Monday, February 24, 2014


am - 8 miles at 8:07 pace, Easy 8
Went in the morning since a ton of snow was in the forecast. Good move!

pm - 8 miles, 6 x 1000m at The Ray
Fully intended to just use Monday as a snow day/recovery from my double long run weekend, but ended up having the opportunity to go run with Mark Wehrman and Michael Martineau at The Ray.

My first indoor track workout since 2009: 20 minute warm up then: 3:20, 19, 20, 24, 22, 16 with 200m jog recovery (93-113 seconds). 1 x 400m in 74. 13 minute cool down. A bit disappointed about how these felt, but considering the volume on my legs, I guess I'll take it.

pm - 9 miles at 7:47, Lakefront Loops
Still really sore (quads). This ended up being much further than I thought. Miserable, very wet conditions thanks to a lot of snow paired with above freezing temps. Honestly I'd take cold and dry over warm and flooded. Great to run with Scott L. (and Mark for a bit)!

pm - 8.79 miles, 2 x 8 x 1 min on, 1 min off
Great workout by feel. 2 x 8 x 1 min on 1 min off with 2 minutes between sets (which I used to tie my shoes). Didn't quite feel as fresh as I would have liked, but we can't have everything in this life...

Felt pretty controlled on all of these. That said, I don't know how much faster I could have run.

pm - 9.77 miles at 7:10 pace (this one didn't feel that fast).
Missed having Dan M. with me on this one. Welcome to Slop Fest 2014! I left without my watch connecting to satellites. Ran until the watch said 4.0 miles... Ended up being much further than intended.

To be perfectly honest, this run hurt like crazy. My quads still haven't recovered from hammering them over the last 5 days.

Off. As I mentioned earlier, soreness in the quads was making my "recovery" runs miserable.

19 miles at 7:18 pace
The day off didn't help. This was a very painful run.

Felt like I was jogging the whole time. A lot of muscular soreness in the quadriceps. Glad I got this one in, but my legs are killing me. Took the day before and after off because of family commitments as well as needing to get my legs to heal up a bit before hitting it hard again.

Off. With a lot of family commitments this weekend, taking a bit of time off wasn't difficult. Again, I have to be in a position where running 7:18 pace doesn't hurt like crazy.

I was happy to be over the 60 MPW mark despite taking a couple days off. Great DENSITY OF TRAINING (a term Cole Sans introduced me to).Often times I feel like this is accompanied by DENSE TRAINING. Hoping to be a bit more recovered for the coming week!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Awakening the Aerobic Monsters (Training 2/10-2/16)

am - 8 miles at 7:45 pace, Secret Speed
Did my full Easy 8 for the first time in a LOOONG time. Ran 4 x pickups (40 seconds) after the turn around. Did 4 x hill sprints just south of Foster as well for more Secret Speed.

am - 10 miles at 7:07 pace, "Easy" 10
My first am "Easy" 10 in a long time! Felt good despite pretty cold conditions (my sweat was freezing at the seams of my HZ). Did 8 short (20 second) pick ups after the turn around.

I always put "Easy" in scare quotes as I haven't found 10 miles prior to work to ever be very easy. Not particularly hard, but not particularly easy either.

pm - 8 miles, 8 x 800 in the LP Zoo Parking Lot
1.8 w/u + 8 x 800 (90 sec rest) + 2.4 c/d. 2:39, 36, 35, 34, 37, 34, 36, 3?. Average ~2:36 running primarily on effort! This was pretty much what I thought I could run for this workout. Conditions were ideal, relatively speaking. The lot was dry and the temp was around 20 degrees without much wind.

am - 8 miles at 7:45 pace, Easy 8
Started very slow. Wanted to double, but it wasn't in the cards.

pm - 8 miles at 8:07 pace, Easy 8
Unwinding after a LOOOOONG, eventful day.

am - 19 miles at 6:37 pace, Barrington, IL
Last 7 in 43:03 (6:07 average pace). .75 mile C/D around the school to shake out the legs. Braulio kicked my butt over the last mile.

A pretty tough effort.

am - 17 miles at 7:07, Um. Yeah.
Chalk this one up to youthful exuberance. Everything feels good though a bit sore still from yesterday's workout.

Met up with Dan Stanton for this one. Didn't mean to run this far. Ended up running south, turning around Chicago Ave after stopping for some water at the Lakefront Park field house.

Sunday was my mom and brother's birthday. I made my mom a card and drew some mitochondria on it:

Thanks for the Mighty Mitochondria, Mom!

Mitochondria are only contributed from the egg so you inherited all of yours from your mom. They are also the location of aerobic ATP production. Without a lot of natural leg speed (relatively speaking), I consider these little aerobic monsters to be one of my biggest assets.

78 miles in about 9.5 hours. Much more volume than I was expecting for this week. Some really good indicators that my fitness is coming around. Got to make sure that I'm building at a sustainable rate.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Zero to 60 (Training 2/3-2/9)

Typing in the date range for this post reminds me that I'm less than 30 days out from my season opener, the 3000m Run at the Illinois Club Relays on March 1st!

pm - 9.5 miles at 7:20 pace
Ran with Mark Wehrman for the first time in close to 2 months... Did 4 x strides between the tennis courts south of Addison. I thoroughly enjoyed this run. It felt neither to short nor too long.

Was happy to find my shin was feeling better after a complete day off on Sunday.

am/pm? - 6 miles at 8:00 pace
Was very tired and should have run further. I still use my shin as an excuse not to get in longer aerobic efforts. That said it is probably better to low ball the mileage still at this point. There is still more than 10 weeks of training before Boston!

pm - 7.98 miles at 6:46
The planned Boston 365 workout was 6-7 x 800m in the Zoo Lot, but with fresh snow on the ground we gave folks the option of running an easy 8 on the path or executing the prescribed effort. Since I am over slipping and sliding during workouts I opted for the easy 8.

Peter Mone and I were rolling in the middle miles as the path was pretty clear! Got down to around 6:10 pace.

am - 7.43 miles at 9:25 pace
I find it difficult to believe I was running this slow, but apparently I was. Ended up running 6-ish on the channel trail and then picking up my bag and running into work (work up late, haha).

pm - 2000 yards swimming in 50 minutes
Felt weird swimming for the first time this week. Pool was very warm.

pm - 8 miles at 6:57 pace
"Hammered." The trail was bone dry. Did 4 x pickups after the turnaround to get some faster running in for the week.

am - 17 miles at 6:56 pace
Ran with the B365 crew for 11.5 miles (at around 7:00-10 pace), then ran a mile north past the muddy section south of Fullerton and started my "Last 3 Go" at the fence post by the Theater. Wanted to start at 6:00 pace and cut down, but ended up running pretty evenly ~17:15 for 3 miles. Cooled down back to the store with Bess Ritter.

pm - 4 miles at 7:48
An easy shakeout. Couldn't resist the urge to get this run in to complete 60 miles of running in 7 days. Typical runner ethic. Leg is feeling good.

~8.5 hours - 60 miles running + 2000 yards swimming. Mission accomplished for the first 6 weeks of the year: safely ascended to 60 MPW!

Questions? Comments? Leave them below or send me a tweet!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rest Days

On Saturday, I got into a couple discussions about the prescribed Day Off/Rest Days in the Boston 365 program. I had some thoughts and recommendations, but after thinking about it a bit, I think doing a post on this topic might be helpful to clarify my thoughts on these matters. The discussions revolved around this sort of statement:

I feel sluggish or sore when running after prescribed Rest Days*.

Our Rest Days are prescribed immediately after our Wednesday night group workouts which constitute the bulk of the fastest running we'll do every week. This is in order to mitigate injury risk as faster running poses arguably more and objectively different stress on your body.

If you tend to feel sluggish on your Friday runs, consider your warm up and cool down routine on Wednesday, the day before our Rest Day. Luke Humphrey in the Hansons Marathon Method does a good job describing warm ups and cool downs without going too deep into the physiology:

"Warm-ups and cooldowns are instances when you will want to run on the slower end of the spectrum. Here the idea is to simply bridge the gap [emphasis added] between no running and fast running and vice versa."

So, what am I getting at?

I would encourage you to focus on performing a thorough cool down Wednesday night. Since we do most of our very fast running on Wednesday, there is a bigger difference between the running at this workout and a resting state (no running) than on a typical easy run. This makes transitions to and from a resting state more important. Additionally since you'll be in more or less a resting state for all of the following day (Thursday) you'll want to make sure you take your time.

It might be tempting to get back to the store as soon as possible after our tough Wednesday workouts, but as long as you don't feel like your mechanics are compromised, I would encourage you to do 10-20 minutes of easy to moderate running to help your body enter a resting state. A cool down should be done at whatever pace feels comfortable. It should be easy, but not slow enough where your body temperature drops quickly particularly in the cold conditions we've been experiencing.

A final recommendation:

In addition to focusing on a thorough cool down, I would consider moving the prescribed Rest Day to Friday. Moving Friday's easy run to Thursday will help your body continue to transition from the fast running of Wednesday to a resting state on Friday. Remember to warm up slowly and ease into your long run pace on Saturday. I find I'm a bit less antsy at the beginning of long runs as I know I have a lot of miles to ease into the run.

Still have questions?

Leave them in the comments below or tweet them to @danielkittaka.

*A clarification: a Rest Day in this context indicates not only a break from running, but also a break from intentional physical activity with a focus on good nutrition (including hydration) and sleep/rest in order to allow for adaptation to training stimulus as well as prevent injury.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mile Race Pace (Training 1/27-2/2)

am - If I had gone to bed earlier/stay asleep longer I would have run outside in the morning, but since we were in the midst of "Polar Vortex 2" by midday I decided to treadmill.

pm - 70 minutes/"9 treadmill miles" with 30 minutes at tempo
20 minutes warm up at incline 2, 30 minutes tempo (9.8-10 mph) at incline 1, 20 minutes cool down at incline 1. It felt way harder than outside with good footing either that or I'm still pretty out of shape.

am - 2000 yards swimming in 45 minutes
Warm up (900 yards: 300, 3x100, 6x50) then 450, 250, 200, 100, 100.

pm - 6 miles
Wanted to test the leg with more back to back running days. Literally ran some errands after work. It was very cold and my stomach did not feel good.

pm - 7 miles (4x5:00 at ??)
Did 4x5:00 with 2:00 easy jogging with the Boston 365 crew. It was pretty quick. Tried to make sure I felt relaxed despite the quick pace (My guess is we were running about 5:20-30 pace for these). We probably should have had 1 minute more rest considering the pace we were running, but whatever.

am - 2000 yards swimming in 50 minutes
Aerobic maintenance. My typical post Wednesday workout swim to stay healthy and get some aerobic activity in.

pm - 6 treadmill miles
After talking to Brian L. after last night's workout, I decided to try to incorporate 1 mile total volume per week of running at Mile race pace. The reasoning is that you can't expect to be fast if you never run fast. I decided to try 8x200 at Mile RP on the treadmill.

I ended up putting the treadmill at incline 2 and 12 mph then running 40 seconds on 40 seconds off (yeah, I know not enough rest). I felt bad letting the belt run that long without running on it, but it would have been super annoying

In retrospect, this made my shin kind of sore.

pm - 2700 yards swimming in 1:05
300, 3x100, 6x50, 300, 3x100, 6x50, 300, 3x100 (flip turns!), 3x50 kick, 3x50 pull. Got in some extra swimming since I left work a bit early for the Transcend midnight run.

A bit concerned about soreness in the shin after last night's Mile RP shenanigans...

am - 3 miles very, very easy
Midnight run with 100+ people. It was a lot of fun, but made me super tired as I got fitful sleep then ran 12 with Boston 365.

am - 12.1 in 1:29
Ran with Kyle after locking the store up. Took a Huma gel at mile 3 and felt great. Footing was sketchy.

I was concerned my shin would bother me on this run but it was, surprisingly, totally fine.

REST (See concerns regarding shin soreness).

Didn't quite hit my goal of ~50 MPW running, but I'd rather run 45 MPW and stay healthy. Hoping a complete rest day will do the body some good.

What do/have you incorporated into your training to be FAST?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Retrospective: The Runner's Guide to Chicago & Suburbs

A quick Google search reveals very little about Tem Horwitz's The Runner's Guide to Chicago & Suburbs (ISBN 0-914090-54-2).

Published in 1978 by the Chicago Review Press, the book was clearly intended to be somewhat disposable. A 1978 directory of all things running in Chicago it includes descriptions and maps of favorite runs, sundry information about running in general, equipment recommendations including a list of Runners World's top 25 shoes, addresses and phone numbers of various shops and clubs servicing runners, and tear off copies of the maps of the runs to take on the go. Its eclectic, exceedingly specific contents have not aged particularly well, but for a Chicago runner 36 years later, it provides a peek into the gestalt (did I just use that word?) of Chicago running as well as the psyche of a particular Chicago runner of the past.

I tend to bring this book up in conversations primarily for the power of the photos which some what eerily mimic those flooding my Facebook and Twitter feeds on a daily basis. My friend, Lynton, asked for more information about the book after our run today, but since there was nothing really on the interwebs, I decided to write a bit about the book and share a few of the iconic photos I had described:

For many this spot is instantly recognizable.
photo credit: Tem Horwitz

It's too bad this area is nearly impassible at the present.
photo credit: Tem Horwitz

I'm pretty sure this is Belmont Harbor.
photo credit: Tem Horwitz

I think that it would probably interesting to include some of the locations that Horwitz describes where I've had the opportunity to run:

Chicago Parks
Lincoln Park (Foster to Grand)
Burnham Park (Monroe to 55th)
Grant Park
Jackson Park
Horner and California Parks
Humbolt Park
Washington Park

Skokie Lagoons
Des Plaines River Trail
Evanston Lake Front
North Branch Trail
Schiller Park
Palos/Sag Valley

Despite this experience, there are still quite a few notable places I have yet to run:

Garfield, Marquette, or Riis Parks
Green Bay Trail (I've biked this, but not run)
Morton Arboretum
Oak Park
Illinois Prairie Path

What is your favorite Chicago & suburbs run?