Tag Archives: training plan

Marathon Training Update & Nike+

Early mornings can suck sometimes. Especially when you have to run on a holiday. 

But then you come across a view like the photo above and it’s all worth it. Very few others saw this site. All of time waited for me to witness this. 

My Nike+ training plan gave me a relatively light week last week but is stepping it up this week. 

I had several speed runs last week which I still find tough to get motivated for even though only last for half an hour at the most. 

I had two speed workouts; one that was 12×200 and another that was 8×400. All with short recovery times because the mornings were chilly. 

The Nike+ Running Club app on my phone has now broken one of the nice new features! It no longer repeats the info from the phone on your Apple watch. Twice this week it crashed on the watch but kept running on the phone. In fact, it never really started up properly. 

I had to delay my Friday long run as we decided to have a family breakfast and I couldn’t run after that! So I ended up going out on Sunday morning for a 12.75 miler in the temperate weather that hit this weekend. 50F is rather surprising for February. 

Later that day, Nike+ asked me to update my run programme and when it did this it put down a 12.5 mile run for Monday too. What a cow! I think “Nicki” (my name for the voice of the Nike+ app) has got it in for me. 😦

This week is going to be tough with the 12.5 miler today, a benchmark run, a 6 mile recovery run and then an 18.5 miler on Friday. 

I’m going to have to increase my food intake as I’m starting to feel like my legs are very heavy and underpowered. 


Nike+ Run Club Experiment

I have been an avid user of mapmyrun for many, many years, but with my purchase of the Apple Watch Nike+, I’m trying out that app for a while.

My trial with Nike+ continues with the third week of my plan and some variations on the types of run it is having me do.

Firstly, it had me run a speed test this week. This wasn’t a great experience. The speed test is laid out as running 400 meters five times, with a two minute rest break in between. If you try to start this from your Apple Watch Nike+ it will tell you to use the phone. When you use the phone you will quickly realize that you’ll have to keep your phone in your hand while you do the run! 

After you start the run, you need to watch the screen to see when you pass the 400 meter mark, then you have to press a button. This starts the two minute rest timer. Once it passes two minutes you need to press the button again to start the next 400 meter section… there are no audio prompts, no guidelines and no feedback. 

Again there is no integration to the watch whatsoever.

At the end of the run, the disembodied voice of Kevin Hart blasted through my brain congratulating me on the run.

My feeling about this exercise routine is that it was very poorly implemented.

The second run type was a benchmark run. This was really well implemented. A benchmark run is a seven minute gentle warm-up, followed by three minutes of all-out effort and five minutes cool-down time.

When you start the run, a calm-voiced trainer gentle talks to you about what you are about to do. They introduce the form of the run, why you are here and give you good general coaching encouragement. Throughout the warm-up the coach builds your enthusiasm for the coming effort.

There’s a count down to the theee minutes and you’re off! The coach chimes in a couple of times during this hard effort encouraging you to push harder and letting you know how far through you are. Then, all too soon, the hard effort is over and you are in the cool down phase.

Here the coach tells you what you achieved, massages your ego a little and reminds you why you are doing this.

Once you complete the run, that disembodied Kevin Hart voice comes back to award you a gold star.

What a difference between the implementations! 2/10 for the speed routine. 9/10 for the benchmark. 

I’ll fill you in with more details as I move through the program.

Marathon Training: Running on Tired Legs

That’s what the training appears to mostly be about: Getting your body used to moving when your legs are already tired. 

I am at the highest mileage week of the training plan that calls for fifty miles, culminating with a 22 miler on already tired legs. 

I’m not really looking forward to it but hopefully it will pass easily enough. 

I’ve run the last three days in a row with distances of 10.5, 6 and another 6. I even cycled to work a couple of times just to add to the muscle confusion and tiredness. 

I’ve been stocking up on carbs and protein today to help with muscle recovery and energy reserves for tomorrow.  

 It will be interesting to see what the run brings after a few beers…

Dreadmill Workout: Losing a Day and Out to Play

I’m back in sunny New Jersey after a long couple of days of conference, partying and travel.

I had waaaa too many drinks on the Tuesday night because I knew that I didn’t have a run the next morning so it was really my only night to have a few. What started at 6:30 kept going until 4am. Long session which devolved into many shots at some point in the evening. I spent the time hanging with a good group of colleagues from Australia in a bar where we had free run over the music selection.

Wednesday’s conference was helpful with my team getting many mentions (which is always a good morale booster), then Wednesday night was supposed to be an easy night… But I got led astray (to be fair, I am quite an instigator myself) and ended the night at the Ku De Ta nightclub at the top of the hotel. Drinking in the open air at the 57th floor. Pretty good night and stuck to beer…

However, this left just three hours for sleep before my first flight out. There was no way I could squeeze in my planned six miler (interval run). Then began 26 hours of flights and airport time. Three wasn’t sufficient time at Tokyo to do the run at the airport and, to be honest, no one would want to sit next to me for the next twelve hours after a workout like that!

Upon arrival in NJ there was snow everywhere. My wife had booked me a hotel at the airport in advance and I gave in and used it. This meant one thing. I was going to have to forfeit one of the runs from my schedule: either the six mile Speedwork or the three mile easy run.

I checked out the hotel dreadmills and they seemed to be okay so I decided to do the speed workout with a shorter warm up/cool down. The weekend run calls for 18 miles (if I can find enough miles with no snow on them!) so I don’t want to do too much today.

One interesting thing was that I was able to compare my nike+ calibration with the dreadmill which could itself be out of calibration. Interestingly, at the end of the five miles it was only 1% higher than my nike+. This means I am probably doing ever so slightly more than I need to do, but that is pretty impressive accuracy. Or rather, they may both be inaccurate but by a similar amount.

Another observation was that when I set the dreadmill at a particular speed I could vary my pace over quite a large range as measured by nike+. This is because nike+ measures your cadence to assess your speed. On my middle interval with the speed set to 8.4 mph I could vary the pace between 7:30 and 8:20 quite easily with cadence tweaks. I guess this is why you get better results when you have calibrated the nike+ to your running style. Despite this experimentation, it is clearly quite closely calibrated to my actual average running cadence.

Turns out, however, that I did the wrong workout because I neglected to check my schedule before I went to the gym. I ended up doing a tempo run (with a negative split, for fun) rather than the prescribed speedwork. Whoops.

I did a half mile warm up at 6-6.4 mph, interval 1 at 7.8 mph, recovery at 6.4 mph, interval 2 at 8.4 mph followed by recovery, then interval 3 at 9.0 mph. I then did a half mile cool down. Total distance 5 miles.20140214-093714.jpgPurely coincidentally, the last of these intervals was at the correct pace for the workout I was supposed to be doing. Notice the negative split on the intervals. Each was faster by 0.6 mph and you could plot that as a straight line across the peaks of that graph. 😉

The dreadmill was horrible. It had a tv screen showing basketball highlights (so I couldn’t focus off into the distance) and having all those stats so immediately in front of you means that you just sit there watching the numbers tick… like your life ebbing away.

Now I have to get myself together and go to dig my car out from the airport parking lot. Hopefully someone there will have a shovel I can use!

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.

Bite-Sized Marathon Pace Sandwich

When you have a running plan it helps you to know what you can invest on each day of the week. Thus I know that tomorrow I have to do my long distance run and should not put too much out there today.

I’ve had to shift my schedule around slightly to allow my wife to do her preparations for a half-marathon on Saturday.

So, today I ran a bite-sized marathon pace sandwich with a half mile warm up and then three miles of marathon pace running, followed by a half mile cool down. This worked out well; my first half was 9:24 pace, my next was 8:27, the rest were in the 7:20 through 7:40 range, with the cool down at 7:53. I still felt like I had plenty of strength in my legs which is good because I intend to ride to/from work again today. The overall average for the run was 7:59 pace but that’s pretty good given that slow start!

This was quite a good format for a run so I’d encourage others to try it even on short runs. It gets your body used to differentiating between different paces.

My arms and legs felt strong today. My legs definitely were stronger in the pick up after having a day off cycling so I hope today’s exploits don’t impact my run tomorrow too much. Time will tell…