Friday, October 31, 2008

Tempo Thursday

Yesterday was a 45 minute tempo run. I was able to get started in the late afternoon and finished before it got dark. I headed up the San Diego Creek trail. It was a warm windy run, which was surprising since we are supposed to have a storm blowing in. In fact, earlier in the morning, I drove through rain on my way to my appointment. I was a little surprised when it was in the upper 70's here near the ocean when I started my run around 4:30.

The run went fine. 10 minute warm up at 10:00, 25 minutes at average heart rate of 153 (max heart rate of 162), and a 10 minute warm down. A total of 4.6 miles. I was sucking wind toward the end of the 25 minutes at speed!

Today is a scheduled rest day. I need it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Four Mile Upper Bay Run

Last night was a four mile recovery run. I ran the upper back bay, starting over by the YMCA heading back toward CDM High School. I took a little detour up the San Diego Creek trail instead of staying on the bay. Did two miles out and back at an average heart rate of 131 (73% MHR). That translated to a pace of 11:04, but that's because I had to slow down to an almost walk toward the end as I climbed the hill back to my car. Even then my heart rate climbed into the 140s.

With that slow pace and heart rate within the goal range (75% MHR for recovery), I am still sitting here this morning pretty physically exhausted. My sleep the past couple of nights has been pretty sound, so the only thing left affecting me physically has got to be the training. (Yawning again). I feel tired. My legs feel tired. My body feels tired. I hope I'm not coming down with a cold.

Today is a 45 minute tempo run. I have a client appointment in West L.A. this morning, but I should make it back in time. I think I'll run the San Diego Creek trail out and back. I am going to start paying close attention to heart rate as I transition into the Pfitzinger methodology. Today's tempo run should come off at 80% to 90% MHR (144bpm - 162bpm). Running at this rate should help improve my lactate threshold!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Track Work Tuesday

Yesterday was a speed work day. I headed over to the CDM track to put in some 400 meter intervals. The planned workout was 2 mile warm up, 7 400 yard intervals with 400 yard rest, 1 mile warm down for a total of 6.5 miles. Set a pace at 11:00 (allows for rest during the intervals) and around and around I went! Ended up the run with an overall 10:15 pace.

The purpose of these interval workouts is to increase VO2Max - our body's ability to absorb oxygen. An effective VO2Max workout should be run at 90% to 95% MHR for somewhere between 2 and 6 minutes. Obviously, 400 meter/yard intervals won't get me to 95% MHR for two minutes per interval. I looked at my data this morning and can see that even though the amount of time at VO2Max is in the 1 to 1 nd a half minute per interval range, I did spend a total of 10 minutes at VO2Max!

One thing for sure - I'm happy that today is recovery pace!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Night Run of the Season

Last night was my first after dark run of the year. I got started a little after 6 PM on the Upper Back Bay trail. Two mile out and back for a total of 4 miles. The real surprise was when I downloaded my Garmin this morning. The data showed a 9:36 pace with an average heart rate of 82% MHR! I've always thought that I would need to slow down to hit my heart rate targets. I guess that's not true! I just went out and ran at a pace that was comfortable. Since it was dark, I couldn't check my watch as often as I normally do, so most of my run was done by "feel".

I broke out the night running gear too. It wasn't quite dark when I started, but by the time I was done it was full night. If I'm running after dark, I try to stick to trails where I won't have to compete with cars. But, there are still a lot of bikes whizzing by on those trails after dark! I really don't want to be hit, so I deck myself out in a reflective vest and a red blinker to be seen (hopefully) from the rear. The one thing that I was missing last year was a good headlamp. I was using an old Black Diamond LED lamp that my son bought 6 years ago when he started in Boy Scouts. While the lamp was adequate for being seen, one of the downsides of older LED lamps was that the light was highly unfocused - which is a fancy way of saying that the light was not bright enough to see much in front of me. So, I went over to REI yesterday and bought a new headlamp. I settled on a Black Diamond Icon (pic on left). All I can say is WOW! This thing gives so much light I feel like I'm a police helicopter! It's a little bulky, but battery life is supposed to be 90 hours, and I can now see the horsesh** on the trail before I step in it! Highly recommended if you run or hike at night!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Four Mile Recovery

Well, today ended my first week back after a week off. 26 miles. If I wouldn't have missed Thursday, I'd be at 30 miles. Not bad for the first week of a new regimen. Today was a four mile recovery run. I went to Crystal Cove and ran on the bluff above the ocean. I kept my heart rate below 135 bpm most of the time (except on uphill portions) and averaged 133 bpm for the duration of the run.

The biggest change I noticed this past week was my appetite. All week I have been inhaling anything close. I'm sure I've put on a couple of pounds. I'll start tracking my intake again on SparkPeople and get that under control this week.

Saturday Long Run

I'm back after a couple of days. Dubious start to the beginning of a training program. I should have gone out for a run on Thursday evening, but after a 2 1/2 hour commute back from West L.A., I wasn't exactly in the frame of mind to hit the trails. So I bagged Thursday's run. Fridays are my normal rest day. That's why I've been missing for a couple of days.

Yesterday was long run day. On this half marathon plan, long runs aren't particularly long - yesterday was 9 miles. I think I max out at 12 miles a little later in the plan. The goal on these long runs is to keep my heart rate in a range of 73% to 83% of MHR - 130 to 147 bpm. I averaged a 142 yesterday - so right on target for the run. I did peak out over that rate over the last mile, but that is due in large part to climbing back up the hill to CDM.

Today is a 4 mile recovery run. Recovery in the Pfitzinger book means a heart rate of 75% or less of MHR, which means 135 bpm or less. I think I'll head out to Crystal Cove and enjoy a leisurely run along the beach!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Days are Getting Shorter

Went out for an easy four mile run yesterday. I got started about 5:30. Did a two mile out and back along the San Diego Creek trail past UCI. My goal was to keep my heart rate around 140 bpm (80% MHR). I averaged 142 bpm (heart rate went up at the end into the 150's as I was climbing back to the car). Average pace was 10:30 - a little on the slow side, but that is what it took to keep my heart rate down.

I wrapped up around 6:15. The sun had already gone down. That means that it's time to get out the night running gear. During the days that I run after dark, I try to stick to trails that have no cars - trails like Upper Back Bay and San Diego Creek. Since last winter was the first that I had run, it was the first after dark experience that I had. I tried to be safe by choosing trails without cars, but I was not prepared for the cyclists! My job became figuring out what to wear to make sure I could be seen by people whizzing past me in the dark. I ended up getting a reflective vest, a clip on red LED flasher, and an LED headlamp. I'm after a new headlamp this winter - the old one has given up the ghost, plus it didn't really provide a focused enough beam to light much in front of me. I wear the flasher on the back of the headlamp strap - that puts it about eye level for most cyclists. I also made sure to wear a fluorescent yellow shirt. I think that did the trick, but I'm still a little leery when I hit the trails after dark.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hill Work - Ugh

Yesterday was a particularly tough workout - six hill repeats. The hill that I work on is a little over a quarter mile long, and has a 15% grade. (If you are in Newport and are looking for it, go to San Joaquin Hills Road between the Back Bay and Jamboree). My normal hill day is to run a two mile warm up, hill repeats and a one mile warm down. I jog on the downhill side to recover. Total mileage for six hill repeats is 6 miles.

I knew that this was going to be a tough workout, but I was prepared. I took each hill slow and steady, taking between two and a half and three minutes per hill. By repeat four I was spent. Just for good measure, on repeat 6, I set a new MHR - hitting 180 according to my Garmin!

I can always tell when I have left it all because my pace goes to crap afterwards, and in fact, my warm down was done at a 10:50 pace. Sure seemed like I was running faster, but it was all an illusion!

Today will be a 4 mile easy run. I'm going to mess with my Garmin so that I can watch my heart rate more easily and keep it at a 75% MHR max.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back into the Swing of Things

Okay folks. I'm back in the training rut! I've started the Higdon Advanced Half Marathon plan. Yesterday was Three Mile Monday (as with all Higdon training plans). I shuffled down to the Upper Back Bay/Bayview trail to put in my three miles. It was kind of weird to run again. When I first started, I had some nagging knee pain that went away in less than a quarter mile. Once that went away, I felt pretty good.

I noticed that I stayed in the 80% to 90% MHR zone for most of the run and actually ran negative splits. These runs should be in a lower zone, so I'll watch this in the future. I shouldn't be running three miles in LHR zone!

Today though should be an LHR workout. 6 hill repeats. Ugh.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Getting Started Again

Well - tomorrow starts my next training cycle. My plan is to run the Southern California Half in early January. Living here in Southern California, we have our choice of races year round. The best part for me is that all of these races are within an hours drive from home, and in fact, most are within 30 minutes! Having just finished the Harbor Heritage Run last weekend, here's what's next on the platter:
  • Dana Point Turkey Trot 10K - 20 minute drive in Dana Point
  • Crystal Cove XTerra 15K - less than 10 mins away in Corona del Mar
  • So Cal Half Marathon - 10 mins away in Irvine
  • OC Marathon - literally within walking distance from my home

I was going to use the Higdon Intermediate Half training plan until I started looking closely at it this morning. It seemed a little light on both distance and intensity. I started looking at the advanced plan. This had a little more in the way of speedwork and distance, running between 29 and 37 miles per week, and one day of hills or intervals and one day of tempo each week. I get started tomorrow!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A New PR, Time for the Next Cycle

Well - I'm back from my extended East Coast trip. I spent most of my time in New Jersey. Despite it's reputation as a dump (in large part thanks to Newark), much of New Jersey is heavily forested. I was hoping that I would be there in time for Autumn colors. But, the weather back there this year was awesome! I found out when I got there that it hasn't been cold yet, so it was too early for fall colors. The weather was so nice that it was just like Southern California on the East Coast last week!

I decided before I left that I was going to put training on the back burner for a week. My body would most likely appreciate the rest (I was starting to feel some fatigue during the final weeks of the program). Plus, I wasn't going to need to to try to find running routes. Anyone who has spent time in New Jersey understands - most of the major roads do not have sidewalks.

I'm back now, so it's time to start up again. On Monday, I will be starting the Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon plan culminating in the Southern California Half Marathon on January 10th. I'm going to ramp up the first couple of weeks to put my mileage back on the 35 to 40 per week to start and into the 50's on peak.

Finally, before I left last Saturday, I ran the Harbor Heritage 5K here in Newport Beach. I set a new PR, but I was still a little disappointed at my performance. I was hoping to break 26 minutes. But I was caught near the back of the pack at the start (becuase I wasn't paying attention) and had to pick my way through the crowds for the first mile. Then, it was a beautiful day - but very dry. I started having some breathing problems at mile 2 with a dry throat and cough, so had to slow down a little to grab some water and catch my breath. I ended up with an 8:40 split over mile 2, which pretty much shot my chance at 26 minutes. My other two miles ( mile 1 and mile 3) were at 8:20. The 26 minute pace was an 8:22. So, bottom line was a 26:11. That put my 12 of 24 in my age group, and 241 out of 656 overall. Not bad, but I had expected better. Guess I need to put in the miles and keep my nose to the grindstone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fluid Schedule?

So, yesterday was supposed to be a six mile recovery run. But, I got a call from my wife reminding me that we had a College Counseling seminar for parents at my youngest son's school. I wasn't planning on attending, having gone through this twice with my other kids, but she kind of insisted, so I juggled my schedule to make room. Bottom line was an unscheduled rest day.

Not a big deal - except I was planning on using today for my easy six miler. Well, later in the afternoon I got a call from my middle son. He is having the normal shock of freshman Physics over at UCI. At least he is being proactive about this and trying to work through the problem. He's going to be home today so we can go over some of his homework problems and past tests. I am hoping that I can get out this evening once done, but I'm not going to hold my breath. I am sure that I'll get pretty wrapped up in his work because I love Physics! Honestly! I really enjoyed the challenge of an hour per homework problem to get the math right solving problems! I'm actually looking forward to this evening.

If I can't get my run in today, then I'm most likely cancelling, since I will doing a 5K on Saturday morning. Maybe a short 4 miler or something tomorrow will be okay. The 5K on Saturday is the Harbor Heritage 5K. It's just a quickie run less than 10 minutes from home here in Newport Beach. 500 to 600 runners, no chip timing, etc., but it's close! It's also the first race I ever ran. I think the weather is supposed to be good - unlike last year where we had rain on race day. This is my first actual running race since the RnR Marathon last June. Of course there will be a report here when I'm done.

Oh by the way - the college meeting? I did learn something new - starting this year, students can choose which SAT sitting they want to submit to colleges they are applying to. This means that there is no longer a penalty for doing poorly on an SAT test and students can take the test as many times as they want. In the past, colleges saw all SAT scores and could choose the ones they wanted to use. Now, they will only see the results that a student submits. I hope this takes some of the pressure off the kids that take the test.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tempo Tuesday

As I wrap up and head into this weekend's 5K and a week off, I put in a 60 minute tempo run yesterday. I found that this distance is just about at the edge of my abilities right now. I broke the run into three pieces - 10 minute warm up, 40 minute run, 10 minute cool down. I keep my warm up and cool down pace around 10:00, and try to build the middle run to 9:00 pace and hold that pace for 20 minutes. In yesterday's run, I started out and ended up on track. It was the middle 40 that gave me fits. On the outbound run, I started building by dropping from 10:00 during warm up to 9:30 over mile 2 to 9:09 through mile 3. I made the turn and made a pit stop, which contributed to mile 4's pace of 10:16. Things went downhill from there though. I had to stop a couple of times to catch some air. I think the heat had a lot to do with it, but I had to stop none the less. I turned in a 9:56 mile 6 and a 10:21 cool down. I did get HR up over 90% (big no no!) too during mile 4. Looks like I still have a little work in front of me.

Today is a 6 mile easy run and then two days off!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trying Something New

This week is my week between training plans. I just came off the Higdon Intermediate Spring Training, and on the 20th of this month I will start the Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Plan. I have a race on Saturday, and next week I will be in New Jersey, so I'm kind of winging it this week. My plan is six mile recovery runs on Monday and Wednesday, and 6 mile Tempo on Tuesday. I'll rest Thursday and Friday, race on Saturday, and then take off to the East Coast Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday, I ran 5.75 miles (Garmin problems) at Recovery Pace. The reason I italicize recovery pace is that for the first time, I actually ran at pace 11:40. And I was still sweating like a hog by the end of the run! My average heart rate for the run was 130, which is about 73% MHR. More importantly, my legs actually feel pretty fresh this morning!

Oh and the Garmin problem? I started using Sporttracks to upload workouts to my Garmin. I keep forgetting that the 305 displays data fields based on the type of workout that is programmed. I guess that Sportracks does not upload Running as the workout type! I looked down at the watch to keep an eye on heart rate and found that I didn't have that data field available! Guess I'll need to play with the Garmin next week while I'm off in Jersey.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

10 Miler

So after a leisurely morning (actually slept in, went over to my favorite coffee house and had my coffee, finally hit the trail at 8 AM), I did my LSD around the Back Bay. I am starting to focus more on heart rate and less on pace. My heart rate averaged 140 over the course of the run, although for the last couple of miles I know I was up over 150.

Which brings me to my next point - I will be adapting Pfitzinger as my next training plan for the OC Marathon, and use the Higdon Intermediate Half for the Southern California Half Marathon. This time, I want to start paying more attention to training in the proper heart rate range. Basically, according to Pfitzinger, I need to know the following information:

  • Maximal Heart Rate: I took a look at all of the data in my Garmin, I can see that my MHR is 177 bpm. All of my other rate zones are calculated from this value
  • Lactate Threshold Rate: This is 80 to 90 percent of MHR, or 142 to 160 bpm
  • Long Run Pace: This should be 73 to 83 percent of MHR, or 130 to 147 bpm

This means I guessed about right today!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Good Run Today!

As I mentioned earlier this morning, I juggled my schedule around a bit to accommodate yesterday's unscheduled rest day and today's need to help my son pack his scull up for a race in Northern California. So, I got to CDM this morning a little before 7, met with the group, and ran a little 45 minute tempo run along the Lower Back Bay trail. I felt a little guilty since most were running at least 6 miles today, but I will tackle at least 10 miles tomorrow morning.

I started with an easy first one mile, which was just under 10 minutes. At that point, I started building speed. At the 20 minute mark I turned around, only because I knew I had the Hill that I was going to need to contend with on my return. I felt good and felt pretty strong the entire run. I did slow down momentarily a couple of times as the trail started climbing some minor hills, but otherwise, I was able to maintain pace. Bottom line is that even with the big hill to contend with, I ended up going 4.85 miles. That means if I didn't have the hill, 5 miles would have been entirely possible. I started thinking about next week - specifically about how hard I can push myself. Maybe 25 minutes is possible? I'll give it my best!

Tomorrow also wraps up my current training plan. I think this one (Hal Higdon 12 week Intermediate Spring Training) is a good plan! My times show improvement. I feel a lot more comfortable out on the trails, and recover a lot quicker. The only thing that hasn't happened the last 12 weeks is weight loss. I'll start watching those calories a lot closer over the coming weeks.

Missed a Friday

Had to miss my run yesterday. My father has been in the hospital for a routine surgery, and he was released a day early, so my visit to the hospital turned into a take him home and make sure everything there was settled and doing okay trip. By the time I got home, it was close to 6PM and the family was ready to get to dinner.

So, I'll juggle things around today and Sunday. I'll do a tempo run today, and then my normal Saturday long run tomorrow. I should still be able to get 30 miles in this week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tired Thursday

I did my speed work yesterday at the track. Two mile warm up, 8 X 400 with 400 rest, one mile warm down. One thing for sure - fall is in the air! It's getting dark earlier these days. Got started around 5 PM, finished just after 6PM as the sun was going down over the horizon.

I think these workouts are taking a toll on me. I've been pretty tired the past few days. No other physical ailments - just physically tired. Despite taking Wednesday off, I was pretty tired last night and am on the verge of exhaustion this morning. Maybe I'm catching a cold or something.

On a related note, I did finally register for my October race, the Harbor Heritage Run on October 11th. This race will always have a soft space in my heart because it was my first ever race! One year ago this was my inaugural race! I'll be hoping to set a new 5K PR this year!

Today I'll go out for either 4 or 4 and a half easy miles.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Six Recovery Miles

Put in a six mile recovery run yesterday. It has been hot the past couple of days, so I tried to wait as late as I could to get my run in. I ended up taking off about 6:15 PM. According to my car thermometer, it was still 86 - that's right - 86 at the beach!

My goal was to maintain 75% of MHR, around 145 bpm. I managed to do that, running 50 minutes with an average heart rate of 145!

Today will be a rest day, since I have another conflict that will not allow me to run this afternoon. But, I will still be thinking about running. In order to train using the Pfitz philosophy, I need to know my heart rate metrics. I will be documenting MHR and other training zones so I can effectively gauge how well the system works.