping that the elimination of this week's long run will be the necessary cure for my ill.

My friend Marc, is away on holiday. He jetted his family to London town with plans on migrating north into Scotland. He has sent me an email from the colony saying he had the opportunity to run at Hyde Park (8 miles) and plans on other interesting runs while he is there.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

After all that work - I change my plan!

Can you believe it? I was merrily on my way to follow a plan that had taken weeks of research and piecemealing together than all of sudden, Mark Fleming introduces me to Lydiard. And here I am now with a new plan for Boston.

You may think me rather dull to not know of Lydiard, but I confess, my focus has been on myself to the ponderous neglect of great & learned coaches and runners that have much good sense to relay. Anyway, the light came on - running for "time"; "miles make champions", "aerobic conditioning"; "your conditioning seals your performance"; and on and on. It made sense - especially when studied in conjunction with the very technical article from Hadd regarding Lactate Threshold training. I have heard of the phrase "to run fast, one needs to run slow", but I had no clue how this could be correct. For the marathon which is a very aerobic event, it now makes perfect sense to me. Without the conditioning, I am failing in the longer miles.

I forget which day Mark posted the comment on my original posting of the plan, but that was day I had to pause from blogging and reconfigure my wintery future. So a big thank you to Mark.

In a nutshell, the Lydiard plan calls for as much conditioning as you have time for. Conditioning for a marathon requires you to run below your Lactate Threshold for extended periods 3 or 4 times per week. Supplemental running (junk miles) is highly encouraged at an even slower relaxed pace. A heart monitor I am told can help manage your pace greatly. I don't own one (yet) so I am using the old fashioned "perceived effort" approach. This approach does work, it probably isn't "optimal". But hey, we can't all own the latest gadgets, can we?

So with a heavy heart and leaden fingers, I started to re-create my plan. It turned out to be much easier than I expected and rather similar to what I was to follow anyway with these notable exceptions: speed and hills wait until I am closer to the marathon date (known as periodization or mesocycles), and the mileage is much higher but at a much slower pace for many weeks. To stop oneself from becoming insane, the author suggests varying the course on a regular basis.

My plan:

I plan on 12 weeks (or more, I haven't decided) of marathon conditioning. This involves running up to 2 hours 3 times per week, 3 supplemental runs per week, and of course the beloved 20 miler on Sunday mornings. All miles below LT for the purposes of building capillary beds and other nifty blood vessel related activities. My running partner, Marc, once told me that "every run has a purpose" and I believe he is right. Putting in the time and miles is a commitment and during the first 12 weeks, I will need to be disciplined so I can accomplish some nasty aerobic conditioning. I am going to be one big oxygen molecule!

After the 12 weeks this should leave me with 12 weeks or so for hills, speed, "co-ordination" and tapering. I haven't thought the plan through those weeks yet as I feel I have time to mull it over. Here are the weekly build-up miles based on increasing the training time from 1 1/4 hours up to 2 hours over a period of weeks with incremental supplemental running (after work w/Marc):
wk 1 59 miles
wk 2 65 miles
wk 3 71 miles
wk 4 76 miles
wk 5 82 miles
wk 6 88 miles
wk 7 95 miles
wk 8 99 miles
wk 9 103 miles
wk10 106 miles

This assumes an average pace of 8 mins per mile. As my conditioning increases, hopefully I will naturally run a faster pace thus run slightly more miles per week (those tenths of a mile add up!)

This week my schedule is as follows:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: AM: 1 1/4 hours; PM: 1/2 hour (totaled 13.1 miles)
Weds: AM: Rest; PM: 1/2 hours (3.4 miles)
Thurs: AM: 1 1/4 hours; PM: 1/2 hour (totaled 12.8 miles - looks like I a ran a little slower)
Fri: Rest
Sat: AM: 1 1/4 hours; PM: Rest
Sun: AM: 20 miler

I believe, after reading the convincing scientific arguments, that this approach will do wonders for me over time. Comments certainly welcome. How many using this type of program?