Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gut Check Time - 10 Weeks To Go

For my eighth week of training, I tallied 57 total miles, which was on the low end of my target range. I'd call it a good week of training.

While my mileage was slightly lower than last week's 61, my workout intensity was definitely higher. I did a speed tempo workout on Tuesday (albeit a little slow), 3 miles at LT on Thursday and a hard 20-mile long run yesterday.

Yesteday's run was my hardest, best workout of the season. I did 20 miles at 7:28 average pace. (see detail in image) While temps were reasonable, the humidity level was very high.
I wanted to test myself with MP mile towards the end of yesterday's run. I ran 6:56 for mile 18, but it was clear that I was not going to be able to hold that. My body was tired, my HR was too high and I felt winded. I think if the conditions would have been better, I would have had a stronger finish.

Between the 3 LT miles on Thursday which were rough, and yesterday's struggle to hold goal MP, it's clear that it's time to hunker down. It's gut check time.

I've got a solid base. Now I need to work hard on increasing lactate threshold and taking my miles up to 70. Right now, my paces clearly tell me that there is more work to do to get to a 3:00 pace range.

There is two weeks to an important time trial in the season: The Chicago Distance Classic. I am very hopeful I will show a marked improvement vs. my PR there last year. I want to crush last year's 1:30:24 with a sub-1:27.

This coming week mileage plan gets a little tricky with a business trip to London. Recap of this week and plan for next week posted below.

Recap of 7/23 week

Mon - 10 @ 7:40 avg pace
Tue - AM recovery 4 miles + eve speed work 6.5 = 10.5 mi
Wed - Rest
Thu - 10.5 mi in rain w/ 3 LT (6:40)
Fri - Recovery 6 mi
Sat - 20 mi @ 7:28 pace w/ 1 mile at MP
Sun - Rest

Total: 57 miles

Plan for 7/30 week

Mon - 13 miles - travel to London on red-eye
Tue - Rest
Wed - 10 in London's Hyde Park
Thu - 13 miles general aerobic
Fri - 6 recovery w/ 6x100m strides
Sat - 15 w/12 at MP
Sun - Rest

Goal total: 57 miles

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Speed work was so-so... but driving ahead toward 58 this week

I am at about 20.5 miles through Wednesday, which includes a rest day today. I needed to take today off to recover and plan for a strong run in the morning.

On Monday morning, I cranked out 10 solid miles, which ended being a total avg of 7:40.

On Tuesday AM, I started the day with a recovery 4-miler at 8:40, in anticipation of the evening speed work routine.

Tuesday PM, I ran with CARA Speed Work group. We started up with a 1-mile easy warm-up and ended with a 1-mile cooldown. The core workout was designed to be as follows:

1 mile - Marathon pace - Target 1:41 400m repeats for a 3:00 marathon
2.5 miles - "Tempo" pace - Target 1:37 400m repeats for a 3:00 marathon
1 mile - 10k pace - 1:31 400m repeats for a 3:00 marathon

First off, I was tired going into this workout. Second, I should have written the target splits on my hand, because I forgot what I was trying to run.

Bottom line is that my first 4 laps on the track were too slow at about 1:45-1:46. I then ran solid 1:42's for about 10 laps - then averaged 1:37's for the final 4 laps. Honestly, I forgot what my goal pace was - and no one was pushing me. (Most are novices out on the track, and I have the fastest goal time).

I don't want to go as far as saying this speed workout was a disappointment, since I know from the experts that speed work doesn't matter right now... but I didn't go fast enough for a 3:00 hour marathon. It's all good, I got a decent workout in, but I know I need to focus more on LT runs.

I have a 12-miler planned for the early AM tomorrow. I plan to do at least 4 of the miles tomorrow at lactate threshold pace, which I think is around 6:35 per mile.

That sounds fast, can I run 6:35 pace for an hour (the unscientific definition of LT pace is what you can race in an hour)? Well, I ran 6:46 pace for 1:07:43 at a 10-miler about a month ago, and I have piled on the miles since then.

Rest of week will be the aforementioned 12'er tomorrow, a recovery 5-miler on Friday and then 20 miles on Saturday. I will probably land in the 57-58 mile range for this week.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mission Accomplished – 61 Miles for the Week

It’s Sunday night and I am reflecting on a very strong week of training.

Since my last post on Wed, I rounded out the week with 9 solid miles (7:50’ish pace) on Thursday, a 4-mile recovery on Friday and steady 21-miler (7:54 avg) on Saturday.

Yesterday’s 21-miler was solid… not too fast, not too slow. Steady 8’s through 16 miles with the CARA 8-min pace group – then added 5 on my own at around 7:40 pace avg. This was exactly as planned. I wanted to be safe this week, with such a big mileage jump.

I re-read McMillan’s article on carb deprivation for long slow distance runs. I tested his theory yesterday by taking in far fewer carbs before/during my run than I normally do. It worked well, I think… I am interested in your opinions. Does it sound crazy to “starve” yourself of carbs on these long, slow runs to stimulate and expand your energy stores?

My focus is volume, not speed right now. This week, I will come close to another sixty-one miles, if all goes well.

I definitely want to get in a solid tempo run this week.. My dilemma is that, while I am not a fan of the evening runs, the CARA group Tuesday eve speed work is helpful. Basically I am picking and choosing which speed workouts the CARA team offers that fit with my training plan. Focus: Lactate Threshold and 60+ mile weeks.

On the diet and weight management front, I weighed in at fit 170 this morning. I have shed a few pounds over the past week and a half.

Here is the draft plan for the week, which is always subject to adaptation. This would repeat this week’s mileage of 61.

Mon – 9 general aerobic
Tue – AM: 5 recovery. PM: 6 with 4 at LT. 11 total for day.
Wed – 4 recovery
Thu – 12 gen aerobic
Fri – 5 recovery
Sat – 20 miles
Sun – Rest

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On track for 60+ this week

I am proud to report that I am on track toward my biggest mileage week ever. This week’s 60 miles will be a huge confidence lift as I progress toward my peak 70-mile week, which is scheduled for August 13th. Here's this week mileage so far:

Monday – 5:50 AM – Rocked out 11 miles strong at 7:36 pace

Tuesday – 6:45 AM – Ran a 4-mile recovery run at 8:40 pace. 6:30 PM – Joined the CARA speed work team. Did 1 mile warm-up + 6 100m strides – then speed work consisted of 3x1200m + 1x400m at 5k pace - 3 times. Then 1 mile at MP. Finished w/1 mile cooldown.

Wednesday – 6:15 PM – 6-mile recovery – 8:36 pace . Temps in 80's and 90% humidity. I won't pretend that tonight's run was totally easy, as I expected. The conditions were moist and sultry - and I was feeling the effects of last night's speed work. Nevertheless, it is DONE. I need to monitor my body signals to make sure I am not ramping up too quickly.

WTD thru Wed: 27 miles -- Right on track.

I feel very good about last night’s speed workout. I am convinced that it is important for me to get out there every Tuesday night. The last mile at MP of the workout really felt easy - and most of us went too fast. That's the nature of this speed workout. It makes marathon goal pace seem easy.

Rest of week plan

Thursday AM - 9-10 gen aerobic (easy)
Friday AM - 4 recovery
Sat AM - 21 LSD – 7:50 pace target -- MY LONGEST EVER MARATHON TRAINING RUN!

Looking forward to nailing at least 33 more miles over the next 63 hours. This will get me to 60+ total miles for the week.

Man, do I want to rock out at the CDC on August 12th. It's my next big milestone. When I say rock out, I mean I would love to hit 1:25:59 as the stretch goal - while sub-1:27 is the main goal. Suppose I will run 6:35-6:40 in the early going and see if I can push to 6:30-35 over the last 4 or 5 miles.

60-mile weeks are not easy, at least, not yet anyway... lots of planning, focus and commitment. The train rolls on....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Recap of 7/ 9 week - 12 weeks to go

Chad and Andrew both weighed on Thursday's 5k race results that earned me the cool little piece of hardware seen here. I was somewhat dismayed that I had a meltdown in mile 3 and couldn't hold to break 19 (odd thing is that my 3rd mile felt better than my 2nd as I was running.) Basically they told me I need to put in higher mileage and focus on tempo runs - and to not sweat an early 5k race. Thanks, guys.

What they are saying makes sense. I think what got me concerned was that I ran a 3:10 5k equalivalent around this time last year, which was right on track for my goal. With the 2007 goal at 2:59, I had hoped to be further along. My mileage is definitely higher - with seemingly only marginal improvement. Much more work to do, I guess.

Another factor: I weighed in at 175 on Thursday this week; the day of my 5k PR. This is about 5 lbs heavier than I was at this time last summer. As Amby Burfoot pointed out in his recent RW Article, "there's no denying that healthy runners will race about two seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose." This 31 seconds would have put me at 18:50 on that 5k!

My goal is to be 169 lbs on CDC race day on Aug 12th. I will then plan to run a sub-1:27.

I finished the week exactly on target at 46 miles. I knocked out a solid 15 yesterday at 7:36 pace average. We had nice cool weather.

Our CARA training group has a speed work session every Tuesday night. You'll see in this week's plan that I'm working it into this week's schedule.

I am about to attempt my first ever 60-mile week. Check out the plan below.

Preliminary plan for 7/16 week

Mon 7/16 -10 general aerobic
Tue - 6:00 AM: 4 gen aer.
6:30 PM : 3 X 1200m @ 10k pace + 1 min rest btw + 400m at 5k pace - 3 min rest. Repeat 3 times. Then 1 mile at MP. Total of 6 after warm-up/cooldown.
10 total for the day.
Wed - 5 recovery (8:30-8:45 pace)
Thu - 10 miles gen aer
Fri - 5 recovery (8:30-8:45 pace)
Sat - 21 long - run with 8 pace group - target 7:45 pace
Sun - Rest

Goal mileage total: 61 miles

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Joliet Sundowner 5k Update

I ran the Joliet Sundowner 5k tonight. I had hoped to be able to break below 19 minutes. Unfortunately, I didn't do it. Here are my splits.

19:22 (6:15 pace)

On the positive side, this was a PR by about 10 seconds. Most significantly, I won FIRST PLACE IN MY AGE GROUP. (pictures to come) This was the goal I set forth for this race and I achieved it. Sweet trophy, too...

However, I thought I'd be able to hold more strongly than I did. Time to get out on the track, I suppose. The conditions were very good - relatively cool for a summer 5k. Course was rolling hills, but not too challenging. This was a sub-19 opportunity, but I guess I wasn't ready. I need speed work. I have been avoiding it for the most part. It's time to bite the bullet.

This 5k time on McMillan's predictor chart puts me at 3:08 for the marathon. I have a long way to go, it seems.

WTD Mileage with this race: 26

Plan is to do six easy tomorrow and 14 on Saturday. Total in plan for week: 46.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A day late - or 3 miles short...?

First off, my sincere thanks to Yumke for his contribution to my ACS Charity Drive. Thank you very much, Yumke, for your donation to help fight cancer! Make sure you visit his blog and cheer him on toward Marine Corps.

I had planned to hit 53-56 miles this week. I was on track for 54 as of Friday, but I needed a 20-miler to get there yesterday.

The CARA group was only running 14 and I hoped to add 6 by my lonesome (as I often do). I started out with the 7:30 pace group, which was probably a bit overzealous since I did feel some fatigue going into the run. Not to mention my stomach discomfort at the start, but there was no time to resolve that.

One of our miles was 7:11, which didn't help. At 5.5, I let the group go and hit the can, with the plan to tag onto the 8’s group (who really should be called the 7:45 group).

We finished 14 and we were all overheating. I could not entice anyone to go back on the trail. I often get asked on days like this: “why are you trying to do 20? What program are you on?” I tell them it’s the original “Ryan Sub-3 program”, with the principles of Pfitz and whole lot of wingin’ it mixed into the plan.

Temp’s were in the low 80’s and I simply didn’t have another 6 in me by myself in the heat. I felt like I had partially bonked, to be honest. I was not so strong yesterday.

So I fueled up a little, chatted and then headed back toward home. Before going home, I detoured to the gym treadmill for another strong 3, including a 6:50 final mile. 17 total for the day -- 51 for the week. No way was I going to get six on that hamster’s wheel. I could've added on today - but it was 95 and I need to rest. Chalk it up to 51 this week.

I now have 367 miles on my Nike Air Vomero+2’s. I could feel the lack of impact resistance. Consider them officially retired. I’ve got the identical replacement pair ready to go for tomorrow morning.

Feels like a minor disappointment to not hit the weekly goal that I set, but that’s going to happen when you set stretch goals. It makes me realize I am testing my limits.

It should be noted that I have increased my mileage in seven consecutive weeks. The forthcoming week will be a step back to around 45-47, after which I will kick it up a notch with a 57-mile goal target the following week.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Friday checkpoint - 93 days to go

First off, I want to sincerely thank my donors who have supported my ACS Charity Runner drive. I really appreciate the contributions. You can see their names if you visit my page.

There's a long way to go towards my fundraising goal. If you would like to sponsor me as chase sub-3 and help support the ACS, this is the place to do it!

It’s Friday. I am on track for hitting the 53-56 mile target range I set last week, but it will require a nice, long run tomorrow in the heat. It’s going to be 90’s this weekend.

Mon - 6
Tue - 12
Wed – Rest
Thu - 10
Fri - 6
Sat – Planned 20 – CARA – Prairie Path
Sun – Planned rest

I should hit 54 for the week after tomorrow's 20-miler.

Unfortunately, a snag was thrown into my schedule next week for the 5k. I need to go CT for an unexpected meeting and my flight will likely get me in on Thurs eve after 6PM.

This means there is probably about 1% chance that I will make it to the 5k in Joliet that night. Just don't see how I can pull it off since it’s at least an hour drive down to Joliet from O’Hare – and the flights are never on-time anymore.

I probably will try to hit the Viking Sunset 5k on the 26th instead, where I earned third in my age group last year. Perhaps I can claim a second trophy there.

For the record, here are the mileage totals in my last seven weeks in reverse chrono order:

7/2 - 54 (to be completed tomorrow)
6/25 - 50
6/18 - 47
6/11 - 43
6/4 - 43
5/28 - 41
5/21 - 38

After a short step-back week to around 45-47 next week, I plan to average about 57-58 miles per week for seven straight weeks. Folks, this phase will be the heart of the plan that will get me to sub three - and will undoubtedly be the most running I have ever done in my life.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Week 4 Complete - Bring on July

I am pleased to report that I did complete a strong 18-mile workout yesterday. This run gave me my first 50-mile week since the week of March 5 during Boston training. I recall that after the 20-miler that week, my IT band syndrome was bothering me. I think I am pretty healthy right now.

The weather conditions in the Chicago area yesterday were perfect. I ran with the CARA group for 13 miles – and then ventured off on my own for another 5. Heart rate was in check and physical endurance was tested toward the end - but that's to be expected.

If you count last Sunday, I just completed a 63-mile week. I know that’s kind of cheating, but it gives an indication of my strong base-building progression.

Our CARA group leader, Jim, told me about a 5k that is scheduled in nearby Joliet for July 12. Initially, I was planning to run the Niketown 5k race downtown. However, if it was anything like the Nike Run Hit Wonder last year, I know it won’t be a good event for a time trial. Too many casual fun runners and not designed for speed.

So the Joliet 5k is interesting since it’s a smaller, local race. Jim said the competition is not very strong. I checked last year’s results and he was right – my 19:32 PR last year at this time would have tied me for first place in my age group. I’m in better shape than last year. I think I can break sub-19 right now. I’m going to go to Joliet to see if I can win my age group. My goal will be to run 6 to 6:05 pace. Wow, that sounds really scary – AND painful.

Plan for this week to run in the 53-56 mile range before stepping back next week. Not sure how I am going to structure the week as yet. Probably something like 7+11+0+11+6+20+0 (M+T+W+Th+Fr+Sat+Sun) = 55’ish. This would tie me for my biggest Mon through Sun week (without counting last week’s Sunday long run). July will be my first ever 200+ mile month.