Monday, March 24. 2014
This was a pretty high mileage week and aside from the epic blister that I developed about 3 miles into my 9 mile long run, I felt pretty decent for each run.
Monday – 3 easy becomes 4 easy (@ 10:12)
Josh, Amy and I planned our schedule 3 miler for lunch on Monday. Everybody wanted something flat, so I suggested an out & back on the waterfront. The path is used mostly by snowmobiles in the winter, so I was hoping that it’d be hard packed enough to easily run on. It got a little rough in the section between the Super 8 & the Dee Stadium, but for the most part it was pretty decent. We were only supposed to run 3 but Amy and I lost track of time gabbing away didn’t turn around until the 2 mile mark, so we ended up with 4 miles for the day.
Tuesday – 8 x 400 Intervals
We usually do these up at the SDC track, but work trumped runch so I ended up doing them on my treadmill after work. I do find doing intervals on the treadmill easier than the track. I set up a work out on my FR620 to alert every quarter-mile, I hit a button to speed the treadmill up, and hit another button to slow down. Pretty brainless.
I will say that having the watch right in front of my face was both a blessing and a curse because each time I looked a that the distance, it was way less then I thought I’d gone. I’d be sprinting along, convinced that I was half-way done, and I’d glance that watch only to see that it said I went .06 miles. Demoralizing, I tell you.
I don't know why my 2nd & 3rd intervals are slower than the rest, I had the treadmill speed set the same for everything. Strange, but oh well.
I get a giggle out of the peaks and valleys on the interval graphs. You can see my warm-up, which I think was 10 minutes(?), and then each interval. My between-interval recovery was 12:00, but toward the end, I slowed down to 12:15 because I need a little bit longer for my heart rate to come back down from the atmosphere.
I cranked up the speed after the 4th interval, as you can tell by the peaks in this graph. I was pushing over 180 bpm on those last ones, but I never felt like puking. Bonus.
I don’t know why I have that outlier on the cadence graph.
I ended the last interval right around 4.5 miles, so I cooled down until I hit 5 miles and called it quits. This was a tough work out but I felt surprisingly good in the end. Tired, but a good tired.
Wednesday – 3 miles easy turns into 5 (@ 10:17)
Another extended easy run for this week. It was nice out and I decided to run down to my mom & dad’s house with Zoe instead of noodling around the neighborhood. I also decided to use this run as an wear both my FR305 & FR620 devices to see how they matched up.
The good news is that the distances were pretty much right on. The FR620 would always alert first, but the FR305 was never more than a second behind.
Unfortunately the instantaneous paces were off the entire way, by a lot. For the most part, the FR620 always said that I was going faster than the FR305, but I think the FR305 was the accurate one just based on how I was feeling & what my heart rate was saying.
I figured the two were going to be far apart, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were pretty darn spot on.
One thing that I was also pleased about was the cadence. I’ve been using a footpod attached to my right shoe with the FR305 and it seems to frequently lose contact with the device. The FR620 has an accelerometer in the watch and the heart rate monitor strap.
Here’s the chart for the FR620:
And for the FR305:
Zoe and I did stop briefly to talk to Josh who was biking his way home, but that’s the only drop-off that we had with the FR620. The FR305 was all over the map, which was pretty typical. I was never impressed with that thing. I haven’t done any more comparisons since, maybe I’ll take both of them on next weekend’s long run.
Thursday – 40 minute tempo
I think I’ve read every article that the internet has to offer on doing tempos and I’m still feel like I’m just winging it. This time, instead of running by pace, I thought I’d run by heart rate. According to a lot of the articles I read, I should be running a tempo “comfortably hard” or between 80%-90% of my maximum heart rate. My resting heart rate is 61 and my maximum heart rate is 190, so 80-90% translates to between 164-177bpm for me.
There’s this cool feature on the Garmin Connect website which allows you to set up workouts, and you can set limits like pace, cadence or heart rate zones to your intervals. So, I created this workout with a heart rate zone and zapped it over to my watch.
After the mile warm-up, it beeped five times and told me to GET GOING. It beeped at me in the most annoying manner until my heart rate was in the configured zone. Once I got in the zone, it gave a happy little chirp. When I fell out of the zone, I got an angry little chirp. Once I hit the 40 minute time limit, it played a little song (I'm not sure if I was supposed to dance or not) to let me know that the workout was over and I could do whatever I wanted for the rest of the time.
The tempo went pretty well, I felt like I was running at a pace which was a challenge, but I could sustain throughout the interval. I had to push to keep my heart rate in the zone on the downhills but I didn’t have to slow down at all when I hit the uphills.
I ended up going just over 4.5 miles at and 8:44 pace for the 40 minutes, just under a 10k overall. Bonus, I didn’t feel like death when it was all over. I guess this means progress?
Friday – REST
TGIF and my running shoes can stay in the closet on this day.
Saturday – 3 miles easy (@ 11:27)
Josh and I were heading out of town on a quick trip to Menominee, MI first thing in the morning and I didn’t want to miss this run so I got up at 5:45AM and hit the treadmill. I forgot to plug in the footpod calibration factor into my FR620, so it only registered 2.87 miles when the treadmill hit 3 miles. Oops.
Anyway, this was only three miles, but they felt really hard. My legs were heavy and stiff and I felt pretty uninspired to push any faster.
After a shower, I dropped off Zoe at my mom & dad’s and we took off to Menominee (in a snowstorm, no less) to pick up this beauty. Take that, snow.
Sunday – 90 minute long run
I ended up with 32.25 miles for the week, which I believe is the most weekly miles I've ever logged for any of my previous half marathons. I'm sort of surprised, but I'm feeling pretty good after all this running. Aside from Sunday's blister and some tight calves, my body's holding up pretty well (leaving now, to knock on some wood). I like the variety of the runs - even though I'm growing to loathe tempos - it makes the week go by faster and it makes me feel like I'm actually training with focus rather than just plodding along aimlessly.
This week, we revisit hills (oh joy) and try not to die during a 45 minute tempo.
Monday, March 17. 2014
This was a bit of a cut-back week since the schedule called for a 5k race on the weekend instead of the usual long run. My 5k was a fail (THANKS DOG), but the rest of the week went pretty well.
Monday - 3 miles easy (@ 10:18)
It was balmy 40-something outside when Josh and I headed out for this (r)unch. My legs were feeling pretty trashed after the previous weekend and somebody (not me) decided to route us up some hills of death in East Houghton which resulted in me taking a walk break or two. Couple that with a nasty headwind, and you have the makings of a not-so-easy run. The pace would indicate otherwise, but this was a struggle.
Tuesday – Hills of Death
I missed the first hill session a few weeks ago due to a bum knee, but I was ready for this one. Or, as ready as I’d ever be. We chose the hill from the Super 8 to Collect Avenue, which is right around 200 meters long. It’s a steady incline for two-thirds of the hill, turns a corner and then hits a very sharp incline for the last third.
The jog over from campus was quite nice, but all I could really think of was how much this was going to hurt and it sure did. I was trying to keep my heart rate to a reasonable level for the first part so I wouldn’t give myself a heart attack during the much steeper climb on the second, but I mostly failed on that one.
Each time I rounded the corner, I was already in the Oh God I’m going to die zone and I had all I could do just to hang on and grind it out and keep from puking at the end. I came really close during the second interval.
Here’s some pretty table and graphs that show my misery.
After our repeats were done, we jogged back to campus and I think we ended up with just over 3 miles for the day.
Wednesday - 3 miles easy (@ 10:24)
I was feeling pretty beat up from the prior day’s hills, so Zoe and I just jogged a little out & back on Covered Drive Road.
Thursday – 30 minute tempo (5 miles @ 8:55)
We had a shorter tempo run this week, only 30 minutes, so that was nice. I did a short warm-up then ran 15 minutes out & 15 minutes back, followed by a cool-down jog back home.
I’m kind of meh about this tempo because I ended up making several mid-run stops for Zoe to do her business. I must not have told her how you need to take care of that before you head out for a run.
Also, this was the first run I took with my new watch. I’ve been running with the Garmin Forerunner 305 since 2006 and it’s been a very reliable device. About a year ago, it started to not want to turn on and I’d have to do a hard reset on it to get it going. Those times were few and far between, so I never really considered getting a new one. Unfortunately, in the last three months, it’s been doing it more frequently and this last month it was doing it all the time. Then the battery started to act flaky – it’d tell me it was fully charged one minute, then five minutes later it’d be telling me the battery way low. So, I finally took the plunge and upgraded to the Garmin Forerunner 620.
It’s got a ton of bells and whistles that I’m still trying to work my way through, but so far I really like it. There’s a lot of complaining in the Garmin support forums about inaccurate GPS data and the watch being generally buggy, but so far I haven’t experienced any of those issues.
Friday & Saturday – Rest
Rest days, drank some beer, did some not running stuff.
Sunday – 5k race
The training plan called for a 5k race, but it’s not like anybody’s putting on a 5k in the middle of March up here, so I decided I was just going to run my own 5k.
Josh was doing the same, so he, Zoe and I took off at the same time. Josh was doing a longer warm-up than me, so I started my “race” before him. Zoe and I were cruising along well until she realized that Josh wasn’t with us, then she got all worried about where he was.
She spent the majority of her time looking behind her, and each time she’d do that, she’d end up veering right in front of me. Or, she’d just stop completely and I’d have to yell at her to keep going. After a completely frustrating .75 miles, I finally decided to stop and wait for Josh to catch up. I handed Zoe off to him and took off again, but I could never get my mojo back and I knew the 5k was already in the toilet, so I just said eff this and called it quits. Zoe and I headed back home. I was pretty ticked off about it at first, but I’d made my peace with it by the time I got home. Sometimes shit happens. What can you do.
If Josh wasn’t being a slacker in the blog department, he’d probably write a post talking about how he ended up doing his 5k in 24:56! Very impressive!
Summary – another week done
I ended the week with just under 17 miles @ 10:22. This week, we have a full schedule - intervals, tempos, a weekend long run and a few things in-between, like the annual St. Patrick’s Day storm! Go home Winter, you’re drunk.
Sunday, March 9. 2014
Two weeks down, ten to go. The cold weather streak we’ve been having finally broke and we had some nice outside running temps this week. I was a little bit worried that all the time I spent running on the treadmill while it was minus one billion degrees outside softened me to outside running, but I survived.
Monday – 3 miles easy (@10:56)
It was still pretty cold outside, so I plugged away on the treadmill for this one. I was having one of those days where running on the treadmill seems harder than outside.
Tuesday – 7x400 Intervals (overall 4.63 miles @ 9:41)
Josh and I did these at the SDC over lunch. The track is usually pretty empty around lunchtime, but it was a bit crowded and we ended up doing a lot of swerving around people and dodging errant basketballs.
I was keeping track of the laps manually on my watch at the line on the floor, so I don’t know why my distance is saying .27 miles when it should be .25. Maybe my footpod needs calibrating again?
Overall, I ended up with a smidge over 4.5 miles for the session, including warm-up & cool-down. Overall pace was 9:41.
Here’s our splits for the seven laps. I probably ran that first one too fast.
And here’s the pretty heart rate graph for those laps.
Wednesday – 3 miles easy (@ 11:00)
Treadmill run, unspectacular.
Thursday – 45 minute tempo (overall 4.51 miles @ 9:17)
I’ve done two tempo runs so far, and I’m still just as confused as ever with how to do them. I read a lot of articles on them, but it seems like every one contradicts the other.
I’m following the Hal Hidgon advance HM plan, and Hal’s recommended tempo is sort of a right-shifted bell-curve where you gradually work toward your 10k pace and then when you reach it, which should be in the final 2/3 of your tempo, you just hold it for a few minutes before slowing down. He includes the warm-up & cool-down in the total tempo time.
Other articles advise to exclude the warm-up & cool-down from the total temp time, and also have you stay at your 10k pace for longer. Others just recommend doing tempo intervals. Ugh, so confusing.
Since I really don’t know what my 10k pace is, I just try to pick something that’s hardish and hold it for my fast section. Here’s what I ended up doing.
The first mile was my warm-up. Then I gradually worked my way toward 10k pace, dropping my speed each mile. I held my 10k pace for a mile, then started to back off until I hit 45 minutes and jogged back home. I have no idea if this is how I’m supposed to be doing tempo runs.
My overall pace for this run was 9:17 and I ended up with 5.50 miles.
Friday – Rest
I was pretty tired from the pervious runs, so I did an hour of yoga/stretching and called it good.
Saturday - 3 miles @ HM pace (overall 4.39 miles @ 9:02)
This one was a little huh? moment after I was done with this one. I’m shooting for a 2:00ish HM, so that’s a 9:09 pace. I decided I was going to run this on the upper end of hard, but try to stay out of puke territory.
Started out with a .50 mile warm-up, which wasn’t much of a warm-up thanks to Zoe, the dog that can’t go slow. Then I just started dialing in a pace that I felt like I could hold, but wasn’t all that easy. My plan was to do that for three miles, then jog back home.
I wasn’t keeping too close of an eye on my watch, just mostly distance because I was doing an out and back and wanted to not miss my turn-around. I glanced at my pace every so often just to make sure I was keeping it in the range I wanted to be in, but I was mostly going by effort. Every once in a while I’d do the talk test to see how I was doing (full sentences with no problem – too slow; a few words between breaths – just right, and where I was) and confuse Zoe. She’d throw me the strangest looks over her shoulder, as if she was saying “Who in the world are you talking to??”
I finished my miles and jogged back home. My watch said my average pace was 9:02, which was a little surprising. And it wasn’t until I pulled the data from my Garmin to see how I did that I realized I’d overshot my 3 miles and conveniently ended up with exactly 5k at race pace. That ended up being 26:45 which is a holy shit PR for me.
Sunday – 90 minute easy (overall 9.25 miles @ 10:03)
Thanks to Josh doing a downtime into the wee hours of the morning and DST (which I think is officially dumb), we didn’t get started until mid-afternoon. The weather was a balmy 38 degrees, but it was pretty windy.
I started out well enough, but about a mile into the run, my legs started to complain. They were tight, heavy and burning. Hi, lactic acid. The entire run was pretty unpleasant but the absolute worst part was the mile and a half climb up S. Superior Road back home. Hoo boy, I was in the pain arena for that entire stretch. I stopped once and strongly considered giving up entirely, but we were only a half mile from home and there way no way I was going to bail on nine miles in the last half mile. Also, I was with Josh and I wasn’t going to make him finish walking, either. So, I sucked it up, gritted my teeth (literally), and pleaded with the running gods to let me keep running. I made it, but it was pretty miserable.
Summary – I survived; feeling okay
I’m a little disappointed with how I felt on the long run, I was hoping for nice and easy and I got misery and despair, but overall I think this was a pretty good week.
I ended up with a smidge under 30 miles @ 9:53.
Next week, we have hill repeats. I missed the first session because of my bum knee, but I’m ready for these ones. Maybe I’ll do mine on S. Superior Road for a little redemption.
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