Thursday, January 27, 2005

So far so good

So after my good long think and a blogged resolution, today I logged 20 miles. Done in three sessions: an early AM 6.7 miles with a 7 minute break at the house followed by 8. 7 miles. Then a lunchtime run with Marc for 4.8 miles. Feels really good (now that I'm sitting here relaxing).

Both running partners (Eric & Marc) gave me some good encouragement today and it was great to have the friendship and comraderie of running to help me through the mid winter blues. Eric & I will be off for some hill work tomorrow morning at 5am.

This morning's run was brutally cold. A standing temp of negative 11F with a wind chill of minus 23F. Wind out of the north which makes one particular mile of my course just a chore. Thus the need for the 7 minute break at 6.7 miles. The 2nd outing however was faster (per mile) than the first. No doubt because the engine was warm and I was feeling good about being out there. The 1st lap is tough. As it end nears the house, the mental battle begins on whether to be normal and get out of the cold or carry on to put the miles in the log. Today I needed the miles in the log.

Today I decided to look at my log to see what the disjointedness of my recent runs had done to my weekly mileage. Good news. It didn't do any lasting damage. After the injury week 1 of this year, the following 2 cold weeks produced 47 miles and 40 miles respectively. So far this week I am at 25. Add Sunday's long run and tomorrow's workout, I should hit 50 anyway. Respectable distances for a tough time of year. I am resolved however, to bring the mileage back up. Gotta squeeze out that last ounce of aerobic conditioning. It would please me very much to be in the 20's come April and still humming strong. At least I can dream.

Tomorrow for the hill work, I plan on keeping the car at the base and keeping it running. Figured we can recover in the warmth of the car. Standing around in the cold is no fun. Sunday is calling for 30 degrees. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mid Winter Blues

Read Runner's World, or any other runners' forum and you'll find tips for beating the winter blues. But I tell you, when you've got 'em, it is hard to restart the engine. Up here in Maine, we are experiencing daily wind chills of 35 degrees below 0 (Farenheit). It is dark, slippery, and cold. I am very unhappy with the way this January is shaping up. On the other hand, ever the optimist, I believe I am learning a valuable lesson in plan vs. reality. I have read before that we cannot control the weather. True. However, I wasn't prepared for not fulfilling my training (as I planned it) because of the weather. I had pictured some reduced mileage weeks or some uncomfortable days but what got me was the fact I couldn't perform the actual sessions of my "quality workouts". The roads are too slippery, the wind too cold, the snow too deep. Day after day, and now what seems like weeks, my training has become disjointed - an odd collection of various workouts that do not fit into any plan and seem to serve no purpose.

But then I started to think about what the "purpose" is that apparently is not being served. The purpose is to become fit and fast to run my next marathon in 2:45. Ok. While the basic formula for achieving this goal is the same across many training programs, they can be varied according to circumstances: athlete's current condition, time of year, weeks to race, and unknown events (bad weather). I need to redefine the training that serves the purpose. I need to be "flexible" - a term I don't like since it connotes a lack of seriousness in training (for me anyway). But flexibility is what I need. If hard speed is what I want, but long slow is all I've got, then I need to do the long slow. Instead I have found my motivation at all time lows because the workouts that I imagined I would be doing were slipping on by into the logbook of "did not run".

So let's see if I can put this new attitude in gear and bring my odd collection of workouts back into a resemblance of forward progress, proactive planning, and success. So tonight I resolve to learn from this mid-winter misfortune. On into the cold - slowly. Out on the slippery roads - slowly. The wind be d**** - slowly. After all, don't "miles make champions?".

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Let's Look Back to 2004

2004 began with 2 marathons completed (Houston & MDI). This year would bring two more marathons (Nova Scotia & MDI). Finishing with a Boston qualifying time in MDI last October put a nice finish to the '04 marathon season. However, I would still rate 2004 as a tough year for running. The entire 1st half was low on miles and motivation. Not quite sure of the cause, but I am glad it is finished. Here's a quick recap of the monthly mileage totals:

Jan 22
Feb 99
Mar 105
Apr 63
May 51
Jun 125
Jul 219
Aug 236
Sep 197
Oct 71 (includes 2 week taper and two weeks rest after marathon)
Nov 184
Dec 280

Yearly total = 1684 with the most mileage in the Jul & Aug buildup for MDI and the current training program ongoing for Boston (Dec). The highest weekly mileage was 85. I ran 7 races:
5k in April 19:16
7 m in July 45:04
26.2 July 3:32:11
5 m in Aug 30:38
5k in Sep 17:54 (a little better from April!)
26.2 Oct 3:05:19
3.5 m in Nov 20:26

My training and therefore my times improved as the year wore on. April's 5k was a wake up call. Even July's 7 miler was a tough run. It wasn't until August's 5 miler I felt like I had some speed back. Peaked at the October marathon (performance - wise). November's 3.5 miler was good but it came on the heels of a significant layoff after the marathon.

The graphs depicting 2004 are sawtoothed with high peaks and deep valleys. I was hoping to avoid the same time of graphical depiction for 2005 but it seems injuries and the need for downtime (due to the heavy training schedule) will still make the graphs look like a mountain range. On the other hand, the reason behind the peaks and valleys is acceptable - unlike 2004 where I just didn't get out there and run.

I have already forgotten who turned me on to the Excel template from the Dead Runner's Society but thanks again! This is a neat program. Anyone wishing to have a copy of this template running log just let me know and I'll email it along.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Rainy Days & Injuries (always get me down)

Like a string of rainy Mondays, the New Year brought in the bleak prospect of run-less days as the calf injury (courtesy of an earlier quad injury) would not go away. As one can tell by a short analysis of the frequency of my posts, nothing stops me from blogging like a good injury. Good news, this morning's 9.5 miler with Eric was pain free. For the past two weeks I have been struggling with the on again, off again training schedule that comes from a pesky tight calf. Took two days off this week after cutting short the long run (again) at 10 miles. This morning, like a breath of fresh air I was comfortably running. I'll keep the miles down this week and focus on re-entering the intense training next week leg permitting.

Here's to a New Year of good jogs & blogs.