Monthly Archives: January 2014

Marathon Training: Three Miles of Easy #WhatsThePoint?

I rarely have difficulty getting out the door for my morning runs but today was different. Today the plan called for a simple and slow three miler. It was twenty degrees which is an improvement on the weather of late, but you still have to wrap up to run. All that wrapping up for just three miles. Really? What’s the point?

Twenty-five minutes of cold relaxed running barely even seems worth doing.

But some people don’t run. Some people can’t run. Some people are injured and would give anything to run a tiny part of that distance.

Remember that and don’t grouch. Just run.

3.07 miles @ 8:05 pace. 24:53.



The Other Runner: They Talk!

Finally, after nine months of seeing someone out running in the nearby housing development and with me always saying “mornin’!”, I have been acknowledged!

The other runner said “Hello”. Amazing. I feel like I’ve finally warn them down. Hehehe.

Today’s rearranged schedule called for a six mile tempo run with four miles @7:39 pace. Mission accomplished.

20140130-064113.jpgAt times I felt like I was running too hard and the graph shows that there were periods where I was going faster but I had to account for the hills on the route.

20140130-064332.jpgAm I the only one who thinks that their “calories burned” symbol looks like burning dog poo? Stamp it out.

Anyhoooo, it was a good run and I feel like I can handle the speed again. A couple of weeks ago I was worried the tempo workouts were set too fast.

As for some techniques, I’ve been employing a couple of things that I read lately and they seem to help so I thought I’d put them in here:
1) when using your arms to ‘power you faster’ put the emphasis on the push backwards as this helps thrust you forwards, and
2) think about leading with your big toe while you are running. This seems to have helped me to stop rolling my foot quite so much. The wear on my shoes seems a little tempered since I’ve employed this technique.

Good stuff. Now to get a warm shower as it was 7F (real and actual) today.

Have a good one!

Marathon Training Plan: Week Swap Edition

In the fashion of ABC shows, this week is a ‘week swap’ edition so that I can have an easier set of runs while I am travelling in Singapore in early February. Having a plan is good. Not getting too hung up on it is better.

I’m swapping week four (easy week) with week 5 (16 mile long run).

So today I kicked off with a nice simple four miler and having read some other peoples blogs over the weekend I decided I should try and put some effort into it although it is classed as an easy run.

So I ran the last half mile at a higher pace just for the hell of it and, if I’m honest, to prove that my legs will still move at that pace!

20140128-064100.jpgIt was a 4.05 mile run with an average pace of 7:51, but for that last half I was in the 6:58-7:04 pace range.

It was bloomin’ cold out there again with windchills taking the temps down to zero F or lower. I’ve actually decided not to track it too closely at this point in case it starts to put me off going out. With sufficient layers it doesn’t seem to matter too much.

The roads were lovely and clear which was a surprise because they were pretty bad on Sunday. I guess having one day above freezing actually cleared down some of the mess. There is some black ice out there as is often the case when there is a re freeze.

Fourteen Mile LSD: Training Starts to get Challenging

Close to zero F again today but with fourteen miles to run. I’m certainly consistent in my pace for these runs as I came in at 2:01:44 for 14.11 miles which is a pace of 8:37. Not too bad. Still am faster than the marathon training plan suggests although very consistent with my previous times.

The roads were messy out there today but easier than running trails that haven’t been cleared. Fortunately there is very little traffic early on a Sunday morning in the wilds if Evansburg PA. Part of my run was through the State park which was beautiful with the light snow covering.

One of my goals for today was to start practicing refueling while running. The distances have now reached a point where I need to take on fuel during the run. So I ate most of a Clif snack bar and three Clif shot blocks. The last two blocks were a life saver as they gave me a real kick to get to the end.

Every time I took a drink of my water the nipple had frozen over. This made me smile and was refreshing!

I have a new top-tip for you: When planning a route don’t believe road names like ‘Level Road’ because it was anything but level! I’m guessing about a mile and a half of climbing. Not entertaining.

Glad this week is over. I believe week four in the plan is supposed to be an easy week but because I have some imminent travel to Singapore I am going to swap weeks and do another high one next week and then the easy one while I’m travelling. Doing sixteen miles in 95F heat after a twenty-two hour flight doesn’t seem like a very sensible idea to me! Remember plans are guidelines so you mustn’t get too hung up on them. You can juggle things to fit with the demands that life puts on you.

Okay, Enough of the Cold Already!

Back at home today in the wilds of suburbia and it is cold. Bits of me froze today. -4F/-20C. My thumbs got too cold as I left the house so I had to pull them into the main section of my glove and my neck gaiter froze solid with my breath on it. Even my knees developed a frosty envelope on my leggings.

20140124-065014.jpgI’ve not been watching the weather forecasts so don’t know how long this will last but it makes it very hard to do the appropriate workouts. Running fast for tempo runs with multiple layers on your legs and ice on the ground is really difficult.

Not too bad given the above with 5.99 miles @ 7:49 avg pace. The graph shows that I did actually get up to pace on a few occasions for which I am very glad because it was a hard effort.

20140124-070224.jpgOverall I’m pretty happy with that. It’s not as dialled in as these running plans seem to imply but it is close enough.

Here a selfie to illustrate the cold and my squiffy glasses.

20140124-070532.jpgNot very flattering, I know, but who looks good at the end of a hard, cold run? If you do then you probably didn’t run hard enough. 😉

Just Do It Anyway

I’m at a conference in Philly.
It is 2F/-16.5C outside.
There is snow and ice on the pathways.
There was an open bar last night.
I had five pints of beer.

Just do it anyway.

Five and a half miles run at an 8:13 pace around center city. I’ll call that my Friday easy run and switch it. There was no way I could do a tempo run today because of the location (inner city) and ice everywhere but an easy run should always be possible.

Running from a hotel means that there is always a welcoming committee at the front door when you return. And they will always give you props for being out there!

Thankfully no side effects from the beer.

Travel Running: Sticking to Marathon Plan While Away

This week I have a conference in Philadelphia to attend but I still have to stick to the marathon training plan.

So what better way to start the first day of the conference than with a five mile run from the hotel up and over the Ben Franklin Bridge. It was exactly 2.49 mile from leaving the hotel to touching my feet on the ground in New Jersey which was absolutely perfect! I ran an extra block on the way home for good measure. 5.16 miles @8:04 pace according to Nike+.

It was a beautiful morning with a slight chill in the air and a light breeze up on the bridge. The footpath is elevated above the road and rail ways so the air is quite clear for breathing and there’s no danger from traffic. The views as you go toward NJ are pretty as dawn rises and then coming back to the lights of Philly as it awakens; lovely. I didn’t stop for pictures as it would have ruined the vibe curfuffling with my phone holder.

I saw a group of Drexel students (30) out running as I was coming back over. Not one of them acknowledged my ‘hellos’; miserable buggers. They were mainly all plugged into iPlods. Good to see them out as I’d never have done that at their age. Building good habits, etc.

Feeling good now and ready to tackle the conference. Major snow is expected today and through tonight so Thursday’s tempo run won’t be as easy.

Marathon Training Week 2: LSD 12 Miler

Well it was certainly slower than my last half-marathon race but still faster than the pace my training plan has targeted for me. 12 miles @ 8:41 pace. Not too bad. I found some pretty extra miles in the Skippack area today. Running by farms and lakes, and people that have to clean out their horses stables. All very idyllic.

Mapmyrun was bad again today. This time I had deleted the app, cleared the GPS cache and other location data, re-installed, then connected to my heartrate monitor. For the first four miles it wasn’t reading any distance at all. Then part way through it sprung into life. The GPS points are all a long way off though. I may have to concede and switch to an old backup iPhone for running. Boo.

Nike+ worked as solidly as ever. You’ve got to love a solution that robust.

My shoes are definitely wearing in a weird way again but not quite as quickly. I was trying to change my gait today to straighten my footfall but I don’t think it helped much.

The temps have plummeted to 24F actual with a feel of 18F, and when the wind blew it really did feel 18F. My chin froze after about mile four so I had to massage it every so often to bring some sensation back to it.

I took at water bottle with me and had two small drinks, plus I consumed two clif shot blocks at about mile eight.

It was a beautiful morning though and I saw a lovely red fox part way through. A lovely end to the second week of the training plan. Twenty-seven miles weekly total, forty-eight overall and nothing bad yet.

I wouldn’t want to miss out on running for anything!

Friday Easy Four-Miler

Another day, another distance. Today was a short four mile run to clear the legs out from yesterday’s speed work. It got cold again and was 24F when I went out. Brr. But that’s what layers are for and I was toasty in about half a mile.

The mapmyrun app was completely and utterly screwed up again today, measuring 13.5 miles in 12 minutes. Both the time and the distance are way off. Here’s a screen shot because I am so incredulous:

20140117-065931.jpgThere were two obviously wrong GPS readings that threw out the large number, but even the small local reading were very inaccurate. This annoys me for a couple of reasons: 1) I pay for MVP membership with mapmyrun and this renders the app useless, 2) their service syncs up to my works health plan and earns me points, but it is so inaccurate it is now stealing money from me as exercise has to be measured at least at 20 minutes. 3) the email responses have been automated and useless. Nothing has worked.

It is working fine on my wife’s iPhone, just not mine. Crazy.

Thank goodness for Nike+. 4.12 miles in 33:50 with a pace of 8:12. Right in the zone (as I am ignoring the 9:07 pace requested in the plan as that is tooooooooo slow for me).

I also checked my shoes this morning to see if they are wearing on the outer edges and they are after just 15 miles. Looks like it’s me rather than the shoes causing the problem. I wonder how you correct the lateral angle that your foot hits the ground? My little toes seems to strike before the middle if my feet.

Marathon Training Plan: Speedwork Isn’t So Easy

Perhaps I should not have cycled to work yesterday, but I could not get my legs moving fast enough for the required Speedwork session the plan called for today.

I’m supposed to do six miles with one warm-up, then three times one mile at 7:11 pace, with half mile jogs in between. Then a mile cool down.

Not helped by my technology still failing with mapmyrun (which interestingly worked fine on my bike ride yesterday; grr) I was using nike+ to try and gauge pace and distance. This is difficult because one of the variables for Speedwork is your gait; you tend to take longer steps which would throw off the nike+ system that measures your distance based on a average step length. However, it is all I have to go by so I’ll just have to believe it.

20140116-063639.jpgThe graph quite clearly shows the periods I sped up. I wasn’t consistently fast enough through any of the speed intervals. It looks like I topped out at about 7:10 pace which is pretty well right on the button, but that needs to be the consistent pace for those sections. The second interval was the slowest. It was slightly uphill but that is really just making excuses; I clearly didn’t push hard enough. The last interval looks like it was faster but went a bit wibbly towards the end.

Must try harder, me thinks. It wouldn’t be called training if it was easy.