PP5M Training: Week 2

I find it somewhat ironic that I mentioned what a big baby I am about not running places I am not expressly permitted access to, and the very next day got escorted off a golf course for running on it. It was kind of embarrassing. I figured since the golf course went through the backyard of the resort where we were staying, it might be ok. It was not. I should have known.

So, here’s what I did.
Monday: 4 miles (road)
Tuesday: 4.6 miles (trail, Superior Hiking Trail off Martin Rd)

It was nice.
Wednesday: 4.4 miles, 400 repeats (road)
Thursday: 4.5 miles, road
Friday: rest
Saturday: 4.6 miles (paved trail)
Sunday: 5.8 miles (trail, 3 loops around Bagley)
Total: 28 miles (includes warmup and cooldown for most runs)

I used my cross-training day (Saturday) for running yet again (well, last weekend it was more hike than run), as I don’t have any cross-training activity I like. If I had been less lazy, we were only about 10 miles from Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, and I could have done a nice trail run/hike, but I got up late on Saturday and didn’t want to inconvenience anyone while they waited for me to slog through a training run. I ran the 5.8 miles on Sunday after a 2 hour car ride, so I’ll just applaud myself for getting off my butt even though riding in a car for more than half an hour makes me sluggish.

I was a little concerned I was overdoing it this week. Since last week’s rest day was Wednesday, I ran 8 days in a row instead of 6. I wanted to get back on track with the plan, and I knew I wouldn’t have much time on Friday for a run since I had to work, pack for our weekend trip, and clean the kitchen (I had a baking disaster the night before and only cleaned up the bare minimum) before we left. There wasn’t going to be time for running. Sunday and Monday I was still sore from my Saturday hike and was a bit worried I was overdoing it, but come Tuesday I felt fine, and Wednesday my legs felt great and ready for speed.

I ate a lot of sugar this weekend and I don’t think I did a very good job hydrating, but nothing so horrible it will throw me off for this week. I have a tempo run, a 6 mile long run, and I plan on getting out to the trails again for my cross-training on Saturday and for one of my weekday runs. My sore legs early last week are a sign I need more time on trails.

Uneven Intervals

Wednesday was the hottest day of the week, so naturally that was the day I had speed work on the schedule. I was supposed to do 8×400.

I don’t do intervals at the track, because I am self-conscious about track workouts. I’m not fast, so I would feel a little silly about running repeats around a track at an 11:00 pace. I would probably do my speedwork on a track if it wasn’t for the other reason I’m self-conscious about track workouts. Even though I know people all over the place use local high school tracks for their workouts, I’m always afraid I’d be kicked off for trespassing or something. I don’t like to be places where it’s not explicitly clear I am allowed to be, specifically when I’m working out and already a little self-conscious.

My other choices are to do speedwork on the treadmill or to keep an eye on my watch and do it on the road. I don’t think speed work on the treadmill is helpful to me at this point, as I need to regulate my pace myself. So I did it on the road. I actually drove to school and parked in the parking lot there, since it’s much flatter than the area around my home. I felt dumb driving 2 miles to run on sidewalks, but I did it anyway. I warmed up for 0.85 miles. I know this because I used the lap button on my watch! Eureka!

I’m glad I used the lap button because now I know how fast I really run these intervals. I ran each 400m (well, a quarter mile actually, although I am sure my watch could be switched to metric) and then slowed way way down to recover for 0.1 mile. The plan called for a 5K pace for the repeats, and my plan was to run a little bit faster than that, because I want a faster 5K pace and I want my current 5K pace to be my 5 mile pace. That may be wishful thinking but the plan I had was to run at around an 11:00 pace.

The results were: 10:48, 10:51, 10:46, 10:11, 10:19, 11:02, 11:26, 10:32, 10:44. Yes, I realize that I did 9 400s instead of 8. My counting skills need improvement.

The first 3 intervals were very consistent, but too fast. I knew they were too fast and tried to slow them down, so the pace graph has these big spikes and then a ski-jump shaped drop-off where I tried to slow down. I am really not doing myself any favors by running these intervals too quickly, and I have got to figure out how to back off the pace slowly. A few times I looked like I slowed down a little too much and was down in the lower 11s/high 12s, but that didn’t occur often. I need to find a flatter spot, too, because while the hills were fairly gentle, the intervals were unintentionally spaced so that many of them were downhill, which inflated my speed and hindered my braking. I also need to find a route that doesn’t have a dead raccoon decomposing along the side. The smell was not pleasant.

I have improved with these repeats somewhat, because I am no longer going out too hard and then running out of gas, as I was before. At least the slowdown is intentional now. I just need to work on consistency and evenness of pace for the next set, in two weeks. Oh, and accurately counting.

PP5M Training: Week 1

Hooray! I’m training for something again. I like it better that way.

I made a dumb mistake in calculating when I should start the 8-week training program for the Park Point 5 Miler. It’s 9 weeks away, not 8. I plan to repeat the final week of training, so I guess I’ll have a “taper” for a short race.

It’s raining off and on today so we’ll see when I get out and actually do today’s workout.

Here’s what I did last week:
Monday: 0.9 mile run, 2.9 mile walk, road
Tuesday: 4.4 mile run, road (and then a walk around Lake Calhoun that I didn’t time or log)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 3.7 mile tempo run, road
Friday: 4.2 mile run, road
Saturday: 6.5 mile run/walk, trail
Sunday: 5.2 mile run, road
Total Mileage: 27.8 miles

I like this training plan. Since I’ve added warmups and cooldowns and use the cross training day for running, the overall mileage is high enough that I can roll it over into a marathon training plan once I’ve finished the race. I also signed up for another race in the middle, the Midnight Sun Midnight Run on June 26th. It starts at 11:59 PM, which should be fun. It goes along the Lakewalk, which is lighted, and there should be a nice cool breeze off the lake to keep the bugs and humidity away. I needed another race between now and the 5 Miler to gauge my goal pace, and to try once more to get under 36 minutes. The obvious choice would have been the William A Irvin 5K the weekend prior, but I don’t know, running the 5K that accompanies the marathon I planned to run feels a little off. This race will also be smaller and less of a cluster.

This week of training felt great, other than Saturday’s excursion. I traversed the Superior Hiking Trail from the Magney Snively parking lot to the base of Ely’s Peak and back. I don’t say I “ran” it because there was little running involved. I was having trouble keeping my heart rate down on the uphills and used the flats and downhills to recover. It is a beautiful trail, and I really need to go back, because I need to get better at trail running. I finished with an overall pace of 2.5 mph, which is sad. Since I am considering running a trail race instead of the Mankato Marathon, I have to improve on that performance. I plan on designating the “cross training” day of the workout plan to a trail run. It’ll be more than 60 minutes, for sure, but it’ll go a long way toward my overall endurance and fitness for whatever fall race I run. I can always scale back if my legs feel dead.

My calves were so tight on Sunday that walked for my warmup (1 mile) and cooldown (.25 miles, basically once I hit 5 miles I walked the rest of the way home), but other than that I felt amazing during the run, despite the humidity. I monitored my heart rate the whole time and I didn’t have a single mile that averaged over 140 bpm. I did walk up the hills I encountered in order to accomplish that, but I am still pretty excited about the paces I was able to hit: 19:22 (warmup + stretching), 15:25, 15:29, 14:47, 15:06, 18:13 (pace for the last quarter mile cooldown). That is a massive improvement for me, aerobically speaking. I just wish it had translated better into my hike on Saturday.

The forecast for this upcoming week looks amazing for training. Wednesday is the only hot day and none of the days look horribly cold. It’s about time!

I Got Rhythm

I used to play the violin (and probably will in the future), and the second biggest struggle I had with performing was keeping a consistent tempo. (The biggest problem I had was playing in tune.) I was always rushing, or lagging, or both in the same piece.

I had the same issue during my tempo run. My “coach” (aka Hal Higdon) says that in a tempo run, “the pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout and only for a few minutes.” He also says peak speed should be near, not at or above, race pace.

I failed at basically every part of what he prescribes for a tempo run. Sigh.

I am getting better at warming up. With shorter runs, adding a mile or so to my distance hasn’t been a big deal, and I’m getting more relaxed about my training times. For example, I warmed up for about half a mile on Thursday, and then stopped to do a little bit of stretching without pausing my watch. So it looks like I ran half a mile in 12 minutes when I download my stats, but I didn’t. (The only problem with not pausing my watch is it messes with my average heart rate stats, since my heart rate obviously decreases when I’m stopping to stretch.) Instead of worrying about what my “real” pace was during that half mile, I’m just shrugging it off.

After my warm-up, I did about 10 minutes of “easy” running at a 16:55 pace. I know this because I used the “lap” feature on my watch, which is something I need to do more. I’ve been letting it do auto-laps and just looked at the mile splits, but for speedwork I should be using it to gauge my real paces during pickups or hills or whatever. My average heart rate for the “easy” running section was 133 bpm, which was lower than I wanted it to be, but my legs felt like sandbags. I couldn’t get them to move faster. I suppose spending hours on my feet during my “rest day” Wednesday might be to blame.

I reached the 20 minute “tempo” portion, but I could seem to speed up at first. I was going uphill, which I realize was dumb, but I kept slowing down, then going too fast, then slowing down. There was no gradual increase in tempo. Whoops. I also went too fast toward the end, and ended up running sub-5k pace for about 0.2 miles, which won’t kill me or anything, but is yet another sign that I don’t have any idea how to regulate my pace.

I did another mile of “easy” running, which doubled as my cooldown, I guess. I don’t see much of a difference between easy running and cooling down. Since I am using my heart rate to dictate what an easy pace is (below my aerobic threshold), there might not be much difference.

I have to figure out a couple things before next week’s attempt at a tempo run. I need to find a flatter spot to run these things (I have an idea on that), and I need to plan out what kind of paces I’m thinking of striving for along the way. Do I want to start at 14:30, then progress to 14:00 over a few minutes, then 13:30, etc? I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to top out at 12:00 since right now I’m thinking my goal pace for this race will be 11:30 (I don’t know if that’s realistic or not, but I think since that’s right around my 5K pace right now, and I’ll have 2 months more training under my belt, it’s doable), but then I couldn’t stay there as I would either overshoot it or back off too far. With a better idea of the paces I want to progress through, more even terrain, and legs that aren’t dead, I think I can have a better tempo run next week.

5 Mile Training Kick-Off

The next race I have on the docket for the year is the Park Point 5 Miler, which is on July 17th. It still feels a long way off, and I might need to find another race in the meantime to try to destroy that 36:00 benchmark, but I won’t be training for anything sooner.

I kicked off my 8-week training cycle for this race on Monday. I am using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 10K training program to prepare for the race.

I chose the intermediate program, even though I’m still a fairly novice racer, for a few reasons.

First, here’s how he describes the intermediate runner: “What defines an Intermediate runner? You should be running five to six times a week, averaging 15-25 miles weekly training. You probably also should have run a half dozen or more races at distances between the 5-K and the Half-Marathon. With that as background, you now need a somewhat more sophisticated schedule to improve. If that doesn’t sound like you, you might be more comfortable using one of my programs designed for novice or advanced runners.”

I’m running 5-6 times per week, and I’m coming off of a failed marathon training cycle, so I’m hitting 2 for 2 right away. I haven’t run a half dozen or more races at all kinds of distances, but I have run a couple now. Most importantly, I am looking to improve.

Contrast that with the novice program. “To participate in this 10-K program, you should have no major health problems, should be in reasonably good shape, and should have done at least some jogging or walking. If running 2.5 miles for your first workout on Tuesday of the first week seems too difficult, you might want to begin by walking, rather than running. Or, if you have more than eight to ten weeks before your 10-K, switch to my 5-K schedule to build an endurance base before continuing.”

See, that’s too nice. The novice training is too gentle. It also has more cross training and less running (although I could just use those days as running days, too), and it tops out at 5.5 miles, whereas the intermediate program tops out at 8 miles. The intermediate program has 5 running days a week and one cross training day, which is what I prefer, and it has some specific speed workouts, which I need. So, intermediate it is!

Hal also has an 8k training program, which I just calculated is equivalent to a 5 mile training program, and the plans look very similar. I am going to stick with the 10k program as it has slightly higher mileage.

This week’s training got off to an inauspicious start. On Monday I covered the prescribed distance, but most of that was on a walk with a friend. On Tuesday I had a nice run and actually covered the distance PLUS I did a warm up and cool down (which felt mostly the same since I was running by heart rate). Wednesday I was out in a field all day launching rockets (legally) and then finished driving home to Duluth, and was wiped out by the time I got back. I decided I’d make it a rest day and move the schedule back a day. That means no rest day on Friday, but that’s fine. I was too tired to function. I am writing this Thursday evening, procrastinating on heading out on my scheduled tempo run, so I will report back on that another day. It is a gorgeous evening, I only have to run for 35 minutes (plus warm up and cool down), and I’m feeling pretty good, so I need to hit “schedule” and get off the couch.