Posts Tagged ‘success’

Workout: 14 miles @ 7:25 pace.  Weather: 61 degrees, cloudy.

Recap: There we go – that’s more like it.


Great day. Can’t complain about a thing. I feel like a commercial for bad dietary habits but here goes. To fuel today’s run, I ate two small pizzas and six chocolate chip cookies last night plus ¾ cup of sugar in the form of Kool-Aid this morning about an hour before getting outside. Now, I’m not recommending it, but I wouldn’t lie to you either. It’s bad for my character. I didn’t want to bonk again like Thursday, so something had to change. This IS what I ate.  And the run turned out great.

Body responded really well to having…you know..fuel. Usually on these longer runs, it takes a second to get into it, but not today. Found the goal pace early and never really let up. With about four miles to go (10 miles in) I felt like I was breathing a little bit harder. When I lost concentration and started daydreaming, I tended to fall of the pace slightly. But there was never any real doubt. Knees and feet started getting a little sore about mile 12, but with two miles to go it didn’t take much prodding to finish. Made it my goal to finish the last mile with as few steps as possible. Felt more efficient. Last mile was in 6:56. Run was at 7:21 pace overall. Proud of that. The goal is 18 miles at 7:02 pace in five weeks. Good to know I can close out at that pace now.

The Incredible Shrinking Heart Rate

Past experience had taught me only to look at distance and pace during my harder training runs – not heart rate. Today was a good example of why this practice began. After completing the workout, I checked the overall stats and saw an average HR of 170 bpm – pretty high for a long run. I wondered why, on a day where I felt great, would my heart have been working so hard.

After checking the mile-by-mile statistics, I knew exactly why. My heart rate monitor gives me problems about half my runs, registering heart rates that are way too high. Usually it does this for a second or two before popping back into normalcy. Today, it did something outrageous.

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Maybe this graph doesn’t make a lot of sense, so allow me to interpret. Telling the story from the monitor’s point of view, apparently, I ran the first two miles at average heart rates of 194 bpm, about, you know, 97% effort. Then, without slowing down, the run got easier. The heart rate dropped to about 170 bpm for the next few miles. BUT…I finished the run at around 160 bpm, while speeding up.

Lesson of the day: there is a danger in looking at the heart rate monitor for guidance during the run. I would imagine this would hold true at even lesser margins of error. In the end, I felt fine. Didn’t need the machine to tell me anything different.

Lesson 2 might be to get another heart rate monitor.

Tough Week…But It’s Done

After hitting my mileage goal last week, I felt a little less motivated this week and it showed. Missed two easy runs on Wednesday and Friday. Had a crappy speedwork session on Thursday. At the end of the week though, great long run, and I think everything’s still on track.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

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Workout: 12 miles @ 7:37 pace.  Weather: 75 degrees, cloudy.

Recap: Back on track.

Today’s run was sponsored by sugar…lots of it. Kool-Aid. Sprite. Quesadillas. Chips. Brownies. All on the menu yesterday. Really struggled on Thursday with the speedwork, despite having completed a near-identical workout the week before. I wanted to make sure that nutrition wasn’t the factor today. Began the run a little tentative but on pace. I didn’t want to run out of gas. Had a rough moment around mile 4 when I wanted to quit the run. Not sure what happened, but I figured I must have started holding my breath for a couple of seconds during the run. Focused on breathing and found the rhythm.

Really turned to be a great run for most of the way. Weather is still a little warm out there for October, but otherwise, a pleasant experience. Wasn’t using a lot of willpower out there. Probably could have dropped a few sub-7:00 miles towards the end. It’s important to remember the purpose of runs though. Speedwork is for speed-endurance. And long runs are for endurance-endurance. Keep cool. Ended up finishing at 7:33 pace over the 12 miles.

This run meant a lot to me. It’s hard after a bad run to get up with the same kind of enthusiasm. Today was on-point. Overall, the week went pretty well. Lost a chance at getting over 50 miles for the week when I quit the speedwork, but I’ll try to get past 50 again in two weeks. Next week is a down week, so reduced mileage on all the workouts. More importantly, looks like a cold front hit in the middle of the day here, and the morning lows are supposed to be in the 50s and 60s for the next few days. Hope it’s a trend that stays. Looking forward to easier runs in the cooler temperatures.

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Workout: Warm [0.75 mi.], 6×800 @ 2:44 w/ 400 jog, Cool [0.75 mi.], Drills  Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy, dark.

Recap: Yeah, buddy!

Up at 6 a.m. for this one. A lot of back and forth in my head over whether to do it early or late, at the track or at the park. Eventually, early and at the park won out. Following a suggestion from another blog, I decided to use the Garmin intervals feature to make a 6 x 0.5-mile workout with 0.25-mile jogging rest in between. That matches up pretty closely with the 6x800m at the track. In fact, it was a little harder because the park has a concrete surface instead of the soft track; I couldn’t wear my spikes and there’s a small hill in the route. Accordingly, I told myself to aim for 2:50 pace instead of 2:44 to allow for some delay. Plus, it was morning time, and I didn’t know if I could generate enough power just after getting out of bed.

After driving to the park in the dark, I opened the car door and immediately stepped in dog poop in the parking lot. Fortunately, I brought my road racers to do the workout, so I was able to change shoes. I threw regulars in the trunk…because they were stinky. Only later did I find out that the poop had somehow made its way to my longer shorts, which I left on the passenger seat. 😦 After a short warmup and sip of the Lemon Lime Kool-Aid, the workout began.

Rep 1: 2:49

Rep 2: 2:46

Rep 3: 2:45

Rep 4: 2:42

Rep 5: 2:41

Rep 6: 2:38

Yep. Negative splits – every repetition faster than the one before. For a distance slightly longer than 800m, at the park. Now, I’m grateful that this run didn’t happen in 90+ degrees like in the past, but I still think it’s a better effort than previous weeks. After the first repetition, I thought 2:50 was a good goal. And I kept waiting to hit the wall and quit because of all the things that could go wrong at the park. But it never happened. The first 0.25 mile of every rep seemed to fly by, and then all I had to do was focus on finishing. Form wise, I tried to be relaxed with a big back kick and relaxed arms…like Bekele and Farah at the Great North Run recently (They’re sooo fast). Also, I always like to remember the moment where I knew I would finish a tough workout. For me, it was the beginning of the 5th rep. I’d done 4×800 last week, so I knew that much would be possible. But when I wasn’t laboring on the 5th, I felt I had it. For the last 800m today, I just wanted to crack 2:40 again. Great day.

Really starting to think that the slow stuff is behind all of this.  Tomorrow, 7 miles easy at 150 bpm, hopefully faster the 9:36 pace on Wednesday. Then, on Saturday, the long run – 10 miles @ 7:49…still working towards that 18 miles @ 7:02 pace in December.

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Workout: Warm [1.5 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:33 pace, Cool [1.5 mi.]  Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy.

Recap: Nailed it.

Planned 3 miles of tempo at 6:33 pace. Finished 3 miles at 6:24 pace. In the future, I’ll probably want to ease up to just to stay on schedule. Great confidence builder out there today. I was worried during the warmups that it would be a little too much. Last week, it took a great effort to finish 2 miles @ 6:37 pace, and even then, I was too tired to do my cool down portion afterwards. Today, I knew would finish the workout at the end of the second mile. It didn’t feel so bad. The tough part was not being impatient and getting tense or holding my breath in any way as I pounded out the last mile. It can happen easily, as the body is screaming “Get this over with!”

Most important, today, it was the first time I finished the cool down and the drills portion of the workout on after a tempo run. This is important to me. Unlike the SmartCoach Runners World plan, my plan does not call for increasing tempo run length. Instead, I will gradually increase both the distance and the pace of warmup and cooldown portions of the workout to create added difficulty. And of course the tempo pace itself will increase as well. When I don’t finish, I feel like I’m not accomplishing the purpose of the plan.

Last, this wasn’t such a bad run… a faster pace was there for me if that were the plan. I am really starting to believe in those painfully slower runs I’m doing on the days where I don’t post. Yesterday, for instance, was 8 miles at about 12:30 pace. The slowness is in an effort to keep my HR at about 75% or 150 bpm. Often, this means I have to walk. That said, the runs are peaceful; I believe that I’m using fat for fuel at those paces; and I’ve had nothing but good speedier workouts since starting the slow stuff.

Tomorrow, 7 miles easy and then speedwork on Thursday.

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*P.S. My heart rate didn’t reach 221 (I don’t think). The Garmin graph had me finishing the tempo portion at about 192. 

Workout: Warm [1 mile], 6×800 @ 2:47 w/ 400 jog  Weather: 95 degrees, night.

Recap: Great day.

Had a World War I mindset going in. That is, expecting to charge into something and fail. Reading a book on the First World War and the metaphor came to mind. Not to make light of the heroics that took place in Europe by comparing war to running, but there’s something noble about going into a task facing certain doom.

I wasn’t expecting much today. Only slept 4 hours last night. Had a long day interviewing and then drove out to the track in 95-degree heat, albeit at night. Hottest run ever for me. I have never recorded doing a run over 90 degrees. With all that in mind, I would have been happy getting through just a couple reps before quitting.

And then a good run happened. I knew something was different after the first 800, which just didn’t feel that bad. By the third 800 repeat, I knew that I would finish the 6-rep workout. My only regrets are that I didn’t keep even splits (though I did average 2:47 for the workout as planned), and I cramped in both calves at the end of the workout. Couldn’t finish the cool down and the drills afterwards. HR hit 198 at the end there, and it really didn’t feel so bad.

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Workout: 3.11 miles @ 5:57 pace; core work (50%). Weather: 68 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Yes! Tough run, but it’s done. Before the run, I could feel my nerves, and I told myself, “Remember how this feels, because you’re going to laugh at it when you’re done.” I was unbelievably negative. Plus, I ate pizza and chicken wings last night. Really going to have to correct this sort of thing next month.

Warmed up by walking for about five minutes and took off. Pretty much followed the script. Got off to the start I wanted and took down the first mile pretty easily. Focused on turnover through the second mile as planned – just making sure I didn’t get sloppy. For a second, I thought it was going to be another easy run. Breathed evenly and moved comfortably. The monkey jumped on my back late in the second mile though.  Finally, with about 0.5 miles to go, I abandoned form and just ran. I thought about the blog and how I really wanted to post a success story today. Hit the 5K mark and checked my Garmin. Booyah. Great feeling. Even better, the next time I don’t feel confident, I’ll at least have this to remember.

So pumped afterwards, even did a fast core work session. Time to take it easy and load up for the next block of training starting tomorrow.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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Workout: 3.11 miles @ 6:17 pace; core work. Weather: 55 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Bam! There it is. 19:20 – 5K (6:13 pace). Usual routine going into the thing and tried to treat it like an everyday run. But it wasn’t. Sure enough the first mile was way, way, way easy. I was starting to wish I’d brought the headphones along. Then out of nowhere it got real. Was able to keep the short strides until about mile 3 when I had to breathe deeply, drop the arms and hustle to the finish – 12 seconds under the goal time of 19:32.

Honestly, happy to finish the time trial, but a little disappointed that I had to hustle like that at the end to make it. Suppose it goes to show that consistent slower running doesn’t make faster running very easy – only possible. Will have to train harder in June to reach the next checkpoint.

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