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Old 05-07-2013, 07:18 AM   #101
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
Last week was a weird one for my training schedule. My legs were pretty tired from the mountain runs that I did, but I also had a race at the end of the week. For the race I already knew that I wanted to take off Thursday and Friday from running, and Monday is my non-running cross-training day. So I was pretty much stuck with just two days for runs (Tuesday and Wednesday) but was feeling a good bit of fatigue.

Monday - nothing special, just my bike cross training. I rode the furthest in one ride thus far this year.

13.6 miles in 1 hour and 2 minutes


Tuesday, one of my two run days for the week. I had to take my car to the shop for routine maintenance and they told me that it would be roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes for the service, so I just planned that time to do my run. I did not know the area well at all, but the Wellsley area is the part of the Boston Marathon course just before the famous Newton Hills that are often talked about. I didn't make it to the marathon course as it was a little to the south, but instead I just ran in a loop.

My legs felt utterly dead during the run. I took it easy, didn't have any problem with my breathing, but my legs just seriously did not want to move at all. My calves hurt from the hills that I had run, and it was just way more effort than it needed to be.

7.3 miles in 1 hour and 25 minutes


Wednesday morning, I woke up and my legs surprisingly felt better. After the lousy Tuesday run, I wasn't even sure if I was going to run or not that day. I felt pretty good though, so went on out for a run. The legs felt much fresher, what a difference just one day made. However half way through the run, I felt my IT Band starting to annoy me again for the first time in about a month. Perhaps a sign of leg fatigue or just a reminder that I have been completely awful in my strength exercises that I should be doing. I decided during this run that I needed to get back on track with that part of my work outs every week.

Anyways, the run was a little better than Tuesday, but not great. Somehow I ended up with my 3rd fastest 10k time ever during this run.



6.3 miles in 1 hour and 9 minutes



Later that same Wednesday, my 6 year old really wanted to go biking and my wife was going out running with a friend on a nearby trail, so I decided to go to the same trail. My daughter found it fun to try to bike past her mom and friend, and I was having to keep up with her on the downhills. This trail had some decent hills for a 6 year old on a bike though, so on the uphills I helped push her and the bike up a little bit too.

Does that count as a cross training exercise for me? I didn't bring my heart rate monitor or anything, just wore my watch and carried my iphone that I used to take some pictures as we went.



We didn't go too too far, after the first 10-12 minutes she started stopping every two-three minutes for water so I had her turn around to head back to the car. She had a blast though, so I am thinking I'll do something again this week for "Ride your bike to school day" on 5/8 for her.

2.5 miles in 30 minutes
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:23 PM   #102
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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With the 5 mile race coming up on Saturday, I was going to take off Thursday and Friday from running to rest my legs. I have found lately with my training that I have gotten my cardiovascular fitness to a level where on my runs my limiting factor generally has been how tired my legs are from the amount that I have been running. So my hope was taking two days off would rest them enough to be fresh on Saturday for the race.

I have problems just sitting around and doing nothing though, so my wife talked me into a quick bike ride Thursday before Elena got out of school. We rode 8.2 miles in 38 minutes, and set a new personal record for my wife on one of the segments. The running and spinning and yoga and such has really helped her be able to keep up on bike better with me now. Even though I was not necessarily speedy myself on a bike before, I always had to slow down to wait for her.

Friday I truly took the day off from running and biking and instead took my oldest daughter to Six Flags for the afternoon. We got the way overpriced Speedpass to make sure that we could go on all of the roller coasters while there. Since we normally go with the younger kids, she doesn't get to ride the ones she likes that much so this was all about that for this trip.

I'm not sure when it happened, but I think it was after going crazy in the tea cups that I suddenly started feeling motion sickness, which is very odd since I never get motion sickness. Maybe it was just something I ate, or maybe I am just getting older but the last 30-40 minutes at the park before it closed I was suffering a bit with my stomach on every ride after that point. We still managed to hit up all of the rides though and she had a blast, so mission successful!
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:06 PM   #103
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
Saturday the 4th was race day for my 5 mile run. I have done a handful of 5k races (3.1 miles), but this was my first race of a longer distance, and it was not necessarily going to be my easiest course that I had done either.



Virtually the first half of the race was all up hill, a total climb of 378 feet. Once again not a ton for people that are used to running in the trails, but considering it was a longer distance than I had raced before, I was not exactly sure on how to pace myself.

I knew on a flat course, I could do 9:30min/mile pace for well over an hour without running into problems, but this is a race in my own town and I had run parts of this course a few times before. The main hill I had never done faster than a 12:00-12:30min/mile pace, albeit I had never raced it before.

What I had decided to do with my plan was to take the first mile and its incline at around a 9:40-10:00min/mile pace (trying to find somewhere comfortable so I did not burn myself out), and then I was going to try the big hill and the second mile at a 10:30min/mile pace. My hope was going to be that I reached the 2 mile mark at around 20-21 minutes. From there it would be 3 miles to the end or a 5k race that would be for the most part down hill. I was going to just cut loose on the downhill parts, run as fast as my legs would let me go while I regained my breath from the hills. I was hoping to run the last 3 miles in around 30 minutes and was aiming for a 50 minute time for the entire course.

The fastest that I had run this course before was a little under 1 hour, when just running it at a casual pace on my own so I felt 50 minutes was entirely within my grasp...

I ran a quick 1/2 mile to warm up and then it was race time!

As normally happens on these races, at the start everyone bolts out running super fast in the easy initial straight away. I usually fall guilty of that myself, and found this time I was running along at a 8:40 pace to start. I quickly reigned that in before I blew up my entire plan and I found a good group of people running at the pace that I wanted. I pretty much just fell in with them and made it to the first mile marker at 9:40. Everything so far was going according to plan, but the tough part was about to start.

The second mile was entirely up hill, a climb of 155 feet with no rest at all. I had an idea of what I would run it pace wise, but didn't focus any on my watch and instead tried to just run with the same effort that I had been using. I wanted to make sure that I was not worn out at the top of the hill. I started passing a few people on the hill as they started walking, and then passed a whole bunch more people that stopped at a water station that was about 1/10th of a mile from the top of the hill. I normally do not drink water during my runs as it has not been hot enough yet to need it on such a short distance. I didn't stop for this one either, honestly didn't feel that I needed it. I made it to the top of the hill and the second mile marker at 20:05, pretty much exactly where I was hoping that I would be in best case. I ran my second mile in a 10:20 pace and felt home free at this point. I was on pace for roughly a 49 minute finish but had some easy segments coming up.

The third mile was mostly flat, there was a little downhill followed by a small up hill in the center of town. This is when I settled in on my normal race pace of about 9 min/mile. I felt good even after the hills and still felt fresh. My two days off helped my legs tremendously and I was enjoying the run tremendously. Running through the center of town uphill, I passed quite a few more people including one guy who talked with me as we ran for 20 seconds or so. He asked me how much more uphill was left and i pointed and told him almost done until the very end. He then said thanks I'm going to take a break and stopped right there to catch his breath I got through the third mile at 29:08, I ran that mile in a 9:05min/mile pace and was just now getting to the fast part of the course.

The fourth mile was pretty much 200 feet downhill the entire time. It required absolutely zero effort from my breathing and I ran as fast as my legs would let me. I found there were alot of people in this part that were just afraid to run fast and I passed many of them. I felt like a real runner at this point, everyone always says that races are much more fun when you start out conservatively and then pass people the entire race and they are right. It is not as much fun running out of steam and being the one being passed, so this felt really good. I hit the 4th mile marker at just under 37 minutes, I had run at a 8:01min/mile pace in that mile and at this point would have to break a leg or something to not make my goal time of 50 minutes.

The final mile had some small up and downhills during it. Nothing as large as the first few miles, but after the downhill I was starting to feel my legs a little bit. The fifth mile was probably the toughest one for me in the entire race. I think it started being more a psychological thing more than a physical one. I knew that I had been doing well and my body was trying to let off the gas a little bit. I looked down at my watch at one point and saw that I was up to a 10:00min/mile pace and willed my legs to start moving faster again. The last 2-3/10ths of a mile were all uphill though and at that point my heart rate had worked itself up into zone 4-5 but the race was almost done. I pushed and pushed and saw the finish line. I saw my mother on the side with my kids there watching and I flashed them a sign and smiled for them and then booked to the finish!

Going to see if I can embed the finish video here:





Final result was 5 miles in 46:09 according to my watch, but I forgot to stop it right away when crossing the finish line.




During the run, I set some new personal records for myself as well. Endomodo says my best 5k in this run was 27:13, but it had too much downhill in it for strava to count it. So I'll go with Strava's 28:41 for my official personal record.



Official race results gave me a 45:43, a good 4 minutes faster than my goal. I'm pumped and was excited about it for the rest of the weekend
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #104
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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I have gotten very negligent in updating this ever since we started the Runkeeper/Strava thread. Most of the day to day satisfaction from my runs are commented out either there or in Strava comments. Pretty much everyone who is interested in following the daily runs is already following me on Strava as well.

So I don't have a huge need to post day to day information here and think that I need to revamp what I am using this thread for. Focus it more on my goals (both trying for and achieved) as well as my planning and other random things to do with training .

I updated the first post, May was a pretty good month for me all things considered.. I made several of my goals and set plenty of new personal bests..

May 29th, I officially broke the 200 pound weight barrier and have continued my downward trend with that. This morning, weighed in at 197.6 (after my run I was 195.4).

I ran in a 5 mile race on May 4th, and technically not may but June 1st ran my first 10k race. I was disappointed in my results of the 10k race, the heat and humidity killed my chances for breaking 1 hour which was my goal.

I did set several new PRs this month though, best 5k, 10k, 15k and 10 mile times as well as longest distance run thus far. I do not expect to be breaking more PRs as we enter June, July and August though as the heat will make it tough, but we will see what happens.

So I still have goals for breaking an hour on a 10k, as well as a less likely 25 minute 5k. I think 26-27 minute is possible with the right weather for me right now though. I also want to run a half marathon distance some point this summer (By mid-August) to be ready for a half marathon race I want to run in September.

What I have been working on lately is putting together a half marathon training plan to be ready for September 15th.



I am doing a relay race with my wife (Half marathon relay) later this month up in Maine, so I'll be running roughly 6.55 miles or so... I'm kind of viewing it as a second chance for me to get under 1 hour 10k though as long as the weather cooperates hopefully. So I decided to give myself a few days to rest before that race. Since it is just in the base building phase of the training plan, its no huge deal.



Here is the "training load" of my previous training leading into my training plan through mid-august. Kind of neat to see in a graphical layout, but you can see why it is important to taper before a big race. It also helps illustrate why you can't just simply keep running further and further every week without some down time or rest time.

The Blue is my "fitness" level, as I do more exercise, my fitness level continues to increase. Even the smaller runs help increase it, which I guess is a reason why everyone talks about building a base.. You have to build up your fitness level to be able to run faster or further.

The Red is my "fatigue" level. As you can see, the more you exercise, the more fatigue builds up. It is interesting to note that fatigue builds up faster than fitness, it has more volatile peaks, especially from longer runs or harder runs. One of the many reasons why everyone recommends running the bulk of your runs at an "Easy" pace or a comfortable pace I assume. You can also see where I back off on the training and even take a few days off at the end of May, the fatigue drops much faster than the fitness level does.

Leading up to my 10k race I had on june 1st, was the only time since Feb that my fitness level was higher than my fatigue level, and that leads into the third line, the beige one that measures the Training Stress Balance (TSB). Anything above 0 says my fitness is higher than my fatigue. The further below 0 I go, the more my fatigue is getting in the way of my fitness. For optimal performance in a race or attempt for a PR, I want that TSB to be as high as possible.

Leading into June 1st, my TSB was 13, and I think I was set to have a great race if not for being unprepared for the weather. My backup chance is coming June 23, and according to this predicter, I should be somewhere around a TSB of -3. Not as good as previous, but I am trying to find a balance between being fresh for this race and focusing on my bigger goal of building the base for my half marathon in September.

With my current plan I put together, my training load will continue to increase into September, where I reach around a -35 TSB before I start tapering for a week or 10 days. The Half marathon I am targeting is September 15th, where my TSB will be back up to a 6. Not great, but I haven't put this many miles on before.

All together, my phases are breaking down as such:

Phase 1 (Base) - 6/4/13 - 7/1/13: 101 miles in 20:30:00
Phase 2 (Building) - 7/2/13 - 7/22/13: 93.2 miles in 18:31:50
Phase 3 (Training) - 7/23/13 - 8/19/13: 148 miles in 29:19:50
Phase 4 (Final) - 8/20/13 - 9/15/13: 147.5 miles in 29:28:50

I guess we will see how it goes! I've mixed in Hill runs, Interval Runs, Fartleks, Tempo Runs into the schedule with 5 other easy runs per week.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:54 PM   #105
Radii
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Join Date: Jul 2001
That Sporttracks software and training load addon are amazing. I have no need for it at all yet but downloaded the trial version because I'm a nerd who loves graphs and numbers and oh god look at the numbers its awesome.

The training addon does say I'm at a -37 TSB right now using its default settings, I wonder if that's off because I only started tracking my runs in the last couple months, or if that's a sign that I am bordering on trying to do too much too soon (I went from 3 days/week to 4 to 5 fairly quickly).
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:11 AM   #106
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radii View Post
That Sporttracks software and training load addon are amazing. I have no need for it at all yet but downloaded the trial version because I'm a nerd who loves graphs and numbers and oh god look at the numbers its awesome.

The training addon does say I'm at a -37 TSB right now using its default settings, I wonder if that's off because I only started tracking my runs in the last couple months, or if that's a sign that I am bordering on trying to do too much too soon (I went from 3 days/week to 4 to 5 fairly quickly).

The math involved to truly compute TSB is pretty complex and needs to have a very solid understanding of your body, so what is in the app is likely a good generalization but perhaps not 100%. My guess though is if anything, just having started tracking your runs actually is causing the TSB to error more on the side of too much fitness rather than too much fatigue. It is likely looking at your heart rate as a judge of effort during your runs to determine how "easy" it was for you. A 2 mile run where your heart rate is hammering at 90% is going to give you a higher TRIMP than someone else doing the same 2 mile run at the same pace but only 50% HR. Thus it will build both your fitness and your fatigue faster.

I wouldn't let a computer program dictate my training plan, you can likely go off of how your body feels. If you feel every run that you are fresh, then likely I'm guessing you are fine. If you are feeling fatigued though, maybe you should let your body have a bit more time to recover. Not a very scientific answer from me I guess, but I've always tried to be very cautious about not ramping up too fast to try to prevent injuries from occuring. So I still take the majority of my runs nice and easy pace and doing ramp up weekly mileage or such too quick.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:47 PM   #107
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Looking back at my own scores, I had back surgery in December and took almost 6 weeks off from running. So when I picked it back up, I had to rebuild my fitness level a good bit.



You can see the Blue (Fitness) climbing gradually with the exercise, but my red (Fatigue) shot out like a cannon . That caused my TSB to be very very low also, same range as what you were saying Radii. You can see I hovered around -30 TSB for nearly a month before I took a few extra days off before a 5k race that I was going to run. After the 5k, I look like I backed off my workouts a hair for a few weeks, and took it a little easier. Perhaps I realized I was pushing too much, I don't recall honestly, but my fitness level started catching up to the fatigue and my TSB was improving, and only in the -10 range for most of April.




As I entered May though, my workouts started getting more involved again and my fatigue started building up more and my TSB once again dropped back to the -20s and I remember feeling a bit tired during this time. At the end of May I tapered down to get ready for my race on june 1st. Even though the race didn't go well for me, my TSB score on that day was +13, and that morning I felt totally fresh. TSB obviously doesn't say much about my ability to handle the weather though so I somewhat crashed and burned I guess.

Since then, I've taken it a bit easy with my workout. I don't really start my next training plan until the end of the month, so the next few weeks I have a few mini-races in there plus just keeping a decent base of running miles. You can see the projection based on what I have put in for my plan, that my TSB should stay somewhere around 0 to -10 up and down until the last week of June, when I start kicking it in again. My fitness level during that time doesn't really climb much, but doesn't decay either, just keeping status quo, but neither does the fatigue.

Into July you can see my fitness start picking up with the harder workouts again.. but the fatigue shoots through the roof once more. By the end of August, the lowest point my TSB gets to a -40 with these projections before I start tapering for a few weeks to get the TSB back to a -6 or so in time for my half marathon I am thinking about running.

Now, in the projections, I may be overestimating the TRIMP values a hair, but I would rather do that than underestimate myself. So far this week, each of my workouts have actually produced TRIMP scores a bit less than my projection, and ideally as my fitness improves that should continue. So I am interested in seeing how the end result works out for me, since this is the first training plan that I have used with the sportstrack stuff.

As a stats/data guy, this type of thing is right up my alley though, I've fallen in love with the software. I have a bunch of various plugins that I have installed that I am using as well:

Elevation Correction
Old Man's Biking Plugins (Has some interesting activity report stuff that can be used for running too)
Performance Predictor
Record Book
Training Analysis
Training Load
Weather Plugin
FitPlan
Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale Sync
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:54 PM   #108
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
I have realized recently that one of the reasons I really get into this phase of my running training is the same thing that attracts me to Text sim games. I love the stats, the analysis, the training schedule, etc. I basically turn myself into a simulation game while getting ready for the next "season". Just like a game of FOF or FM, my season involves setting up the preseason goals for that "season", setting up the training plan, incorporating the practice, then the execution of the "season", followed by the analysis of how things went and where things went wrong.

So far this year, obviously with my back surgery, I had to start a little late after taking off 6 weeks without running, but my three "seasons" were my 5k goal to run under 30 minutes in a race in March, my 10k goal for running under 1 hour in a race in June and my goal to run a half-marathon in September. I was successful with my first "season", the training plan went as well as I had hoped. My second "season" was close, but no cigar. My 10k, I came a little over 1 hour. I have spent plenty of time analyzing what went wrong and am pretty comfortable saying that I did the training, just wasn't ready for the sudden weather change.

The nice thing about running that is different from FOF or FM or OOTP is that I get a chance for do-overs in a sense. I have the Any-Way 10k challenge from Strava this coming weekend, and then my half-marathon relay where I will be running 6.55 miles the following weekend. Either one of those should be a good chance I think to reach my goal of sub-1 hour 10k. Both will have challenges though, next weekend, in addition to the Any Way challenge, I also am signed up for 6 hours of Relay for Life in the morning. I'm not sure if I want to do the 10k before or after, but am leaning to trying it before. Either way, that is a boat-load of miles on my feet for just one day. (My guess is I will go close to 20 miles that day in combination of the two). The half-marathon relay race, I'm running with my wife, and she's getting the easier mostly downhill leg. So about 80% of mine will be a slight incline. Not enough probably to be horribly bad, but not necessarily ideal for me to run a personal record.

Either way, those are my last chances to get the unfinished business with a 10k in a race completed before I really buckle in for my next "season". June 23 is when my true training plan for half-marathon begins, and if I keep messing around with 10k PR, I'll lose complete focus on my real goal that I am trying for. You can't burn the candle on both ends in running and get away with it. I need to keep my easy runs easy, and my hard runs focused on what the goal is.

A small excerpt from an article written by Dr. Jack Daniels on the subject of training:
Quote:
Training intensities that fall into 'No man's land," are either too easy or too hard to reap the benefits you want. You are not, as may sometimes be assumed, achieving the purpose of training the two systems on either side of the chosen intensity. What you are doing might be termed, "Quality-junk" training. At the least, it is training aimed at accomplishing an unidentifiable purpose. Always have a purpose for every training session; ask yourself the following questions: "What system do I hope to improve by doing this workout,' and 'What am I really trying to accomplish?"

You can read more of that article here: http://www.coacheseducation.com/endu...els-aug-00.htm

So I briefly discussed my next training plan in a previous post, but one thing that I realized is that I had not really re-qualified my times, or determined what my true paces for this next round of training should be. I was running off of numbers from last March, and I felt I had a decent amount of extra fitness from what I had previously. (At least 1 or 2 on a VDOT scale). I recently posted the below quote, but pay close attention to the bolded part...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan T View Post
So I still have goals for breaking an hour on a 10k, as well as a less likely 25 minute 5k. I think 26-27 minute is possible with the right weather for me right now though. I also want to run a half marathon distance some point this summer (By mid-August) to be ready for a half marathon race I want to run in September.


So, I did exactly that, and ran a 5k race last weekend. Partially to help myself feel better about a tangible increase in my running, but also partially to find where my current fitness level was at. Not only did I beat my previous 5k record, but I pretty much crushed it, beating the time by over a minute and close to 90 seconds. The official scorer put me at 26:29 for the 5k, which is exactly where I guessed I would be in the above bolded quote. For Strava purposes, my watch ended up measuring it just short of the 3.11, so it did not recognize it as my new Personal record for that distance. Not a huge deal, but for training purposes, I wanted to make sure that I did not mess with the numbers too much. I took what my watch measured, and plugged it into the Performance Predictor, and it said it would have been a 27.12 5k. I likely was faster than that since I was booking at the end when I stopped, but just to play it safe, that is the number that I went with.

I have a huge spreadsheet of Daniels calculations and training tables that I'll post next time (hopefully tomorrow), but the 27:12 time definitely changed some of my paces just slightly. Since I have a softball game to go to tonight, I'll cut this off here and cover that part of my training plan next time.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:06 AM   #109
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
So to continue from my post yesterday, in putting together my training for a half-marathon in September I have a training schedule that I plan to run. I have slowly increased my days running to 6 days a week now, and starting off the beginning of the plan with 31 miles the first week. That is pretty similar to where I left off in May, and in June I am planning a pretty steady 25-27 miles per week. So I don't see any issue with the weekly load to start.

My long runs to start will be 8miles, which once again is within the range that I have felt comfortable doing up until now, so I think I should be able to pick this plan up fairly comfortably to start. During the plan however, I'll slowly increase miles per week as well as long runs to the point late August I'll hit my max of 47 miles per week including a 15 mile long run. This is far greater than what I have done ever before, but part of the reason I am trying to work up to this for the half marathon.

Now, I know there are plenty of training plans that have people training for a half marathon by only running 10 miles as the longest before the race, and likewise those plans have people only running top of 20 miles per week, with half of their weekly run coming in that long run of 10 miles. Most people who do that are able to complete the half marathon, but they don't necessarily enjoy it.. I want to enjoy my running, and not do it because I feel that I have to. So I am choosing to build a much much larger base, where my long runs are not more than 30% of my weekly workload. I'm trying to keep in mind that it is the base that is more important than the rest, and by building the larger base, it will make the half marathon distance easier for me to handle, as well as trickle down to all of my other distances and make me able to run the 5k or 10k runs faster as well (or be able to maintain the faster pace longer without running out of my aerobic threshold).

In addition to the base, working in speed work every week is also pretty important, and I have roughly 10-15% of my weekly miles involving some kind of speed training from week 2 through week 10 of my training. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm planning on putting in Fartleks, Hills, Intervals, and Tempo Runs. It has been heavily stressed to me to start doing Strides as well during the end of easy runs, but I have never done those before and want to better understand when and where and how I should fit those in before I jump in on those.

Now that I have a fairly solid idea of what I want to do for training, that leaves the important part that I talked about yesterday of how fast it should be. The idea is to keep my easy runs easy so I am not too fatigued to do the hard workouts when those are due. For that, I need to know what my pacing should be for each type of workout, so I know exactly what I want to aim for pace wise when I go out there. That is where my Daniels spreadsheet comes in. It is a spreadsheet that I found somewhere on the internet at some point that has all kinds of great tables and tools for all different aspects of my running training....



There are some parts of the spreadsheet that I don't really use much, but I'll go through the parts that I do. To start, I put in my vitals, my birthdate, weight, resting heart rate, max HR, etc into the top left. Then next important I pick a recent race distance and time to put in, and chose to use my 5k 27:12 that I talked about yesterday. Once I put that data in, the spreadsheet does the rest like magic!

The first thing it figures out is my VDOT score based on my vitals. In this case, I score a 34.7, which is an improvement over the 33 that I had been working out with the past few months. When I first started running, I scored so low that it wouldn't even register anything for me (I guess scores below 30 don't do anything in most VDOT calculators). SO I have been pretty happy with the progress that I have made the past 8 months or so.

Now with the VDOT score calculated, it then spits out what expected race times would be for that VDOT score as well as giving information on Lactate threshold, and recovery/aerobic workout zones. This is the first part that is important for determining my training paces.

For much of my interval training, I'll have smaller periods of recovery in between. I might run 880 meters at a faster pace, but then recover for 440m at a recovery pace. This spreadsheet tells me that 12:30 would be my ideal recovery pace for restoring my heart rate and catching my breath in between intervals.

Even more importantly for me, the vast majority of my runs are at an Easy Pace. Taking again from the Daniels article that I posted yesterday is the discussion of my Easy and Long Pace Runs:

Quote:
E and L Runs. When you do easy (E) runs to recover from strenuous periods of training or to carry out a second workout on a particular day, and when you do your long (L) runs, you should run at a pace which is very close to (E) (easy-run) velocity, which is about 70% of V02max. Long runs (L), improve cell adaptation, and lead to glycogen depletion and fluid loss (important considerations for distance runners), but should not be demanding in terms of the intensity (pace) being utilized.

Be advised that the benefits of "E-pace" running are more a function of time spent exercising than intensity of running, and 70% V02max, which corresponds to 75% vVO2max and 75% of HRmax, is all the harder you need to go to get the benefits you want at the cellular level and in the heart muscle.

So from the spreadsheet, my Easy Aerobic Zone, 70-75% of my HRmax would give me a pace of 10:54 - 11:38. Just for a comparison of how an increased VDOT score affects the training, my previous several months I had been running an easy pace of 11:37-12:04, so the next few months I will be taking my easy pace at roughly 30 seconds per mile faster. This is not a huge surprise to me as I had noticed for a few weeks that I have been able to handle 11:00min/mile without my HR climbing.




In the next part of the spreadsheet, it gives me Tempo Run pacing. A little information once again from Daniels on the Tempo Run pace training:

Quote:
T Runs. Threshold pace is about 88% of V02max (90% of VO2max or of HRmax). Subjectively, T (threshold) pace is "comfortably-hard" running. For many people it is slower than I OK race pace and for most people it is about 24 see per mile slower than current 5K race pace.

In the caw of T-pace training, it is important to stay as close as possible to the prescribed speed; neither slower nor faster velocities do as good a job as does the proper speed. Here is a case where going too fast -- which many runners automatically try to do -- is simply not as good as running at the right pace. T-pace training improves your lactate threshold.

So for each period of time, the spreadsheet gives me a tempo run pace such as 9:11 min/mile for a 20 minute tempo run all the way to 9:41 for a 60 minute tempo run. In my training plan, my tempo runs are not defined by time but instead are by duration. I'll have a 3 mile and 4 mile tempo run which I'll handle at a 9:20 and 9:28 pace.

The next section gives me help on interval pacing, and my training plan has virtually all 880m interval workouts. So that is easy to see that I should be aiming for 4:13 for each of those, which works out as an 8:26 min/mile pace, not too horribly faster than where I was before on those. Here is the Daniels comments on my interval pacing:

Quote:
I Pace. The next important training velocity is the one that stresses and improves V02max V02max-interval (I) velocity. The intensity here should be equal to vVO2max- I believe most people should shoot for 98% - 100% of HRmax, rather than always demanding a 100% value, if using heart-rate as a guide. This is suggested because if maximum heart rate coincides with a pace of 6:00 per mile, for example, then certainly 5:50 or any pace faster than 6-minute pace will also elicit maximum heart rate, but is too fast for the purpose of the training session -- optimum result with the least possible stress. No single run, which makes up a series of Intervals, should exceed 5-minutes.

Interval (I) training is demanding, but by no means is it all-out running. In the case of I pace, the harm of going too fast is that no better results are obtained and the excessive pace will probably leave you over stressed for the next quality-training session.

That virtually is all of the training paces that I'll need to worry about for the next few months. I have a few places where I'll be looking to run at 5k or 10k race pace, but I already know that from earlier. (such as hill repeats I want to handle at 5k race pace).

The rest of the spreadsheet that I took a screenshot of are fun little tools that don't necessarily impact my training, but interesting to look at. Such as the affect of hot weather on runs, or even more so the affect that weight has on running time. With my current level of fitness if I weighed 184 instead of 201, which would put me in the "normal" BMI category instead of the overweight one, I would be able to run pretty close to a 25 minute 5k right now and cut an additional 2 minutes off my time.

Obviously increasing a running program while trying to tackle weight loss is a pretty difficult balance. In order to have the energy needed to train properly, you need to make sure to be eating enough and not starving yourself, or you will feel tired or sluggish or unable to finish training. For the past several months now, I've stopped my aggressive weight loss and focused pretty much at 1/2 pound per week which I've been pretty good at keeping for the most part. Perhaps something for next winter to think about though might be another push to drop an extra 10-15 pounds, I don't know...
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:14 PM   #110
Radii
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This is really awesome Alan. I love seeing training plans and race reports from folks doing this kind of thing, and this is definitely the most detail I've seen, its pretty neat to see it in action. In my ideal world, I will lose a ton of weight this year and build up my general fitness level and be doing things like this next year. Reading the stuff you and others here are doing is great motivation
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:30 AM   #111
Alan T
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radii View Post
This is really awesome Alan. I love seeing training plans and race reports from folks doing this kind of thing, and this is definitely the most detail I've seen, its pretty neat to see it in action. In my ideal world, I will lose a ton of weight this year and build up my general fitness level and be doing things like this next year. Reading the stuff you and others here are doing is great motivation


I am glad that you like it. I have gotten so hooked on running, I read and research and talk about it all the time these days. In part, I think one of the reasons I do this log is my wife gets tired of talking to me about it.

One regret that I have is that i did not start this log sooner. I really struggled for a long time even before I did the couch to 5k program, in trying to get active and lose weight. I had many days where I just decided to give up for a week or two because I felt that I never would accomplish my goals. You're so far ahead of me, where I was when I started, it is hard to even explain it, but I think that you and several others are doing an outstanding job getting out there every day in an attempt to claim your health back.

I remember before I could even do day 1 of C25K, I was just trying to walk with slight jogs and it just hurt my knees so badly. I went to the doctor twice about the pain, thinking maybe there was something wrong there and he very politely told me that it was pretty much just a result of being so much overweight (at the time I was in the 260s). He pretty much told me that I would likely enjoy doing the elliptical trainer better if I was having such knee pain. The Elliptical is perhaps the one thing more boring than a treadmill, so I had a love/hate relationship with it for quite some time.

Eventually it all got better, got easier and I started seeing progress from it. I am convinced if you and others stick with it, you'll see the same success of reaching your goals too. It just takes hard work and time and determination.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:27 PM   #112
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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I had noticed for the past week or two my weight loss had stalled a bit. Nothing horrible to be worried about, but just different. I spent a little time today looking through my weight reports to see if I could figure anything out.



They say that it is demotivating to weight yourself every day or at least pay attention to the daily weight as normal fluctuation and water weight can play havoc with you. I have a withings scale however that I use every morning and it automatically uploads its data which is then automatically pulled out by several different programs (Runkeeper, Lose It!, etc) to give me updated data on my weight.

So I learned somewhere over the past few months that my weight loss progression actually had a pretty interesting pattern to it. Each week I would have a spike downwards and then a few days of small decreases of weight, then suddenly would have a spike upwards for a day or two. Then the following week it would start over again, with each week being just a little lower in weight than the previous one.

I wasn't really looking for quick weight loss any longer, and had been focusing more on trying to improve my running and fitness. Since I was losing about .5 to .7 pounds a week, I figured that was a good and comfortable level to continue it at. So never really analyzed what exactly caused this pattern that I saw every week.

Suddenly the past two weeks, I kind of plateaued off a little bit. Now after working on losing weight for close to 5 years now, I've gotten used to plateaus many times in the past, but often times I ended up just giving up and settling with that weight as being where I stopped. I hit a plateau at 235-240 for over a year, I hit another one at 220-225 for almost 2 years... this time I wasn't really interested in just giving up and instead I was curious to try to look further and see if I could find some correlation with other data that I was collecting.


I mentioned in another thread.. maybe the weight loss thread, or possibly Sir Fozzie's thread that I used to count calories religiously. It helped me a great deal by helping me learn what different foods cost. It helped me learn what was good foods to eat and what was not. I also learned that a very simplistic approach to weight loss was calories in - daily calorie burn - calories burned from exercise would ideally be a little negative. (Not too much of a deficit as that is just as unhealthy as eating too many calories) What I ended up finding was a nice comfortable level where I tried to eat enough "good" calories to cover my daily calorie burn from just normal daily activity and then whatever I worked off was in essence the weight that I lost. I'm no nutritionist, so I am sure that wasn't the best or most ideal plan ever, but it seemed to work well for me.

I went with that plan for months and continued to improve my running fitness while also losing weight.. that is until this month. I haven't re-started any bad habits lately such as snacking or sodas or such.. so didn't think my diet fell off the tracks or anything.. To be honest I was still losing a little weight, just not that much so i wasn't too overly troubled by it but more curious than anything. I suddenly started thinking.. the other half of that equation is my exercise.. and in fact since the end of May, I cut back on my miles that I was running after my 10k race on June 1st. I've been running only enough miles to try to keep my fitness level until the start of my next training plan later this month. Considering I was running less (only 25 miles last week vs the 32+ from previous weeks in May), I began to wonder if that might be a change that caused the different weight loss pattern.

I went back to my trusty SportTracks program and put together a report where I compared weight by day with calories burned per day from exercise....



I noticed that there were big peaks or jumps in both lines, the black one indicating weight each day as well as the green which indicated my calories I burned from exercise. For the most part (with some exceptions), the weight would be highest right before my long run each week. Normally from an exercise standpoint, I usually rested or went easy the day before my long run. Then the day after a long run is almost always when my weight dropped the largest amount.

Looking at it further, the weekly pattern of weight loss pretty much mirrored my weekly workout routine.. Off Day - Long Run - Recovery - Mid run - Rest - Speed - Recovery. Since I did almost the same pattern every week with my training, I guess it makes sense that my weight loss pattern went with that as well.

I could also see that once I cut out the weekly long runs, it meant my weekly large drops in weight also disappeared. I got a good drop the day after my 10k race, but otherwise it has been pretty stagnant for this month. Thinking about it for a while, I guess it makes perfect sense. I was eating the same, just exercising less, so of course I wouldn't lose as much weight.

No reason to panic or anything, just was something I was curious about and took some time to look at. I start back with my long runs the last week of this month (2 1/2 weeks from now), so if my hypothesis is correct, I should start seeing a new pattern occur. I'm doing a different training schedule this time around though, so maybe the week won't have the exact same pattern for weight loss, but I expect I'll be looking for what pattern does emerge.

I am curious though how this weekend will work for me weight-loss wise. On Saturday morning I am planning on running a 10k fast for the Strava Any Way 10k challenge, and then following that I am doing relay for life where I expect I'll walk at least 15+ miles.. I have absolutely no idea how my body will respond to that, so will be interested to see.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:57 AM   #113
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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One of the most difficult things for me to figure out is what my "race" pace should be for various distances. I have run enough 5k races by now that I have a pretty good idea how to handle the 3 miles that are involved. It is pretty easy to use various calculators to convert what my expected finish time should be to what my "pace" should be. Plus just going off of feel, it is a familiar race distance for me, I can truthfully feel when I am going too fast for a 5k. I have gotten pretty good at handling my pace for those races...

Going a longer distance is a bit tougher for me though. I've run only one 10k race, and then 1 10k challenge last weekend. Coming up this next weekend I am doing a half-marathon relay with my wife where each of us run half of it or roughly 6.55 miles. (basically just 1/4th of a mile longer than a 10k, something like 10.5k). Once again I am struggling to find where I want to set my pace.

I have run plenty of 10k distances by now (by my records, 20 times in total). On June 1st, my first official 10k race, I suffered from the heat and running too fast in the heat and withered horribly in the race. I ended up handling it in 1:03, or roughly a 10:14 pace. The majority of my 10k runs have simply been long runs of 6.2 to 11 miles usually at an easy or comfortable running pace. Not necessarily ran for my best time. My "Tempo Run" pace based on Daniels training tables would have me finish a 10k at tempo run pace in just a hair over 1 hour, which is pretty much exactly what I did on my previous tempo run where I had set my personal best 1:00:17 time.

So on Saturday, I had a chance to fit in enough time to run 6.2 miles for the Strava AnyWay 10k challenge and I intended to run it at "Race" pace to try to figure out exactly what that was but also to finally knock off the accomplishment of beating a sub-1 hour 10k. So the question I had to ask myself first of all was what pace I should run it at, and I wanted to try to understand where I was going to run it (since hills, both up and down affect pacing).

I already knew I could run it at tempo run pace 9:41 min/mile, but that wasn't going to meet my accomplished goal. Based on my recent 5k race where I recorded a 27:12 for my VDOT score of 34.7, my expectation on a neutral course was that I should be able to handle a 10k in 56:43 or a 9:08 min/mile pace. I knew the course I would run had a slight hill right at the first mile, but then gradual downhill for a few miles before a long and shallow climb for mile 5. So my goal was basically to try to keep a good pace going to mile 5 and hopefully have enough in the tank to finish the last two miles. If I went out too fast, I would likely be in trouble...

There are three different ways to handle race pacing:
1) Start faster than expected race pace, and try to hold on as long as you can through the end.
2) Try to run the same pace the entire race
3) Start a little slower than planned pace but speed up as you get closer to the end..

There appears to be no debate that #1 is never a good idea for races. It will lead to the worst possible scenario, but due to getting caught up in the moment or extra adrenaline I end up doing it far too often in races or race efforts.. Jonathan Savage, an American ultra runner has this to say on his running wiki about starting off too fast in a race:

Quote:
However, running the first mile significantly faster than the average race pace causes a disproportionate slow down towards the end. This is because any race requires finding the right pace that will use all of the body's capacity for the race distance. Using too much of the body's capacity early in the race causes a debt that can't be compensated for later. For example, in marathon races where Glycogen reserves are critical to performance, going out too fast will burn a disproportionate amount of Glycogen. This is because Glycogen usage varies nonlinearly with pace. So if you run a mile at 7:45 and a second mile at 8:15, you will use more Glycogen than running two miles at 8:00 pace. There are other mechanisms for shorter races, but the principle is similar.

Another study on the subject from Jeff Galloway in his book Galloway on Running says:

Quote:
for every second you run too fast in the first 3 miles, you'll run as much as 10 seconds slower per mile at the end in a 10K. Presumably, in an extended event like the half marathon, the slow down will be more dramatic than this. Thus, a moderate early (even) pace or negative split race minimizes the threat of glycogen depletion and reduces your chances of premature exhaustion-your energy is economically burnt during the entire race.

So the first option is right out, as it is the one that leads to the worst possible performance. From everything I read, there seems to be a debate on which option #2 or #3 is better, running every split even or starting slow and gradually speeding up over the distance. Due to the nature of the route I was going to take, I was looking to take the even pace approach, or I should say even effort approach, as the 5th mile up hill I was going to run with constant effort, even if it meant a very slight decrease in pace.

So with that in mind, I had determined that based on Daniels VDOT table, I should be able to handle a 9:08 pace, I would try to go out with a desire to keep fairly even 9:10 splits, and after mile 5's hill if I had extra left, the last mile I would speed it up a little bit as able.

My plan was much better than my execution though.. I felt really good at the start, the weather was nice for once (it was 5am though), and I felt pretty fresh... So what did I do?

1st mile: 9:06

ok, not too too bad. A hair faster than I wanted, but not the end of the world. My HR at the first mile was 160bpm which is actually right near the very bottom of my Lactate Threshold so probably right around where I wanted to be... So far so good..

2nd mile: 8:50

I actually climbed 8 ft of elevation in this mile, so can't blame this really on a downhill. This is where feeling good so far got me a little carried away. I started pushing faster without realizing it and was able to handle it.. but this was a good 20 seconds too fast compared to where I was aiming for. After two miles, my HR was 168-170 which shows I was running too fast. I can keep this pace up for a 5k, but no way I would be able to sustain this for a 10k. I recall on my run remembering that I needed to slow down my pace a little bit going into the third mile...

3rd mile: 8:54

Yeah.. well I slowed down my pace a little bit I guess.. 4 seconds was no where near enough though. I did drop about 40 ft in elevation this mile which can perhaps explain a little bit of the speed, but I needed to be much closer to 9:10 to salvage my ideal race time.. During this mile, my HR climbed into the 170s for a brief bit but during the downhill fell back into the mid-160s. So I was barely hanging on here, but the second and tougher half of the run was just about to start...

4th mile: 9:19

So the 40 feet I dropped in the previous mile, I was now running back up hill in reverse on this mile. As soon as I hit the small climb, with my HR already in the low 170s, I was not able to tackle the hill fast enough without my HR hitting close to my max HR. It caused my climb to suffer a bit, and thus my pace dropped some. All things considered, 9:19 could have been worse, but at the end of mile 4 I was at 170 bpm, and the entire next mile was a gradual uphill climb (even though not much in elevation, the entire mile was uphill)

5th mile: 9:18

So I survived the last of the climb.. and did it with an ok pace still, but I was literally gassed at this point. My HR was at 178, and I had nothing left in the tank. So much for considering speeding up in mile 6, at this point my mind was playing tricks with me. I knew that I looked in pretty good shape to beat an hour at this point as long as I could keep moving, but my mind kept telling me take a stop and walk some.. or anything just to let my heart rate drop a little.

6th mile: 9:02

This mile was run with all heart. I fought myself the entire time, wanting to stop. I just kept pushing more and more to suffer through it. I did a good job of shortening my stride a little bit further and had my cadence close to 90 steps per minute (180 between both feet) which is really ideal here. The time on this mile was really a product of running down hill again as other than the downhill stetches, I was more of a 9:40 pace.

Final .3 of a mile: 8:39 min/mile pace

When you get past the 6th mile, you know that you only have 1-2 minutes left, so you just have to give it all that you have left. I ran the entire thing anaerobic, my HR was over 180. I still pushed as much as I could. I wasn't going to be able to do any 6 min/mile pace or anything, I really was gassed, but I did give it all I could. I went a little further than 6.2 miles, just to make sure I didn't get short changed by strava.. but finally got there...

End Result: A new PR in 10k, 56:19, and I beat one of my goals, trying to run a 10k in under an hour!



According to strava, was also a PR for my 5k, due to distance issues on my last race. Either way, I am not sure that was a good sign that I ran that fast in the first half of the run..

If we look at what Galloway said that I quoted above regarding running too quick for a 10k... Every second too fast in first 3 miles is 10 seconds slower per mile by the end of the 10k.. If that is true, my first 3 miles I completed in 26:50, but my goal was to actually run the first 3 miles in 27:30. So basically 40 seconds too fast. If Galloway is correct, that would mean if I had conserved my Glycogen better, theoretically I could have run it 400 seconds quicker overall (or almost 7 minutes).

I am not sure if I fully buy that 7 minute number, but even at a conservative estimate, I likely could have improved on my PR time a considerable bit. (maybe even under 55 minutes) without improving my fitness any.

So that leads back to my next race, this upcoming weekend. Its a little more than a 10k, and I'll be running mostly uphill the entire way.. so pacing will be that much more important for me. I ran this entire 10k at a 9:03 pace, in fairly optimal weather and road conditions. My race likely will be worse in both regards, so I think I'll set out next time to try to run that 9:10 pace once again, but this time do a better job of it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:59 PM   #114
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
I find myself in an unusual place with my running right now. I'm currently in "maintenance" mode. I achieved my short term goals from my spring training:

- Get below 200 pounds in weight
- Run a 10k race
- Run a 10k in under 1 hour
- Run a 5k in under 27:30

I am constantly proud of the progress that I have made. I recently saw a friend at a softball game that I had not seen in about a year. The first thing that people comment on that have not seen me for a while is how much weight I have lost. It makes me proud, I enjoy talking about what a big accomplishment it felt like to me.

In a way, that is what running is for me as well, a way to constantly better myself, to see improvement each step of the way. I can work on this for the next 10 years and continue to improve. Running (and other forms of exercise) is an iceberg to move. It goes slow, but hard work eventually is noticed after considerable time. With that hard work comes a far greater sense of accomplishment. This isn't being proud that I got a high score in a video game, or that I figured out how to put together that toy for the kids on Christmas morning. Only I know how much effort and sweat went into reaching these goals, and perhaps only I can truly appreciate how much it means to me.

So back to where I am this month.. Practically the entire month of June I'm pretty much in maintenance mode. I have new goals for the Fall lined up. I want to get below 190 pounds before the end of the year. I want to run a half marathon and speed related, I would like to get to a 25 minute 5k time. None of these things will happen tomorrow, or next week or even next month. Just like every other one of my goals, these will take time for me to accomplish.

Maintenance mode for my weight loss means that I am not actively dieting super heavy these days. I am very careful to try to not run at too much of a calorie deficit with all of my exercise I am doing. To train properly, my body needs the energy or I'll not meet exercise related goals. I don't see the weeks any more where I lose 10 pounds in a week that I once did. Now a gradual 1/2 pound a week is pretty good progress. As long as it continues to go down slowly but surely I know that i will at some point reach my goal..



Maintenance mode for my running has me in between training plans. I start my half-marathon training next Monday. The last few weeks has been pretty much looking to keep a base level of fitness. Trying to keep my fitness level up without greatly increasing my fatigue. I have used this month to try to have some fun with things, to have a little chance to see how my running fitness has improved. So far this month, I ran a 10k race, a 5k race, a 10k challenge and this upcoming weekend Doing a half-marathon relay with my wife. We don't expect to win, or come close to winning.. in fact we may even be the last place relay team.. but we're going to have fun doing it. We have a baby sitter (my mom), we have a hotel and a get away destination.. and are just going to enjoy the day and the race and have fun doing it. Not everything to do with my running or my exercise/fitness is about setting new personal records... I need to remind myself that one of my biggest goals was to get my health under control so I could be a more active part of my family and do things with the kids that I struggled with previously due to my weight.

I have an issue with Anxiety.. I let everything stress me out.. and constantly live on edge. I have been working on better handling my stress and anxiety perhaps just as hard as my running or my weight loss for the past 9 months. Absolutely everything stressed me out.. work stressed me out.. taking the kids somewhere stressed me.. dealing with money at home stressed me.. even going over to a party at a friend's house caused me anxiety... I feel like earlier this week I didn't necessarily hit a break through, but I realized how far I had come in dealing with my anxiety....

I recently taught my youngest daughter how to ride without training wheels on her bike. She did a good job, only took us 3 afternoons (about 45 minutes each time) before she got it. Now she rides entirely on her own. Sometimes she is a little shaky, but she's getting the hang of balance now. I decided on Monday that it was time to go out to a nearby bike trail with her, and actually ride my bike with her. In the past, trips like this with my oldest daughter, I stressed out the entire time. Was worried she would fall, would get hurt, would accidentally crash into someone else on the trail.. or numerous other reasons.. I spent the entire time waiting for the inevitable to happen.. and it caused me to not enjoy it.. to almost feel like it was a chore.. This time, I just relaxed and basically went along for the ride. She would go too fast on the downhill because it was fun.. and I just let her. She didn't crash (even though once or twice came darn close). When she wanted to stop for a water break we stopped.. After 3 miles we were done, and I realized... I actually had alot of fun.

So I guess during this month of just maintaining.. of not pushing super hard on weight loss or exercise, I've been able to spend a little time as well realizing that there are other parts of my life or my relationship with my family that have been improving as well. I need to remember that sometimes when I go out for a run it isn't to improve my fitness.. but instead it can be just to enjoy going for a run.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #115
Dodgerchick
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan T View Post
I find myself in an unusual place with my running right now. I'm currently in "maintenance" mode. I achieved my short term goals from my spring training:

- Get below 200 pounds in weight
- Run a 10k race
- Run a 10k in under 1 hour
- Run a 5k in under 27:30

I am constantly proud of the progress that I have made. I recently saw a friend at a softball game that I had not seen in about a year. The first thing that people comment on that have not seen me for a while is how much weight I have lost. It makes me proud, I enjoy talking about what a big accomplishment it felt like to me.

In a way, that is what running is for me as well, a way to constantly better myself, to see improvement each step of the way. I can work on this for the next 10 years and continue to improve. Running (and other forms of exercise) is an iceberg to move. It goes slow, but hard work eventually is noticed after considerable time. With that hard work comes a far greater sense of accomplishment. This isn't being proud that I got a high score in a video game, or that I figured out how to put together that toy for the kids on Christmas morning. Only I know how much effort and sweat went into reaching these goals, and perhaps only I can truly appreciate how much it means to me.

So back to where I am this month.. Practically the entire month of June I'm pretty much in maintenance mode. I have new goals for the Fall lined up. I want to get below 190 pounds before the end of the year. I want to run a half marathon and speed related, I would like to get to a 25 minute 5k time. None of these things will happen tomorrow, or next week or even next month. Just like every other one of my goals, these will take time for me to accomplish.

Maintenance mode for my weight loss means that I am not actively dieting super heavy these days. I am very careful to try to not run at too much of a calorie deficit with all of my exercise I am doing. To train properly, my body needs the energy or I'll not meet exercise related goals. I don't see the weeks any more where I lose 10 pounds in a week that I once did. Now a gradual 1/2 pound a week is pretty good progress. As long as it continues to go down slowly but surely I know that i will at some point reach my goal..



Maintenance mode for my running has me in between training plans. I start my half-marathon training next Monday. The last few weeks has been pretty much looking to keep a base level of fitness. Trying to keep my fitness level up without greatly increasing my fatigue. I have used this month to try to have some fun with things, to have a little chance to see how my running fitness has improved. So far this month, I ran a 10k race, a 5k race, a 10k challenge and this upcoming weekend Doing a half-marathon relay with my wife. We don't expect to win, or come close to winning.. in fact we may even be the last place relay team.. but we're going to have fun doing it. We have a baby sitter (my mom), we have a hotel and a get away destination.. and are just going to enjoy the day and the race and have fun doing it. Not everything to do with my running or my exercise/fitness is about setting new personal records... I need to remind myself that one of my biggest goals was to get my health under control so I could be a more active part of my family and do things with the kids that I struggled with previously due to my weight.

I have an issue with Anxiety.. I let everything stress me out.. and constantly live on edge. I have been working on better handling my stress and anxiety perhaps just as hard as my running or my weight loss for the past 9 months. Absolutely everything stressed me out.. work stressed me out.. taking the kids somewhere stressed me.. dealing with money at home stressed me.. even going over to a party at a friend's house caused me anxiety... I feel like earlier this week I didn't necessarily hit a break through, but I realized how far I had come in dealing with my anxiety....

I recently taught my youngest daughter how to ride without training wheels on her bike. She did a good job, only took us 3 afternoons (about 45 minutes each time) before she got it. Now she rides entirely on her own. Sometimes she is a little shaky, but she's getting the hang of balance now. I decided on Monday that it was time to go out to a nearby bike trail with her, and actually ride my bike with her. In the past, trips like this with my oldest daughter, I stressed out the entire time. Was worried she would fall, would get hurt, would accidentally crash into someone else on the trail.. or numerous other reasons.. I spent the entire time waiting for the inevitable to happen.. and it caused me to not enjoy it.. to almost feel like it was a chore.. This time, I just relaxed and basically went along for the ride. She would go too fast on the downhill because it was fun.. and I just let her. She didn't crash (even though once or twice came darn close). When she wanted to stop for a water break we stopped.. After 3 miles we were done, and I realized... I actually had alot of fun.

So I guess during this month of just maintaining.. of not pushing super hard on weight loss or exercise, I've been able to spend a little time as well realizing that there are other parts of my life or my relationship with my family that have been improving as well. I need to remember that sometimes when I go out for a run it isn't to improve my fitness.. but instead it can be just to enjoy going for a run.

What a great, inspirational post. Thanks for sharing I think it's great that you and your wife go running together, those are some real bonding moments.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:44 AM   #116
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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So this weekend, my wife and I are getting away for about 36 hours or so to spend the night up in Maine and then run a relay race together on Sunday morning. The distance is half-marathon combined, 6.55 or so miles down on a river rail trail in Augusta and 6.55 or so back to the start/finish line again.



I found this elevation map of the trail through Runkeeper, and we are using it to try to determine our strategy for how to approach the race. Since as a relay team, we effectively will be splitting this in half, it looks like the first half of the race (mostly downhill) is easier overall than the second half which is mostly up hill. So our immediate plan is to have my wife start off the first half of the race since I run hills much more often than she does, I likely won't suffer as much on the back half... One problem is, I despise Runkeeper's Elevation maps now. They don't seem very useful other than giving a rough idea of what the course is like. The elevation maps are over-exaggerated and don't give me the numbers to know if those steep climbs are 10ft or 200 ft.... So I took the map in Runkeeper and plotted out my own in Garmin Connect as best as I could believe I figured out the course.. and I got this:



So this shows the same basic idea where the majority of the first half seems down hill and then uphill in reverse. The peaks smooth out a bit, and the entire elevation goes for about a 20-30 ft change which really is nothing I don't think. So I don't view this as a huge problem at all. The only steep incline there is where the race leaves the rail trail for a brief bit to a street, and that jump might simply be Garmin Connect's inability to understand the change of topology there. I'm going to assume the entrance to a rail trail is not quite that steep.. So we're going with the game plan of having her start the race, and I'll finish it.

Next, now that it is close enough to race time, we can get some initial hourly weather forecasts for Augusta (even though weather channel seems wrong half the time)..



Initially the weather was looking a few degrees warmer with about the same 80-85% humidity, but now there is a small (30%) chance of rain, that I guess they are calling for enough cloud cover to keep the temperature in the high 60s for the race. Personally, with temps near the 70s and high humidity, I hope it does rain. Running in the rain is refreshing, keeps you cooled off and lets me run better since my body does not have to work as hard keeping myself cool. Even if it doesn't rain, the temperature isn't as high as it was on the last race earlier this month, but still not necessarily ideal enough where I am thinking that I'll set a new personal record here.

My wife does not necessarily enjoy running in the rain too much, but she also doesn't enjoy the heat.. so I don't really know which she will prefer. To help her keep from blowing herself up in the race trying too hard, I've been keeping it low key and telling her that we're just doing it to have fun. Which is really the truth, we know that we won't be a winner here, as there are teams that have run this in under 1 1/2 hours in the past. My best guess is that my wife and I are looking closer to 2:15 to 2:30 for our finish time. I do want her to feel like she did well or improved though since that is always a motivation boost, but for her keeping it low key so she enjoys herself is the best path to get to that goal.

For myself, I don't expect to beat my 10k time from last weekend. This trail is about the same difficulty as what I ran before, but the weather is not quite as good and I have to go a hair further. As long as it is raining, or the weather doesn't get too hot, I think I can still do this 6.55 or so miles in under an hour. My goal this time out is to do a better job of pacing myself than I have the last two 10k race/challenge scenarios. I want to start out and run pretty much a 9:10 pace for the first several miles. It looks like the first 3 miles for me will be a bit more of an uphill than my last 3 miles. Without knowing the course that well, my goal is to run fairly even 9:10 pace those first 3 miles and then see about speeding it up the last 3 just a hair (9:05 range - 9:00 range). Then whatever I have left the last .5 I'll just see what I can do.

I've gotten good at pacing for 5k races through experience.. but still a challenge for me on the 10k side as a fairly new race distance for myself.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:27 PM   #117
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Two posts in one day, I am getting a little carried away with myself....

I have mentioned before that I really get into the Techy side of things, and that also includes running. I really enjoy looking at endless stats of how my run went, my cumulative data, projected data, training data... whatever data that I can find as long as it seems to have some sense of meaning and not just some made up garbage. So I've been playing with some new sites lately that have been drawing my interest because of the data they provide.

The first site is actually an old site that I checked out several months ago and was mostly biking focused, but a recent check shows that they have it updated for both Biking and Running, which falls much more in line with my interests. It is a third party add on site for Strava data and is quite neat in my opinion. It focuses quite a bit on segment interaction from Strava as well as different ways to look at that data. It also gives you a "score" on your various segments based on how you do vs others in the segment. The higher your place and more people who have attempted that segment, the higher your score.

Veloviewer - My summary page



On the summary page you see the big graph that shows you either Distance/Duration/Elevation or number of activities during the year in a pretty easy way to read it. You can see when I started running last year in late 2012 and how my distance started to climb after I recovered from my back surgery earlier this year. You can see the Activity Stats box that gives the totals as well as records for the main categories.

In the top left is the Veloviewer score box. This is their score for you based on your performance in the various segments. They comment it is a way to compete with friends to see who can have the highest score. The score is an average of your top 25 (I think) segment scores as rated by Veloviewer. I don't know how good of a scale this score really is since I am in the middle of nowhere and it is usual for me to run on segments with only 5-7 others where others in a city might have 100s of people on their segments for competition. I would imagine someone like Subby who rides through a major city and has some pretty high level rankings on segments would have a much better score than I do for instance.



On the activities page, it shows all of your strava activities and also has the option to show you a heat map for your activities. On this heat map, I am showing all of my bike rides and Runs, but you can choose to only show one or the other if you wish. The darker the Red color, the more often that you ride in that location. The faint red lines are places that I might have only been on once, where the really dark lines could have over 100 visits from me. In this particular map, it is a little tough to distinguish between the Highways that are pink and my activities, but there are several map options to choose from...



In this map view, you don't see as much of the city information, but it is very easy to see my heat maps and which ones are the more commonly used paths. I can zoom out and see different parts of the country that I have strava activities for as well if I am interested.



Veloviewer also has an entire section for your segments that you have participated in Strava. You can go to any of your segments and pull up more information on it as such:



It tells you segment information, as well as your information and how far behind the King of the Mountain you are. In this case, this segment was a 5k that has been run 68 times, and I am currently 42nd on the list. My time was a little under 31 minutes but the King of the Mountain had a 19minuteish time.

From here you can choose one of the external links to go to Raceshape that will let you compare your attempt on the segment with any other member that has done that segment. It will compare where you are on the segment vs another person at any given time. Can be a fun way to see where you fall behind someone that may be close to you on the standings.

You can also choose to go to O'Keefe's segment history page which will give you the entire history of that segment. Tell you how many times the leader of it has changed hands, when, what time, etc. Instead of showing one of my boring segments, here is one from a major city that has been ridden over 10,000 times by close to 1500 bikers:




You can see the history of the top 3 on the segment as time goes on and the times all improve... As you continue to scroll down through this segment history, you eventually get to the current King of the Mountain, someone that some people on this forum may recognize...




There are other various things you can do on veloviewer, such as create a signature for yourself for forums (that support images in signatures), plus there appears to be a pretty decent sized list of new features that he plans on incorporating in the future with the new strava API changes that were implemented recently.

Anyhows, for those that use Strava, this might be something that interests you to look through even more data!
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:16 AM   #118
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
As I mentioned previously, my wife and I ran a relay race together on Sunday morning. We both had a great time, and I would guess this has been our favorite race that we have run so far. Something about doing it as a team made it pretty cool for both of us and we're already talking about other relay races that we may do in the near future, including a Marathon relay with a couple of our friends.

The trip was partially a get away day for us both as parents, any time having no kid responsibilities and a day/night away is something that we relish. With the race on Sunday, we pretty much planned Saturday as a casual travel day with no real plans. We eventually headed out on the road around 10:30am and started the roughly 3 hour drive up to Augusta, Maine. On the way, we found a cracker barrel restaurant that I convinced her to stop at for lunch. We probably had not eaten at one of these for 6+ years, but I always used to love eating at them as a kid years and years ago.

Now, there are probably many Dos and Don'ts the day before a race and on this trip I pretty much put together a very long and successful list of things that you should not do before the race. The first being eating a bunch of fried foods at Cracker Barrel. I ended up having some fried catfish, and it tasted great, but the next 4-6 hours my stomach really was having issues with it. I am not sure if this is a by-product of my improved eating lately and just not being as used to fried foods or something else was going on there. My wife was having similar issues but she never does well with fried foods. I remember when we both went down to Georgia to visit family years ago, she got sick for a week from the food.

After lunch, we got back on the road and made it to Augusta, Maine at the hotel and checked in/ settled down for an hour. By settle down, I mean we both ended up falling asleep for about an hour.. woops We woke up in time though to go down to the city center to pick up our race packet/shirts/timing chip and then decided to walk a little bit of the course just to check it out. We realized a little difference from our planning, that the start and finish lines were about 1/4th of a mile apart from each other, and the first leg would end up running about 1/2 a mile further than the second leg. We decided to keep things as planned though, since the first leg was more down hill and in the end that 1/2 mile shouldn't matter that much.

After walking about an hour and just checking out the center of town and some kind of neat historical significant stuff, we made our way to the movie theater for a date night movie and went to see the new Superman movie. This is where our 2nd poor eating the day before the race kicked in. The movie was at 6:50pm, and we basically kind of just skipped dinner. my wife had popcorn, and I ate peanut m&ms and had an icee to drink. I don't know why I chose that, I have virtually cut M&M and other candy out of my life, and definitely would have been better drinking the water. I don't know if it was something about being on a trip that told my brain to completely go off of the reservation.. but thats what I had.

We both enjoyed the movie, and it finished around 9:50 or so. Too late for dinner, but my wife wanted a bagel at Panera before we went to the hotel for sleep. I decided for dinner, from Panera I would have a blueberry muffin... So yea, eating a blueberry muffin at 10pm the night before a race is likely not a good idea either... We made it back to the hotel, and called it a night.

Morning wakeup was 5:45am, the race started at 7:30am, so an early going for us. My wife grabbed an oatmeal and coffee for breakfast. Since I had been eating like a champ thus far this trip, I continued by completely skipping breakfast. I have all kinds of issues when I eat within 2 hours of running, where I have to really use the bathroom bad, and just can't keep running. I have gotten to the point where it is really difficult for me to run after having eaten at all so I just went with it as that was what I was used to.. So just for the record, the 3 meals I had before a race was: Fried catfish, Peanut M&Ms and a blueberry muffin. Awesome

We head out about 6:45am to get over to the race, and as soon as we got in the car, like the very second, the skies opened up and it was crazy hard rain. The rain continued right up until about 10 minutes before the race would start at that rate. By the time the race was to start, it was just a light drizzle. My wife was definitely going to have to run in the rain though. We had a big debate on whether or not she wanted to bring her iphone and headphones with her or not (fear of it getting ruined in the rain), as well as if she wanted to bring her hydration water bottle which we had packed just in case it ended up being super hot and humid instead of the rain. She finally decided to change her mind with 3 minutes before the start of the race and wanted to bring it with her afterall. I literally ran up a huge grass hill to the car and back to get it all for her before the start.. and then she was off!

We had gone over the game plan before she had left. The goal was for her to just have fun, not stress about it too much and she wanted to try to set a new 10k record for herself. We felt if she could keep even 12:00min/mile paces for most of the race, she would do great. The obvious exception being the big hill in mile 3 that she had to cover, but otherwise just coast through til mile 6 and then she could speed up if she felt she had more to give. That would put her to the relay hand off at around 1:20:00 - 1:25:00 somewhere and put us in pretty good position to beat our goal of a 2:30:00 combined half-marathon we felt without having too much pressure on ourselves.

After she was off, I took a few final pictures and then went to get in my car. I found my route to my relay handoff stop was somewhat parallel to the race path, so I was able to stop for a few more pictures of her before I went on to my place. (A big parking lot of a grocery store where the rail trail ends). Once I got there and parked, I had a good hour or so till she was going to arrive, thus no need for me to warm up yet. Instead I just took time chatting with some of the other relay team members that were also waiting. There were 11 teams, and about 5-6 of us were standing together chatting. I found one other team was from Massachusetts also, and actually lived and worked near me which was kind of neat.

The first half marathon runners arrived a little bit later (about 40 minutes or so in to the race) and I decided to start warming up a little bit. I just ran easy pace around the parking lot for 1/2 a mile to try to wake up my legs and just figure out how my stomach was feeling. I felt pretty good surprisingly for the horrible eating and all of the travel plus sleeping in an unfamiliar hotel bed. I did realize though that the weather was going the wrong direction for me. The rain I was hoping for had ended, and now it was just getting gross and sticky.. not really what I wanted.



The temperature suggested perhaps a 10 seconds per mile slower pace from my original plan perhaps.. nothing major but the dew point was not helping things much either...

DEW POINT (F) RUNNER\'S PERCEPTION HOW TO HANDLE
50–54 Very comfortable PR conditions
55–59 Comfortable Hard efforts likely not affected
60–64 Uncomfortable for some people Expect race times to be slower than in optimal conditions
65–69 Uncomfortable for most people Easy training runs might feel OK but difficult to race well or do hard efforts
70–74 Very humid and uncomfortable Expect pace to suffer greatly
75 or greater Extremely oppressive Skip it or dramatically alter goal



I decided after running warm up and feeling pretty good that I would perhaps alter my plan slightly but not too much. I would still aim for 9:10 pace, but not try to push it too much on hill sections and if I slipped to 9:20 or 9:30 in some parts, I was not going to worry about it too much. My big goal was to try to pace myself well enough to have a strong finish rather than just holding on as best I could.

I made it back to the relay hand off station, and cheered for the various half marathon runners as they came through. I saw most of the other relay teams come through, which was no big shock since we did not expect to compete to win this thing. My wife ended up coming through as the 10th team, but she did great with her time and pacing. She came in at 1:21:00 and averaged a 12:15 pace over her 10k Personal record that she set for herself (1:16:25). I gave her a kiss, handed her the camera and car key and headed off for my turn to run (after posing for a picture on my way out). I wasn't in a super hurry on the hand off transition since I knew we wernt competing for anything and just wanted to have fun with it. My exact words to her was that 30 seconds wern't going to make a difference. Remember that for later in this post as that would come back to bite me

So I headed out, and the run was fairly pretty, along the river almost the entire way. My entire run was a gradual ascent, but I would say most of the trail felt pretty flat and easy for me to run. There were a few hills, none any worse than what I normally run on at home so I just kept to my pacing as best as I could to find a pretty comfortable pace that wasn't winding me much.



Not a whole lot to talk about most of the splits, I felt that I ran the first mile a little faster than I wanted, so slowed down a hair in mile 2, and then ran into a couple of small hills that I pretty much just ran through without it affecting me too much. The mile 4 split looks like I sped back up some, but it was mostly due to my one big downhill that I had that I sped down and then ran through the middle of a small Maine town for about 1/2 a mile. I pretty much kept my pace still around 9:10 other than that hill and by the time I got to mile 5, I was feeling really good, not struggling at all.

During the race, since I was running the relay in the middle of a few hundred people running a full half-marathon, I was able to catch up and pass a good 20-30 people as I ran. That was actually a pretty cool feeling for me since it made me feel really dominant even though in reality those people had run 6.7 more miles than I had at the time, so wasn't really fair. At one point though, I was surprised as I heard foot steps coming up quick behind me, it was the last placed relay team's 2nd runner had caught me. He was literally flying and blew by me like I was doing nothing. He was likely running around 6:45-7:00 pace easily. In talking before running, he had told me that he ran tons of marathons and half marathons, and had come here to do this with his wife also who was a beginner runner. I thought that was pretty cool, even though I now was in last place for relay teams No big deal though, I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with him, and even trying to would sabotage my race, so I kept up my pace. and ran my own race I guess you can say.

By the time I had hit mile 5, and was feeling good as I had mentioned above, I had come to the realization that I was likely not catching any of the other relay teams (most of them had too much of a head start on me I figured), so I focused mainly on just trying to finish my 10k strong. I kept to my 9:10ish pace through the 5th mile and knew at mile 6 that I had a 45:33 time. Doing the math in my head, I knew that gave me 11 minutes for the final 1.22 miles to try to beat my PR. I had 1.4 miles or so left in the race, so decided that it was time the final mile to see what I had left in the tank. I pushed up to about a 8:50 pace, or so but then found a few downhill stretches that let me comfortably pick up even more. I reached the 6 mile point at 54:32 and saw the bridge right before the finish line and just gave the rest that I had (which wasn't too much at that point). I ended up running the last 3/10th of a mile at an 8:16 pace, or pretty much treating it like an interval and ran across the finish line.



For the most part, I was pretty happy with how I ran the race. I definitely think it was my best run 10k race so far, not only because of the time but just how I handled the pacing. When I passed 6.22 miles on my watch, it was really close to my previous PR time, but I knew that it would be close. I laughed with my wife a bit on the way home as I asked her if it made me obsessed that I wanted to get home to sync my watch to see if I got a new personal record for the 10k or not



Well, I did set a new 10k PR by about 30 seconds. Not quite reaching my goal of 55 minutes, but I did not expect to make that goal with the weather the way it was. I actually didn't expect to set a PR honestly when I started out, so this was a happy result for me. My 1 mile second best time of 8:24 was actually the last mile that I ran in this race. I guess it is a good sign when the end of the race is your strongest, and perhaps the strongest that you have ever felt as a runner.

As for the race results.. well we did finish last, which was not a big deal to us. We met all of our goals, both of us set new 10k Personal records, and our combined Half-marathon time was under our goal of 2:30:00. We had a great time and were super satisfied...



Looking at the results though, I realized.. the relay team right in front of us finished only 5 seconds before me! I went to go look at the pictures that my wife had taken at the finish line.....



Yep.. the guy right in front of me is team #478.. and I came through without realizing that I only needed a little more to pass him and not finish last... Going back to what I said at the hand off.. 30 seconds wouldn't kill us.. whooops

Ever since we found that out, my wife has been telling me that I was fired, or just saying to me "5 seconds". We both had a really good time though, and look forward to another relay in the future. As for the other relay team that passed me earlier on.. he finished a good 10 minutes before me and had passed a few other relay teams. Pretty incredible on his part!
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Last edited by Alan T : 06-24-2013 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:04 PM   #119
Alan T
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mass.
This is going to be another post about fun stats. If you aren't that excited about endless amounts of stats about my running, this post may bore you a little bit. You have been warned

Previously I wrote about calculating TRIMP, ATL,CTL and finding your Training/Stress Balance to determine your level of fitness vs fatigue in a way to calculate your performance level. A few weeks ago, I put in my entire training plan from the start of June through mid September with estimated guesses on my part to what TRIMP value those workouts would have based on previously similar runs that I had done. Once done, it mapped out what my Training season for my half marathon would like like in terms of fitness, fatigue and performance (TSB)



As a refresher, the Blue is CTL (or fitness), the red is ATL (or fatigue) and the Grey is TSB (or Performance level). TSB is measured up and down around the 0 line, where the higher above 0 the better, the lower below 0 the worse it is. For both Blue and Red, the higher it goes the larger the value.

You can see the end of my last training cycle that ended in May, the one that got me up to the 10k race level and helped improve my 10k PR time from 1:15:00 to 56:00 thus far (19 minute improvement from the start to the end). At the end of the training plan, my fatigue level had climbed pretty high from the amount of miles that I had been putting in (30+ a week for a few weeks), however in turn my fitness level had also been going up, albeit slower. The month of June was mostly keeping status quo. Keeping roughly the same level of fitness from where I had finished in May while keeping the fatigue down before I start my next training plan. Plus gives my body some time to rest and recover from the taxing May that I had. Now that it is time for the new plan, once again my fitness level will start climbing, but in turn so will fatigue. Both values will continue to climb until the first week of September where I begin to taper for the half marathon, allowing the fatigue to wear off prior to the race. This all depends on the calculated TRIMP scores that I put in for my workouts though. Thus far I overestimated most of those values as my improved fitness has allowed me to undertake these exercises with a bit more effeciency. The overall effect will still remain the same even if a slightly changed angle that my fitness and fatigue will both climb until September where I hopefully will be ready for the race.

I wanted to dig more into the various measurements regarding CTL/ATL/TSB and to better understand how my fitness level has been improving, and found a bunch of pretty useful information on a site that I have referenced before: Running tips for everyone from beginners to racing marathons and ultramarathons

Jonathan actually has a plugin for SportTracks and a good deal of information regarding some of the data within it. Of course I dug into it and started looking over the data for my various runs. The more stats that he offered piqued my curiosity to start looking up the information and trying to understand the value in them. He has a graph page similar to my graph above that will measure out your CTL/ATL/TSB but he has four different methods of calculating it: TSB Model, Banister Model and Busso Model. Without going into a whole bunch of detail explaining the different models, here is his summary of the differences:

Comparison of the Models
  • The TSB model is simpler than the other two models as it only has the two decay parameters.
  • The Banister model has more experimental verification than the other models.
  • The Busso model is the most complex, but is the only one that allows for Training Monotony.

Once I started looking more into what the Banister and Busso models had, it gave me a whole new slate of calculations or things to look at, exactly the type of thing I enjoy to dissect. With the plugin, I can actually pull up a page for each run that has a bunch of analytical data in it. I'll include my recent half-marathon relay race from Sunday as an example of this page.




The first three lines are pretty self explanatory. The distance, duration and number of activities in the last week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, year and year to date. So far in the 146 days this year, I've run in 113 of those days. When you factor in that I didn't run at all for most of January due to my back surgery, that means I have run a bunch this year so far

The next line is all Heart Rate data. Most are likely familiar with what your Avg heart rate and max heart rate during a run signifies. The higher your Heart rate, the harder your body is having to work to handle the pace/effort, weather conditions or terrain. During any moderate exercise of 10 minutes or more at 50-75% VO2 max, you'll start to experience cardiovascular drift. At a constant effort, your heart will reduce the amount of blood that it pumps and thus have to beat slightly faster to compensate and maintain the level of blood flow. This is due to many reasons, possibly dehydration, overheating or similar causes. Having a measurement for drift seems interesting, but there is another calculation that is covered later that seems to be a better measuring stick (Efficiency).

The next line gives information about TRIMP which I've talked about before so will gloss over here, but also has two new measurements for me, the monotony and training strain. The two go somewhat hand in hand together with monotony being one of the factors in calculating the training strain of an exercise. We all probably know by now that you can't do hard runs every single time out, eventually your body will just fall apart. It can lead to overtraining syndrome and be counter-productive. There evidently is also some thought that you need to change up your runs somewhat, by doing the same run repeatedly will lead to monotony and be counter productive as well. This goes for the same easy runs repeatedly as well. I had previously read something about that on strength-running blog as well but am not too versed with this line of thinking. The basic idea as I understand it is you can measure your training monotony by reviewing the previous 7 days of exercise. change in pace or distance helps break up the monotony as does rest days.

Quote:
Values of Monotony over 2.0 are generally considered too high, and values below 1.5 are preferable. A high value for Monotony indicates that the training program is ineffective. This could be because the athlete is doing a low level of training; an extreme example would be a well-trained runner doing a single easy mile every day. This would allow for complete recovery, but would not provide the stimulus for improvement and would likely lead to rapid detraining. At the other extreme, doing a hard work out every day would be monotonous and not allow sufficient time to recover.

Based on the above quote, my training monotony is 1.52 at the point of this run so I guess borderline getting too high. Looking through the measurements of last week, for most of the week my monotony score was below 1, and this week it is still around 1.57.. but that leads to the question of.. am I overtraining or undertraining? My guess is undertraining since I had been taking it easy a few weeks here. That is where training strain comes in though. It uses the monotony score along with the TRIMP score to give a strain score. The higher the training strain score, the more likely you are overtraining. His page does not give much in the way of specifics to what score would be too high as it is independent of the runner involved. Most of my training strain scores last week were 800-1000 and for this race I was closer to 2000. Still is that high? I am guessing not since my monotony is not near 2.0. I went back to look at the end of May to see where I was during my peak TRIMP days of my last training schedule and found that my strain was around 2200 most likely due to the monotony back then being lower. I think this will be something that I watch over the next 2 months just to see how I can use this calculation or better understand it.

The next three lines are the different calculations I wrote about above, and the following line gives me an easy VDOT score for that particular run. I have spoken about VDOT previously and I use it pretty religiously in setting my pace for the various runs that I do. For this race, my VDOT was 35. I tend to score a little lower VDOT on my 10k due to not having gotten a full grasp on my pacing yet. My 5k PR time that I actually use the VDOT from was a 37 score. Just as a point of reference for those just starting C25K, less than a year ago, my VDOT was below 30, so I have managed to improve it quite a bit this year.

Most of the other fields are pretty self explanatory.. Cadence, Stride Length, weather... But the one that I found very interesting was the Efficiency measurement. I wrote earlier in the paragraph about Drift that efficiency might be a better way of measuring your... well efficiency... I went to do some research on this one and kind of found it very interesting...

From fellnr's wiki once more:

Quote:
There are two components to running ability; fitness and economy. Fitness is the ability of our bodies to generate energy for running and is the focus of a lot of our training. Economy is how far and fast you can run with a given amount of energy. Good economy is a critical part of running, and Cadence is one element I focus on.



In an ideal world, wed be able to easily measure our Running Economy and see if things are improving. If we could measure our breath, find out how much O2 we consumed and how much CO2 we produce, wed know how much energy we burned (and from fat or carbohydrate). Sadly, this is not practical, so the best measure we have of energy consumption is our Heart Rate. This is far from perfect, as Heart Rate can vary for other reasons besides supplying O2 for energy production. However, I believe it is a useful approximation.



The calculated efficiency value cannot easily be used to compare different runners. It can be used as to track how your running efficiency is improving over time. Over the weeks and months of training your efficiency value should gradually improve. For instance, I've seen my efficiency go from 110-120 to 130-150 over a period of a few months. Sadly, I've also seen my efficiency dropped when I put on body fat (see Weight Loss and Performance.) This evaluation of my fitness this proved to be remarkably useful to me.

Before I go back to look at how my efficiency has improved over time, he also mentions that efficiency can also be looked at in the course of a single run to see how you are effected by glycogen being depleted during the activity. In my race from Sunday you can see in the lap splits that it includes the efficiency for each lap. You can see as my run continues, my efficiency decreases. I honestly don't know why the 6th and final mile was so different as it appears that I just sped up without increasing my Heart rate at all. Maybe I don't remember there being downhills there, or maybe adrenaline has an effect there.. I honestly do not know there... Using this over even longer distance though probably would be even more telling, especially if you go past the point of depleting your glycogen stores such as a marathon or 20+ mile distance.

Now to look at how I have become more efficient over time with my runs.. In his quote above, he says he went from 110-120 to 130-150 efficiency over the course of a few months. My Race on Sunday I was 103.5. Obviously he is going to be in better shape than I since he is an ultra-runner and has been doing it much longer than me. I wanted to see though how much I had improved over time. Since it relies on Heart rate measurements, I can only go back as far as I had a HRM earlier this year in Feb.. My early runs in Feb had efficiency of 89 (and a VDOT score of 24). Looking through several other runs, most of my scores were low 80s to low 90s, so I've improved by roughly 20 there in the last few months which I gather is a good sign.

None of this data really changed my impression of how I approach things with perhaps the one part that i want to read more about is training monotony.. however the ability to look at even more stats and numbers after a run just makes me giddy
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:00 AM   #120
Alan T
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June 2013 in review:

I mentioned at the start of the month that I wouldn't run as much as I did in May, being between plans and having a few races during the month meant that i would be keeping a base more than building on one. In the end though, I ended up running almost as much as the previous month still, and had my second month over 100 miles run.










Even though my running was about 20 miles less than in May, my overall cardio went up again this month for a new high of 178.1 miles






Mostly the increased cardio this month was due to the 62 miles of biking that I did which was up almost 20 miles from the previous month.



I didn't do as well in the running June Strava challenge obviously, and my biking place of almost 74 thousandth is pretty laughable However, was a pretty good month for me all things considered, setting new PRs in the 10k and 5k races.

From a weight perspective, slow and steady continues to be the theme..



Lost almost 5 pounds last month which means I could see an official weight below 190 at some point next month hopefully. As of today, I've lost:




So what's next? Time for my next phase in training for a half marathon race in the fall.



The base phase is completed as tomorrow is a rest day for me. The building phase starts up on Tuesday and runs through 7/22 for me. I'll be averaging 31.1 miles per week during this phase, which is actually pretty close to what I ran this week. My long runs the next three weeks will be 9 mi, 10 mi, 8 mi and I'll start my speed work back up with some Fartleks and Hill runs.

The final week of July, my next phase starts and enters into August where the training plan really looks to put in the peak miles as it will be the time where my training influence will be highest for a mid-september race.




So the month of July should have me running roughly 145 miles, which would be an all time high for me. The biggest struggle that i will have is trying to find time to continue biking in there somewhere without it affecting my running. I'll likely try to do some easy biking perhaps on Wednesdays which will be a fairly low distance running day for me each week.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:45 AM   #121
Alan T
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So this week is my wife's and my yearly trip where we sneak off without any kids for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. It actually is a pretty event filled period of a few days with the 4th of July, my wife's birthday and our anniversary all within a 4 day period. What we do is take turns planning our anniversary trip as a surprise for the other person. They don't know where we are going, how long we will be there, how we are getting there or anything. Just told the night/day before what they need to pack and off we go.

This year is my turn to plan the trip, and since we've been trying to be a bit more fit this past year, I decided to plan it around some "running destinations" so to speak. Now before anyone thinks that I have gone completely off my rocker, I didn't plan the entire focus of the trip around running. However it was definitely something that I considered when planning things. My wife asked me this morning what she needed to pack, so I told her the various clothes she would need.. oh and bring 3 days worth of running clothes and your running shoes.

So the plan this year is that we'll drive up to Niagara Falls tomorrow during the day and check in to the hotel some point mid-afternoon. She is supposed to run 3 miles tomorrow and I have a 5 mile run, I figured it would be pretty cool to run along the river there near where the falls are as it looks according to my running maps as a pretty popular running trail plus should have nice scenery I am hoping. Obviously we'll be there for the fireworks at night as well.

The next day we check out and drive an hour or two up to Toronto where we spend the next day. That will actually be her birthday, so we'll go out and stuff. She has an off day from running, but I have to figure out when/where I am going to run 6 miles without abandoning her for an hour. I might end up getting in trouble from my schedule on this day. Obviously the trip is the most important thing and if I can't keep my running schedule, then it won't kill me I suppose. Still eager to try to maintain the schedule through the trip.

After a day in Toronto, we head out a little further east to Kingston, Ontario later on Saturday. We'll probably spend a while longer in Toronto doing stuff before we go. Kingston is going to be more a place to sleep Saturday night than anything else. Sunday morning is when I have the running part of the trip planned. I've signed her and I up for the Sydenham Lakeside 5k race on Sunday morning. The race is reportedly a scenic one to run as it is part of the Trans-Canada Trail along side Sydenham Lake. I am not actually planning on racing this race, was going to run this one with my wife to keep her company/pace her.

After the super-hot 10k we ran on June 1st, my wife got a little discouraged about the summer heat. Even though it is further north from us, the weather there probably won't be much cooler though, so hoping for a lucky cooler morning, but that seems to be doubtful from the early looks at the weather forecast right now. One of the other things that was a bonus for this race was that this race gives out medals to finishers. One of the things my wife has been commenting about the races I pick out, that she really wants a medal. We'll get one from the half-marathon we are planning to do in September, but otherwise the only other medal we've gotten thus far was from the zombie run that we did. So I'm hoping that is a nice little touch for her.

After the race, we pretty much head back home, with that finishing off the trip. I'm hoping that it is a good balance of being able to see the sites, having stuff to do and keeping on our active schedules and not over-eat like I tend to do during most trips.. I guess we will see how it goes!
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:08 PM   #122
Alan T
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So the long-weekend getaway was tough on the old schedule. I ended up running every day while on the trip, but ended up cutting 2 different runs short and had to change around things due to travel problems.

We got up to Niagara Falls by late afternoon on July 4th, and decided to go out for a mini-run just to see the area and the sites. I had been there before a very long time ago, but my wife never had. It ended up being pretty hot, I didn't realize it until later but it was actually the hottest recorded temperature that I have ever run in:



I have been trying to confine most of my running in the early mornings to get out before the really bad heat. I have a large number of runs that start with the weather in the 70s or higher, but this was only the second run that I have had with an 80+ degree day. Ironically enough, the other one also was in the late afternoon, which is not my normal running time.

The difference here, with this run starting at 6pm, the temperature actually probably dropped from the 81 degrees as time went on, where most of my runs only get hotter. Such as this morning's run started at 75 degrees for me at 6am, but by the time I was done running 15k, the temperature was actually around 78 degrees and by the time I actually got through the door it was 80. The other thing that I have to realize is running in the morning is so much more humid than the end of the day. This July 4th run had humidity of only 66%, where my run this morning had humidity close to 100%, so today's run was actually much tougher on me weather wise than this "hotter" run on the 4th.

The bigger issue we found though was in a tourist trap, by 6pm, there literally is nowhere to walk, much less run. My wife visibly got annoyed by the people that were literally everywhere. We ended up having to play obstacle course just to run around and see the sites. Not really their problem, since it is kind of ridiculous for us to try to run during that time of day at Niagara Falls. I ended up cutting this run short due to the circumstances, and my wife and I then cleaned up and went to find somewhere for dinner and went off to enjoy the fireworks.

The next morning though, I got out before 6am, let my wife sleep in and enjoyed a nice and cool 10k that I ran along the Falls. Since it was morning, the humidity was higher, but I found running by the falls, the mist rose up and completely covered me, which was very very comfortable and helped me cool off. At that time of morning, almost nothing is open so I got to run pretty much anywhere without having to dodge people.




The next day, we spent in Toronto and took a nice early morning run together of the area. We just ran 3 miles, but got to run through some nearby parks and a local farm that was right in the middle of the city oddly enough. We ended up walking another 5-6 miles later in the day as well, so had a pretty active day while seeing the sites.

Sunday morning was the 5k race, and we got medals for completing it! Just our second medal that we have received from races. There was some good and some bad from the race though. The bad is that I have come to a conclusion that my wife just does not race well when I am running with her. She ends up putting way too much pressure on herself and it becomes counter productive for her run. I was purposely trying to be supportive of her and not pressure her any more than she already felt, but she just buried herself under the weight of the pressure on top of herself and got very frustrated. This is actually the second time we've tried this and both times with the same result. So lesson learned I suppose, that does not work very well. We can run easy runs together, but I won't pace her anymore in races.

The good of the event was that it was a really really cool event. It was all kinds of events actually that morning together. Various Triathlon distances (Sprint and Olympic as well as an easier triathlon that they called try-a-tri for beginner triathlon competers.) They had various kayak races, duathlons, 10k, 5k, 2k races, etc. Since neither my wife nor I had been to see such an event before, we went to watch the start of the Olympic Triathlon to see all of the people out in the water for the start. My wife is half-joking that I should get into that next, but that is a little more than I am ready to start trying to bite just yet.

I was supposed to run 9 miles on Sunday and had planned on doing it when I got home from the trip, but we hit every possible construction site imaginable on the way home and it basically doubled our return trip. I didn't get home until about 9:30pm and it was getting dark. You couldn't pay me enough money to run 9 miles on a treadmill, so I just put it off til this morning instead. It makes a mess out of my schedule for this week as today was supposed to be an off day and I have a speed work day tomorrow, so I am now going to see how I feel tomorrow morning. If a little tired, I'll probably make tomorrow a rest day and push most of the week back, skipping one of my 4 mile runs mid-week. Who knows! I'll figure it out as I go I guess.

Overall, the trip was great, and had a good time, but the damage when we got home was that my weight was +3 pounds from when I left. Now we did eat out every meal, but didn't really go super overboard, at least not 3 pounds worth, so most likely that is just a change in my schedule plus perhaps extra water retention from sodium causing the weight to read high. My guess is by tomorrow morning or the next day it will be back down to normal again.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:44 AM   #123
Alan T
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I guess it has been a bit over a month since I did an update here..

From the running perspective, I set almost all new monthly records in July all the way across the board:



Those are likely going to be beat again in August as my training plan has even more miles this month, ramping up for my Half Marathon race next month. Towards the end of this month, I'll be running around 45 miles per week which fits my goal of roughly 30% of my weekly distance being the long runs.

For new PRs, since the last time I updated them, pretty much every new one has been beaten. So I updated the first post with all of my new PRs to keep that updated. I think my goal after my half marathon race next month will be to plan an attempt to beat 25 minutes for the 5k and 55 minutes for the 10k. I'm pretty sure, like 90% confident that I could do it now, but I don't have a great place to fit it in my training right now. The next 2-3 weeks are the most vital for me before I start to taper leading up to the race.


I've also started trying to improve my biking more as well. That has been more in the past two weeks though. In 10 days of August thus far I've already biked more than any month previously. 65.4 miles so far this month. I might start thinking about trying to get more serious with the biking, but can't really focus on it currently plus ramp up my running. That is a recipe for wearing myself out. Not really sure how to fit it in any better, but that is something that I want to think about for the future.

From the weight perspective, everything is still going well.. maybe too well actually. I stalled out just slightly during my anniversary trip with the wife in early July for a few days, but once that was over I was back on track for trying to lose 1/2 to 1 pound a week. With serious running training, I really did not want to lose more than that as I did not want to effect the quality of my work outs, and I felt that was a good goal. With my additional running and biking though, I'm still burning through calories too fast and losing weight faster than I really wanted to.



At my current pace, weightgrapher suggests that I'll reach my "goal weight" of 184 pounds by the end of this month. I targeted that weight as it would officially put me in the "Normal" weight category of the BMI chart.

I'm actually only .2 of a pound away from a total of 75 pounds loss though, and am very proud of that. I'll be happy in the low 180s.. I'm happy right now in the high 180s.. I think the next challenge for me once I get below 184 is to figure out where exactly I want to set maintenance weight at and more importantly how to do that.. Something that I have not had to worry about for a long time is making sure that I am eating enough!
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:52 PM   #124
Alan T
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Updated my front page with the results from my Half-Marathon on Sunday. Lots of new records for me at various distances.

I also have achieved all of my running and biking goals that I had listed with the exception of running a 5k in under 25 minutes. So that will be a short term goal I think next on my immediate list.

Based on my run yesterday, my VDOT score would be 38.3, which would be equivalent to a 5k of 25:02. Since the VDOT score is based on my half marathon time, it means both my 5k and 10k VDOT scores are now way out of date. I'm going to guess that without any extra training, I should be able to run below a 25 minute 5k. So I think I'll try to knock that out soon.

For my next long term goals, I'm debating what I want to do next. Originally I had planned on trying to run a marathon before the age of 40, and perhaps try another half-marathon next spring, but I am re-thinking that right now. I might push up the marathon for next Spring, but that means training all winter for it, which should be fun in the snow and ice

I'm guessing with the weather getting colder, I'll become too much of a wimp to ride too far into the winter, so maybe will aim for trying to get a 50 mile ride in, but not sure when I'll achieve that, maybe next year.. or maybe I will just go for a 50 mile ride one day. Who knows~!

For now, going to spend a few weeks enjoying myself, and doing some smaller runs, and going to also go to cheer on some friends in their first half-marathon next month out on Cape Cod too.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:37 PM   #125
Alan T
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I made my last accomplishment on the list of running a 5k in under 25 minutes last Saturday with a time of 24:29. I pretty much assumed that I would be able to do it so was pretty happy not only in crossing that one off the list but also in how easy it felt to do so.

So, I have been trying to decide on what goal I want to work on next, basically it will be my winter running goal. Winter running in Massachusetts was quite interesting last year, I got to run in the tail end of Hurricane Sandy and then a few months later got to run in the beginning of a few different Nor'easters. The sidewalks are not plowed, and with huge snow banks on both sides of the streets, it becomes a little more scary when cars are coming. Plus I find I constantly have to pay attention to where I step so I don't hit an ice patch.

I wanted something long term or bigger goal-wise to work on, but also was looking for a time improvement on a shorter distance too. Right now my two best times from a VDOT standpoint are my recent 5k which gave me a VDOT of 39.3, and my Half Marathon which gave me a VDOT of close to 39. So I think the easiest winter goal of mine is improving my now out of date 10k PR. Currently my best 10k is 53:53 which I ironically enough set during my Half-Marathon so I can easily best that one. My VDOT score and relative level of conditioning leads me to believe that I should be able to run a 51:03 10k right now if I paced myself right. So that gives my first goal for the winter training season will be:

Run a 10k in under 50 minutes

That one might be rather challenging for me, but if we don't push ourselves, sometimes we get complacent. My bigger goal that I decided I will work on is I want to run 26.2 miles in a single run (Marathon distance). I've previously said that I wanted to run a marathon by my 40th birthday, and with a little over a year left, I don't see any reason why I need to delay the work on that. So another goal is:

Run 26.2 miles in a single run

Now, simply training for the marathon is good, but I really enjoy races so want to target a specific one to run. There are a whole bunch of early spring Marathons around here, including the Boston marathon. I decided to push it a little earlier than that though and am targeting the Hyannis Marathon in February. Yes... February in Cape Cod.. there is a good chance that it could be snowing during my first marathon.. so this should be very interesting for me to do. Anyways, the next goal:

Run a Marathon Race

Finally, simply running a marathon race will be tough enough, but I also want to give myself a goal time to try to accomplish. Just like I had set 2 hours for my half marathon goal, I want to set a time for my first marathon. Obviously completing the race will be goal #1, but a secondary goal will be to finish it by a time. I could say a fairly easy time to beat, but there would be no challenge in that. Based on my half marathon time of 1:55:xx, My goal for the marathon will be under 4 hours. That won't be anywhere near fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon or New York City Marathon, but it is a pretty realistic challenge for me to try to accomplish I think. Something to improve on down the road if I so choose. So my final goal for the winter:

Run a marathon in under 4 hours


The next thing I looked at was various training plans to determine what I wanted to use to train. There are seemingly millions of marathon training plans, but I had in my mind the type of plan that I wanted. I have become a pretty big fan of the Daniels and Pfitzinger running schools of thought, but most of their plans for the marathon I feel are a little too advanced for what I think that I am ready for my first time.

There are plenty of plans out there that will have you run 20 miles max before a marathon and it is pretty commonly accepted that if you can run 20 miles, you're ready to run a marathon, and adding the extra miles to running sessions just adds un-necessary toll on the body. For me however, a big need is the mental aspect of the running. Every run for me seems like a series of mind games that I play with myself, convincing myself that I can complete the distance or the pace or the climb. So I feel it is pretty important for me to run the 26 miles as part of the plan prior to the race just for my confidence. Knowing that I can make that mileage is important for me to be able to keep the goal pace that Aerobically should be able to handle.

So when looking at the plans that include training runs of 26 miles in there, many of them have weeks where you run a max of 40-50 miles but over half of that week is your long runs of 20-26 miles. I've come to the point where I think that is pretty un-wise and is actually more dangerous to the body than even running over 20 miles in the first place. I've consistently tried to plan my week long runs to be at most only 30-33% of my total weekly mileage. With that in mind, for a 26 mile long run in training, that would mean my weekly mileage would be close to 80 miles which is quite intimidating. The most I ran when training for the half marathon was 65 miles. So this would be an additional 15-20 miles on top of that, but I feel pretty necessary as part of training for a longer distance.

I finally decided on the following plan to use for my training:

Advanced Marathon Program

It tops out with mileage in the 70s, but I may alter it just a little on some of the weeks, but for the most part will be keeping to this plan for the majority of my training. With a 20 week plan and the date of the race, it means I'll start this one up in about 10 days from now and will pretty quickly get back to the training levels of where I had left off my half marathon training.

So this winter goal wise is going to be pretty intense, and might be the first time I don't make some of my running goals, but I guess we will see how it goes.

Once again for those who don't want to read the entire thing, here is my winter running goals listed out:

- Run a 10k in under 50 minutes
- Run 26.2 miles
- Run a Marathon Race
- Run a Marathon in under 4 hours
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:10 AM   #126
Alan T
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Added a VDOT history to my first post to track my VDOT improvements as I have progressed in running. In a year, it has increased 18 points, with the obvious biggest increases coming in the beginning. During my Half-marathon training over the summer, it increased 2 points which I am pretty happy with.

If I can get another 2 points over the winter during marathon training, that would put my 5k times at somewhere around 23:00


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan T View Post
VDOT History:

9/16/12: VDOT 21 2.59 - 33:12
10/18/12: VDOT 23 3.22 - 39:33
11/3/12: VDOT 27 3.11 - 33:36
11/16/12: VDOT 28 3.11 - 32:28
11/18/12: VDOT 29 3.18 - 31:50
2/23/13: VDOT 31 3.12 - 30:29
3/2/13: VDOT 32 3.13 - 29:16
5/4/13: VDOT 33 4.99 - 46:09
6/8/13: VDOT 35 3.08 - 26:57
6/21/13: VDOT 37 3.12 - 26:08
9/15/13: VDOT 38 13.24 - 1:57:14
9/21/13: VDOT 39 3.12 - 24:38
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:42 PM   #127
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you should update your post #1 for posterity sake
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