Monday, August 13, 2018

McMillan HM Training: Week 2 Recap

Week 2 of 10
I completed another week of training! This is a McMillan plan available to Strava premium ("summit") members. I'm targeting an early October half-marathon. Then another half-marathon in early November. Can I keep going and make it three full weeks of structured training? Maybe. Last week went well. The plan is based on minutes, not miles, but I did 27 miles this week (4 hours, 2 minutes). Here are my thoughts on each day:

Monday: Rest day! What a fantastic way to start the week. Runners need to rest and recover from the weekend's long run. With Monday as a regular rest day, I look forward to the rest of the week.

Tuesday: 50-minute easy run. Felt good. Last week this run was only 40 minutes. 50 minutes felt right. Slow progression is smart.

Wednesday: Rest. This is an optional cross-training or very easy run day. I took it completely off. Injury prevention is a priority. Plus, I want to stay motivated to complete the real runs. Extra days off help me look forward to upcoming runs.

Thursday: 4 x 1-mile tempo intervals. The program called for 2 x 2-mile tempo intervals, but I adjusted to 4 x 1-mile. This was a great workout! Used my heart rate monitor for the first time in 2 months. It helped me adjust my running based on effort. My HR was a bit low on the first interval, but slightly high on the following three intervals. I need to stay disciplined and run these intervals at the correct pace--not too hard, not too easy. I have some work to do! Still, this workout made me feel like a real runner.

Friday: Off. Another rest day. I like 3 full days of rest.

Saturday: 40-minute easy run. This went particularly well. Easy effort, but a slightly faster pace than usual. Am I already gaining fitness?

Sunday: 1:35 long run. Excellent workout. Started early and avoided the warmer temps. Faster, and felt better, than last Sunday's run. Took one run gel at start and another at 5 mile mark. Managed a negative split--good sign that I am building strength. Bring on week three!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

McMillan HM Training: Week 1

Daily plan email.
Last week was my first week of my McMillan half-marathon training plan. It's a 10-week program that will train me for the Fort Ben Half-Marathon in early October. I found the plan within Strava Premium (now called "Summit"). McMillan is known for his race pace calculator that can be used to find training paces and race equivalencies. He also has a coaching business with various detailed plans. The Strava McMillan plans cut across race distances and ability levels (beginner to advanced), but are pretty basic. I'm using the intermediate plan with 4 runs per week (Tu, Th, Sa, Su). The other days are rest or very easy cross-training (or short easy runs).

I love starting new training plans, but I rarely finish them. I easily get bored. Or injured. Or I simply skip runs and never get back on track. The structure tends to weigh me down. We'll see how long I stick to this training plan. It has potential. Not too many runs/week, daily reminders, plan that varies weekly. Running based on minutes, not miles. Plus, I respect Greg McMillan. Let's see how last week went.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 50 minute fartlek
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 60 minute with 1 km cruise intervals
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 40 minutes easy
Sunday: 90 minute long run

Week 2 of the plan
I did all the runs, and rest days, as stated in the program, but I cut the Thursday cruise intervals short--I finished 4 x 1km intervals and should have done 6. Still, I kept the spirit of the program alive. Week 1 is done and it felt good. Can I keep this going for week 2? Not sure. I'll give a blog update next week!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I'm 52. And Getting Wiser.

wis·dom
ˈwizdəm
noun
  1. the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
    synonyms:sagacityintelligencesensecommon senseshrewdness, astuteness, smartness, judiciousness, judgmentprudencecircumspection
    • the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

      "some questioned the wisdom of building the dam so close to an active volcano"

      synonyms:sagacityintelligencesensecommon senseshrewdness, astuteness, smartness, judiciousness, judgmentprudencecircumspection;
    • the body of knowledge and principles that develops within a specified society or period.
      plural noun: wisdoms

      "the traditional farming wisdom of India"

      synonyms:knowledgelearningeruditionsophisticationscholarshipphilosophy;
      lore

I'm 52 years old and finally getting wiser. Not wise, but closer to wise than stupid. I've been a stupid runner many times in my past. Many stupid choices have led to injuries and burn-out. And I haven't learned from my many similar mistakes. I just keep repeating idiotic choices. Hey, let's do a long running streak. I should race an ultramarathon without training. Beat my 20-year old 5K personal record, sure! Nope.

I almost made another bad decision this morning. I was on a morning run before work. Typical stuff. Except this run was going really well. Felt strong, pace was steady, seemed effortless. It's been a long time since I've felt this good on a run. As I was gliding up and down hills on the trails, I thought to myself...maybe I can run the 8-hour Howl at the Moon ultra next month. It's only 8 hours of running. Fortunately, my wiser self stopped that ludicrous thinking. No, I am not ready. Today is one good run. Why not explore why this run feels so good and try to repeat this experience? Be smart. Be wise. Step at a time (literally). Enjoy this run? Then repeat this kind of run again. I'm paying better attention to my mind and body. Listening is what a wise person does before making a decision. How do I feel? Should I skip today's run? Go easy? Gradually push harder? Walk the hills? Running, and life, is a series of questions. It's worthwhile to listen, think, and make wise choices. Repeat things that go well. Revise when things don't go well. Simple stuff, right?

I have finally become wiser. I'm certainly older. Of course, being older never stopped my stupid thinking, scheming, and outrageous ideas that led to past problems. I've turned a corner. Maybe 52 is my mid-life crisis, or mid-life epiphany. A turning point in my evolution as a wise, serious, happy runner. I sure hope so! (It's about time.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Last Man Standing 2018

Yesterday was another "Last Man Standing" event for the central Illinois Buffalo. We seem to do one or two of these each year. Last year, I ran 33 miles. This year...4 miles. Both were just about right. I was determined last year and wanted more miles to prepare for Howl at the Moon (month later). This year, I just wanted to socialize and get in one full loop. Could I have run more? Sure. But why? I'm still recovering from injury and illness and not motivated for any upcoming races. Plus, I've decided not to race in hot weather. Heck, I don't even want to train in warm weather!

I'll slowly make my way back to "normal" and be ready for fall half-marathons. I love when the weather starts to turn chilly and you put gloves on for the first time. You feel strong and fast. Ready to race. That's still 3 months away, but I can dream. For now, it's fairly short early morning runs. Nothing special compared to my past training and racing, but very special to me. I just want to run. Get healthy. Become fit. Simple pleasures of life.

Special thanks to Jeff and Gregg for hosting the LMS again. Maybe next year I'll knock off 2 loops (8.2 miles). Three loops? Now I'm talking crazy!