Thursday, November 30, 2006

Balmy 12 - Updated for reality check.

Scheduled workout: 12 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: Recovery / volume.

Results: 12.6 miles in 1:45:07 (8:21 pace). Did it in 2 loops: 7.4 mile loop & a 5.2 mile loop. Pace splits: 8:44 / 7:47. 136 Average HR.

Felt fine. 50 degrees outside, misty.


I shouldn't blog about my workout just after I walk in the door. Up on all the endorphins, life is great.

One hour later I was thinking about how nice it would be to just pull over and take a long nap on the side of the road. Fatigue was rolling over me in waves.

I made it to work where the activity is keeping me awake. I think I'll go get some coffee.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hard, vaguely

Scheduled workout: 15 miles long resistance w/short variations. Target pace: 7:55 for 1 hour then 10 x 2 minute @ 6:20 pace. [Base speed 80% MP, variation speed 100% MP]. Purpose: Aerobic resistance.

Results: 15 miles in 1:50:17 (7:21 average pace, 143 average HR (67%)). 1 hour even pacing then 10 x 2 minutes at MP. Finished final 1.75 miles at 80% MP. (133 HR for 1 hour even pacing & 150 HR for pickups).

This workout started off really easy. Basically a 15 miler with embedded 10 x 2 minute pickups. So I ran 5 x the 3 mile comfort loop. The base pace for this workout called for 7:55 per mile and after the initial shock (I usually start off really slowly) this pace was easy and the hour just idled away.

When it came time for the 2 minute pickups I had to do this all by feel. It's too dark to look at the HR monitor and the splits are too short for any estimate at distance (thereby figuring out pace). I don't think I did very well since I felt a little bothered in the legs on each pickup. I think I was running slightly faster than MP but I don't know for sure. My fear was that I wouldn't be running fast enough so I thought no harm letting the legs work a little.

Two minutes isn't that long a time so the discomfort was over really quickly and I think I did a good job letting the pace drop only back to 7:55. This is what made the whole workout hard in a vague way. I was getting tired and feeling slightly stressed but there was doubt lingering whether I had worked hard enough to really deserve labeling the run 'hard'. After all, it was only 20 minutes of hard running out of 110 minutes of running.

But the coaches must know what they're doing. I certainly didn't want to do any more pickups and I was glad I only had 1.75 miles left to finish out the 15 when the pickups were over. A good workout that sort of creeps up on you.

Loop pace splits: 7:52 / 7:42 / 7:15 / 6:44 / 7:13.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Candy 10

Scheduled workout: 10 miles easy. Purpose: recovery / volume.

Result: 10.5 miles in 1:30:05 (8:35 pace). HR 133 (60%). Loop pace splits: 9:04 / 8:05.

Ran with Eric on the first loop. We did a new 5.25 mile loop to avoid the pitch darkness out near the airport. Town traffic was a little heavier than usual. Probably because we were on some streets that we're not often on.

The run was so easy. Two recovery days in a row! I got up this morning just relishing the idea of 10 miles and no speed. Of course, I'll pay for all of this tomorrow and Friday but I might as well enjoy it now. Eric said it should be like candy for me today. And he's right.

Monday, November 27, 2006


With the weekend fun over, it's time for the grind.

Scheduled workout: 15 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: recovery / volume.

Results: 15.6 miles in 2:20:14 (8:59 pace). 3 x 5.2 mile loop. Pace splits:

Loop 1 9:22 pace
Loop 2 9:03 pace
Loop 3 8:33 pace

Wx: cool, clear, dark.

Last week in quick review: 102 miles. Parrott predictor: 2:56:16. Average pace 8:14. Average HR 146.

Upcoming fun:

This week's schedule shifts slightly as the Aerobic Resistance quality work is a little longer than the short day allows. Therefore, Tuesday's 10 will be another recovery day, pushing the hard day to Wednesday so I have more time to complete the workout. This makes this week unique in that I only have two hard days instead of 3. This happens every 3rd week.

Wednesday: Resistance run. 1 hour even pace @ 80% MP then 10 x 2 minutes 100% MP w/2 min recovery @ 80% MP. Finish mileage (15 miles total) at 80%.

Friday: Aerobic power. 5k @ 6:02; 4k @ 5:57, 3k @ 5:52. w/ 3 min recovery (yeah, right) in between. Rest of mileage (18 miles total) at recovery pace.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Tale of a Tortuous Tour of St. Andrews, NB

I have now run every square inch of St. Andrews, NB Canada.

What started as mere passive intervention, an early effort at preventing backsliding, ended in a punishing tour of every beach, cove, fairway, flashing light, green, highway, hill, island, path, rock, street, trail, wood, and maintenence shed to be found in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.


You must remember, (how can you not?) Mike's shocking comment about the benefits of not running weekly 20 milers:

I think there is something to be said for not doing back to back weekend 20+ long runs. - Mike
I get chills just typing it.  I sensed something amiss. The slack coming from across the bay was palpable, brass, and saucy.

Here were the warning signs:

1. Wife unaccountably invokes a curfew.
2. He somehow hurts himself while brushing his teeth.
3. He starts running routes mysteriously similar to Irish artwork.
4. And begins talking airily about having 'no plan'.
5. Blatantly declares cutting the long run short on a blog read by millions

Action Plan

This was an emergency! I immediately invited myself to his town for the long run. He accepted - but with a sinister plan that was to unfold.

I left before dawn's early light and made my way to the border where:

"No, I am not carrying a firearm." "Yes, I will pay all taxes while visiting. " "No, I am not leaving anything in Canada." "Yes, I will stay only for the day." "No, it's not too early to go for a run. " "Yes, it should be a fine day". "Thank you, I will."

(Coming to America was only slightly different: "Yes, I am an American." "No, I have no one with me." "Yes, you may look in the trunk for people." "No, I was running." "Yes, it was a nice run." "Thank you, I will.")

I rocketed along the darkened Maritime highways at brilliant speeds (measured in km/hr) and arrived at Mike's house just in time. And we were off.

The Run

Mike was kind enough to let our first mile be 9:30 as I take awhile to get the engines going. By the end we averaged around 8:34 per mile.

I don't think there is a neighborhood in St. Andrews that Mike did not have me run through. We went up and down every blessed street, through town, around town, along the shore, and through hill and dale. At one point, he had me running on a sand bar (better to be named "rock bar" it hurt my feet so much) to Ministers Island. We reached the island only to turn around and retrace our footprints across the rocky pile of debris left by an errant glacier. (As an aside, you can't run there at high tide. Actually come to think of it, you shouldn't run there at any time.)

What beauty! We did see an amazing sunrise as we puffed up hills that resembled skyscrapers. Then to the golf course! Mike lets the town use this golf course in the summer. He reclaims it beginning in the autumn. Up, down, across, zig, zag. You name it. At one point, I was lost in some thoughts and off he turns without a 'Hey Andy, let's turn here.' I happened to look and there he was bolting away across a green. I think he was trying to shake me.

Oh, and the trail. We were running on a perfectly fine road that I thought led back to his house. I had drained the last drop of water I was carrying 20 minutes ago and I needed a refill. But nooooooo. It was cross country time! Up through the woods and round and round a path with frost, twigs, and low branches that whipped your face. Surprisingly, this little jaunt through the woods (that led to the golf course again [surprise!]) gave some new life to the legs after the tortuous tour thus far.

As I staggered to the house for life sustaining water, he announces 'only four miles to go'. And this time it's the hilly highway. We made it though and another 20 miler is in the log - both mine and Mike's.

Thank goodness.

So after a Fig Newton and tour of his pond, I headed back to the good old USA, satisfied that I had done my duty as a friend. He can't possibly skip out next week - Marc will be here and we can't run without the entire crew, can we?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

3 x 5k.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles Long Speed Variations. 3 x 5k with target paces increasing from 6:09 to 5:55 w/3min recovery. Purpose Aerobic Power.

Results: 3 x 5k. Splits:

5k #1 19:04 (6:09 pace) HR 172

Rest 5:11

5k #2 19:05 (6:09 pace) HR 173

Rest 6:37

5k #3 19:20 (6:14 pace) HR 169

I learned a valuable lesson today: I can do it.

Maybe I can't hit the target paces yet, but I was shocked when I started on the 2nd 5k and found my mile 1 split at 5:53 when I didn't think I could do this again. I kept telling myself to just relax, get good cadence, and don't strain.

It worked. The way my 5k course is designed, it is beneficial to go through mile 1 with a little time on the clock because the final mile has a short uphill that just bleeds time unless I go on the attack. But my mantra is 'don't strain' when I'm out there so I don't do any attacking. I tried to run fast without stress. If this meant a slower time than I would like - so be it. No strain, no strain, no strain. Relax, relax, relax.

Shocked!!! Shocked to complete the 2nd 5k within 1 second of the first. I knew a progression was not in the cards for me at these paces - not without tearing down the final stretch at the risk of injury. So I was surprised to find that with the same level of effort, I got through repeat #2 right on the lower edge of the suggested paces.

I took a little more time on the rest than the schedule suggested but that was necessary. I drank lots of water and basically got myself back to normal.

Repeat #3 was tough. Just standing there at the start line, staring down the street, thinking that I have to bust down that road was very, very tough. But once I got going I just forced myself to relax. I could tell the pace was down but I didn't worry about it. I was out there to work.

Mile 1 of the final repeat went by in 6:09 so I knew the total time would be slower since this is the fastest mile on this route. I hit mile 2 in 12:18 but then came my tiny hill. Ever so slight a rise and I bled time fast. No strain. At the top I picked up the pace and headed for the finish. I had to focus on this repeat but I got there. I remember thinking as I approached the end that this was over fast. The 19:20 for the final and a heart rate of 169 (lower effort) told me that my poor legs were getting tired.

I felt the lactate building on the final mile of each repeat. But the lungs seemed to be ok. And when I stopped I felt fine -except the legs could use a break. A good workout - felt pleasantly tired at the end - but so glad to be done. If I had to do another 5k, I would have serious doubts how far past the 1st mile I could keep any type of pace.

Speaking of doubts, I was very nervous about this workout. When I read what I was to do for this workout last night I couldn't believe it. It was basically three aerobic power workouts all in one - except at slower suggested paces. My last 20 minute aerobic power workout had me average 6:06 per mile for 3.3 miles. I ran well for the first 2 miles but blew the final 1.3 miles lowering the average pace. It was very similar today out there. First two were quick (and quicker than 'planned') but the final mile brought the truth home each time.

I am getting better at managing my pace even though it doesn't seem like it. I went through mile 1 on the first repeat around 5:55 and I relaxed through mile two and when I found myself still with some cushion I relaxed through the end to end smack on the 6:09 pace. I thought I'd better start at 6:09 pace if I was going to have any chance for a progression. Repeat #2 started the same way, hitting mile two in 11:59. But that last mile just took the cake - 6:27 pace to the finish. My final mile on the last repeat was very similar in time but it took much more focus.

As I type through this post I am now thinking I could probably manage that small hill better (and thus the last mile) if I went out a little slower. I'm just so nervous about getting behind in time in mile one and thus creating the need to bust down County Road to make up time in mile 2. But I'll get there.

So in the final tally: I didn't die and slowed only slightly. A completely different outcome than I expected. It wasn't easy but nothing ever is.

Tomorrow I run with Mike in Canada. I hope he goes easy on me.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Change in plans keeps me home


The scheduled workout was this: 12 miles w/embedded medium-fast progression run. Target paces: 6:40 - 6:02 [95% - 105% MP]. 2 mile w/u, 45 minutes progression, final miles recovery. Purpose: Aerobic resistance.

Results: After a 2 mile warmup I got in 45 minutes progression which turned out to be 7 miles. Here are the progression splits:

Mile 1 6:57
Mile 2 6:33
Mile 3 6:22
Mile 4 6:23
Mile 5 6:21
Mile 6 6:06
Mile 7 6:24

I finished out with a 3 mile cooldown for 12 miles total. Miles 1, 4, & 7 I think are a little long but Gmaps Pedometer begs to differ. So I'll be conservative and list them as a mile. Mile 1 I went a little conservative to set the tone. Mile 2 is uphill, mile 3 I got the pace on and mile 4 I thought was a little long. Mile 5 is uphill, mile 6 is down and mile 7 I was toast. Nevertheless, I felt ok about the progression.

These resistance runs seem harder than the aerobic power runs due to the length of the progression run. After awhile I just get tired. I think later on these will get easier but right now let's just say I'm glad the marathon is not tomorrow.


I had the day off today so plans were made to go with my sister and my parents while they chopped down their Christmas tree.  Unfortunately, the planned departure from Eastport was scheduled for 7am! This meant an 18 mile workout had to be complete by 6:15. Ugh.

Scheduled workout: 18 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose recovery/volume.

Results: 18 mile progression. 6 x 3 mile loop. Average pace 8:32, avg HR 134. Pace splits for each loop:

Loop 1 9:24 pace
Loop 2 9:04 pace
Loop 3 9:03 pace
Loop 4 8:39 pace
Loop 5 7:58 pace
Loop 6 7:04 pace

I had to wake at 3am and be out the door by 3:30. Accomplished. Some quick toast and coffee and I was out the door. I took along a little radio for company and that lasted 2 loops before I got tired of that. I hardly ever train with a radio or MP3 but sometimes I just need the comfort in order to get out the door. It's similar to when I wear an extra warm layer of clothing that I know I won't need after a mile or two but I wear it anyway just to feel cozy until I warm up. The radio kept me company this morning and that is what I needed at 3:30am.

The first two loops were slogs. A bathroom break at mile 6, then the 'halfway done' lap to finish out 9, and then I finally woke up. My pace dropped and I felt a little more alive. This motivation continued as the the final 9 miles slid by with less and less effort. By the final lap I was cruising right along enjoying the new fuel source in those newly recruited fibers.

I was very happy with this 18 mile workout. It's a tough run to do and I guess I am more pleased that I was able to work around my time constraint by getting up and out early. I'll have to go to bed early, that is for sure. I am glad I avoided the temptation to 'hope' for some time later on in the day - since that rarely happens. Especially when the workout on the schedule takes two hours and forty five minutes to do.

And finally, poor Mike. He's got a pain in the neck. And no, it is not me. He's tired and cranky and he needs a plan. I told him it's time to do something drastic.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Easy is what easy does

Scheduled workout: 15 miles recovery. Target pace: none. Purpose: recovery.

Results: 15.6 miles in 2:12:00 (8:28 pace). HR 140 (63% maxHR).

What a pleasant run. I was expecting a Monday drag but got the Wednesday special instead. By the end of Loop #1 I was in an effortless state of mind. Easy was on the schedule and so it was. But today's easy was a little quicker than usual as the miles slid under the soles of my feet.

I'll take it. I'm handed enough hard days that I don't mind accepting a free pass now and again. The pace splits for each 5.2 mile loop:

Loop 1 9:03 per mile
Loop 2 8:30 per mile
Loop 3 7:50 per mile

Another 15 miles closer to 2:45.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

She Loves Me

I can cry all I want. But she teases me into thinking she loves me. What can I do? I am smitten.

Today I awoke feeling fine. Where'd all the fatigue go? How about those sore muscles? Nothing.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles w/embedded 20 minute Fast Progression Run. w/u at recovery pace, 20 minutes @ paces from 6:12 to 5:51 [20 minutes @ 102% - 108% MP], c/d at recovery pace. Purpose: Aerobic Power.

3.59 mile warmup @ 9:10 pace. HR 133.
3.3 miles @ 6:06 pace. Mile splits: 6:04, 5:54, 6:23. HR 172.
3.35 mile coodown @ 9:26 pace. HR 137.

The warmup was apprehensive since I always feel a little nervous about how I'm going to do. Like I'm a third party, watching the workout instead of actively participating. Like someone else is controlling the legs. But again, once I was off on the fast portion of the run I slid right into a groove of relaxed running.

Today I tried to get a little better handle on pace management. I did a little better than last week since I didn't feel so stressed out there. I was very relaxed and felt in control. Mile one went by in 6:04 when I meant to do a 6:12. Mile two scooted by in 5:54 when I meant to do 6:00. But it was just as well since the wind was at my back for these two miles and now I was to turn into it.

I paid the weather price and the pace price on mile three as my motivation to dig into the cold wind just flittered away. I lengthened the stride a little, swung the arms a little more forcefully, and tried other tricks, but the truth was I was slowing and I didn't really care. I had enjoyed miles 1 and 2 so much that I didn't want mile three to be a super human effort. The split shows this as I crossed in 6:23 as I came back out of the wind. I finished out the 20 minutes about 1 tenth of a mile shorter than last Thursday - but that is ok (the pace was back down to sub 6). I felt very good, relaxed, and in control. And to be above MP, running smoothly, and on the full mileage schedule just makes me feel good.

I happily jogged out my remaining mileage to make 10.24 miles. Felt absolutely great. Today literally felt like an easy day. I suspect that just 20 minutes of work, while difficult when being completed, is just so darn easy compared to some workouts that last for hours. It's the genius behind Lydiard.

And for those conspiracy theorists among us - I suggest quietly that the joke's on us. We worry, plan, and complete these great high end aerobic workouts and then fall back safely into our snug 15 milers every other day at recovery pace to 'sleep it off'. When all the while, it's the Monday 15, the Wednesday 15, the Friday 18, and the Sunday 21 miler that puts the T in Turbo. But that's just between us.

Tomorrow I do an easy 15.

Monday, November 20, 2006

If running's my mistress, then my log's a daisy

And it reads like this:

Su She loves me
M She loves me not
Tu She loves me
W She loves me not
Th She loves me
F She hates me
Sa She ignores me
Su She loves me
M She loves me not
Tu She's thinking about it
W She loves me not
Th She loves me
F She loves me still
Sa She thinks I'm awesome
Su She hates me
M She's trying to kill me

My hand trembles as I reach for tomorrow's petal, a 20 minute fast progression run.

Today's run was like wading through mud. 15.1 miles in 2:16:25 or a 9:02 pace. I had the full body fatigue thing going. I was so tired. My muscles were ok and I didn't experience any pain. But talk about a drag, a slog. At least the weather was nice and like I said, no pain. My comment in my log: really sluggish, wx cool, felt ok maybe.

This is where it all starts and where it all can end if one is not careful. The make or break zone. I call it the 100 mile syndrome. Once the climb is over, the goal is to make every day the end of 100 miles for the preceding 7 days. I constant mileage plateau. For obvious reasons (and some that are not so obvious if you've never been here) there is a real sense of fatigue built into each run that doesn't dissipate very quickly. The body finally adapts and then responds with faster times and increased stamina. But until that happens, it is a chore not to just say "let's take a break". And it's only been 3 days.

What's it take, 23 days to make a habit? Well in 20 short days I should have the fatigue beat. I've been through this before - just last August as I ramped up over 100 for the 5 weeks prior to Wineglass. It just takes time and commitment.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Well that was tough

Another 21 miles of fun out along the shores of the Passamaquoddy Bay and then in along to shore of Boyden Lake. But this time Mike was trying to kill me, or at least it felt like it. My right calf started talking around mile 11 and it made for some gingerly ascents up the hills. At least it felt better coming down. The silent mile came early for us as we both ran into a tired, fatigued state of being early on this morning.

To be expected, really. Finally up to 100 miles and I'll start feeling the love with each and every workout until I adapt. That's the trouble with those good workouts during the climb - they're all on relatively fresh legs. At least now the weekly mileage will plateau and it won't be long before the monthly mileage will be a plateau as well.

That will be new. During my last two marathons, the graphs for the monthly mileage totals look high mountain peaks with Wineglass' mountain towering over Holyoke. This time, I want to have the mountain look more like a butte. A nice flat top representing a long consistent run of high mileage.

The weather this morning was cold and I was slightly underdressed. I wore shorts when I should have worn pants. I did wear gloves and a winter cap however. The wind was out of the north and we ran into it for about 10 miles. When I came home I took a hot shower and didn't even bother tempering it with cold.

So far I have taken two naps today.  Fortunately, if I may be permitted to say such wicked things, my youngest is suffering from some bug going around the school necessitating frequent lie downs on the couch. So all I have had to do is lie down beside her for a chat and cuddle and I drop off like brick thrown into the ocean!

She's up now eating some toast.

I've iced today and will do some more later. Keeping tabs on the aches and pains.

21 miles in 2:50:25. Average HR 139. Average pace 8:07.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Post

Scheduled workout: 10 miles medium paced progression run. Target paces: 7:27 - 6:20 [85% to 100% MP]. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

Results: 10.4 miles in 1:08:30. HR 163. Average pace 6:35. Progression splits:

Mile 1 7:11
Mile 2 7:02
Mile 4.2 6:47 (2.2 mile avg pace)
Mile 5.2 6:27
Mile 6.2 6:29
Mile 7.2 6:20
Mile 9.4 6:24 (2.2 mile avg pace)
Mile 10.4 5:56

Did a .8 mile warmup prior to workout. Finished week with 100.5 miles. Feeling good.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Talking About Training

I received a nice email from Zeke. He inquired into my program this winter. Running a 2:45 would be a significant improvement. In order to do this I need to be on track and on task. I do have a program and I shared some thoughts about it with him. I share the same thoughts here.

The program I am following is Lydiard's basic 100 mile per week schedule with specific workouts taken from Renato Canova. Here is how it transpired.

Leading up to Wineglass I had "finally had enough" of poor training and decided I would stop talking about Lydiard and actually follow the mileage program. No hills, no speed, no coordination - just miles - for now. I did 5 weeks of 100 miles and that in addition to my current conditioning (not totally lost over a summer of injury) I was able to run with significantly improved fuel economy - which in a marathon is what it's all about (until you're very fast). But for now, fuel economy is king.

While this training was going on, I went back and re-read an article by Renato Canova that has always intrigued me. It can be found here: This article talks about the phase of training after the 'base' or 'basic' training. He enumerates two important concepts: Aerobic Resistance and Aerobic Power.

Please read the article. You will see that it is very similar to everything else that we read, hear, and talk about. It's not groundbreaking or earth shattering. But what struck me was the authority, validity, and logical approach that Renato conveys when he is discussing marathon training.

In a nutshell: Aerobic resistance is building quality quantity - running at marathon pace for long periods of time. Aerobic power is building quality stamina - running at levels that utilize increasing amounts of fibers, generally shorter faster workouts. He sets out tables in the article that illustrate suggested workouts for each type of concept. He feels that both concepts need to be addressed in the training regimen.

This is not new. You will recognize these concepts in just about every training program. Further, Renato's examples are percentages of race pace. Above or below. This makes it easier to calculate the appropriate target pace. This is dangerous however, because a runner can get caught up in trying to meet some "arbitrary" number and ignore signals from the body. Thus a runner could become injured or discouraged.

But two things: 1) the pace target really isn't arbitrary. It is a percentage of a race pace. And 2) if the pace is too fast, just adjust the race pace (for now) and continue. Over time, the race pace can be readjusted back once the ability to *train* is improved. By adjusting race pace, all training paces change accordingly. This way we are not mix & matching, thereby creating our own program to a rotten end.

So you can see my reason for assessment weekly and even daily. Keeping myself as close to the edge within reason.

My first 'go' with Renato ended in disaster. Since he doesn't lay out a program, I thought Aerobic Resistance workouts were the 'easy' days and the Aerobic Power workouts were the 'quality' days. Boy was I wrong. I lasted 2 weeks before crashing. I don't have the ability to *train* at that level. I need recovery.

Then I read an article in Running Times that Marc pointed out to me. It was an article concerning recovery running and how it wasn't really 'recovery' per se, but rather a good dose of 'balance' inserted into the regimen. This hit home (again). I've always known this, but to re-read it made sense again. Keeping the miles up by running high mileage 'recovery' running created the balance I needed to run triple digits to gain the benefits of voluminous running - documented everywhere as extremely beneficial - and running high end aerobic running to gain the best conditioning possible.

Enter Lydiard again! Looking at Lydiard's standard schedule:

M 15 miles 1/4 effort (easy)
Tu 10 miles 1/2 effort (hard - MP)
W 15 miles 1/4 effort (easy)
Th 12 miles 1/2 effort ( hard - MP)
F 18 miles 1/4 effort (easy)
Sa 10 miles 3/4 effort (hard -tempo)
Su 22 miles 1/4 effort (long)

The easy volume days are listed and the quality days are listed. It is laid out quite simply. I know there is debate about hard / medium vs. hard / easy but I think that is a matter about one's ability to *train* at that level. I can't take the back to back heat so I stay out of that particular kitchen (for now). On the other hand, Saturday to Sunday seems like a good example of back to back given the two quality workouts in a row.

Nevertheless, I need 100 miles per week to gain the true benefits of voluminous running. Lydiard has said that if you can't do the mileage, then slow down. That means something to me. It means that the miles really, really count. More than the paces. I think it is because once you sacrifice the miles for better paces, you not only short change yourself in the long run, you make it difficult psychologically to decide to run more miles (because you have to run them slower). Better to go long and then speed up as you adapt.

Secondly, I need to run 26.2% of those miles at or near MP. That is a standard rule followed by elites. This can be done in a number of ways (the list is endless) but I decided to take my workouts from Renato's tables - and alternate between an Aerobic Resistance workout and an Aerobic Power workout. Therefore, on the 1/2 effort and 3/4 effort days, I insert a Renato workout accordingly. It is Lydiard's base building program spelled out.

And lastly, about 8 weeks out from the marathon, we switch to Rhythm Training where we drop the mileage for better recovery and run more MP specific training paces for longer distances. Again, refer to the article.

This skips hill work and speed work that Lydiard promotes. That doesn't mean they are not necessary, I am just not doing them on this cycle. No program is ideal because we are all limited in terms of time, ability, and the different key issues we are working on.

Since the Wineglass Marathon, I have had 2 weeks of no running, and then 4 weeks of preparatory mileage: 56, 52, 72, 61. I had only intended to run 2 weeks of prep work but the little injuries and fatigue that popped up dictated otherwise. So I learned a good lesson immediately of the value of re-assessing, re-evaluating. Yet, I did the assessment with the goal of getting there, not stepping back. If I step back, it is with the view of moving forward. No guilt, just determination.

I am just now starting the "real program" that spells out some specific workouts. There may come instances where I'll have to back down. Not a failure, it's proof I'm pushing the envelope - but with a little more intelligence this time.

Here's next week's schedule. It is not cut in stone and can be adjusted depending on assessment:

Week 2

11/20 – Core workout: 15 miles recovery. Target pace: none. Purpose: recovery.

11/21 – Core workout: 10 miles w/embedded 20’ Fast Progression Run. 2 mile w/u at recovery pace. 20 minutes @ paces from 6:12 to 5:51. [ 20 mins @ 102 – 108% MP]. Final 5 miles at recovery pace. Purpose: Aerobic Power.

11/22 – Core workout: 15 miles recovery. Target pace: none. Purpose: recovery.

11/23 – Core workout: 3.5 mile competition w/warmup & cooldown miles.

11/24 – Core workout: 18 miles recovery. Target pace: none. Purpose recovery.

11/25 – Core workout: 10 miles Long Speed Variations. 3x5k with target paces increasing from 6:09 to 5:55 w/3 min recovery. w/u & c/d. Purpose: Aerobic Power.

11/26 – Core workout: Long run 22 miles. Target pace: 7:55. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

That easy, peaceful feeling

Scheduled workout: 18 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: recovery / volume.

Results: 18.3 miles in 2:42:36 (time includes two bathroom stops). Average pace 8:53, HR 134 (60% maxHR). 6 x 3.05 mile loop. Loop splits:

1. 9:18 pace. Had to stop for skunk. Won't let me pass.
2. 8:45 pace. 3 crazy deer crisscrossing in front of me. Won't let me pass.
3. 8:42 pace. Enter Eric.
4. 8:38 pace.
5. 8:11 pace. Exit Eric after 3 loops.
6. 7:50 pace.

Average running pace was 8:34.

I beat the weather (it still hasn't arrived yet) but I just heard from Marc. He had to run in some nasty wet and wind. I just had to run in the wind. After loop #1 I reversed the direction I was running the loop in so I'd have more protection from the wind. On such a long run as this, these little things make a difference. Another change this time was the water bottle. I carried a small "fuel belt" bottle in my hand (6 oz.) and drank whenever I wanted as I went around the loops (refilling at the house). It just felt better getting fluids earlier and more frequently. Especially since this workout is the toughest of the week. It's so early, the body is dehydrated from sleeping all night and there's not enough time to adequately prep for a 2:45 jaunt around town. Before I run the long run on Sunday's I've been up for 2+ hours, had breakfast, and I am ready to go. However, before this weekly run I'm still wiping my eyes awake at mile 6.

But as much as I dislike running 18 miles on a weekday, I must say (and with apologies to the Eagles) that I get that easy, peaceful feeling all day after the run. There's something about the length of this particular run that elevates the level of those feel-good endorphins in the blood stream. With every heartbeat, another soothing flow saturates the receptors keeping me floating.

Of course, this state of mind is not conducive to, say, operating heavy equipment. And this why I have been pleased to see the portly state of our local road construction crew. I suspect that they haven't just run 18 miles before breakfast and therefore they must be keyed up and super alert. Unlike me, the driver of the lazy vehicle aimlessly wandering through their construction project on my way to work. Life is good.

2:45 report: Miles

Wreckage report: Still icing foot but I don't care. At least not today.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No wind, no rain, no problem

Scheduled workout: 12 miles w/embedded 20 minutes @ 6:05 pace (104% MP). Method: continuous pace. Purpose: Build aerobic power.

Results: 3.1 mile warmup @ 9:30 pace (HR 133)
3.42 miles @ 5:59 pace (HR 168)
5.4 mile cooldown @ 9:22 pace (HR 136)

Total 11.92 miles in 1:40:28 @ avg 8:26 pace.

I was very worried today that I would not be able to run the scheduled pace for 20 minutes. Last Tuesday's rain & wind run really had me struggling for (and never reaching) the 7:02 pace. So it was quite understandable that today's 6:05 pace, if even for only 20 short minutes, might seem a bit out of reach. But I underestimated just how much the weather really slows you down.

This morning the weather was warm, the air misty, and there wasn't even a breeze. I shuffled out the door at 5:15 and decided to run today's workout in three parts - a warmup, fast run, then a cooldown. Someday I hope to be able to throw the fast portion of the run into the middle of a medium effort and then just back it back down to medium effort (in fact I think my program has a workout like that in a few weeks) but not today.

My warmup consisted of 3.1 miles with a stop back at the house. I finished out the warmup by jogging 3/4 mile to the top of the High School hill where I would begin the fast run. I designed the course much better this time with very few turns. This was easy to do since I would only be cooking for 20 minutes. The course was net downhill (but not by much) and some good straights. As I approached the start I was still very nervous about what to expect.

I shouldn't have been nervous. Nothing like speed to cure confidence problems. From the beginning I was cruising nicely at what I felt to be the appropriate pace, if not a little too fast. Unfortunately, I didn't know where the mile splits were on this course (I'll have to correct that) so I couldn't check the pace. If I did know I would have slowed slightly to conform to the program.

Nevertheless, I was surprised at how quick I felt. Just a few minutes ago, I was worried, and tired, and sluggish, and you name it. Then all of that just disappeared as I got down to today's purpose - building aerobic power at a pace slightly better than MP. Knowing the run is only for 20 minutes, really helps me out. It allows me to relax and not worry about the pace so much and just fly. At one point (at about 18 minutes) I lost concentration and my pace dropped. But I caught it up again and paced out the last 2 minutes. I was glad to be done.

I jogged to the house, got some water, and went out for the cooldown. Very pleased.

2:45 report: Good dose of speed today.

Wreckage report: Ran too fast. Will mark the miles for the next time so I don't max out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday Workout

Scheduled workout: 15 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: Recovery / volume.

Results: 15.45 miles 2:17:40 or 8:55 pace. 3 x 5 mile loop. Pace splits per loop: 9:09 / 9:00 / 8:35.

Ran easily and was pleased with how I felt. I did feel the mileage a little bit near the end but that's the purpose of the workout - volume. Up to 60 miles so far this week with 3 sessions left. Should hit 100.

Wreckage report: left foot complaining. Will have to ice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wind and Rain (keepeth me slow)

Scheduled workout: 10 miles @ 7:02 pace. (90% MP) Method: continuous pace. Purpose: Build aerobic resistance.

Result: 10 miles @ 7:11 pace (100% MP or 84% maxHR)

Not exactly as I planned but a hard workout nevertheless. The wind and rain put the lid on any hopes I may have had for scooting about town running at a 7:02 pace. I also poorly designed my course with too many turns to keep a good cadence going amid the pressing wind and steady downpour. I would have been much better off on longer stretches of road. I chose to stay in town today because I thought the mid-day traffic would be too much out the highway and also I wanted to be close to home to get water etc. I haven't been feeling well the past two days (I feel good presently) so I wanted to be near home for safety sake. Well no matter, I felt like I was on a cross country course the entire time.

It was a 2.02 mile loop. Here are the splits:

2.02 miles: 14:22 (7:07 pace)
4.04 miles: 14:18 (7:05 pace)
6.06 miles: 14:21 (7:06 pace)
8.08 miles: 14:39 (7:15 pace) - had to stop and tie my shoes
10.1 miles: 14:55 (7:23 pace) - pace falling apart

I emailed Marc right after the run to let him know how it went...

Immediately, you should be able to see there are too many turns. There is no way to keep a cadence going like this. Plus, today it was raining so hard that each intersection was filled with water. I had to especially watch for mid-day traffic not expecting a runner doing a 90% MP run trying to make a fast turn. It was real work! Then to top it all off, Hawkes was a real bear of a climb it was so long. I would have been better off running the course in reverse and going up the steep hill by the house then this thing. I could feel the lactate build in the legs just as I got to the top.

And then there was the wind. The direction I was running this oddball loop was wrong considering the wind. During all the short sharp turns I was out of the wind. During the long straights (County coming back, Key going out) I was dead into a headwind pushing me back hard. So when I was out of the wind I was either climbing a long hill, making too many turns, or coming down a steep hill (braking). So I didn't get to take advantage of the wind at my back.

The good news is this: even though my pace faltered at the end, I wasn't tired. When I finished I could have kept going if I was going to run slowly. It was the 84% maxHR business that I was done with. So it is nice to know that 10 miles "hard" is still in me - ready to be trained. Next time, I'll carry a small bottle of water and run a straighter route even if it means longer periods in the wind. At least I'd be able to keep my cadence.

I was thinking of Dallon and Greg and what they had to go through for most of their race at Chicago. Their great times is a testament to their great fitness.

One thing nice about a 2 mile loop is while at first it seems long, it is soothing to know that each loop is over in less than 15 short minutes. So when I passed the house for that final lap (#5) I knew I'd be done in a jiffy.

Now that I'm back on program (hard /easy) I am looking forward to a slow 15 miles tomorrow.

2:45 report: 10 miles hard. It's in me, ready to train.

Wreckage report: Ran harder than I intended due to struggle against wind, rain, and the watch. Just glad I stayed at MP effort and nothing higher.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Now back to our regularly scheduled program

At least that's how it started. A nice 21 miler with Mike on Sunday morning even if he did pick up the pace at the end. He was looking for that special 'silent mile'. The pace where I stop talking. Hmmm.

Today the picture got slightly fuzzy with the scheduled 15 miler. I hooked up with Eric early and ran his course with him instead of mine. This meant no water for 10 miles so the silent mile came early as I started to feel dehydrated. Grabbed some water at 10 miles but it was too late. By my 12 I had abdominal cramps and the run ended back at the house at 12.5 miles. Easy pace of 8:48.

However, now I don't think it was an isolated occurrence of being dehydrated. I had to come home from work early today to be in the comfort of my own home as I still had distress. I ended up napping for 3 hours. So tomorrow's workout is TBD since I don't know how I'll be feeling tomorrow.

Training for tomorrow is scheduled to be Medium Even Paced Continuous Run at 90% MP. This translates into 10 miles with an average pace of 7:02 or thereabouts. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

Last week I ended the with 61.2 miles. Average pace: 8:06. Avg HR 144.

Last 4 weeks:

Miles Pace HR
56 8:15 145
52.2 8:48 138
72.6 8:24 139
61.2 8:06 144

2:45 report: 21 miler done with ease. Felt good.

Wreckage report: Some type of sickness starting to dog me.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Low Coal, Weak Steam

Ran low on steam this morning at mile 4 of a proposed 18 mile run. Chugged home with a final hisssssss as I pulled into the train yard. I open the coal door and what? I must have forgot to fill the bin. I was empty.

Bagging a run invokes my rest day rule, so for the 2nd week in a row, I get Saturday off. I'm going to start suspecting myself of some slacking here before long.

My error this morning was getting out the door before I was ready. I have spoiled myself in recent weeks with getting up at 4am and sitting around having coffee, snacking on toast, and generally waking up slowly. This morning I was out the door with half a cup of coffee, no toast, and no leisure time. Well that didn't work.

Besides injury, or perhaps along with injury, there's no more debilitating feeling then running low on fuel. In some respects it's worse than an injury in that it affects one's motivation. You just don't *want* to run. Whereas, a sore muscle merely frustrates the runner, no fuel eliminates the runner.

By mile 4 I could think of all kinds of things I could be doing other than running. Instead of imagining myself winning yet another marathon, I was imagining all the things I usually do prior to the run (check blogs, send emails, listen to music, read etc.). So it wasn't difficult to decide that another 12 miles beyond the 6 I did would not be a good idea.

So now that I got home early, I settled in with some coffee and blogs while the sun rose outside without me. Depressing yes, but rest is rest. I'm am very glad however, that the legs are beginning to behave and allowing me some greater efforts out there. Sunday, I hope to run a long run with Mike. Then on to the program.

Looks my ascent to triple digits is taking me a good while. Oh well. I have to do what the body dictates. Keeping the balance between "too much too soon" and "too little too late". With prior convictions of each of these, I hope to add the crime of running a 2:45 in May.

Wreckage Report: Train slid to a stop at mile 6 today. No steam. Taking a day to stoke the fire.

2:45 Report: 61 miles for the week. Legs and joints are feeling good. Limited use of ibuprofen now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Maybe it was the coffee.

Tired, I got up at 4 and slacked off sipping hot coffee and tapping the keys of the computer. Time just whirred as I lazed about waiting for the 6am start to today's 60 minute jog around town. Before I knew it, it was time to be out the door and on the frosty roads. I hit the start on the HR monitor and stopwatch and off I shuffled into the quiet air. I wasn't hurting this morning but I took 2 motrin for safety's sake.

By the time I climbed up to the high school at 1/2 mile I felt like I was running slightly faster than usual. And then something strange happened. At 3/4 mile I got the *twinge* in the inner right quad, my gait faltered, corrected, and then like an engine reclaiming a damaged piston I was suddenly had new legs. The pace quickened immediately, my breathing got easier, my arms relaxed, and I got my stride back. I thought 'what just happened?'

I still don't have an answer but the legs were done with the old slog; they wanted a new and improved stride and they got it. Breathing easily, I let the body dictate a relaxed pace that progressively got faster as the miles flew by under the feet. No more twinges, no more soreness, nothing to indicate a problem present or past. 'What is going on?' I asked more than once as I felt myself speeding up to MP for some serious training. The legs were in control of this run and I was a mere passenger. An amateur at the controls afraid to push any buttons - letting the train fly away on its own.

For the next two miles I thought I'd have a new wreckage report for the blog but after completing the first 3.05 mile loop in 20:48 (6:49 pace) I finally let go of my disaster fears and let the engines burn. Loop two scooted by in 19:33 (6:25 pace) and I completed my final loop in 19:03 (6:15 pace). I had to add an extra tenth of a mile to get my full hour.

2:45 Report:

9.25 miles, 1 hour. MP run. Felt great, relaxed.

Training Update

Sunday: 17 miles in 2:20:53 w/Mike & Marc. A great run. Can't do better than their descriptions on their blogs. But they did leave out that they had to listen to me obsess about trains and wrecks.

No run Sunday night. Very sore.

Monday: 11.2 miles in 1:30:58 HR 144. Easy run felt good until last .2. Right knee complained when pace increased. Not seeing enough progress in the recovery department so I pulled the plug on the double.

Wreckage report:

All during the day the knee was fine but the pain was replaced with the same 'twinge' from Friday. Responds to Ibuprofen. This morning I feel fine. This tells me that the on the intensity menu I need reduce the frequency of my runs. Looks like I need 24 hours between workouts even though the 2nd workout is very easy and very short.

The evening run is now dropped for this week and I will add this component more slowly to the mix as the program progresses. Looks like I just can't recover enough in 12 hours yet. A real shame since I was hoping to receive the rewards of the increased volume without significant strain on the muscular or skeletal systems. Not to be. Even an easy 30 minutes is shaking the train and threatening a derailment.

I have to keep my eye on the priority workouts - the high mileage singles. I can't get there if I'm crumpled back in my prep weeks (week #4 down here if anyone cares). Now we know why we do prep weeks and the weekly evaluation.

Frequency: 1 per day (moderate intensity)
Speed: Easy (low intensity)
Time: 90 minutes / 60 minutes (moderate intensity)
Distance: 11 miles / 7 miles (moderate - low intensity)

2:45 report:

Pockets of ease creeping into workouts. Smooth running, running below capability. Not tired at end of workouts or sore except for the niggles. General soreness dissipated.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Red Flags Waving

Looks like I'm repeating prep week #2. Just not strong enough. A slight twinge in my inner right quad mysteriously appeared this afternoon on my slow 30 minute jog. The trouble with twinges in the inner quad is you can't run when it's "twinging" (or walk for that matter). So I'm pulling the plug on tomorrow to let whatever I bothered to rest and heal. And that means repeating the week to get the green light to proceed.

Not even a hint that I was going to get this one. My most recent complaints have been some slight left foot soreness and minor aches and pains here and there. I am hoping (and expecting) that I'll be feeling fine tomorrow. But caution is the rule in the ascent.

Too bad too. I was really looking forward to getting on with the program. I have some specific workouts that rotate on a multi-week schedule on the quality days. These different workouts will keep some of the boredom at bay and keep me on working hard. Alas, not yet.

This morning's run was really good. I was out for 90 minutes getting in 11 miles. The sun came up for half of the run, the weather was cool (32F), and I felt very relaxed. This afternoon's run was ok but the the after effect is a red flag.

This reminds of this old book called "Tootle". It's about a young train learning the ropes of trainhood but gets distracted by the beauty of the surroundings. He is always breaking the number #1 rule to "never leave the tracks". He can't help himself and rolls in the flowers, sits by streams and whatnot. Eventually, the trainyard personnel start suspecting Tootle's been wandering off the tracks and they devise a plan to get him "back on track". Luckily, one of the earliest rules a young train learns is to always stop for a "red flag waving". So all the people hide in one of Tootle's favorite fields and when he tries to get to the flowers a red flag suddenly appears waving. Tootle stops and tries a different direction only to be thwarted by yet another red flag waving. Everywhere he turns he's confronted with red flags waving until back toward the tracks he sees a green flag waving. Relieved, he gets back on the tracks and all is well again and all the people cheer.

Another repeat week - coming up. All aboard.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's all coming back to me now.

Another run without Motrin - before or after. Things are looking good. The times are slow with the HR hovering between 65% - 70%. That's ok, since the purpose of this week's training is recovery. I have the suspicion that I'll be running at these low HR numbers for a little while longer even as the program progresses to hard/easy (right now the only variable is the distance per day). Easy/easy will be the ticket until all my parts can handle the increased intensity.

My intensity breakdown currently:

Frequency: 14 sessions per week (high intensity)
Time: Variable. 60 minutes / 90 minutes w/30 minute evening supplemental (moderate intensity)
Distance: Variable. ~7 miles / 11 miles w/3.5 miles evenings (moderate intensity)
Speed: 65% - 70% HR or 8:00+ to 9:00+. (Low intensity)

The multiple sessions means no days off and twice daily running. This can wear you out but also provides significant benefits in terms of mileage. It is recommended by Lydiard and easy evening (or morning) running is found in many schedules. Initially, this factor alone provided me with all the symptoms of fatigue. I wasn't bone tired, just dragging like I should eat or something. I wasn't even running that many miles to begin with but the 12 hour gap (instead of 24 hours) between workouts, however easy, really increased the intensity factor. I attribute my immediate knee problem to this factor. But as the old adage goes, curing most running injuries involves more running. So over time, the knee adapted to the double sessions and the aches and pains lessened as the days went on. This was achieved by paying strict attention to the other intensity variables. By varying the time and distance each day, I simulated hard/easy and by keeping the speed as slow as appropriate I got the miles in. There will be other aches and pains coming I am sure; since once one pain goes away, another invariably replaces it.

While the frequency was my only variable at a high level of intensity, the others were moderate or low. The time and distance factors I consider to be at a moderate level as these will jump, very soon, into the triple digits (for weekly mileage) and over 2 hours for 4 of the week's 14 sessions. There is a possibility that over time my Monday and Wednesday workouts (15 miles) will take me less than 2 hours but right now it is safe to say 2 hours is a good target on these days. Afterall, these days are "easy" and everyone knows I have a healthy spread between my fast paces and my slower paces. Someday I'll recover at quicker easy paces but anything forced on these days just ruins the quality on Tues, Thurs, and Saturday.

Speed, the last variable, has been kept at a very low intensity. And it will continue to be so until the signs are present that I am recovered from the marathon and that benefits will accrue with the application of increased paces. The full blown training plan calls for MP running on 3 days per week give or take a few percents on either side depending on the specific workout. This means HR's near 80% - 90%. At this HR, it takes concentration. It's just the level of intensity that you know you can continue (at least for an hour) but quite frankly, you'd rather not. By concentrating during the training, the pace can be maintained and there is plenty of literature out there on how maximal benefits are attained by running at this intensity.

The typical Lydiard base building plan (102 miles per week in single sessions) has 3 sessions devoted to running at this intensity resulting in about 32 miles at MP. This means 70% of the week's mileage (or greater if there is a daily supplemental run) is at a low intensity. Just how low is dependent upon the runner's current conditioning level. Better put, it is dependent on the runner's ability to recover. The quickest way to defeat is over-training. But over-training comes not from running too hard really, it comes from not recovering. And many times, we feel that we're ready to tackle the next hard workout when really we're not, or worse, we refuse to run at paces deemed "too slow" to have any benefit. In the end, we're in serious trouble as the muscles force the recovery in a way very unpleasant. Many decide to take a day of rest instead of running slower paces. This helps with recovery but cheats the runner from the benefits of maximum mileage. Perhaps days off are more appropriate when we are no longer trying to build aerobic capacity but rather are working on fine tuning our racing skills.

In marathon training, most benefits accrue to the runner from significant sustained weekly mileage. However, typical speeds run at shorter daily distances (5 - 7 miles) cannot be sustained for very long at longer distances and therefore, horrible problems arise almost immediately from the increased mileage. Running faster at the expense of running longer will not improve marathon performance as much as could be possible. This is because most of us lack the necessary capacity to transport oxygen to the legs (not to mention utilizing it once it's delivered). This aerobic capacity is increased through aerobic running - long aerobic running. You may solve the shoe issue, the Gu issue, hydration and weather issues of a marathon, but it really comes down to the blood vessels. The more you have, the better it'll be.

The neat thing about blood vessels (or mitochondria or capillaries, or whatever I mean) is that they do not go away. This is what is meant when it is said that your aerobic conditioning doesn't really diminish over short periods of time (although there is "peaking"). Runners will run at a certain level, get injured, and come back and run almost exactly at the same level as before after some very short training. Why? Because they never lost the previously built aerobic system. Quickly re-trained, the runner processes oxygen at the same rate as before resulting in very similar times. Is this anybody you know? If the runner wants to improve, he has to do more extensive and intensive training to get the body to create additional pathways.

With limited time each day to devote to training, we must prioritize our training regimen to focus on what will produce the greatest results in our chosen distance. For marathons, we'll find this mostly like to be continuous high mileage training at intensities that promote multiple month training.

Training so far this week:

Purpose: Recovery and prep for full program

Sunday: 3.5 miles AM 8:34 pace
3.74 miles PM 8:07 pace

Monday: 11.24 miles AM 8:03 pace
3.52 miles PM 8:34 pace

Tuesday: 7.4 miles AM 8:11 pace
3.65 miles PM 8:24 pace

Wednesday: 10.4 miles AM 8:53 pace
3.6 miles PM 8:36 pace

Thursday: 7.4 miles AM 8:22 pace

Have a good day!