6 Hot Miles

Getting my tempo miles in in the heat today was a chore… welcome back to Boston, hot nasty humid weather. Yuck.

Start Time: 6PM.
Distance: 6 miles.
Time: Splits were 7:45, 7:14 x 4 miles, 8:30 or so.
Workout Structure: Same as last time, although I think that the mile splits went up as opposed to down during the interior miles.
Route: Variation on the route from two weeks ago, into Boston instead of out.
Pre-Run: Had a Odwalla bar at -2 hours or so. Water and stretching as usual.
Notes: Felt pretty tough today! Probably a combination of the heat, humidity, and last week as a rest week.
Post-Run: The usual stretching, etc.

My friend Mark suggested that my GPS-enabled running gadgetry could, by using the time and location information, usefully grab weather data as well… I think that that’s a cool idea, since I’m definitely convinced that I’m fairly heavily effected by the heat and relative humidity when I run in the afternoon.

Week Off and Return

So last week, really from Saturday 7/19 to yesterday (7/29) Suz and I were in Michigan, touring around the state. While I had envisioned maintaining some form of training schedule running in some of the more beautiful parts of the state, once we got out there I figured what with the Boston Half Marathon around 11 weeks away this was just about the perfect time for a mid-summer break. So a week full of not-running. About the only athletic thing I did was run down and then crawl up the 450-foot sand cliff along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. That said, that was hard!

I was curious to see how my body would react to the week of sudden inactivity. In general, pretty well I think. Obviously being on vacation helped, since I was sleeping a good amount and having a great time and in good spirits, so probably not in as acute need of the mood boost that you get from a good hard run. I also noticed that my metabolism kept kicking along even without any activity to spur it, in other words, I was hungry the entire week and ate everything I could get my hands on. I probably gained a pound or two (haven’t checked).

On Monday, the day before we left, I decided that enough was enough, and went out for a hilly five-miler through the streets surrounding my house. Did 5 miles in pretty oppressive heat without the aid of my water belt (which I had forgotten), at a decent easy pace (7:45ish) and then added a few hill sprints on the “big hill” behind my house. We used to call it that when we were kids and it would add an impressive amount of speed to an already-manically-pedaled bike; now it doesn’t seem quite so large but it was still large enough to give my legs and lungs another bit of a kick.

Yesterday I was pretty sore, but my friend Mark Breeze helped drag me out for a welcome back run about 4 hours after we stepped off of the plane. It’s normally the day I do 2 or 2.5 hard tempo miles, but in the spirit of easing back into things we did 1 easy, 1 tempo (7:15), 1 easy, 1 tempo and then called it a day. A good run though in the lingering 7PM Cambridge mid-summer heat.

Today I am very sore and laid in bed rather than get out early and make up the 10-miler that I skipped on Sunday. I figure this week I can bring in 20 miles and then get back to 30 next week with the intention of pushing up the mileage again through August before tapering in mid-September for the half. We’ll see if recently-rested muscles and tendons sign on to this plan or not…

5 Mile Tempo Run

Well, to be honest, it was half tempo, and not meaning half-tempo, mind you, since that’s slow, but half tempo!

Start Time: 6PM.
Distance: 5 miles.
Time: Mile paces of 7:45, 7 (2.5), 8 (1.5).
Route: JFK to Arsenal St. Bridge loop, with some extra tacked on at the beginning. Was supposed to be an out-and-back to the Arsenal Bridge but felt some, ahem, “trots” coming on nearing the bridge and decided to loop over to the park on the other side where there are facilities. Turned out to be a good move…
Pre-Run: A bit hurried, with snack at 30 minutes out, some brief stretching.
Notes: Knees felt a bit nervous heading out but never bothered me again.
Post-Run: Good stretching, shower, icing, going to hit up the foam roller later.

Tomorrow is mercifully a day off. I’ve been feeling a bit run-down this week but today’s miles were comfortably hard so perhaps that’s a good sign? Thursday will tell…

5 Hill Miles

These Monday hill workouts are getting to be tough. For the first few weeks of this program they were relatively easy, a bright spot between the Sunday long run and the Tuesday tempo miles. I think that was also back when my definition of “hill” was a bit looser, like approach to the B.U. bridge loose. Alas, now that I have found Spring Hill these runs have gotten more difficult.

Start Time: 6PM.
Distance: 5 miles.
Time: 42 minutes, or about 8:24 mi/mile pace. Ugh.
Workout Structure: Same as two weeks ago.
Route: Also the same as two weeks ago.
Pre-Run: Water, a bit of stretching.
Notes: Damned right knee again felt a bit loose but never got to hurting, and the stupid strap kept falling off so that was annoying. Other than that just another hot nastly Spring Hill three ways workout.
Post-Run: Stretching, icing, left knee felt sore coming in so iced it as well. The usual celebratory shower.

Tomorrow’s tempo run, now we’ll see how that goes!

10 Mile Sunday Run

Today I headed out for the second run with the little running group I’ve been trying to pull together. After Thaddeus accompanied me on last week’s effort, both he and Jacy headed out with me today at 6PM to do the Science Museum loop. It turned out to be quite a pleasant run.

Start Time: 6PM. At which point it was hovering in the low 80s but with the humidity in the 50s which made for a pleasant 90 minutes.
Time: Around 85 minutes I think give or take a few, so in the 8:30-8:45 mi/mile pace range. Very comfortable for me as my heart rate was hovering around 155 or so for the majority.
Route: Science Museum to Eliot St. Bridge loop, listed as 10.2 miles but worked into an even 10 with an opening walk.
Pre-Run: Didn’t eat much today which was perhaps a mistake, muffin for breakfast followed by a bagel with some peanut butter and two Powerbar-type things sprinkled throughout the day. This has been my strategy on Sundays but it may need some updating. Usual light stretching, etc.
Notes: Stopped for water a few times but in general felt quite comfortable. Was drinking water at a much slower clip, probably due to the reduced humidity. Downed a GU at about 6 miles in, yummy. Right knee felt a bit unstable between 4 and 6 miles but that whole area firmed up again and didn’t bother me after that point. Pace was very manageable.
Post-Run: Stretching, energy drink and bars, pizza about an hour later and some time with the foam roller later in the evening.

This week was my first putting in 30+ miles (just over, really, at 30.5) and it felt good, although it is funny how things creep up on you. I definitely have been feeling sore at times which I think is good since it means that my body hasn’t quite yet really gotten used to this level of training and I’m still making progress. Next week I’m going to hold here and probably the week after (since I’ll be traveling), just to let it sink in before creeping up the mileage again a bit.

Friday Fartlek

Usual 5-mile Fartlek today. Felt good and the hard intervals were a bit harder than usual. Otherwise nothing particularly unusual about it.

Start Time: 5PM.
Time: Round about 38 minutes or so, 7:45s for the first and last mile, 7:30s in between.
DIstance: 5 miles.
Workout Structure: Friday Fartlek, so 6 30 second sprints every half mile sandwiched between a warm-up and cool-down mile.
Pre-Run: Usual stretching, water, etc.
Notes: Shortened up my stride during the hard intervals which I think helped speed them up a bit towards the 5 mi/mile range.
Post-Run: Stretching, water, icing, some work with the roller.

Rest day tomorrow after which it’s time for the big weekly effort yet again…

More Like Tempo Pace

After Tuesday’s warm tempo-paced suffering and the bit of rethinking I did yesterday, I decided to go out and try to put in 4 real tempo miles today and just see how the pace worked itself out.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I did have a goal, which was 7:15 miles, but I wanted to make sure not to sacrifice the lactate threshold purpose of the tempo run. To reign myself in I tried to keep my breathing very steady in the two strides in, one out pattern. How did I do?

Start Time: 4PM. Had to go out a bit earlier than usual since we stared moving Suz yesterday. Luckily it was hot but also quite dry, only around 30% humidity, so it was comfortable.
Distance: 6 miles total.
Time: Splits were around 7:45, 7:18, 7:14, 7:11, 7:04, 8:05, so around 46:27 for the whole thing.
Workout Structure: Easy start and finish miles, sandwiching 4 miles at tempo pace, and today I think that I actually did these right. They didn’t feel horribly uncomfortable; I mean, they weren’t fun, but in a race situation I could have probably done 4 more of them, so it’s close to a pace I can hold for an hour. The negative splits just happened really, which is interesting.
Pre-Run: Usual stretching and water consuming.
Notes: Again, the negative splits were interesting. I have noticed this about myself when running that sometimes it takes me a few miles to warm up, but I was trying to keep the effort fairly constant. Interesting. Maybe the negative split run should become a weekly staple?
Post-Run: A quick cool-down so that I could get started with Suzanna’s move.

Tomorrow it’s time for the last 5 miles of the week, what should be a fairly “nice” Fartlek, assuming the weather cooperates…

Rethinking Tempo Pace

Maybe it was just hot, but yesterday’s tempo run made me sit down and start rethinking exactly what pace I should be running these miles at. I think that, unfortunately, 7 mi/mile is a bit aggressive, at least based on the advice proffered here.

In particular, three things give me pause. First, my breathing. Although I usually keep a one-stride in, one-stride out pattern even when running easy-paced miles and just reduce the volume, I don’t think that I can really claim to be able to keep up the two-in, one-out rhythm they suggest at the higher tempo pace. Second, I’m pretty sure my heart rate is also a bit high. Using a few calculators online I think that 85-90% heart rate for me is around 162-172 bpm. During yesterday’s run I was definitely pushing above that, into the high 170s. Finally, I would really like to try and do around 15-20% of my weekly miles at tempo pace, which is going to mean about 4.5-6 miles of tempo/week at 30 miles/week, and I’m really not sure I can do 4.5-6 miles per week at 7 mi/mile pace even if I sandwich those miles into almost every run I do.

As an experiment, tomorrow I’m going to go out and do the 4 “moderate” miles at something more akin to tempo pace. We’ll see what it turns out to be…

Tuesday Tempo Miles

Today was another scorcher, and in the spirit of a week moving the mileage up a bit I couldn’t help but resist pushing the tempo miles on this run out to 2.5 from the 2/week I’d been doing for some time. Perhaps not the best week to do it, given the increase in mileage; maybe not the best day to do it, given the heat; maybe not the best day of the week to do it, given the hot 10-miler on Sunday and the hotter 5 miles of hills yesterday. But what the heck.

Start Time: 5PM.
Distance: 4.5 miles.
Time: I think around 33 minutes or so, with splits of 7:45, 7 (2.5), 7:45.
Workout Structure: One easy mile, followed by two “tempo” miles, followed by an easy mile as a cool-down of sorts.
Route: I chose a different route for this run, given that the route into Boston gives a nice one-mile stretch between the B.U. and Harvard Bridges, but its not right to extend out to 1.5 miles. Instead I took the run the other direction, out of Boston, to exploit the underpass on the Eliot St. bridge. Started by doing my 5-minute warm-up walk towards Boston, then turned around and did the slow mile past the Anderson Bridge, then picked up the pace. I was at around 1.33 miles, or a bit more than the 1.25 I needed to turn around, by the time I got to the Arsenal Street Bridge and turned around, and finished the 2.5 tempo miles right before heading back into the wooded section that is just past the Eliot St. bridge.
Pre-Run: Had a bottle of Nuun-ized water, the usual amount of stretching, etc.
Notes: While running, particularly I think when it’s humid, I have been having some problems with the IT-band strap I have been wearing, namely that it slips down and usually either comes to rest right above my right kneecap where I doubt it is doing much good, or slips down even past that and threatens to end up around my ankles. I stopped a few times to address that today, but finally got fed up and removed it for the last slow mile. Not sure exactly how much I need this anymore, so it may be time to stop wearing it, or find something that works better.
Post-Run: Good round of stretching, foam rolling, and a shower!

Hot Hill Miles

Nice little 5-miler today, although not really that nice. Nasty heat and humidity made this run a challenging one.

Start Time: 6 PM. Waited as long as I could.
Distance: 5 miles.
Time: Not sure but not all that good, maybe averaging out to 8:30 miles? Hot up-and-down puts me just about at my worst.
Route: Same as last week, a run I’m starting to grow fond of calling “Spring Hill Served 3 Ways”, referring to the short nasty uphill you get at the beginning up Lowell St. from Somerville Ave., the longer nagging uphill you get when you approach from Davis Square up Summer St., and then the also short but even a bit nastier effect of adding some hill sprints to the first, steepest approach. A lovely dish, best served piping hot, like today.
Pre-Run: The usual, light stretching, etc.
Notes: Nothing too much to comment on. Weather was gross and I was sore from yesterday’s 10-miler.
Post-Run: Immediately jumped in to help Suz make dinner, so didn’t cool off right away, which was potentially a mistake.

Tomorrow the heat is supposed to hold up and I’m supposed to go out for a pretty hard effort. Should be fun. Hopefully this business about being able to acclimate to heat is actually worth something.