Monday, June 26, 2006

Week 1 complete - 118 days to go

This weekend was a planned vacation with my in-laws at a Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania – about 1 hour south of Penn State University. This is my first marathon training program in the summertime. We all know summers bring on vacations, cook-outs, parties and family times. This weekend was my first test to stay focused on training while in the company of family and our activities. Here’s a quick weekend recap:

Friday, June 23

There was no planned running on this day. Our flight out of Chicago was delayed and we arrived in Pittsburgh late on Thursday eve around 1:15 AM.
Early on Friday morning, we drove out to Raystown Lake, PA and arrived around 11 AM. We spend the afternoon boating on the lake with an evening cookout and campfire to follow.

Saturday, June 24

A recovery run was on the schedule. Interestingly, the Pfitz plan calls for a recovery run after a day of rest. I began to explore the hills of Raystown Lake, PA on this recovery run. The area is largely recreational with boat launches, campsites - interwoven with rolling hills and long windy highways. I ran it easy but it's tough to hold pace with all of the hills. The heart rate tends to be all over the board in hilly areas. I was supposed to do 4 – but got lost around our cottage site and ended up doing over 5 by accident.

Start: 8:18 AM EDT
Time: 43:15
Est Dist: 5.0 - Pace: 8:40
Avg HR: 147
Conditions: Overcast and muggy - High 60's - 90% humidity
Terrain: Hills, and more hills.

In between boat rides, Jen and I took out my dad-in-law's truck to explore the surrounding area and map out my 12-miler for Sunday morning.

The rest of the day was boating, swimming, sunning and eating. I was curious as to how my body would respond on Sunday morning after a busy boating day on Saturday. We had a second boat run in the evening and docked for the night at 10PM. I skipped the campfire gathering with the in-laws and went to bed at 10:30.

Sunday, June 25

Start: 7:07 AM EDT
Time: 1:42:56
Est Dist: 12.1 miles - Pace: 8:30
Avg HR: 150
Conditions: Steady drizzle for most of run
Tearrain: Hill, rolling hills, steady uphill climbs and fast descents

I set out Sunday morning after downing a Clif bar and some gatorade and a GU. I've also been taking hydration tablets the night before my runs over 7 miles. Only annoyance with that is that I've yet to sleep through the night without having to pee. Nonetheless, I've been able to get good hydration levels to start my runs to this point.

The weather was rainy and moist, but comfortable. I think I am adapting to longer summer running and more morning runs. I braced myself for what I knew would be a good test for my quads and glutes and my endurance. This was my longest run since the Tampa Marathon on Feb 26.

The first 3 miles were around the resort campsites, which entailed a series of steep up-and-down grades. Miles 4 through 8 were basically one big uphill climb. My slowest mile was #6 at 9:10. That was as I approached the peak and turned around back towards the campsites.

I ran the majority of the run on a state road outside of the Raystown Lake recreational area. I know this sounds dangerous, but it really was the best option. The road, honestly, was not as runner-friendly on the shoulders as I would hope.

The pavement was great, but the shoulder at points was not wide enough to accommodate runners. But the place is secluded enough that cars on Sunday morning would be few and far between. When cars did pass by, I waved my arm out to get attention and went as far onto the gravel as I could. I ran with a pack this time to keep water at my fingertips. I GU’d up again after 49 minutes.

Overall, I was happy with my commitment to this run. It would have been easy to quit early given the rain, the hills and the "it's vacation" mentality. But I didn't. I was steady and I felt good. I planned the route the night before and kept an eye on my Polar distance monitor for pace. Target was a steady 8:20-8:40 range on average. Uphill was slower, downhill was faster.

There were two hills that simply were so steep and physically taxing that I decided to power walk to the top and resume my run. I feel that I can handle the steady upgrade better than the avg runner and pride myself on being a decent hill runner, but there are some hills that just aren't worth pushing it for.

Overall, I am really proud of this run. I was wet and tired, but not exhausted. I knew I had a day of family activities ahead of me. Again, I am feeling stronger than ever before. I started earlier this time - and am gearing up for some important mileage.

More Pfitzinger training plan questions

As I mentioned previously, I joined the CARA training program to build some connectivity with other local runners and get a support network for my long runs. The CARA training plan is endorsed by and influenced directly by Hal Higdon. I decided I would follow Pfitzinger's program (at least as I much as I can) because if its more scientific approach, its heavy focus on speed and others who have claimed success by following it.

My dilemma: The CARA training program long runs are scheduled for Saturdays. I paid good money for the program and plan to run with the group runs. However, I need to adjust my schedule, since the Pfitz 18-week 55 MPW plan calls for Sunday long runs. Not so concerned about swapping Sat and Sun runs for the initial several weeks. However, later in the program, there is some speed work scheduled on Saturdays. I don't think it's a good idea do to do speed work on Saturdays followed by a long run on Sundays.

Example: At "weeks to goal = 11", there is a general aerobic run on Sat, which includes 8x100 strides -- followed by a Sunday 18-miler. If I swap these, I am concerned about not being able to do the strides justice on Sunday - or worse yet - exhausting or hurting myself. Maybe I could insert the 8x100m strides due on Saturday into Thursday's med-long 11-miler?

I've got 6 weeks to figure this week plan out. Until then, I plan to simply swap my Sat and Sun runs -- i.e. I'll be running long on Sat, and doing recovery on Sunday. Thoughts, comments, concerns?

Week 2 of 18 – Run Plan

Mon (today) – Rest and travel home from Pittsburgh to Chicago
Tue – 8 miles w/ 8 x 100m strides
Wed – Cross-train at gym
Thu – 10 mile general aerobic
Fri – Rest
Sat – 13 miles med-long run with CARA group
Sun – Recovery 5 miles


LeahC said...

hi ryan-

why dont you just move everything up a day? so your schedule will be Sun-Sat instead of the books mon-sunday. I actually really like doing the recovery runs the day before the long runs. Frequently my legs are a bit stiff on that recovery run and it's nice not going into the long feeling every little kink in my legs. Just an idea so you don't totally have to jostle workouts and such.

Zeke said...

Ryan, 8 x 100 is not a speed workout. It's just something to help the legs remember how to turnover quickly. You could try them on the first Sat and see how they affect your Sun long run. If you don't like it, just move them to another day. They are not going to make-or-break your marathon training.

Bob said...

Ryan, I just moved every thing up a day for the Pfitz 18/55 and do all my long runs on Saturdays. I much perfer running long on Saturdays and lounging around on Sundays. Why not just do that?

And while I agree with zeke that strides are not speed workouts, they still are physically taxing and leave you spent and for me at least a bit sore the next day. I have not looked that far ahead but I think depending on how I was feeling the strides might take a back seat to being fresh for a long run. Maybe do a few but do them a bit easier. Maybe sprinkle in some plyometrics, skiping, bounding and such.

Running Rabbit said...

Hydration tabs? What exactely are these? And what do they do for you?

runnergirl said...

Way to go on finishing the long run while on vacay. That takes some determination.