Wednesday, May 30, 2007

26 Miles Through Wednesday? Sweet...

Here is a quick update on how my final week of "base pre-training" is going.

Monday - Memorial Day - STRONG 11- miler - 7:30 pace
Tuesday - Recovery 6 miler - 8:30 pace
Wednesday - Solid 9-miler - 7:4o avg pace

WTD: 26 miles

I think this is the most miles I have ever put in on a Mon-Wed window. My legs are sore right now. I am looking forward to not getting up at 6 to run tomorrow.

Plan for balance of week

Thursday - Hard earned rest
Friday - 5 recovery
Saturday - 11 total - Wheaton 10k race - incl short warmup & 4-mile recovery afterward
Sunday - Rest

Target: 42 miles total

I am starting to feel a little daunted by my plan to do consistent 50-60 mile weeks later this summer. Planning my workouts is a huge effort. The fact is I don't have a simple 9 to 5 job.

My job is great and very flexible. However, occasionally, I need to travel, which can wreak havoc on a training schedule. Quite simply, I cannot get a run in before a 7:00 AM flight out of O Hare. It just is not practical. I guess things could be worse… I could be in Sales.

I really don't know what I am going to be able to run at this Saturday's 10k race. Can I hold 6:40's? I ran 6:25 pace at an 8k in March, but that feels like an eternity ago. Truth is it doesn't matter. It will be my first speed workout of the marathon training season.

Here are a couple of unbiased product review I promised...


A marketing rep from HornetJuice found my blog and sent me 8 trial packets of HornetJuice in exchange for my unbiased review. So here it is...

The stuff seems to work, but it's hard to tell. I just don’t understand the amino acid biochemistry impact and whether or not it’s critical for runners to boost their endurance with them. I can say that I felt great on recent 10 and 11 milers. I drank Hornetjuice less than 30 minutes before each run, and combined it with Gatorade. I also took a GU on one of these – on this run, I rocked.

So, if you feel you need a boost, give it a try. The stuff costs $2 a serving, which can add up quick if you get in the habit of using 5x per week. This may be worth it to some… I am not sure I will be ordering it.

Nike Vomeros+2 - Purchased 5/4/07

I went to Fleet Feet to evaluate new shoes -- not because my Asics Kayano's had failed me, but largely because it had been years since I was professionally fitted. With higher mileage than ever, I wanted to get some pro help. I always thought I had required a stability shoe. After watching me run, the shoe guy explained to me that I am perfectly neutral.

I also tried out some Mizuno’s and the Asics Nimbus. The Vomeros simply had the best impact resistance. These shoes have amazing cushioning - and if you like that, you'll be pleased. I've put 138 miles on them so far, and I am happy. Very cushy and pretty light.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Base building on track

My mileage base building is on track. This past week went well. I achieved my 38-mile target and was able to see most of Central London while doing it.

I got lost in and around the beautiful Regent's Park in London while putting in 8.5 miles on Wed morning. London has beautiful parks and running through them is the one thing to do that doesn't cost any money!

Yesterday's morning's 12-miler was a bit rough. Truth is I have only myself to blame. I was invited over to the neighbor's Friday night and I had a couple beers too many. I think I was dehydrated and my HR was a little higher than norm. I felt like garbage - but I got the mileage in at 7:50 avg pace. Lesson learned (again).

Time to talk 2:59 marathon strategy...

Here is a sneak peak of the first several weeks of my training plan as it stands now. There's no detail on workouts, but you can get a feel for the mileage level.

My plan is an adaptation of the mid-point mileage of Pfitzinger's 55mpw and 7o+mpw, with my own adjustments to accommodate my schedules.

Basically, I'll be running many weeks consistently in the 50-63 mpw range. I will try to get to a single 70-mile week later in the summer - the week of 8/13 - just to say I did one. The other difference is that I will have five 20+ mile runs. Overall, I will be running substantially higher mileage than I did last year when I ran 3:10. I am hopeful this jump will get me to 2:59.

My only concern is the rate of mileage climb. I've never moved up from 30's to 40's so rapidly this early on.

This coming week is the last week of pre-training. I consider "official" training to start 18 weeks out based on Pfitz's plan. I like the 18-week plans. It seems like the right amount of time to truly focus on training.

This week, as you can see from the plan, I will try for about 42 miles, which will include a 10k race on Saturday.

Thanks for all the comments. I have to apologize that I've not been able to comment as much as I would like recently, but the schedule has lightened up and I'll be watching you.

Upcoming Events:

Next Saturday - I will be running the Wheaton 10k. Goal time? I don't know, maybe 41'ish?
June 8-9 - I will be participating in the Great Midwest Relay with Running Jayhawk and a bunch of other running bloggers from Chicago area. We'll be driving a van and running in shifts for 36 hours - running from Madison, WI to Chicago. This ought to be an adventure!
June 24 - I will make my 2nd appearance at the Downer's Grove 10-mile race.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Running Sub-3 For A Cause

The good news is that I miscounted last week how many weeks we have until Chicago. It is now 20 weeks from today, when I initially thought it was 20 from last week. I am proud to report that I achieved my 33-mile goal for this week after arriving back from vacation Monday evening.

Mon 5/14 - 8:00 PM - 4 miles easy - 8:17 pace
Tue 5/15 - 6:30 AM - solid 6 miles with some fartlek - 7:38 pace
Wed 5/16 - Lunchtime - 6 miles EZ/recovery - 8:18 pace
Thu 5/17 - Rest - Recovery from a late night at the White Sox game
Fri 5/18 - 6 miles - 8:06 pace
Sat 5/19 - Rest
Sun 5/20 - 10 miles - 7:37 pace with fast finish - last mile was 6:36

Total for week: 33 miles

My concern this week is around my diet and weight. (Note how I am lamenting after Jen and I just arrived home from a wing/beer fest at Buffalo Wild Wings). OK, I don't have an eating disorder, because I recognize that I am 6'1" and about 175 lbs (read: SLENDER). However, I am a runner concerned about my speed. I weighed about 170 lb before vacation and that crept up to 175 after. I've just got some bad eating/beer habits.

On to good news, I am really pleased with my heart rate on today's 10-miler. Check out my splits below (click on image). Not until I pushed it the last couple of miles did I exceed 150. I found that I can run several miles in the 7:40's and the HR is sub-150. That's pretty good given my current conditioning. I still had some mileage in me, but I decided to hold back since I need to build carefully.

There were mixed responses on my cross-training post from last week in Aruba, especially from Chad, a sub-3-marathoner who basically scoffed at my pool running idea. Then Wayne, who just banged out 3:09 and 3:11 in Austin & Boston respectively (less than 60 days apart) swears by it. Do we really need to cross-train significantly? I guess since I became injured late last year, I was hoping to prevent a repeat occurence.

Juggling the schedule is an ongoing battle. Again, I need to travel to London for work this week.

Mon 5/21 - 8 miles gen aerobic - Take Redeye flight to London
Tue 5/22 - Arrive in London at 8AM - Rest
Wed 5/23 - Early 8-miler in Hyde Park - Will mix in some strides
Thu 5/24- Early 5-miler in Hyde Park
Fri 5/25 - Fly home from London - Recovery 5 miler back home in afternoon
Sat 5/26 - 12 miler
Sun 5/27 - Rest

Goal mileage for the week: 37 miles

Lastly, I am proud to report that I am a committed Charity Runner for the American Cancer Society. You can see my page here. I will train to run my fastest marathon imaginable and will be motivated to help raise funds for a cure.

Next post, I will review my new Nike Vomero+2's and HornetJuice.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Training begins tomorrow - 20 weeks to go

Reporting live from the lobby of the Manchebo Beach Resort in Aruba
May 13th - 9:50 PM Atlantic Standard Time

Our vacation in Aruba is coming to a close. Our flight leaves tomorrow at 8AM. We will arrive back in Chicago at 3:25 PM on Monday afternoon.

It has been a hugely relaxing vacation. We've done, well, very little since we got here. While many visitors rented ATV's, went snorkeling, rode a tour bus, rode Jet Ski's, etc... I've read, slept and laid around more than I think I ever have in my life. It has been WONDERFUL.

Most notably, I did very little running - exactly as planned. The conditions didn't exactly promote any sane person putting in mileage. In fact, yesterday, I had to excuse myself from the hotel happy hour after sucking down a frozen hurricane... so that I could run a measly 3 miles in 85 degree weather. I got two 3-milers in, which got me to 20 for this week, thanks to my early runs before leaving last week.

I've done a lot of thinking about running this week, mostly inspired by a couple of books I brought with me. These books weren't exactly zen-inspired, philosophical takes on running. Instead, I was seeking practical advice as I consider my goal in Chicago on October 7th.

One is the "Runner's World guide to Cross-Training", which has been insightful - and the other, another RW publication, called "Run Faster", which was a smaller version of the same subject matter. Both made me realize I need to get serious about x-training. I never have. I need to start to push it to the sub-3-hour level. My first task? Sign up for the "Y" and learn to pool run.

Most ironic about my thinking about running this week is how I feel right now. We're fresh off our fattest, most satisifying meal of the week. I had a gigantic plate of Carribean jerk stlye ribs that I ate until I couldn't take it any more. I washed this feast down with a handful of Balashi beers, which is the local beer. I've had more Balashis than I care to count this week. I've been chowing down and slugging drinks while laying on the beach all week.

The irony is that I feel the furthest thing from a runner right now, let alone a marathon runner, let alone a marathon runner with the capability to run a 2:59. I feel like sludge. I feel out of shape. My two 3-mile runs (albeit both during hangovers in humid hot island weather) were a pathetic performance.

Right now, I am convinced that my sub-conscious has been influenced by my environment. All of the cues around me are saying "relax man, have a Balashi!" So it's no surprise I don't feel like a runner right now - and I am not behaving like one. I'm not supposed to.

You know what? I'm not worried. I know I will get back home to tomorrow and start cracking away at my goal. I am motivated to work - not just at running, but at my job, which will be spilling all over me when I get home.

Tomorrow, we go home and the work will begin.

20 weeks t0 go - Week #1 Schedule

Mon - 4 miles easy
Tue - 8 miles - beginning speed work on track
Wed - Rest
Thu - 7 miles easy
Fri - 4 miles recovery
Sat - 10 miles gen aerobic
Sun - Rest

Mileage Goal: 33 miles

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tech meltdown! Aruba me, mon!

I'm having a technology week from hell. Basically, I've had not one, not two, but three sets of headphones that I use for my Ipod bite the dust. One pair was thanks to my lovely cat, Bailey, who gnawed at the wire. Second pair, a nice pair of noise canceling JVC's, I haphazardly caught on the coffee stand and ripped out the jack. Lastly, the back-up Sony's simply failed on my Friday run.

THEN... the peak of my week was when my Dell XPS motherboard completely broke down after 14 months of use. And NO it's not under warranty. I'm irate... I can't even load my IPod before we head to Aruba on Tuesday. You don't realize how dependent you are on your PC 'til it's on its death bed. UGH. This is the last Dell I buy... I may even sell my stock.

What's most important is that I met my mileage goal for the week. My favorite run was an excellent 6-miler near my company's office in CT... one of my old paths when I used to live there.

Recap of April 30 week

Mon - 5.3 miles
Tue - 4.7 miles
Wed - Rest
Thur - 6 miles - hills+speed - Silvermine, CT - 7:24 avg pace
Fri - 4 miles recovery
Sat - 7 miles - 7:45 avg pace (incl. one 400m lap at 1:24)
Sun - REST

Total: 27 miles - GOAL REACHED

I'm pretty sure this will be my last post until we get back from Aruba on May 14. Here are my upcoming weeks. In the meantime, I'll be slugging rum cocktails, beers and enjoying the view oceanside...


May 7 week - Goal: 20 miles - Run 8 tomorrow AM - ENJOY ARUBA - will try for three 4-milers on our trip
May 14 week - Arrive home Monday 5PM - Mileage goal: 33 incl a 10-miler on Saturday
May 21 week - Week 1 of modified Pfitz - Mile goal: 37
May 28 week - Mile goal: 43 - 10M race on Memorial Day

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Inching toward training - with vacation upcoming

Writing from my hotel room in Norwalk, CT. Cranked out a couple of 5-milers so far this week: the first on Monday during lunch and the second on Tuesday morning.

I flew early this morning and rested today. For Thursday, I will get up at 6 AM ET (5 AM CT) so I can get in at least four or five. This week's goal is to get to 26-27 miles. I am feeling recovered and preparing to start ramping up, keeping in mind I'll be in Aruba May 8-16th (SWEET).

I continue to ponder the magnitude of a sub-3-hour marathon, and I am pretty much settling myself on the goal. I was talking to my friend tonight, Steve, who is coming off a ACL blow-out and trying to run a 2:50 in Chicago. Yeah, the dude can't barely walk and he is setting a 2:50 goal five months from now.

I explained my concern about the fact that we all have day jobs and lives outside of running. I have to travel for work, sometimes overseas, and cannot always control my schedule. Guess we'll just have to deal with these little curveballs as they come and manage the schedule carefully.

For your reading pleasure, below is a text copy of an article written about me for a Global newsletter at my company that will be published next month. For anyone who ever accused me of not committing to a goal, it's out there in writing to my professional world now....

Nied Competes in Boston Marathon

How does it feel to complete the world’s most prestigious 26.2 mile running race through rain and wind with tens of thousands of spectators cheering? Just ask Ryan Nied, Procurement Director, based in Plainfield, who achieved a personal milestone by running the 111th Boston Marathon on April 16, 2007.

Just hours before this year’s event, meteorologists had predicted the worst conditions in the event’s history with a Nor’easter storm hovering over the Boston area. Despite the wind gusts and harsh rains, Mother Nature wasn’t able to dampen Nied’s spirits.

“I was just so thrilled to be in the race. I was surrounded by some of the best runners in the world – and the best marathon spectators in the world,” said Nied, who completed his eighth marathon in Boston.

Most runners consider participating in the Boston Marathon a major accomplishment because of the strict qualifying times required to gain entry and the heralded tradition of great runners that compete in the event every year. Nied qualified for Boston by running the 2006 Chicago Marathon in a time of 3:10:04.

Nied’s next marathon goal? He will try to break the three-hour barrier. He has set a daunting goal time of 2:59:59 when he returns to run the Chicago Marathon in October. This will require him to run an average of 6:51 per mile for the 26.2-mile distance.

“I’m very intimidated by the level of training need to put up that kind of time, and I really don’t know if I can do it, but a fellow runner just said to me: ‘Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,’ and I took that to heart,” said Nied.

Nied will dedicate his next marathon effort toward raising money for the American Cancer Society. “I’ve been so fortunate in my life. Running has done so much for my health and my confidence as a person. It’s definitely time for me to do something positive with it.”