Sunday, June 1, 2014

Is Dan Sticking to the Plan? (Training 5/5-6/1)

With just three weeks to go before Grandma's Marathon on the 21st of June, I'd like to provided a bit of an update on how the execution of my plan has progressed.

Goals of the Cycle
I designed the cycle to revolve around workouts and hitting specific paces over mileage and cumulative mileage. In general, I like to think of the goals of the cycle as:

1) Stay Healthy, by prioritizing workout/long run quality over volume, I hope to stay healthy.

2) Practice running Marathon Pace, again by prioritizing quality over volume, I hope to hone in on running Marathon Pace more comfortably.

Week 7

Some nice mileage in week 7 but lost focus on the goals of the cycle*

I was clearly very eager to return to training. Unfortunately this meant probably extending my self a bit far during Wednesday's 1600, 4 mile tempo, 1600 workout, and running back to back long runs. 

Wednesday's workout took quite a bit out of me: 20-ish minute w/u, then 1600m in 5:10, 4 miles in 22:30 (5:38), 5:09. 20 minute-ish c/d. I was also still dealing with some lingering soreness from Boston. Driven by previous performances in this workout, I hit my rather arbitrary, "feel good" standards of 5:40-ish pace on the tempo and 5:10 or better for the 1600s.

The good news is that I actually listened to my body and didn't run much the days following the workout.

There isn't anything inherently wrong with back to back long runs, but when neither long run meets the planned goal (20 miles easy) and the cumulative effect prevents you from executing subsequent workouts, they become an issue (see next week).

It was good to get on the trails out in Palos for Sunday's run. I've definitely noticed better ankle strength and stability after just a couple of trail runs over this cycle.

Week 6

Since Monday was pretty warm and I was pretty beat from back to back long runs, I decided to push my planned 10 miles at MP to Tuesday. Tuesday morning I warmed up and felt awful. I ran 4 miles at 6:12 pace (my actual MP in Boston) before calling the workout.

I had planned on running from Fleet Feet on Wednesday, but ended up doing a course ride for the Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile. I organized and led the bike marshals for the event. Let me know if you're interested in volunteering as a bike marshal as I'm sure I'll be roped into this role for more events as the year progresses.

Thursday, I spent 4+ hours traveling on Amtrak to run a 5000m on the track at North Central College. Based on my workout from the previous week I thought I could run about 16:15 (which would be right about my track PR). Instead here's how the race played out:

"Eeked under 16:30 with a 16:29.96. Went 5:10, 11:07 for 3400m, 5:23 for the last 1600m. Running on the track is hard on your body... Thought I was in 16:15 shape, but I guess not."

So a bit disappointing considering I split a 16:32 at Shamrock Shuffle and accelerated through the finish.

All that said, things turned around on Sunday as I got in a nice, hard 21 miles (as planned) with Kyle (and Matt) averaging about 6:30 pace:

"Jogged to LS, then ran 20 with Kyle and Matt. From 15.7 to 18.7 (3 miles) we pushed a bit (17:07 for a 5:42 average). from miles 11-18.7 we averaged just about 6:06 pace. Ran easily back to LS. A very good run."

Week 5

Noticing a pattern with Sunday long runs and considering I would be racing Chase Corporate Challenge on Thursday, I decided to scrap my Monday workout in favor of recovering.

After last week's skipped Monday workout and disappointing race, I decided to use the planned Fleet Feet Racing Wednesday night speed workout to do some (hopefully) relaxed speed work/pace practice. Brian R, Kyle and I did:

"1.77 mile w/u then 5x1 mile starting at Diversey w/ 2 min recovery, focusing on running a slow first half and a fast second half goal pace was MP - 10 sec: 5:50 (even), 5:41 (even), 5:47 (2:57, 2:50), 5:43 (3:00, 2:43), 5:38 (2:58, 2:40). 3 mile c/d."

My first Chase Corporate Challenge, representing Team Shure was a blast as I got to see a lot of Chicago-area running friends as well as meet a bunch more fellow Shure Associates!

The race itself went about as expected based on the previous week's race and my workout from the day before:

"18:55 (5:24 pace) for the 3.5 mile race. A bit disappointing but still a lot of fun. Particularly to meet and run with my new Shure coworkers."

The course was a lot of fun though the first two mile markers seemed misplaced.

On Friday, I ran a nice easy (8 min pace) medium long run knowing that with the bike miles for Soldier Field 10 and flight to LA I'd be hard pressed to get any running miles in.

Sunday's goal was to spend 2:45 running which I accomplished by getting lost while attempting to circumnavigate Griffith Park:

This run wasn't fast (I only averaged 8:26 pace) that said the first 90 minutes I only averaged about 9:30 pace so the second half which was primarily on the roads was quite a bit quicker.

I was pretty sore for several days after this one as there were some pretty significant long descents I believe. The good news is that unlike Boston where my left quad really took a beating, this soreness was symmetric.

Week 4

Monday, was another travel day and I was pretty sore from Sunday's run, however in addition to a short run, I did get another couple hours of hiking in before flying back to Chicago.

Malibu Creek State Park is where they filmed MASH.

The rest of the week was decent. Shout out to Tim of Team BibRave for sticking with me on Wednesday night's Lincoln Park Lumberjack:

"4x400 in about 76-77, 10 minute tempo (~5:30 pace), 4x400 in 76-77. 10 minute tempo (~5:30 pace), 4x400 in 76-77 w/ Tim M. The tempo sections felt awful the 400s felt great. 45 seconds between 400s, 3 minutes between 400s/tempos."

I had trouble catching up on sleep all week after getting home Monday night at 1am. An early wake up for airport pickup for my parents didn't help at all on Friday. I eeked out the bare minimum, hoping I'd feel better on Saturday for the Original 5k.

The event itself was awesome, but I never really felt good while racing:

"Ran 2.5 W/U. Then 16:32 or so (haven't looked at my official time) [I was 16:31 officially]. Disappointing but never felt great. Changed shoes and stuff then warmed up into 3 min, 2 min, 1 min with equal rest (2x) with Blume, Dan G, Kyle, and Javier. Happy to get a bit more quality running in despite feeling pretty crappy during the race itself."

It was nice to get a bit of extra quality after getting some junk in the legs.

I hadn't really intended on running the hard 20 miler as planned. Instead I opted to try to run a relaxed but fast long run which eventually turned into a 20 miler. I was averaging well under 6:40 pace until about mile 13 when the heat, lack of hydration early in the run, and birthday party the night prior kicked in. Virtually jogged it back home, but still managed to average 6:44 pace. This will most likely be the last of my long runs (20 miles+) as next weekend I have 13.1 Chicago which will sort of function as my last really hard workout before tapering for Grandma's.

All in all, I've been pretty happy with this build up. Though I haven't really spend a lot of time at MP (6:00-5:55). That said, my long runs have been executed as planned and I've felt good for most of them. I hadn't intended on racing so much (with 13.1 it will be 4 weeks straight), but I do think there is good value in racing one's self into shape. The results have yet to reveal themselves, but I continue to hope that sometime soon, I'll start to feel like my "normal" self again.

How has your training and racing been going?


  1. That Griffith Park run sounds totally brilliant. I love experiences like that one.

    1. It was one of the more epic runs in my career because of both the duration and its novelty. It deserves its own blog!

  2. "Racing one's self into shape." - I like that strategy.

    1. At least for me there is something about a race that allows you to get more out of yourself than you would during a normal workout. That said, you typically have to have very tempered ideas of where you might end up finishing or what you might end up running if you aren't already in decent shape. It worked pretty well last year when I raced the Ridge Run, Northshore Half, and the Cougar Mountain Trail Run in quick succession at the end of May/early June. I didn't run particularly well at any of these events but went on to PR (by ~45 seconds) in the 10k at the BTN Big 10k at the end of July.