Monthly Archives: October 2013

Marathon Pace Sandwich: The Second Bite

Today’s schedule was for another bite of the Marathon Pace Sandwich. Starting with a one mile warm up do three miles of running at marathon pace and then cool down win another mile at the end. Unfortunately the route I chose was quite hilly and the extra mile really added to the difficulty of this run. I have to say that my legs did feel very strong considering the long run I did yesterday.

Without getting feedback from my phone on ‘current pace’ I still managed to nail the segments quite well. My warm up was at 8:58 pace, followed by some consistent 7:43, 7:40 and a 7:34 marathon pace segments, then dropping back to 7:58 for the recovery mile. My heart rate was still in the appropriate zones and only really spiked at the top of the three climbs on my route. Average pace across the whole run was 8:01.

Last night I read Dr. Nicholas Romanov’s “Pose Method of Running” (ISBN: 0-9725537-6-2). It basically agrees with my approach for running, but I thought that it spent more time talking about ensuring that you are simply lifting the support foot straight up using your hamstrings. I do this, but hadn’t really focused on that, so I did a quick check throughout today’s run and I was fine. There were quite a lot of exercises listed, some of which I may use, but there were a lot of things that seemed too complex. Exercises with partners and elastic straps connected between you; I don’t think so! There was also quite a lot of what I would call fluff around why he developed it, the history of running, the biomechanics, and some rather poor comparisons to other systems of movement that didn’t seem to add much to the text. I was easily able to skip large chunks of the book without missing much as if there’s a point he wishes to make then he repeats it and drills it home…


Long, Slow Descent into Madness?

Actually, I think that was supposed to be long slow distance run, but they are along the same lines!

Just over nine miles today as I start to build out the longer distance components of my training. I managed to keep the pace slow (8:53) which is the goal of these runs.

It was a beautiful morning for a run. Cold, crisp and scenic. I was out in the wilds as the roosters announced the dawn at 6:17; I think they were a little keen as it wasn’t really dawn until 7:28. Cheeky roosters.

Good form today but I think it is time to change my shoes. I’m starting to feel pressure under my little toes and can see some considerable wear there in my shoes. I believe I am up near the five hundred mile mark for this pair so it is definitely time.

Sweaty Cold Run

I ran out of proper cold weather running gear today so I pulled out some ski underwear and threw on a reflective jacket.

While it may have been 34F it wasn’t that cold and I ended up very sweaty after my four mile easy pace run today. I had another runner appear in front of me today from a side street and it was so hard not to chase him down. I did eventually catch up but it was all I could do to try and maintain my prescribed easy pace of 8:31.

I do hope these easy pace runs help because it feels so weird to be running at less effort…

Weekend Update & Gingerbread Pancakes

There’s a reason why I like to ride my bike as my cross-training exercise. It is the group that I ride with. Oh, and the pancakes.

Today marked the first day official day of our winter season which is marked by breakfast stops at a diner in Phoenixville to warm our frozen, erm, fingers. My personal favourite from the menu are the Gingerbread pancakes, preferably with a mountain of powered sugar (thanks to my team mates telling the waiter to put ‘their’ helpings on my pancakes; thanks folks). Good times and hanging out with mates.

One of my friends is just starting out and getting into running. This is great. I love it when others start to enjoy running so I hope she can stick with it and get as much out of it as I do. As I say to all starters, just take it slowly and build your distance at your own pace. Don’t worry about how fast you run. Don’t worry how fast others run. The trick is to get moving and do it in such a way that you can keep on running with no injuries. For life!

Battery died in my Bluetooth transmitter. Don’t care.

Battery died in my rear blinky. Don’t care.

Puncture 1.5 miles from home. Humph. Stuff happens. I knew I should have checked the pressure this AM.

Tonight I decided I needed to get out and run my legs a little so I did a quick 6.5 miler. Much harder after a ride on the same day but I have to get my miles per week up. Pace around 7:45 so it was a middling speed which I am trying to avoid as per the plan; run faster or run easy and not in-between. Saw some friends out in the trail again so that was nice. 53F in shorts and t-shirt at dusk was a little chilly though.


Who Turned Off the Heat?

Brrr. 35F this morning and I did not want to go out and run. Friday is typically my track intervals workout.

I cycled to/from work yesterday and had an evening out with beer and beer-battered chicken which did not seem to agree with me (I don’t often eat fried food). But I threw on my cycling clothes from yesterday (it was too cold then to get sweaty riding) and hit the track.

My car was frosted over and I sat there considering my options. Should I go back indoors to the warmth?


No. No. No.

Off to the track. Once I was there it was cold, very dark and I forgot my gloves, but after a couple of laps warm up it got better. My warm up laps were at a consistent pace of 8:00 (+- 5 secs) and then I did my first fast lap at 6:28 pace. Two recovery laps (8:14 & 7:45) then another fast at 6:40. Not bad. Two more recovery laps (8:15 & 7:50) then a fast lap at 6:36. One more recovery lap at 8:17 and then a final blast around the track at 6:03. Whoop!

That makes 3.25 miles in 24:30. Not a brilliant time but it will improve as the ratio of fast/recovery laps improves. And at least I got out there and did it!

Marathon Pace Sandwich. Yum!

In trying out some new run styles (as per Runner’s World Big Book of marathon training) I thought I’d try a marathon pace sandwich run (my name, not theirs).

This means running a mile at an easy conversational pace to start and a mile cool down at that same pace at the end, but the section in the middle should be at the marathon pace you are targeting.

20131023-062653.jpgFrom the results you should be able to see that I managed to hit those paces pretty well spot on. Previously I would have said that I find it difficult to change pace once I start running; I seem to lock into a pace at the start and just keep at that throughout. But clearly I managed to do it for this. I will say that the marathon pace I’m targeting felt quite ambitious (read hard) but it is supposed to be a challenge, right?

Again, it feels wrong to be training at anything other than the pace you intend to run the race at, but they are the experts so I’ll go along with it for now. 😉

Four miles @ 7:52 avg pace, with two miles at marathon pace.

“Advice for Aspiring Runners” and Long, Slow Distance Run

Firstly, I did my first deliberately slow run today as all the marathon training books seem to insist you run slow when you go long. One to two minutes slower than your goal marathon pace. Well, I couldn’t go to two minute out so I chose a target pace of 8:20. At the end of eight miles I was at 8:33 so pretty close.

Now that’s over with I can get onto the meat of today’s post. One of my friends (LeoV) is a professional race photographer and he posted his advice to runners on his Facebook page yesterday following a harrowing morning working at a finish line. It is hilarious and has some wise words, so I asked him if I could reproduce it here for you all to enjoy.

Take it away, Leo:

“To all you aspiring runners out there, some unsolicited advice:
1) Don’t be a dick. Many of you are dicks. Please, just stop being a dick.
2) If you stop ON THE START LINE to play with your iPod, with over 3,000 other runners surging behind you, you deserve to be trampled.
3) You don’t have to juggle while you run. It’s been done. Next.
4) Yes, it is important to finish strong. No, nobody is impressed with your finishing sprint into a crowded finish line. Earn your PR out on the course, not by endangering other runners at the finish line. You ran with the herd; finish with the herd.
5) Your personal finish line celebration is stupid, unimportant, and inconsiderate. Little Miss Cartwheel? You kicked someone in the head. Mr. Zoom Zoom, pretending to be an airplane. You cut off several runners and you tripped someone, whom you didn’t help up. Most unbecoming for a 50-something “man.” Yelling BOOM! while you stomp on the finish line. Yeah, we’re impressed with your 3:30 half, too. I walk faster than that.
6) Don’t pull your children on the course to run across the finish line with you. It’s unnecessary and dangerous. Share your “moment” with them off the course. No one wants to have to hurdle your spawn 20 yards from the finish.
7) If you’re going to vomit… Oh, never mind.

Many of you may think that all the time I spend around racing has made me cynical. The above observations were from just three hours, today. Can’t wait for next weekend! ”

Some very wise words there. Well, it made me smile. 🙂

The Morning After an Afternoon Run

Yesterday I ran a pretty fast eight miler in the late afternoon (4:30 pm start) and wondered what that would do to my morning run today.

At 5:30am I headed out of the door at a chilly 39F for a four mile run. My legs felt great as I started (neighbours dog thought it would try and chase me) and I had soon run the first couple of miles. I must have misheard the voice in my phone as I thought she said I was running 7:17 pace but it turns out I wasn’t. Grr.

Legs started to feel heavy around 2.5 miles and I slowed a little at that point.

Still it wasn’t too bad considering the temp and that I had been running hard just 12 hours earlier. 4 miles @ 7:42 pace.
Wore shorts and a thin long sleeve top with a thin reflective jacket, plus ear warmers for first mile.

Negative Split Eight Miler

Sunday afternoon and it’s time for a run. Back home from my trip to Austin and somewhat recovered from the excesses of that trip.

The weather was perfect and there were a few people to chase down on the trail. To the two people on their bikes that I overtook: you need to cycle harder.

At about the one mile marker I spotted a friend on his bike and waved hello. Always good to see friends on the trail.

Then I spotted another runner heading the same way but about half a mile ahead. Time to hunt him down. It took me about five miles before I finally overtook him as he was running a similar pace to me. Thankfully he was running the same route as me and turned at the same place.

So my main focus was to do a negative split which is really supposed to be running the second half of your run faster than the first, but I did it for each mile of the route. Starting with a 7:53 split and getting slightly faster to a 7:04 split by the end.

I also ran four ‘strides’ at the end. These are where you accelerate upto full speed over 100m, hold it for five seconds and then gradually decelerate. After seven miles of running they are quite hard, but are supposed to help train your fast twitch muscles.

I’m pretty happy with the run though.


Run Regardless

Out with friends drinking and dancing until 2:30 am. Bed by 3:00. Up for a run at 7:15. Four miles in the bag with about a 7:45 pace.

Hard core?

Not really. I had planned to go further but my body wouldn’t let me. Too much beer and running with a hangover is only possible for a relatively short distance.

So stop. Walk back to the hotel and get a decent breakfast under your belt.

I am impressed with how many Austinians were out running today though. It was like being at an organized event but people were running both ways around the lake so I don’t think it was.

Also good to visit Mellow Johnny’s bike shop to do a little shopping. Hanging out with cyclist that are getting ready for their rides always makes me long for a bike.