Thursday, September 21, 2017

Nick Symmonds and Clingmans Dome

I've been following Nick Symmonds and his training for his first marathon (Honolulu in December). He hopes to break 3:00. This is a vlog about his most recent workout--up to Clingmans Dome (highest point in TN). I've been there!

I like at the beginning when Nick talks about social media occasionally being a hindrance (and at other times a motivator). I've felt the same about Twitter, Strava, and blogging. Lately I've just wanted to run. Not with others...and not with much documentation (still can't toss my damn GPS watch!). If you like this video, check out his full set of training posts on YouTube. Interesting journey from 800m professional runner to recreational (but really fast) marathoner.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Run Every Other Day

My new training "regime" seems to be working. It's only been two weeks, but I'm invigorated! Who's plan am I following? No expert. No plan. Just a simple schedule--I run every other day. No running two days in a row. No skipping two days in a row. Simple and consistent. I get needed rest and I'm ready for the next effort. Some weeks I run 4 days (M-W-F-Sun), others 3 days (Tu-Th-Sat). I really like having one day on the weekend completely free of running. I always placed subtle pressure on myself to maximizing the weekend running. No work means more running, right? Not any more--one solid running effort, one day purely free.

Now my runs are less stressful, but actually more productive. I'm running a little further and faster on the individual runs. I know the next day is a day off and that creates a sense of freedom to push harder. Plus, the previous day was a rest day so I'm ready to roll! My weekend long runs are great. So far, two nice 13 mile runs--at a steady pace on the trails. Great half-marathon training.

No running streaks for me. I run one day in a row, then take a day off. Exquisitely simple. Delightfully productive.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Walk, Then Run, Then Walk

In my recent effort to get faster, I have circumvented my normal walking before and after my runs. And walking breaks during my training runs have been cut out too. I am faster, so it seems to be working. But I'm getting more fatigued. I'm sensing a bit of over-training. I need to return to what works for me...especially as I get older! I need walking to warm up and cool down. And as a break to keep my easy runs easy.

So, now I start my "runs" by walking. How far? How long? I walk until I feel like running. Then I run. And I keep running until I feel like taking a walking break. Repeat as needed until the run is done. Simple. No structure to the walk-run strategy. Just go by feel. And the run portion can be fast or slow depending on what my body and mind feel like doing.

This is my new plan for almost all of my runs. Except my long run on the weekend. I need to develop stamina and endurance that is specific to the half-marathon event. That means no walking breaks and also a good steady pace. The rule of specificity wins out on the weekend. Everything else is by feel. No heart rate or pace targets and no alarms.

You need to crawl before you walk. Walk before you run. Run before you race.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

4 Races for Rest of the Year

It's almost time to race. Hard. With 4 months left in this year, I have 4 races on my schedule. This hasn't been my best year for racing, but my training has been OK. I've tried to focus on speed and stamina rather than simply endurance (like I have in the past). Time to test myself in a series of races. Here are my 4 planned races for the remainder of 2017:

October 7: Indy Half-Marathon at Fort Ben
My goal is to run around 1:35 for this half-marathon. If my training goes well, and the weather is cool and crisp, I have a good chance. I've never done this race, so it'll be exciting and new. Hotel is already booked for the night before and the wife and I will make a weekend out of the event. Hopefully, celebratory!

October 21: IMP 5K (Champaign, IL)
My goal is a 20:30 finish. This is a local 5K race around the main Quad at the University of Illinois. Helps raise funds for the Illini Mentor Program. Good cause. Easy course. Comfortable setting (one block from my office on campus). This short race should help me build leg speed and make the half-marathon pace feel easy. Never easy racing against students aged 18-22!

November 4: Indy Monumental Half-Marathon
My goal is a shiny new personal record, maybe 1:32:00. This is my goal race. The first half-marathon (one month before) will let me know how my training is going. And help me gauge race-day tactics. It shouldn't be warm in early November. Hopefully not too cold and windy. Haven't run this one either, but I hear it's pretty flat and fast. Good.

December 9: Deer Run 8K (Hudson, IL)
My goal here? Just run hard and enjoy the event. I've run it several times, but not in the last few years. It's a cross-country race with hurdles. Good stuff! My local trail course is a 5-mile loop--basically the same as the 8K distance. The race course is fairly similar in nature to my local trails too--rolling, grass trails. Nothing too steep or technical, but not super easy either. Deceptively difficult over the full 5 miles (or 8K). Anyone can run hard for 5 miles, right?