Saturday, May 31, 2008

This year in the Great White North runners needn't concern themselves with beating the heat, thus far. I left for my 18-miler at 8:30am, where even in Minneapolis I'd be starting at 7:00 by now. But in Northern Ontario I could have started at 2pm and still run in cool weather. It's so much easier for me to build up the long run distance without the heat being a factor. 50 degrees is an ideal temperature; that way the only challenge is to prepare the legs for the repeated pounding marathon preparation requires.

Some people want a "Rave Run" for their scenery, but in practical terms, a good place to run for me is usually far from spectacular. Today's run was mostly flat, with a few steep hills, half pavement, half gravelly path, uncrowded and included 4 bathroom passes. It made the nearly
2 1/2 hour run feel as effortless as such a run can be. Of course, I'd like to see some other runners out there, but they must go long on Sundays...or at a very early hour.

Today's run concluded a 58-mile week, which also had two light speed sessions. I've still got over 4 months before my marathon in Toronto, but I can feel the improvement in conditioning since my last race. The key for me is not to push the long runs, and to keep the speed work from turning into semi-races.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today was beautiful out and I had a nice tempo run. The run was 20 minutes at 6:30 pace, and I felt machine-like doing it, which is good. In fact, I don't feel like I was working all that hard. But two tempos/week are helping with my threshold, as well as keeping injuries at bay. Asked about my training routine here's what I said:

When you work-out, there should always be an objective:VO2 speed, general aerobic, lactate threshold, endurance, and recovery. As long as you're working on something, you'll get faster. Most mileage should be general nothing-special runs. But, it's good to have some speed, long runs, etc. I do 1 long run, 2 lactate threshold (tempo) runs, and 3 general aerobic runs per week plus 1 recovery run. So the speed ranges for me are from 6:20/mile to 9:30/mile, averaging in the middle. I don't do VO2max (fast 400s, 800s) since I've had better results from two 20-minute tempos. The key is that you're never well rested if you train well, except when you take a couple easy days before a big race. So chin-up if you have an off-day training. Conversely, great training runs don't guarantee race success either. The key is enough running at different paces. Try not to compete with yourself when training. It leads to injury and mental fatigue.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My god! It's dumping snow and the wind is wicked. As Hamlet said..."the air bites shrewdly"...but a week from June???

Who says April is the cruelest month?
Well on Saturday I went 15.5 miles. It was a beautiful day here in Timmins and I ran my usual long run path, getting lost as usual. There have been some bear sightings so I was on the look out, but nothing unusual was seen but a pheasant. I love the post long-run feeling of mild soreness and fatigue; also the need to eat like a hog. The shower after feels so nice, and I always get a burst of energy during that evening.

My back, on the other hand might have preferred I stay home, based on the Sunday soreness. But now I can go long and really work on my endurance. My pace was est. 8:05 which is a good pace while building up the mileage. Had I been able to do this before last month's half-marathon, I'm certain I would have had a much stronger 2nd half. But I'll have a chance to prove that this fall.

Two days later, it's 32f and windy with snow showers. I hope the pheasant found some cover I'm on the treadmill today. I need the soft surface one more day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The long run and the tempo runs are two of the indispensable parts to any marathoner's training routine. When you race weekly, you can easily afford to dispense with the tempo training. After all, your body's at lactate threshold or faster for a sizable chunk of any race.

Today, I did my first tempo run since my race 16 days ago. I tend to overheat on the treadmill so I keep it to 18-22 minutes at tempo pace. But I know precisely how fast I'm going and how hard I'm working. It feels good to get in an extended high-speed run(up a 1% grade); I feel more race-ready afterwards. But nothing beats a track for that.

Last Saturday, in Ottawa, I ran an 1:40 run, which I'll estimate to be around 12 miles; also my first longish run since the race. I'll try to add a couple miles to that this weekend. At least it'll warm up by then.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Here in Canada...

The gray gusts of wind pushing ice pellets into your face. The feeling that you should have worn heavier gloves. The empty paths shared with only the brave mallard and bundled up pedestrian. That numbness in your thighs, even without any lactic acid. Running face down to protect your eyes from icy intruders. Ah, that's running in Canada...

BUT IN MAY? Mother's day was yesterday, Easter's long gone, the presidential nominees are all but decided. All-Star baseball teams are being discussed and the Indy 500 is up for the weekend. But here in Timmins ON. there s still wind chill to talk about. Not to whine--too late for that--but where's our warm gulf air that made its way into Minneapolis each summer?

Oh well, temps in the 30s are better than the January alternative. Yesterday was 68 as a high, today it's sored to 43 at 5pm; but in the mornings, the treadmill still has an allure. Maybe the cold rain explains why I found some kind of water bug near the refrigerator. It was the size of a hockey puck! Anyhow, I got in a slow 7.2 miles well as a nice windburn.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finally, 6 days--144 hours--after the half-marathon, I'm feeling ready to run normally again. Tomorrow, I'll go around 8 miles at AP to see if a normal speed, normal distance can be done. Of course, if I'd trained more on the roads with long runs, the recovery process would have been much easier.
Tomorrow's Mother's Day. My Mom is 3000 miles away so we'll use the telephone to talk, but my wishes for all mothers out there is one of joy.
I'll be seeking a fall marathon to run over the next few weeks. Perhaps Niagra?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

DOMS after a half marathon?

Well, it's 72 hours later and I'm only now able to jog a few miles. I need to be careful what I ask for. After the race, I said to Mrs. Ronster I won't be as disappointed in my 1:30 time if I have DOMS; that would suggest my treadmill training and three 10-12 milers outside didn't cut it for preparation. It's easier to accept a slower than expected performance if you're certain that you're undertrained for the event.

I've only had DOMS after marathons with one exception, and that exception a HM where I was way undertrained. This time, I had miles in--that wasn't the problem. I just needed more outdoor runs of longer than 10 miles. A month from now I should be going 15-18 miles on Saturdays, which would make a HM a less traumatic experience.

But for today...3 miles at 10/min pace.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Comeback race
RR: Half MarathonSudbury: The weather's good. It's cool (40f)and clear, but the wind is gusty.I start a little diffident for two reasons: periformis and sciatica pains all week. Also, I haven't run 13.1 miles in 6 months(all at once). All winter(until April) I ran 7-8 miles a day on the treadmill.

The race.We start and my legs feel good. The field is only about 200 and if I run well, I should be in the top 10 or so.I'm around 10th and feeling winded the first few miles, but I start to gain my cadence and hit the 5K in 19:55. Whoops! a little too fast: my goal was around 1:28 or so. I turn it down a notch; after all, I haven't run this far in a long time. A woman was chatting a little with me and I let here go, hoping to catch here the last 5K.10K: 41:06. Well, I meant to slow a little but not a full minute on the 2nd 5K. Still I'm waiting for the 16K marker so I can reel in those ahead the last 5k. I blame the wind for the slow down.A guy in a knee brace behind me passes slowly at 11K. I draft off him. I don't believe for a second that it helps to draft off one guy, but I like to pretend it helps: It's a way of getting back at someone for passing you.

He pulls 100M ahead of me and I "tie the tether" at that distance. We start to pass some of the marathon runners who started earlier. I encourage them and they return the encouragement. There's no more wind in our face, but the slight uphill grade keeps the pace from improving.

10 Miles: I hit the mark at 1:07:48. I'm slowing down. But knee-brace guy is still only 100m ahead. We turn, and I realize my chance at a good time is truly shot: a gradual uphill INTO and gusty wind. Some of the marathoners start to walk when the wind really blows(they have to do this course twice). But we HMers are too close to the finish.At 18K 11.2 miles I can feel the legs start to lock up a little--no fast final 5K for me. I'm getting closer to knee brace guy, but never too close. It flattens out but the wind is steady. I try to speed up, but after a couple of minutes the juice is gone and I just try to maintain form. I finish in 1:30:19.

It breaks down like this in approximation:
5K: 19:55 (6:27/mile)
10K 41:05(21:10) 2nd 5K (6:50mile)
15K 1:03:15 (22:10)3rd 5K (7:10/mile)
20K 1:25:45 (22:30)(7:15/mile) 4th 5Kand 21.1 K (Half Marathon) 1:30:19 (6:54/mile)
It's not the time I was shooting for. But it was a nice race. Almost like a solo long run on a nice day. Sudbury's surrounded by lakes Now if I just DO some more long runs...I was 10th overall and 4th in AG....drats!(but at least we didn't have to wait around for a ceremony. we had 3.5 hours driving to get home).

Friday, May 2, 2008

My HM race preview.

To me, there's nothing more unnerving than to go into a race with little or no idea as to your current state of fitness. In less than two days, I'll be running a half-marathon. My PB is 1:26:42 in 2004 during a busy racing/training season. Over the next year, I ran two HMs a month or so after marathons and clocked 1:28:48 and 1:28:52 in those races. Those races resemble this one in the sense that I'd trained hard, but hadn't run much longer than 10 miles for 5-6 weeks and was feeling not fully healthy; they were, after all after hard marathons.

This time, I'm coming off a winter of treadmill training with no racing and only 2 runs of the 13- mile distance. I'm banged-up feeling because I was not fully healthy when I switched from treadmill to streets at the end of winter. Now, I've got several hot spots--left periformis, right knee, left knee, and left ankle--that bother me after my runs, but I'll feel flare-ups during runs.

On the positive side, I've done weekly tempo runs around HM pace for 5K on the treadmill, and my outdoor runs have often been at close to marathon pace, though they're turny and hilly. My mileage has been higher: over 50/week average for 20 weeks.

Also, the weather has been cool in Sudbury, which helps me big-time. Last year I ran two HMs and both were much slower than my usual times: 1:37 and 1:35. The 1:37, was a race I took a big chance on by running. I'd been injured for 7 weeks(unable to run at all for 4 of those weeks, then only 20/mpw after that. I didn't care about time, ad was happy to make it. The 1:35, was two months later. I was back in decent shape, but the course was on trails and added 3-8 minutes to every one's times. I was in 1:30 shape then.

So this time, I'm not close to great shape, but should be able to put in a decent effort. It's a long drive, so I hope so.

I'm sure I'll laugh at this later. I usually do.