Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Sue(s) and I started our run at the finish line and turned back after 10miles, for a total of 20 miles. We basically wanted to get hill-intoxicated. We assumed we are going to hate hills after this run. Well, that did not happen. This may be useful information for those running Boston who don't have the luxury to train on the course. The hills are NOT that bad. Heartbreak Hill has .7 length, and it has a slight incline, so slight that it does not feel like you are running on a hill. The last .2 are steeper, but not too bad. There are about 3-4 other hills (2 before and 2 after, I think) that are steeper but very short (.2, .3). I would lose about 1 second average pace on the inclines, which I would immediately regain on the downhill. Given that we ran the hills both ways, I assumed that my legs would be very upset, no, angry with me during the run and after. Not really. I was sore, but not too bad. And my pace? 8:35 for the 20 miler, with negative splits (after first 10 miles average pace was 8:48).
I'll have more info in 2 weeks, when we are going to run 20 miles on the course, starting at mile 6.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Speed work has made me stronger and faster. It's such a mental game, particularly for the longer intervals where toward the end breathing becomes rapid, legs starts to hurt and mind starts to protest and throw down arguments as to why you should slow down or stop. Pretty persuasive, the mind! I think speed work is such a great exercise in living - you don't give up during a speed interval, you don't give up fulfilling a dream, you don't back out of something difficult that life throws your way! Speed work reinforces toughness, stubbornness, and confidence that anything is attainable with hard work, dedication and determination.
The problem is that I am addicted to speed work. I want to go faster and faster. What satisfied my craving one month ago does not seem enough any more, and I have to work on proving that it is enough, stick with the paces suggested by my training program, and don't go faster than 1-2 seconds per interval. This past Monday I gave in and ran my 1 miler @ 6:50 instead of 7:02, my 2 miler @ 6:46/mile instead of 7:12, my 2 800 meters @ 6:40 and 6:33 instead of 6:46. Thanks to the ice bath my legs felt only a bit stiff the next day, and they are fine now. Still, I may need an intervention here. I need to get a grip on my addiction to speed work, as April is almost here and I need to be healthy and fresh legged in order to run a good race!
Anyone has this problem?
Friday, February 20, 2009
Back to running. All runs felt great. I loved the fast and short speed drills (12X400s). My tempo was on rolling hills, and I LOVED it. We ventured on a different route for the long run, and it turned out great!
Monday 02/16 - SPEED
Goal: 1 mile easy, (6X400m @ 6:36 pace (0r 1:39 each) with 1:30 RI) X2 with 2:30 RI in between the 2 sets, 1 mile easy.
Actual: 400m in 1:37, 1:38, 1:38, 1:39, 1:39, 1:39, 1:38, 1:38, 1:38, 1:39, 1:39, 1:33.
I confess I never take the rest intervals. I just walk or jog slowly for max 30 seconds and then move on to another interval. I find that if I wait longer I have a harder time getting my legs to speed up.
Tuesday 02/17 - 7 mile hike in Asheville, NC, 1 mile swim
The hike was beautiful, lots of switchbacks, great views at the top. Going back down Chris and I (OK, I not Chris) had the brilliant idea to cut through the switchbacks and go straight down. Yup, we got lost, but that only added to the fun of the hike. "Trails are for wimps" became our motto. There is no way one can truly get lost in there, but it took us about 45 minutes to get back on track.
The swim was in one of those small and hot hotel pools. I had to do 80 laps (160 lengths) to get a mile in.
Wednesday 02/18 - 1.5 mile swim
Back in a real pool at a YMCA in Asheville. What a treat. I loved the swim.
Thursday 02/19 -TEMPO
Goal: 2 miles easy, 3 miles @ 7:35, 1 mile easy
Actual: 2 miles @ 8:45, 3 miles @ 7:24, 1 mile @ 8:29.
This was on rolling hills, and I felt great. It's funny how I have such a hard time slowing down for the last easy mile. Ihad to literally walk a bit in order to get my pace down.
Friday 02/20 - REST
We did go kayaking for a bit and it was beautiful.
Saturday 02/21 - LONG 18 miles, back in Boston
Goal: 18 miles @ 8:53
Actual: 19 miles; 18 miles @ 8:43, with last 2 miles @ 8:11; .5 warm uo, .5 walk/lunges cool down.
A sunny beautiful yet cold morning greeted me as I headed out to meet Sue C for our scheduled 18 miler. I was so excited for the long run, plus we had lots to talk about including the upcoming benefit concert. We decided to go try a different route, go into Winchester, run around Mystic Lake, and figure out our route as we go. The first 4 miles were hard - I don't like not knowing the route as, for me, miles go slower that way (this is why I am going to have the Boston course memorized by April). However, around mile 5, after a vanila GU, I started to really enjoy the run. Our pace was strong, started at 8:50, and we ended up finishing 16 miles @ 8:47. I was pushing the pace perhaps a bit too much - I really did not feel challenged - and I think Sue C wanted to get rid of me and started telling me to go on without her. But I wanted to stick together because I knew she could keep up the pace and the strong pace would help her in April. After 3 miles of rolling hills, we stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts so Sue C could use the bathroom and she told me to go on. She really insisted and so I went. I felt great and ended up pushing the pace, and lowered the average pace to 8:43. I walked another .5 mile home doing lunges and streches. Although cardiovasculary I was not challenged, my ankles, hampstrings and piriformis were screaming. After a chicken sandwhich (yumm!) and some OJ, I made a cup of hot tea, grabbed a bucket of icecubes, put a bathing suite on, grabed my book and spent about 7 minutes in the icebath. My legs feel so fresh now!
Sunday 02/22 - SWIM 1.25 miles; 10 miles BIKE
The YMCA was crazy busy this morning. Sue C happened to come in when I was about 1/2 way done with my laps. We started chatting, and, 10 min later, I got to watch her fast and strong crawl! I am so jealous:) She gave me some good pointers, though, and it made a great difference. I still have a poor form and have no idea how to swim the crawl, but learning it will become my goal after the marathon, something to keep me going during the 1-2 weeks with no running. I did not have time to finish my typical 1.5 mile swim, and did not want my boys to keep waiting, so I ended up adding a few miles on the bike at home while watching "Flight of the Conchords".
Run: 30 miles
Swim: 3.75 miles
Bike: 10 miles
Hike: 7 miles
The next 4 weeks will have more challenging workouts, including 2 weeks with 11 miles tempo runs and 7 miles speed work. I am not sure how I am going to find the time for these long workouts during the week, as I have a very short window of time in the afternoon between when I get home and when I have to pick Petru up from daycare. Morning are just too crazy and I would be to stressed out to try to squeeze runs in. I'll have to put my thinking head on and figure something out. This is another reason why I love the FIRST program - most runs during the week are 5-6 miles, and that is so doable with my schedule.
Have a great week everyone!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Monday 2/09 - SPEED
Goal: 1 mile easy, 6X 800m @ 3:23, 1 mile easy
Actual: 1 mile easy, 6X800m @ 3:20 (up), 3:21(down), 3:22(up), 3:20(down), 3:23 (up), 3:20(down), 1 mile easy.
Tuesday 2?10 - SWIM
1.5 miles with .25 kicks
Wednesday 2/11 - BIKE
20 miles @ 1:-03 (indoor)
Thursday 2/12 - TEMPO
Goal: 1 mile easy, 6 miles @ 8:05, 1 mile easy
Actual: 1 mile easy, 6 miles @ 7:57 (3 down, 3 up), 1 mile easy.
Friday 2/13 - REST
Saturday 2/14 - LONG
Goal: 13 @ 8:38
Actual: 14.1, 13.1@ 8:28, 1 mile warm up/cool down
Sunday: 2/15 - BIKE
16 miles hilly outdoor bike
T: 27.6 miles (run); 1.5 miles (swim), 36 miles (bike)
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Today I wanted to run the same race again, but Chris and I had to catch a flight later in the day and so the timing was not right. My schedule called for a 13 miles @ 8:38. Sue C and I met up per usual and ran together 10 miles, including about 4 miles of hills. Sue C had a cold and she asked me to run the last 3 miles without her. Pace for the first 10 miles was 8:33. I did not have my Ipod with me, so my mind started wondering about the 1/2 marathon last year and about how I really wanted to run it this year as well. And then it downed on me. I am running a 1/2 marathon. And then I decided I have to run in faster than 1:54. So I picked up the pace, and ran 3.1 more miles of hills, for a total time of 1:48:change and pace 8:28. This is not a PR (1:44:06) but that was not the point. Most importantly I felt strong after the race and could have kept going.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I had to meet Sue S at 8:00am, so had no time for pity parties. Sue has a Garmin, so that made me feel better. I figured, might as well bag this as "preparation just in case something is going to happen with the Garmin during the race" (OMG!!!!). We had a 20 miler today, and my plan was to go longer. I am not sure whether there is a physical benefit to running more than 20 miles for a marathon, but I know that there is a psychological one, for me. We started pretty fast, 8:30 for the first 4-5 miles, and slowed down a bit thereafter. We went the usual route, though the plan is to go on the course for the last 3 20 milers. We added extra hills and both felt great. Our pace slowed a bit, but overall I felt strong. We practiced some downhills and let me tell you, those are much tougher on the legs than the uphills. After about 5-6 miles of hills, Sue S was done with her 18 miles, handed me her Garmin (oh, the Garmin, such security), and I was on my way. Average pace for the 18 miles was 9:12. Pretty good, 8 seconds better than what we were supposed to run today.
After Sue left, I decided to pick up the pace. This was probably my anxiety, and not having the confidence that I am going to be able to run 26.2 @ 8:35 in April. ..It hurt. I pushed. It actually got easier. I am not sure why, I think I just got into a groove, played a couple of songs in my head, played some mental tricks. Pretty soon I was at 9:04 average and 23 miles total. I felt good, strong. I could have kept going. Easily. I mean, I was in pain, my legs were lead, but 3 more miles...for sure. But I stopped, of course. I walked the last .5 mile home, doing lunges, and calculating the pace of my last 5 miles in my head, 8:32! So now, 1/2 a chicken and a bagel later, I feel so happy, and so confident that I might be able to run a pretty strong marathon this April. Now, if I could only find a way not to have these hideous, humongous blisters after every long run (5 of them, every week, same spots)...oh well, I can still hide my toes in my winter boots for a while:)
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Goal: 10-20 min warm up, 2X1200 @ 6:56, 4X 800 @ 6:46, 10 min col down
Actual: 1 mile warm up, 12oo @ 6:50, 1200 @ 6:49, 800 @ 6:40, 800 @ 6:42, 800@ 6:46, 800 @ 6:40.
All of these were about 1/3 flat, 1/3 up, 1/3 down. I got better at being more consistent about pace. I used to go all out and be @ 5:30 for a while, and then have to slow down, all out of breath.
Although I feel tired after these intervals, I never rest more than 20 seconds, and I feel I could go faster. Would there be any benefit to that, or just risk of injury?
Regular 1.5 mile swim, with kicks, front and back. I also did 40 pull ups on the diving board.
Did 20 miles on my new (well, used) bike, indoors. Loved it. It's one day I get to stay in and work out. The resistance was low, and it took me 1:13 min. Not to bad.
I also managed to do all my leg and core strength exercises, yeah!
Goal: 1 mile easy, 5 miles @ 7:59
Actual: 1 mile easy (with 2 hills), 5 miles @ 7:47.
This was hard because of my headcold, and running on the packed snow. It's much harder than the pavement. I really liked that it was a hard run. I need to practice pushing through, and I don't think any of my workouts so far felt difficult for long enough...This makes me nervous bc I know that I am going to struggle during the last 6 miles of the marathon, and I would like my body and mind to be more prepared for that. Should I train harder?
Saturday: Long run
23 miles with lots up hills!
1.5 miles with 60 pulls ups and kicks.
Run: 34.5 miles - wow, this is a record for me!!!
Bike: 20 miles
Swim: 3 miles
1.What is your running history (how you got started, how long you have been running)?
I started jogging for fitness in 1996, a couple of years after moving to the US. I picked up running outdoors in 2000 and started running 5Ks and 10Ks. I ran through my pregnancy and 3 days after having my son. In 2007 I joined "Runaway moms" in Arlington, where I live, and met several women who were serious about racing. I got peered pressured into doing a 1/2 marathon, and I was hooked. Recently I have discovered trail running, which is beautiful and much easier than road running. I am now training for my first marathon - Boston, which I am running for Pediatric Cancer Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, where I work.
2. If you could go on vacation to one place where would it be?
I don't have a "dream vacation spot", but I think it would probably be Hawaii.
3. What is one food that you could eat every day?
At the moment, oatmeal. But that will probably change shortly. I tend to go through "food phases".
4. What is your favorite physical attribute about yourself?
It's my nose! I used to hate it as a teenager, strongly considered a nose job. Now I think it gives me character and I am so glad I kept it!
5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Getting in bed with "outdoor clothes on". My husband used to do it all the time, and it drove me crazy. But he learned...
OK, now your turn..
To play along:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Here are a couple of interesting things from the book:
1. Fatigue is not caused by energy depletion.
The author points that research has shown that there is still fuel available to muscles when fatigue occurs. The actual cause of fatigue is a reduction in muscle activation by the brain that is influenced in part by declining energy stores. This is believed to be a protective mechanism that prevents us from running to the point of serious harm.
2. Good running form can be learned.
Running form is very important in how efficient a runner is, and also in injury prevention. Running form is controlled by the brain, is automatic. The programs that control running form can be modified via a variety of techniques to produce a running stride that is efficient and powerful. The book gives clear guidelines in terms of correcting form.
3. A runner's pace is not determined by physical capacity, such as VO2max.
Althouhg VO2max (capacity to consume oxygen) is important in determining the pace, teleoanticipation determined by the brain has a more important role. When you start a race your brain calculates the maximum pace you can sustain over the planned running distance based on measures of your fitness level, past experience, air temperature, etc, and helps guide you toward the appropriate pace by producing feelings of comfort and discomfort. The author promotes "embracing suffering" during runs and doing at least one "breakthrough run" a month (race or a run where you push yourself as far as you can) in order to train the brain to allow you to run with more comfort at your chosen pace.
4. Running injuries are not caused by the high-impact nature of running.
Impact forces to contribute to running injuries, but the main culprits are other factors that cause us to run in ways that contradict the preferred movement patterns stored in the brain and thus increasing susceptibility to impact related tissue damage. These factors are running shoes and sitting 8+ hours. With regard to running shoes - the author points out that all the cushioning in the shoes forces the foot to land on the hill. This does not occur when running barefoot - try it, it is true- because it is painful. However, the cushioning in the shoes protects the hill from the pain, thus changing how the foot lands during running. The author mentioned that his running injuries disappeared when he switched to "minimalistic running shoes" (some Nikes) that do not provide all the protection, and thus allow his feet to move normally during the runs.
5. You don't need to drink too much during runs
He discussed how elite runners do not drink much during races. He noted that liquid is not absorbed during fast runs, and so water tends to accumulate in the stomach and cause pains and nausea. The body is capable to run dehydrated.
6. It's good for you to do training long runs without taking in energy.
This is because during such runs the body secretes certain chemicals (IL-6) that help the brain and body to adapt to the stress of running, and make one more efficient. He advocates alternating fueled runs with unfueled runs. Also, he mentions that consuming protein during the run helps with recovery and preparation for next day's run. Accelerade is the only sports drink that contain protein.
7. It is important to embrace your pain
Fatigue related pain is the subconscious brain's way of trying to convince the brain's conscious decision-making center to slow down the pace or stop The only way to reject the message is to embrace the pain and embrace it. The author talks about "practicing suffering" in order to habituate to pain and desensitize oneself.
These are only a few of the messages from the book. As I mentioned, some are counterintuitive. I think it's worth reading the book. I am definitely going to try some of his suggestions, particularly those related to practicing good form.