Today was one of the workouts I don’t really look forward to. The Rollers involve a warm-up right under 2 miles and then 5 miles of on and off sets. They used to be 2 minutes on and 2 minutes off but this time around Steve had us do 1 on and 1 off. This is all through the hilly parts of Scenic and Balcones so harder as we get further along. This is followed by a short (less than one mile) recovery pace followed by 3.5ish miles at Steady State. For Portland with the same effort level I was running 6:28 minutes per mile for the Steady State, today we were closer to 6:08 minutes per mile which is pretty good progress. I’m feeling better and better about where my fitness stands but still haven’t settled in on a final goal for Boston or a definite race plan. That should become clearer after the race prep this Sunday, which will be a killer workout.
A couple of firsts today. First steady state run of this season and a new course (from where we ran steady states last season). As it was our first steady state the instruction from Steve was to run comfortably hard. Last year we ended up running our steady states on town lake trail instead of the roads and they were more progressive so the last couple of miles ended up being a little fast. I found the combination of lack of traction on the loose dirt on the trail and the faster paces difficult to handle as they quickly pointed out leg and foot strength issues. An example was the foot sprain training for CIM. I really liked the course today which included Windsor, Enfield and Lake Austin Blvd, it had rolling hills which kept the effort honest. Steve also asked us to run today by feel, and if we had to look at our geek-o-meters to just keep our effort slower than marathon goal pace (MGP). The reason for this is to allow our soft tissues to adjust to the change from running Easy during our base phase to the strains of faster paces.
I don’t really know what my goal time is. I’m hoping somewhere in the 2h 50min to 3h range for Boston. For Sacramento Portland my goal is to get to the Marathon injury free, that’s it. I’ve struggled with injury since the end of last year and just some consistent training will help me more than anything else. Today my steady state miles were mostly at a 6:50 pace with a couple of faster miles. The effort, except for the steeper uphills, didn’t feel too hard but as I would exert any more effort I could tell my form was changing. I used my form to control my effort and pace today. The two things I was using to guage when I was collapsing or changing my form were the loudness of my foot-strike and if my strike was changing from mid foot to more flat footed. I’ll keep this approach of good running form as the “control” for my pace for a few weeks with the hope that as I increase my effort and speed my legs are ready to handle the addition stress that comes with faster paces.
Working anything new into a training routine can be tricky. Working too many in can be outright dangerous for endurance events like marathons. I have a few things starting up over the next week, some a little riskier than others. I feel comfortable working them in because I think I’ve built a good base and been very careful up to now to get the kinks out of my body. Yesterday I had my massage with Lisa and apart from a minor twinge in my right hamstring my upper legs and lower legs are better than they have in over two years.
So what’s changing:
Crazy Times at Work
Yes this needs to be factored in as well. July is going to be an extremely busy time at work. NI holds it’s annual user conference, NI Week, every year in August. My team is holding some meetings with lead users for features and products we’re developing and also has demo’s for the keynote that previews future products and features. Let’s just say it’ll be a crazy few weeks. Based on how things at work are going I may need to adjust all of the things below as well as my mileage goals. I think Steve refers to this overall balance as “global load”.
Steady State and Tempo Runs
Starting next week we move into the next phase of training with more steady state and tempo runs. Till now we’ve been running Easy and building our base. The added strain from increased speed can be pretty significant. I’ll likely ease into the paces and do it by feel. In theory I should be able to plug in my goal into some calculators and see what I “should” be running at these paces but that doesn’t seem wise. Let’s say I feel like I’m looking for a 2:55 marathon, that would make my tempo or half marathon pace a 6:20 min/mile pace. I’ve been running 7:40 average paces and even one run during the week getting close to 6:20 paces is going to be tough, both from turnover and stress on the muscles in the body. I may be there cardio wise but I’m not sure about if physically my legs and body are ready. I’ll see how I feel on the first run on Thursday and pay close attention to any soreness, making sure I control my paces more based on my physical conditioning and not necessarily on “if I can hold the paces”.
We were doing Strides during our runs on Tuesdays but now with Tuesdays being our medium long runs Steve wants us to get strides in two other days. I think I’ll try for Sunday and Wednesday and see how that goes.
New Strength Training Routine
After working for two months focusing on alignment and balance issues with my body I’ll now be working on some strength work. No crazy weights but one of the weekly workouts will push my body quite a bit. I’ve been doing my heavier gym work on Sundays and Wednesdays till now. Wednesdays may become iffy given Thursday is when we’ll have the faster steady state/tempo pace work so the positioning of my gym work may need to change. I’ll also error initially on the lighter side of the weights and lower number of sets and build up to the normal amount over 3 weeks. There’s no point straining something by going crazy the first week.
New nutrition plan that I need to work in over the next two weeks. This shouldn’t really add any risk of injury, it’s more of a time management challenge. Overall I think being better about planning my meals out will be useful given the increased stress at work. This should help me get each week planned out up front and be able to have the right food ready on days with long work hours and time a the gym. I’ll be trying to cook a little more and in general reduce sugar and fat … but I do need to eat more during a couple of meals than I have been … who doesn’t like to have that problem!?!?
This is the one I’m most uncertain about. I have been meaning to work in some of the drills I used to do into my easier and shorter runs on Mondays but haven’t so far. They do help with my range of motion and running form so I’m hoping to get them in once a week, maybe Mondays since Sunday and Wednesday will be strides. There are videos of the different drills on the Rogue Running youtube page or you can view them below.
Steve changed up the steady state run today. It was 4 miles easy followed by 4 progressively faster, and we had the go ahead to go faster than 1/2 marathon pace. I’ve decided that this week I’m going to back off on mileage since it’s been a good 8 weeks of continuous mileage increase. The new plan for the steady state run was a nice change to the routine.
On the way back on the four miles the goal was to run each mile faster by around 15 seconds for me. I don’t remember the exact splits but in the general ball park they went 6:50, 6:25, 6:10, 5:50 I think my 5k pr was somewhere right around a sub 6:00 pace so it was good to be able to get close to that on the last mile. I would plan for next week but who knows what Steve will have in store for us.
On the injury front the Plantar on the right foot is still there, no change for the better or worse, but I haven’t been regularly doing the exercises so I only have myself to blame.
So I had a rough weekend after the Saturday run and dehydration. Had to take a break Sunday and Monday and I finally started feeling better Monday afternoon after a call with a client. So I thought I’d try and make the adjustment to my steady state run today that I planned after last weeks run. I did manage to make the paces I planned to but that doesn’t mean the run was really successful.
It was the same warm-up, but 3 miles this time, and then 8 miles with a progression. First two miles were 7:40, then 7:10 for the next two and the goal was to run the last 4 between 6:40 and 6:50. The last 4 were more like between 6:30 and 6:40 which was faster than I was planning. So in theory it was a great Steady state run … but … yes there’s a but, it wasn’t a smooth run. Even at 7:40 I didn’t feel that good, my breathing sped up at 7:10, earlier that it normally does. There was a mile and a half where in the 7:10 part of the run where I really was in the “zone”, no thinking just feeling smooth. Apart from that I had to concentrate quite a bit on my arms, my foot strike etc to keep in control. My foot strike was also noticeably harder, could hear the slapping. So basically the paces were on but it wasn’t quite at the comfort and control it should have been. So I guess it’s time to try the same thing next week … unless Steve has something up his sleeve.
I commented last week about looking at how the steady state run goes this week before trying to change things up next week. Up to now I’ve been sticking to the progressive approach and this week and the last two have gone well. Apart from the 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down I’ve consistently been around a 7:40 pace for 2 miles, followed by 2 at 7:20, then 7:00 and then between 6:30 and 6:40. Today my last mile was closer to 6:20 which might be goal pace at some point but not where I am for a half based on my current fitness. Since this has been three straight weeks I’ll try and change things up a little next week. It’ll be interesting since it’ll also be my first week at my 70 mile target.
Next week I’d like to try and ramp up the progressive part of the run earlier and then try and hold a steady state run a little longer, but not that close to half marathon pace … probably closer to marathon pace. So the rough plan for next week will be to do the 1 mile warm-up and then get down to a 7:00 pace after 4 more miles and then try and run the last 4 miles around a 3:00 hour marathon pace. So 6:53 and no faster than 6:40. If that seems to go OK next week then I think gradually increasing the miles done at that pace will be the goal through the rest of this base phase. Of course all this depends on how things are going week to week but at least it gives me something to focus on about as I’m running during the week and motivation to keep the pace under control on easy runs.
This morning was the first time I felt the effects of the training start really impacting me, I’ve been anticipating this to happen at some point since I started with Team Rogue since the 6 months before this were basically 15 to 20 mile weeks. It’s funny that just yesterday I jumped the gun a little talking about how in two weeks I should consider changing my steady state runs.
As I woke up today for my 7 mile run I felt a little tired so I decided to just run and not worry about time until I got done. It ended up being around an 8:05 pace with the run north through campus slower than coming back down. This is about 20 to 30 seconds slower than what my natural easy pace has been lately but it’s what I needed to do today to recover from the mileage increase and the steady state run yesterday.
At least in my post yesterday I did say I need to see how next week feels and I’m doing before deciding what to change with my steady state runs on Tuesday. Good reminder for me to keep paying attention to the body and how I’m feeling and not planning too far ahead 😉