5 Hill Miles

Today’s run was warm and a lot of up-and-down. In the quest to get my mileage (back) up in the 30-miles/week range I’ve been adding a few miles each week, and the easier workouts to add miles to in my opinion are the Sunday long run, the Monday hill workout and the Thursday “moderate” run. So this week the goal is 28 miles and the hill workout goes from 4 to 5 miles, giving me more time to explore the Spring Hill environs. Turned out to be a good time, and the hill is nice in that it offers several different approaches of varying length and gradation.

Start Time: Around 6PM.
Distance: 5 miles.
Time: Not completely sure here but the pace in the hills wasn’t great, I think a bit over 8:30 mi/mile pace; the out-and-back miles were OK.
Route: Out-and-back to Spring Hill in Somerville and then several trips up-and-down the hill. I started up over and back on Lowell St. which is steeper, about 0.3 miles to the summit from Somerville Ave and around 0.2 miles down the back to Highland Ave. I then climbed back to the top again and cruised down the Summer St. approach down into Davis Square which is about 0.75 miles down and an equal amount back with a correspondingly gentler grade. I think that that point, right around the intersection of Summer and Lowell is the peak of Spring Hill, and so all roads leading out from there lead down (including Summer St. the other direction which I didn’t try today).
Pre-Run: Nothing special, the usual stretching, water, etc.
Notes: Knees felt a bit more twitchy on the hard cement of today’s run but felt good coming in and I was happy in general.
Post-Run: Did a long stretching routine partly to compensate for the lack of one after yesterday’s long run. Legs felt good, sore but limber. Hopefully ready for a few harder miles tomorrow…

Sunday Long Run: 8 Moderate Miles

Today’s run was a long scheduled 8-miler to start off a week in which the goal is to hit 28 miles. We’ll see how we get there. In any case, 8 miles seemed a bit daunting and I was worried how far my still slightly peckish right knee was going to get me. Turned out pretty well, it did.

Start Time: 6PM.
Distance: 8 miles.
Time: 60 minutes, for a 7:30 split, with a 30-minute 4 mile split and a bit of extra effort needed to keep the second half at even pace.
Route: Science Museum to Anderson Bridge loop, 8.6 miles on the maps meaning that it allows for my 1/3 mile warm-up and cool-down almost perfectly.
Pre-Run: Really hadn’t had a full meal until after completing this run on Sunday, so that was notable; had a snack in the morning around 11, another energy bar around 2 and then another energy bar around 4. Otherwise light stretching, water, electrolytes before setting out.
Notes: LIne of thunderstorms moved through the area right as I was leaving meaning that the first half was quite damp with steady to hard rain continuing throughout large portions of the run. Left me out there with the real hard-core guys looking over our shoulders wondering if the next lightning strike was going to be goodbye. Never got too close though, at least under a few seconds lightning to thunder delay, and the rain was wonderfully soothing. First half was right in at 7:30 pace, but the pace flagged a bit afterwards and I needed to push the last half to come in under an hour. Took my four-bottle belt and had a Gu at mile 4. Knee felt unstable at points but never painful.
Post-Run: Didn’t really do a proper stretch since was running to meet some friends for dinner and that was dumb. Tried to get some fluids in but really the first thing down my throat was a bit plug of Pad Thai and then later a beer, which, of course, made me feel not-so-good almost immediately.

Week in Running Recap

Being home for a week in Detroit I wasn’t able to post regularly, but I did manage to complete my assigned runs for the week. Monday’s hill workout was done in Cambridge before getting on the plane; don’t remember much about it other than it was 4 miles. Tuesday’s 4-mile run with 2 tempo miles was moved to Wednesday due to scheduling constraints; on Wednesday it was a hot, damp run along the Clinton Valley Trail, starting at a Vietnam Veterans Memorial near my house and continuing along this recently-completed rails-to-trails project which runs out in nice straight, soft and flat miles.

Thursdays effort was 5 miles in a 7:45-7:30-7:15-7:30-7:45 ladder, which brings us to Friday’s 5-mile Fartlek, which is supposed to be a fun workout but turned brutal in the hot sun and as the output of a three-day running binge that normally is limited to two, i.e. moving Tuesday’s workout to Wednesday really made Friday suck. In any case, I got through it, logged my 25 miles for the week and am shooting for 28 this week. My IT band felt pretty good throughout so am keeping my fingers crossed that new shoes, icing, foam rolling and my new strap are keeping the inflammation under control. I guess we’ll see tomorrow…

4 Moderate Miles

Today’s run was quick and relatively uneventful. However, my thighs in particular were quite sore headed out and my right knee felt quite loose along the way. At points I experimented with tweaking my form a bit to try and work the feeling out, but really the only thing that worked was moving off of the pavement onto grass or dirt when possible. Doesn’t bode well for today, so we’ll see if the IT band problems are returning. Please God no.

Start Time: 6PM.
Distance: 4 miles.
Time: 30 minutes, with mile splits 7:45, 7:15, 7:15, 7:45 mi/mile. That is, as requested, two easy miles and two “moderate” miles. Of course 7:15 mi/mile (GMP) is a bit more than moderate at this point but these things happen.
Route: Anderson to Arsenal St. Bridge loop, with a bit extra tacked on to get the mileage correct.
Pre-Run: Bagel and PB, icing a bit too early I think, light stretching and water.
Notes: See above. Bit of IT band weirdness but never devolved into pain.
Post-Run: Used the foam roller a bit, not quite enough stretching since I was racing out to get Suz, water, shower.

Typical Tuesday: 2 Easy Miles, 2 Tempo Miles

There was nothing significantly unusual about today’s half-tempo half-easy run: same course, same times, etc. Only a few things (not particularly) of note:

  • This was my first time out in my “Tiger red” shorts that I bought last week. I figured, hey, if that color works for him, maybe for me? That said, they also happen to be a wee bit short, but hey, when it’s time to go fast, it’s time! The breeze through parts typically left unblown is not entirely a bad motivator to keep moving…
  • This was also the first time in a while, definitely since the IT band troubles started, that I’ve run three days in a row. I think that that had an impact, since my perceived level of effort while bringing in 7 mi/mile pace was a bit higher. That said, my recovery mile coming in felt quite nice and easy, and I felt good fairly quickly after the run ended. Perhaps my memories of this run are unfairly colored by last weeks hot and nasty, but maybe I’m actually getting a bit stronger. Who knows.

Should have said a couple things. Oh well.

Start Time: 6:30PM.
Distance: 4 miles total.
Time: A shade under 30 minutes total. Splits were 7:45, 7, 7, 7:45 mi/mile respectively.
Workout Structure: Easy mile, two tempo miles, easy mile.
Route: Out-and-back to the Harvard Bridge. Started the tempo miles right after the B.U. Bridge.
Pre-Run: Bagel and peanut butter about an hour out, Nuun-ed bottle about 30 minutes out, water, light stretching, icing about an hour out.
Notes: Right knee again felt loose, but never hurt. Definitely felt better during the harder miles.
Post-Run: Water, stretching, shower, dinner, beer!

3-Mile Hill Workout

That’s what Monday brings, with the mileage accrued from yesterdays “long run” helping to shorten up today, just a little 3-miler, out and back to Spring Hill, Somerville. Nothing unusual about this run; nice little one.

Start Time: Around 6:30PM.
Distance: 3 miles.
Time: Around 33 minutes, 8 mi/mile pace for the warm-up cool-down miles; 9 mi/mile in the hills. Yes, that’s a problem.
Workout Structure: Laid out 4 10-second hill sprints, two coming up one side of Spring Hill and two coming down (well, turning to get up) the other side. Continued uphill/downhill after each, which was different than previous weeks when I typically did the repeats all on a single portion of the hill and in an up/down pattern.
Route: Typical Spring Hill route, although the shorter run meant that I got up and down Spring Hill on Lowell St. exactly once.
Pre-Run: Bagel and peanut butter about 60-minutes beforehand, medium-length stretching, water.
Notes: Right knee again felt loose but never painful.
Post-Run: Icing, stretching, shower, etc.

Hopefully this string of cool, rainy weather will last until my much harder tempo run tomorrow.

Sunday “Long Run”

This week the goal is to bring up the mileage a bit to 22 miles, as well as get back in the groove of running 5 times a week (as opposed to four). So that means Sundays are back in play, although I don’t want to inject too much mileage into them immediately, even though Sundays are supposed to be long and slow. Today’s run was “long” (6 miles) and “slow” (7:45 pace), and everything stayed tied down knee-wise, although I may need to revisit my Sunday morning breakfast habits…

Start Time: 2:30PM. Ate breakfast at around 11AM so this seemed like enough spacing at the time.
Distance: 6 miles.
Time: Right around 46:30 so nailed it at 7:45 mi/mile pace.
Route: Originally planned the Anderson-Beacon St. bridge loop plus a bit of extra sauce to get the mileage up to 6, but knees felt a bit gawky around mile 3 so turned around at the Eliot Bridge to keep things closer to home. Walked down to the Footbridge to start, so looping back to Anderson around the the River St. bridge gives close to 6 miles exactly, at least according to this map1 Why am I obsessing about this? Because I screwed up the timing/distance on my GPS unit coming in and so wasn’t sure about the last mile or so. Glad to see that I got the distance right.
Pre-Run: Ate a large breakfast (eggs, chicken sausage, sweet potato fries, toast, coffee, orea frappe) at around 11AM. Not sure that was the best idea, since I had to make a pit stop at around mile 3. Did some light stretching, iced the knees and drank a bit of water, as well as some electrolyte solution, before I went out.
Notes: Felt the IT band area in my right knee throughout but never got painful; stopping at the 3-mile mark in particular seemed to help. Probably overdressed slightly, wore a long-sleeve top that was warm at the start but hot throughout. Lost a lot of fluids during my pit stop and was happy to have my 4-bottle belt with a few small bottles of Nuun with me along with the water I brought.
Post-Run: Stretching, showered, nothing unusual.

Hopefully my legs aren’t too beat up for tomorrow’s hill workout, but because of the mileage I did today that’s going to be considerably shorter than in past weeks. Hopefully that helps.

  1. 1. The walk down to the footbridge tacks on an extra 1/3 of a mile. []

Friday 5-Mile Fartlek

I was feeling a bit more reluctance than is usual coming in to today’s 5-miler, especially since it’s a Fartlek, which I usually like. However, I think that the recent heat, the addition of some morning workouts (which I should start blogging soon), and yesterdays 6-mile effort conspired to make this run just a bit harder than usual. However, I still pushed through it, with good results.

Start Time: Around 3:30 PM. A bit earlier than usual as I was meeting a friend for drinks early in the afternoon.
Distance: 5 miles.
Time: 35:05, or an average of 7:31 mi/mile. Pretty decent.
Workout Structure: Fartlek Fridays, see here for an example. Today I managed to keep the last mile under control though, at an easy even 7:30 mi/mile pace.
Route: Same as last Friday. Started a bit sooner (Weeks Footbridge) and this helped rejigger some of the hard 30-second efforts, particularly so that the last one finished before the B.U. bridge tangle coming back.
Pre-Run: Moderate stretching routine, some water.
Notes: Right knee felt a little twitchy throughout, but never got to the point of feeling painful.
Post-Run: Water, some electrolytes, shower, beer and a nice big dinner at Magnolia’s (closing tomorrow… sad!)

Tomorrow’s a rest day and a chance for me to keep after my IT band. I bought a foam roller today at Marathon Sports so we’ll try that out tonight and see if its at all helpful.

6 Mile Ladder

Thursday runs on my schedule are usually fairly easy, 2 miles easy and 2-4 miles “moderate”, whatever that means. I’ve discovered that I honestly have a hard time with “moderate.” This isn’t to say that I can do great at “high speed” plowing along, just that it’s sometimes easy for me to let my pace wander all over the place as opposed to picking a consistent middle-ground pace and sticking to it. So today’s a good chance to practice that. The goal was a 7:45-7:30-7:15-7:15-7:30-7:45 ladder, and that’s what happened.

Start Time: 3PM. A bit earlier that is usual for me, but I had a meeting at 5PM.
Distance: 6 miles.
Time: Almost exactly 45:00 even, so around 7:30 mi/mile.
Workout Structure: As indicated above, the goal was to slowly increase the pace to my GMP in 15-second increments each mile, then hold that for 2 miles, then back it up again slowly. Worked out well.
Route: Started at Hemenway today since I was at work and wanted to shower. Originally considered running on the treadmill but it was just too perfect today, even in the heat of the day, to really seriously consider that. Out and around the Beacon St. bridge (away from town) worked out to almost a perfect 6-mile run.
Pre-Run: Wasn’t at home, so didn’t ice as usual, but did ice several times this morning. Had a Odwalla Bar about an hour before heading out. Did a more involved than usual stretching routine at Hemenway and had and carried water.
Notes: Knees felt OK throughout, although the left was a bit sore heading out. The right started to feel more unstable as time went on but never got painful. Had a bit of digestive issues around mile 4 but was in the riverside park so that was a good place. Hot today but never felt as dangerous as Tuesday.
Post-Run: Good long cooldown, stretching, cold shower. Didn’t ice immediately but am icing now at home.

Tomorrow’s my favorite run, the 5-mile Fartlek. Hopefully it will maintain its allure after todays efforts, and in this heat!

Hot 4-Mile Tempo Run

Well, I should be honest: it was two miles of tempo work enclosed in a pair of easier miles. But I’m not lying about it being hot: it’s around 7:30 PM now and still in the 80s out according to weather.com, so it was probably mid-eighties when I went out at 6PM. Given the conditions I consider the distance alone, much less the pace, a victory. Nasty out there, and I’m just starting to get used to it.

Start Time: 6PM.
Distance: Just over four miles total.
Time: I think just under 30 minutes or so, with paces of around 8, 7, 7, 7:45 mi/mile for each of the miles, respectively. Could I have said that more awkwardly?
Workout Structure: Went out for an easy opening mile (plus a bit), then burned in two hard tempo miles, uninterrupted, followed by a slower final mile as a cool down.
Route: Out-and-back to the Harvard Bridge. However, today I extended the warm-up mile so that it cleared the B.U. approach, so that the two inner miles were completely uninterrupted. This did mean that I had to turn and veer up the Harvard Bridge a bit to finish the mile, but I think that it’s worth it to not have the early light. However, this means that there’s a finishing hill, which is fine, but it’s hard not to get overexcited by it coming in, especially knowing that the B.U. bridge lights provide a sure respite. Today I was at 7:07 mi/mile pace coming up the hill and shaved 7 seconds off my mile split by the top, which was exhilarating but undoubtedly brought me past “tempo” pace.
Pre-Run: Note that I did a bit of an ITBS workout this morning. I also did a 10-minute erg piece just for fun and to keep my form up until sculling season starts. That was earlier, but I think that my legs were a bit heavy on account of it. Bit of light stretching, iced both knees, ate at 4PM, usual peanut butter bagel.
Notes: Knees felt OK, legs a bit sore, probably left over from yesterday’s hill workout and this mornings erg piece. It was also really hot on the course today, and my water just didn’t really last long enough.
Post-Run: Took a long time to cool down on the walk in, probably borderline heat exhaustion or something. Immediately got inside my AC’d apartment and took in a liter of fluids, cold shower, stretching and iced the knees. Dinner time now.

I’m pretty happy that tomorrow is a day off, although I may get on the bike a bit in the morning as part of my core stability workout.