Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Track Workout in Weeks

It's been 7 weeks since my last track workout which was right before I PRed in the 5000m(15:13).

Now, with several weeks of mileage averaging 100 per week under my belt, I am tapping into my speed and turnover. Today, the workout was to be 6x400m, with a 3 minute rest. Quality, not quantity, is my emphasis on workouts. I find that resting enough so I can repeat the speed as opposed to resting for 1 minute and running slower is what works for me. I actually felt pretty good out there, given the fact I haven't done any speed for a's like it just came back to me as if I did a workout just last week. The splits I hit were right at target pace(64-65 seconds). Splits below:

64, 64, 64, 65, 66, 66

The last 2 it wasn't strength, but speed preventing me from repeating the 64s or faster. This will improve quickly, however. I tend to get fit very quickly. I feel I can hit some 61-62s with some sharpening. I will do another workout probably Tuesday(maybe an 800 at mile race pace, a 400, and a couple 200s) before the MCRRC 1 Mile track race(7.08). The race will be my first in 2 months, and I will aim to shatter my mile PR from high school. This isn't a big focus race however, just a stepping stone to bigger things.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Climbing Higher & Higher

Today was my birthday. I am 28 years now. This is the ideal time of my life to train and go for it. It's also a day I finished up the highest week of mileage ever. 118 miles total in 7 days with 5 doubles and 1 long run of 20 miles. The week before was not much lesser, hitting 105 miles. I am building a very strong base for the fall.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

5 Month Training Plan

I have come up with a rough 5 month training plan with the obvious focus for peaking in the fall. The mileage is somewhat figured out though not exact of course. It will, and should, average out to 95-100 miles per week for the entire 5 month cycle.

June: June is base building, just general running with not many workouts. The mileage will average out to 100-110 miles/week with a weekly high of 120 miles.

July: July will average a little lower in mileage with emphasis on introducing workouts again and speed/turnover. The weekly high should be around 100 miles and the weekly low will be about 45-50 miles. The lower week should allow my body to recover and prepare for the next high mileage cycle in August. July should average about 80 miles/week with some races I have such as the MCRRC MidSummer Night's Mile 7/8, Rockville Twilight 8K 7/16, and Crystal City 5K 7/23. Track workouts will be regularly done in this month.

August: With a solid base from June, and speed/turnover from July, August will ramp up again to be peak mileage training with the addition of emphasis on strong lactate threshold workouts/marathon pace workouts. The weekly low is projected to be 90 miles and the weekly high will be up to 140 miles. I will probably average up 120 miles per week for this month.

September: In September, the mileage will average about 90/week, with a weekly high of 100-110 miles and the low will be 60 miles(which will be a recovery week following the Philly 13.1 Race week). This month is a quality month. The 13.1 will be an all out race. The Marathon Specific Workouts will continue to be the real focus leading into the next month.

October: This is the final month with some final high quality marathon specific workouts and will average out to 90 miles per week. There will be one final high mileage/peak week of 120 miles and a quality 22 mile long run 3 weeks out before tapering for the Marine Corps Marathon. The Taper WILL BE 3 WEEKS. This is something I must do and have failed to do in the past. Marathon week is to be between 55-65 miles or so.

When looking at this on paper, it seems daunting, so I must take one week at a time. And it probably isn't exact either. But it's time to "go for it" and really take the next step in my running career.

If I can do this type of training over the summer, I see no reason why I cannot attain the goals below this fall:

Half Marathon: 1:05:00-1:08:00
Full Marathon: 2:22:00-2:26:00

Time to go after it again...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Philadelphia Elites

NEWSFLASH: Got some great news this past week. Happy to say I got an Elite entry into the Philadelphia RocknRoll Half Marathon this September. I am already excited and it's only June. This is a great opportunity for me and something I did not expect as this race has many world class runners and some of the country's best runners. It will give me a chance to step up, but also will be dangerous because I could go out too fast-so I will need to be sure to know my limits. The faster I get, the more I find these opportunities appearing. It is a blessing for all the hard work I put into this sport.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fall 2011 Decision

June 1, 2011.

As hinted(and already on my racing schedule), I have come to a fall 2011 racing plan.

Spring is past and the hot summer is here. It's time to put in the miles again. It's time to think of new goals. And it's time to come up with a fall racing plan.

This has been one of the most difficult decisions in racing I have ever made, because there is so much screaming at me "NO!" of my decision.

But I've thought, and thought of alternatives over and over to the point of obsession, and I could not come up with any that felt right to me.

So, I've put it together and decided to give it a shot...

This fall, the focus is simple: 2 races. The first, will be the much anticipated race I've wanted to do for a while, known for a loaded field, world class times, and competition, the Philadelphia RocknRoll Half Marathon on 9.18.11. At this point I am very familiar with the half marathon, I have learned how to race it well, and I have achieved a competitive time that gives me confidence to enter this elite race. Though my 1:10:04 would've only placed me 42nd overall male from last year, the idea is that many of these elite and sub-elite runners like myself will push me to run a fast time. A fast time and PR is very common at Philly, being a fast course as well. There will be a dozen 1:07-1:08 guys to push me, another dozen in the 1:03-1:06 range, with the winning time just over 1:00. This race brings me the opportunity to get one step closer to qualifying for the Olympic Trials standard of 1:05:00.

And the 2nd?

Once I realized I was definitely going to do the Philly RocknRoll half, I began to look at my options. I could, find some shorter races to do and try for PRs again. Repeat the Spring pretty much. My Spring certainly was successful...

I really like Brad Hudson's book(Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein's former coach) "Run Faster-from the 5k to the Marathon." Hudson uses methods of what's called adaptive running in his coaching, which in he quotes, "is my belief that a responsive, evolving, creative approach to training is better than an approach that is too structured and formulaic. Simply put, there is no single training forumla that works perfectly for every runner.... What's more, even when a certain formula works well for a runner, he or she changes as a result of using it, so the formula must also change to produce further improvement."

In other words, things are constantly changing and adapting.

Hudson also quotes later on about training cycles. "When you begin a new training cycle, you are not the same runner you were when you started the last one. Therefore, you should not train in precisely the same way that you did in your last training cycle, no matter how successful it was. In fact, in some ways, the more successful your last training cycle was, the more you can and should change the next one"

He's not saying you should change everything either. An example of this that Hudson points out is that when you run on a certain amount of mileage successfully, the next cycle it's probably a good idea to increase that mileage. "The summit of your recently completed training cycle is now the foundation for the next," as he states.

I value Hudson's coaching principles and believe they make a lot of sense for the way I train and coach myself. In fact, as I look at my past cycles, it's been very common for me to make changes. Last Fall, after the Chicago Marathon, I moved in the direction of the 10K for the end of the year, and it was a positive outcome. This past Spring, I focused on 13.1 miles and below all the way down to the 5k, averaging 70 miles per week, and it was a huge success. A good idea now as I start up again is to add more volume, keep the things going that helped me improve this Spring(i.e. track workouts), and focus on 13.1 miles and above. So, the fall plan certainly isn't to repeat the spring, but it will be using some of the tools I have gained at the same time.

So what am I going to do after Philly? Run a Marathon-and the reason is because I want to.

Following the Philadelphia 13.1, I have decided to tackle a fall marathon again, and there is none other more ideal than Marine Corps. Back in 2009, I ran Marine Corps, and though I wouldn't say it was a good race for me, I got a chance to experience it and loved everything about it. 2:57 was my time. yuck.

The Marathon has been the toughest event ever for me by far and challenges me physically more so than mentally. I'd like to think that I am very good at handling pain, and can push through it pretty well. Sure, I can run a marathon any day, jog it, whatever. But to race it, that's a different story. The problem is my body hasn't reached the physiological adaptations yet to perform what it can be capable of.

My recent times this Spring indicate a conversion of 2:25:00-2:27:00 for the marathon. My best time in the marathon is from 2005, which was my first, in 2:38:48. My body was adapted to 6:03 miles back then, which seems pedestrian to me now. But still, I was adapted to 6:00 miles. I was used to the pace, so I was able to maintain it. So for 2005, I was happy to break 2:40. It was my goal. My 13.1 time was also only 1:16:00 back then...

My most recent Marathon, The 2010 Chicago Marathon was my biggest dissapointing marathon race I have ever run. I felt it in me that I had a sub 2:30:00 that day, but my body just wasn't there after 16 miles. It dropped like a fly and I finished in a 3:04.

It is a risk of dissapointment, no question. All fingers are pointing NO to me based on recent marathons like Chicago that I've run and my success in PRing in the shorter distance races. Jake Klim, aka the Red Fox, who is a very knowledgeable runner has told me to not run a marathon this fall. Yipes.

But again, I will focus on the Philly Half as a key race, and look to run a major PR there. So following that, what makes sense? Do another 10K race season and forget the marathon? Or, simply try again, and give it another shot?

At the end of the day, I'm going to do Marine Corps because I WANT to. That, I know is important. Running is an enjoyment. And as much as I am a competitive runner, I also pick certain races because I enjoy them.


Marine Corps is a huge race, no question. But it isn't a World Class Race(meaning its not Boston, New York, or Chicago). There will be no Sub 2:10:00 marathoners in this one. It is a great race and is typically won in about 2:22:00. Top 5 are usually around 2:25:00-2:27:00. Maybe I could be top 5. Maybe I could even win it.