Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Sled Dogs

On Saturday morning I got up for my typical long run and headed out to start out at Edward's Ferry.  It was crisp, cold, but clear skies, as the sun was just beginning to rise.  I ventured north on the towpath to do a 20 mile run that consisted of 2 loops.  As I headed out towards Whites Ferry, it was silent.  The way I liked it.  I could only hear and feel my body moving over the ground circa 6:15 pace.  It seems low 6's are becoming more often my normal long run/easy run pace.  It's really all about the effort.  My breathing was controlled, and the only thing I could feel was the miles I had been putting in my legs the past several weeks.  I was on my way to another 90-100 mile week.

Then as I approached mile 4 into the run(about a mile from White's Ferry), I then heard a noise.  What is that? I thought.  Though faint, it sounded like a sort of singing.  I looked ahead, and as I got closer to White's Ferry I could make out what the noises were.  They were dozens of dogs, howling and barking.  But what kind of dogs? Were they just barking from an owner's house/farm nearby?  I arrived at White's Ferry out of the woods where the trail opened up and the sunlight came through.  I could see some people with dozens of Siberian Huskies barking and howling, attached to sleds.  It looked like they had just gotten the dogs out and were getting the sleds ready.  The Huskies were beautiful, and stared at me as I ran by.  I looked at them in awe.  They looked ready to run.  I zipped by to turn onto Old River Road(a dirt road that goes back out to Edwards Ferry).  Then, about 7 miles into the run, a couple of foxes ran by.  I covered the first loop in 64:00, and did a second loop in 60:00, hoping I would see the sled dogs again, but they were gone.

96 miles for the week. 

Past 6 weeks mileage:

96, 86, 106, 100, 90, 96.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 18: 10 x 1200m

Yesterday I did a really good Threshold workout. The goal was to get as little rest as possible between each interval to build strength but also make sure not to run too fast. I slightly worked the pace down but other than the first and last intervals all of the intervals were pretty much within a second of eachother with very little variation. The laps were evenly paced as well.

The workout was 10 X 1200m w/ 200m jog recoveries, all on the track. Beforehand, I did a 20 min warm-up, some stretching, and then a 1 kilometer pace build up at just under 5:20 pace to get the legs going. I then did the following workout:

1200m splits (+200m jog recovery times):

3:48, (1:20 jog)
3:47, (1:20 jog)
3:45, (1:20 jog)
3:45, (1:30 jog)
3:45, (1:25 jog)
3:44, (1:05 jog)
3:44, (1:35 jog)
3:44, (1:40 jog)
3:44, (1:30 jog)

I averaged 3:44-3:45, or 4:59-5:00 pace per mile. Total time was 50:00. I felt like this was a really good 10 mile race simulator.  I am pleased with how well I am responding to the limited rest I have put in my workouts lately.  I started doing this more in August, and since them it has really gotten me fit.  These types of workouts I believe have yet to show in my races.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 9-15: 100 Miles/Week

The last 4 weeks I have gone 96, 86, 106, 100.  When running this much, I try to get as close to 50% of the week's mileage on soft surfaces.  The more you run, the more important this becomes.  In addition, plenty of stretching, foam rolling, and strength training must be kept up.  I need to get in the pool at some point again though to get in a solid cross training session.  It was cold on Wednesday, but not nearly as cold as Thursday, which was a good thing I didn't wait until Thursday to do the track workout.  In the meantime, I am finalizing bits and pieces of my 2014 schedule, and am focused on the half marathon championship in 5 weeks.

Monday: PM: 10.5 miles(Riley's Lock/Seneca Road Loop)

Tuesday: AM: 13.5 miles(Sycamore Landing/Poolesville roads),
+ Strength Training

Wednesday: AM: 7 miles
PM: Track: Ladder Workout w/ 200m jog recoveries(1:15-1:30)
:200(35), 400(71), 600(1:46), 800(2:25), 1000(3:03), 1200(3:38),
1000(3:00), 800(2:20), 600(1:44), 400(68), 200(34),
9.5 miles total w/ warm-up + drills and cool-down
Really happy with how I ran this workout. 
Negative splitting is what I have been working on.

Thursday: AM: 3.5 miles shakeout run
PM: 5 miles easy

Friday: AM: 13 miles(on towpath Pennyfield Lock to Great Falls)

Saturday: AM: 20.2 Miles(Capital Crescent/Rock Creek Park Loop)
w/ Chris Mills in 2:16.  We started at Fletcher's Boat House circa 6:45 AM and headed towards Georgetown, picking up Rock Creek trail from there.  We started easy but picked up the pace the second half of the run.  We sped up and hammered a bit the few last miles down the CCT.  It felt nice going downhill toward the end of this run.   

Sunday: AM: 11 miles @ DC/MD line and Rock Creek Park Trails
PM: 6.5 miles @ Seneca Creek Park Trails.

Total: 100 Miles

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, 12/11/13: The Ladder Workout

After 7 miles this morning, this afternoon I did the following ladder workout below. The recovery time was also minimal (200m jogs).  It was a really good pace builder, and I hit the backend with negative splits.  This is the second track workout in the past 2 weeks I have done all negative splits on.  Getting much better at this! 

200m: 35
400m: 71
600m: 1:46
800m: 2:25
1000m: 3:03
1200m: 3:38
1000m: 3:00
800m: 2:20
600m: 1:44
400m: 68
200m: 34

All with 200m recovery jogs between each (about 1:15-1:30 recoveries)
Average pace: 4:46 mile pace for 7200m
Conditions: COLD.  But no wind.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

12.02-12.08: 106 Miles/Week

Really great week.  I wanted to do some hard running off tired legs, and accomplished that on Thursday.  It felt good to do intervals on the track again.  It was my first track workout since October.

AM: 8.5 miles(7 x 1/4 mile hill hard w/ jog downhill recoveries)
PM: 7 miles

AM: 12.5 miles

AM: strength training
PM: 13 miles

AM: 8 miles
PM: 10 miles(Track-5 x Mile w/ 1 lap jog recoveries: 5:01, 4:57, 4:54, 4:52, 4:49)

AM: 9 miles

AM: Long Run 22.5 miles(nice and slow easy pace), 2 hrs 40 min

AM: 10 miles
PM: 5 miles

Total: 106 miles

Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter/Spring 2014 Races

Photo above: 2013 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, 13th place

I really can't complain too much about the way 2013 racing went.  One thing I would say is perhaps I did not race enough(but I think I also needed to not race a lot this year).  I ran some PRs, and had some good placings.  I only did 9 races.  Although I had top 10 finishes at both of the half marathons I raced this year, I think Cherry Blossom was the highlight placing for me, finishing 13th overall in that race.  I just got invited to do that race again, and I will be aiming for top 10 this coming year.  In terms of race times, I PR'd in 1 mile, 5K, 10K, and 10 miles, but came up short in the half marathon.  I think the half marathon will happen with time, and there are certainly workouts I have done that indicate I am ready for a breakthrough in that distance.  In hindsight, I ran PRs this year, but haven't made any major breakthroughs.  And now I am looking to do so. 

But I need to get to work.

I need to increase my mileage.  Over 2011, 2012, and 2013, I have averaged 75-77 miles/week(upper end 100s/week, lower end 50s/week) for each entire year(roughly 4,000 miles/year), which I think has worked for me during these years, but in order for me to make the jump to the next level I need to average at least 90s/week now(and get a lot of 100+ mile weeks).  My workouts are good, I just need to add more volume.  One thing I really have going for me is that I am incredibly durable.  My body doesn't seem to get injured with increased mileage/intensity over the years, along with racing faster.  But I think that is also because I pay close attention to the little things like foam rolling, stretching, strength training, sleep, and nutrition which I will continue to do.

I am pleased to say I got accepted into the 2014 USA Half Marathon Championships, in Houston, TX.  The race is on January 19, 2014.  I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself for a certain time, I just want to compete well and hopefully place well.  It's certainly awesome competing in a championship race, and it's inspiring to meet other people around the country who either are Olympians or elite runners who train very hard.  Nonetheless, I am training hard, and feeling pretty darn good.  I think it is a really good thing I didn't do a marathon this year, since that takes more recovery.  Last year it took me a while to get back into my training, and I was pretty beat up after the Philly Marathon in 2012(see one of my earlier posts from last year).  The week after the Richmond Half Marathon(where I placed 10th in 1:09), I was amazed how recovered I felt.  In fact, it felt great to just run mileage, which I certainly did hitting a 96 mile week after.  Last week I hit 86 miles, and decided to jump in the Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K, where I placed 2nd.  My goal was to tempo it at 5:05 pace, and I hit 5:07 on a pretty hilly course.  On Saturday, I did a long run with Capital Area Runners' Christopher Mills(a 29:00 10K guy), covering 2 hours and 10 minutes in much of Washington, DC.  This morning, I did some hill repeats, and will do another run this evening.

As for the rest of my 2014 schedule following Houston, it is still in the works.  But another thing I want to do is to get back on the track and really sharpen up on my
speed this spring.  I am looking to do a few indoor track races, perhaps at Virginia Tech in February.  I want to do a fast indoor 3,000m race.  I think I will really benefit from that leading into the spring season.  Then there is Cherry Blossom on April 6, followed by Pikes Peek 10K on April 27.  Pikes Peek is always a PR course, and I run well there, so it seems logical to do that, but I am also debating about a track 10K.  I am still looking into races.  Chris mentioned Bucknell as a great track meet, and it looks like a possibility, the only problem is that it is a week after Cherry Blossom.  Decisions, decisions.