Tuesday, September 18, 2018

4 Races, 5 Weeks

After giving up on my formal training plan for the two half-marathons I have coming up this fall, I decided to throw in a couple of 5K races! What better way to motivate a runner than upcoming races? It sure gets me out of bed in the morning. Still no systematic training plan, just a "run as I please" effort with a few pick-ups when I feel like running faster. Instead of just the two half marathons, now I have 4 races in a period of 5 weeks. Here they are:

Sept 29: 5K Aruna Run
A 5km race for a good cause (help free and empower sex slaves). The race is on grass at the University of Illinois arboretum. I've done runs and races there before--it's a hilly course used by the UI cross country team. Should be a great speed workout. No 5K PR due to the grass and hills. But this will be my first Aruna 5k race--so a race-specific PR is guaranteed.

Oct 6: Fort Ben Half-Marathon
Very nice race through and around Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. All roads and paved bike paths, but a pretty course with a few hills. It kicked my butt last year. I went out way too fast (first 2 miles are slight downhill). I'll be more disciplined this year and use it as a tune-up race for the Monumental half-marathon in early November. My race report from last year's Fort Ben Half is here.

Oct 20: Illini Mentor Program 5K
I do this race almost every year. It's a student group at Illinois that uses the University Quad as its race course. Three loops up and down the quad sidewalks. Not the most imaginative course, but still nice with all the big trees and old university buildings. Over the last 6 years, I have 2 of the top 10 all-time fastest finishes! Maybe I'll make that 3 of the top 10 results. I think these college kids push me too hard. My IMP 5km race report from last year is here.

Nov 3: Indy Monumental Half-Marathon
Was injured last year when I ran this race (not an over-use injury, but rather "fall and bust my knee" injury). Plan on being fit and injury-free when I do it this year! And I'll have all of these tune-up races too. Probably not a new PR, but I hope to run a few minutes faster than last time (1:41 in 2017). Last year's race report is here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

(fuck) The Half Marathon

The half-marathon is a tough race. Requires endurance, but also speed. It's a real test of stamina. To run well, you must be able to maintain a fast pace (just under lactate threshold) for the full 13.1 miles. Not easy. It doesn't have the intense pain and burn of a 5K, nor the "kick through the wall" challenge of the full marathon. Lately I've chosen this race distance to keep me trained (sorta) for marathons and ultras, but also to develop speed. It sucks. I want to say "Fuck the half-marathon!" Please, just give me the quick suffering within a short 5K. Or the very slow burn of a 50K. The half requires too many skills. Pacing, speed, endurance, stamina, fluids. I can't focus on so many things that long. Give me one task and I'll likely succeed--run super fast for 3 miles. Yep. Run slow for 31 miles. Done.

I have my first half-marathon test on October 6. Then a re-test on November 3. Both are in Indianapolis. I ran both races last year and they both kicked my ass. I was ill-trained for the first race and injured for the second. This year I'm "kinda trained" for the first and hopefully ready for the second. This may be my last attempt at this distance for a long time. Feel like I need to move back to ultramarathons. I want a different, but familiar, challenge. Does that make sense? I've finished over 100 ultras/marathons, but none recently. I pride myself on being an "ultra guy" so I should do ultras. Right? Who knows. What I do know, is that half-marathons suck. Fuck them all!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Week 4 McMillan Training: Failure

I knew I wouldn't last 10 weeks in a systematic training program. I sure thought I'd last more than 4 weeks! Well, 3.5 weeks and I'm done. I failed. This was even a step-back rest week with shorter miles. I still failed. I ran Tuesday (easy) and Friday (speed). No long run and no second easy run. I did 2 of 4 runs for the week. And I skipped the all important long run. Oh well. I'm feeling fine. Ready to continue running this week and ramp it up a bit. Maybe even call it "training," but it won't be a real program. Or maybe it will be _the_ real program. Mine. Live and learn. Failure is almost always encountered on the way to success.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Week 3 Training Summary

Week 3 of 10
I'm still on-board with the McMillan half-marathon training program! Barely. This week was not exactly a full success, but I did finish week 3. Each of the week's runs was supposed to be extended just a bit and a little more speed was incorporated. The standard weekly structure remained the same: M-W-F are rest days, Tuesday is easy (with a touch of speed), Thursday is a real speed workout, Saturday is easy, and Sunday is the long run. I only did three of the four runs this week and ended up with 25 miles and 3 hours, 40 minutes of training.

Monday: Rest day. Very much appreciated. My long run Sunday felt good, but I wasn't up for a Monday workout. Guess that's why this is a designated off day.

Tuesday: Did a 65-minute easy run. It was supposed to be 80 minutes with the last 20 at half-marathon race pace. Nope. Tuesday easy runs have been 40-50 minutes so this was a good increase, but it was not the full 80 minutes. And it wasn't fast. Felt tired. Did Sunday's run drain me that much?

Wednesday: Off. Again, I enjoyed this day of rest. No cross training.

Thursday: Schedule called for 5 x 1-mile repeats (at about 10K race pace) with 3-minute rest intervals. I did 4 x 7-minute hard (almost a mile) with 3 minutes rest. It was pretty intense. And extremely humid.

Friday: Rest! Yeah. Was tired from Thursday speed session. Needed the break.

Saturday: Supposed to be an easy 40 minute run. I was still tired from the speed session and a couple of tough days at work. Mowed the lawn and called it quits. No run. Hoping I would be extra rested for the Sunday long run.

Sunday: Long run for the week. Schedule said 1:30-1:45 and I ran 1:35! Solid effort. And it was fast. Or at least steady and strong. 8:56/mile average with a negative split in very humid conditions on the trails. Felt good. I think the extra day off (yesterday) was worthwhile. Maybe I just do three good runs per week and skip the fourth easy run? I'm still learning.