Running the downhills at the Boston Marathon and not blowing up

January 26, 2009

One thing I haven’t quite figured out how to effectively account for or train for is the significant downhill portion of the course. Being able to take advantage of it without ruining the quads for the uphill is something I’ve wondered about so I posted a question on the site.

Amy posted a link to a nice article and Gundi posted a response that I found useful. I did run the 3M part of my relay at my MGP. I didn’t feel my quads as much as I did other parts of my body so I guess I need to start focusing the downhill part of my runs moving forward.

3M Half Marthon gets some great weather and course record is broken

January 25, 2009

Today was the 15th 3M Half Marathon and Relay and the temperature was right around 40 for the 5000 or so runners. The elite field had three people in the 1 hour and one minute range pretty close to each other and resulted in the course record being broken.  This race is fast and does a great job of bringing in some talent. For all of the rest of us the conditions were great and the net drop in elevation resulted in some PRs, a friend had a 19 minute PR between San Antonio and now which is huge for a half marathon. The credit for that PR doesn’t go to the course it goes to the runner.

Today’s run also resulted in my first 90 mile week. I entered the relay and ran the first half of it. My goal was to run at my new target marathon goal pace, a 6:30 min/mile pace for my leg and then easier for the second leg. The 10k put me at a 6:29 min/mile gun time pace which I’m really pleased with. The start is a slight uphill and after the 22 mile run yesterday my legs felt heavy, after two miles they started to loosen up and get some life into them. I ran the second leg with my relay partner and our overall time was right around 1 hour and 30 minutes, which was good enough to win the Open Mixed Division Relay for the race.

I’m feeling pretty good about where I am fitness wise. I did feel a few tight spots during the run today I need to address but nothing too troubling so far. I’ve managed to maintain my paces with the increasing distance over the last month for the most part. After CIM on December 7th I took one week off, then was at 20 miles for a week, then 50 and have gotten up-to 90 this week. Next week will be a little lower with some work related travel. My improved nutrition and also higher frequency of gym visits (I’m actually going now) have been key to keeping my energy levels up and also to preventing any catastrophic break down in my body. There are just under 3 months left for the Boston Marathon, that’s a long time and the only thing I can do is just keep on trucking and doing all the other things that will hopefully keep me running injury free till the race.

Current Wins: First 90 mile week ever, friends had great 3M half and relay runs

Current Losses: Leisure reading, prep for work travel

Hills, hills, hills

January 22, 2009

Today was a 14ish mile run through the Rollingwood area. I tried to maintain a steady effort but on some of those hills to keep any semblance of similar pace your effort just has to go up. It seemed like everybody got an assignment to start running faster this week. Between miles 4 and 6 I think is when Mike and Jason caught up and passed me. Most people did 12 miles today so they turned around Kevin, Chris and I ran 14 so completed the loop that took us back to Stratford. My overall run today put me between a 7:15 and 7:20 pace which given the course was faster that I should be running. The run didn’t feel too hard, the hills which I always tend to struggle with did require some focus and at times did feel hard but overall it was a controlled effort.

Next week Thursday’s will become Steady state runs instead of Easy runs so that will add another fun twist to the training and a shift into another “phase”.

Need to avoid getting lazy again

January 21, 2009

Lazy is relative, I should run over 90 miles this week (another record) but realized today that I’ve been lazy about doing the things I need to if I’m going to sustain my current training intensity. Things I have been doing:

  1. Getting all my runs in
  2. Hitting the gym twice a week

Things I haven’t been doing

  1. At home 15 minute weights routine twice a week
  2. Eating enough during the day … was doing well but started slacking off this week
  3. Sleeping a minimum of 7 hours (averaging 6 which is not good) … I should probably stop writing this post and go to bed 🙂

So … now that I’ve called myself out on the things I haven’t been doing it’s time to get them straighted away. I’ll have an update on how I do next week.

Running easy but hard

January 20, 2009

Today was a 16 mile run for me. It has taken some getting used to to run 16 miles on a word day. I get up at 4:30, then get 2 miles in on my own starting around 5:10 and them meet up with the Team to run 14 at 5:30

Today felt harder than it should have in hindsight. I never felt like I was pushing a lot but my average pace for 16 miles was 7:12 and the weather was really nice. I know my 2 miles on my own were 8 miles per minute and then with the group we were in the 7:40 range for a bit and then around 7:20. We started picking the pace up I think in the last 6 or so miles. The last 2 to 3 miles I was averaging 7 miles per minute. It wasn’t hard to hold that pace, but it wasn’t easy either. I could have dropped the pace but didn’t feel it today and decided to hold back a little.

It was amazing to see Ken and Kristin take off once we hit the trail today. Mike was with me for the close today and it was nice having some company. Overall I’m happy with how I did, this should be a 90 mile week right after an 80+ mile week so as long as I’m in the 7:20 range without exerting myself I’ll be happy since that’ll mean I’m not over-training or pushing the paces where it’s tearing my body apart. Let’s see how it goes.

Imbalances that normally don’t matter add up

January 18, 2009

In December I discussed the different things Mark identified during my sessions which I’m trying to resolve to become a stronger runners as well as less injury prone. One part of my routine is a really simple, I alternate between hanging knee lifts and stepping up on a platform in a running motion or knee drive … I do NOT do it with weights like the video below shows.

Some of the things I was told to focus on is not leaning to the side on either side, my hips being aligned, not drooping one shoulder. When the gym isn’t busy (which has been difficult given it’s a new year) I try and do this exercise in front of a mirror. Today around 5:00 the gym was relatively empty so I was able to pay more attention to the exercise. In my first set of 3 I could see that when I step up with my right foot my right hip and knee tend to go outward a little while the left side is much straighter. On the next two sets I focused as much possible on trying to keep the right side straight, trying to get the muscle memory, part of it seemed to have to do with which part of the foot I would apply pressure on. Making it more evenly distributed required me to focus on using the inside toes on my foot and that seemed to line things up much better.

This all seems like a small  thing and for most people it is. To put it into perspective for a distance runner like me. I ran 80 miles this week, which at an 8:00 min per mile pace would be 640 minutes. Each minute my right foot strikes about 90 times. So the pressure that isn’t aligned was in play over 57,000 times! That turned this small deal into a relatively big deal and why increased intensity for endurance sport training really does bring out the little things that aren’t ideal in our bodies.

Recovery runs are so nice

January 18, 2009

After the 24 mile run yesterday the recovery run today with Mike, Jason and Ken was just what the doctor ordered. We ran an easy 10 miles and I was surprised at how refreshed I felt by the end of the run.

I felt the workout from yesterday, my non-running friends that I spent the day with were continuously making fun of my slow walking. I really should have eaten better after the workout … lesson learned … again 🙂

Getting out today helped loosen the legs out and get some blood flowing to get the gunk (yes that is a technical term) out from yesterday. Tomorrow is supposed to be another 12 mile run which I’ll keep easy and then have some up tempo parts to Tuesdays 16 miler.

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