Monday, February 08, 2016

Training Recap - 02/01 through 02/07

It's February, so it's time for shit to get real. I'm still worried about my calf, but easy running and lots of maintenance should keep it in check. Big jump in mileage this week, although a lot of it was easy and/or dog running. I tried daily 10-minute strength sessions, and that doesn't work for me. After not doing anything on Friday's rest day, I just gave up. I'll go back to trying to do strength twice a week. No cross-training this week, and now that I'm running so very easy most of the time, I'm guessing XT won't happen.

6 runs in 6 days (4.5trail)
33+ miles
155 average heart rate, 179 max heart rate
65 average resting heart rate
4 strength (short sessions)
0 XT
5 maintenance (foam-rolling, stretching, Myrtl)

Sunday's trail run at Plateau Trail
Monday: 5.24 miles in 1 hour (11:27 pace, 146 avg HR) + 10-15 min of strength (lower) & maintenance
I headed home after work and just hopped on the treadmill for an hour, still doing that low HR thing. I watched some Buffy while running, and by the end, I had to drop the pace horrifyingly low to keep my HR from being too high. Trust the process, trust the process.

I'm aiming for at least 10 minutes of strength work per day, so Monday was lower body (squats, one-legged squats, Myrtls, etc.).

Tuesday: 5.25 miles (dog running, 143 avg HR) + 10-15 min of strength (core, upper) & maintenance
I took three dogs out: Minnie, Buddy and Carlita. All of them were easy-going joys! Young Minnie continues her recovery from surgery, Buddy is young and Carlita is older. <3

Wednesday: 5 miles (9:41 average w/ middle 3 at 9:10, 172 avg HR) + 10-15 min of strength (lower) & maintenance
Group run night! Except I decided to pick up the pace at the 2-mile turnaround so I ran 2 miles solo and then Aaron joined me for a cooldown mile. I ran my fastest mile of the year so far: 8:29. Max HR was 189. Felt pretty good.

Thursday: 4.25 miles (dog running, 146 avg HR) + 10 min of strength (upper)
Another dog running night! No one new, but two dogs who needed to go out. Bernice (my little project) and Karma are both in the back, and I think it's hard on them. They both pulled more than usual, so there must have been something in the air.

Friday: rest

Saturday: 9 miles (Hadd test, 1:45, 160 avg HR) + maintenance
See this post for details of the Hadd test, but a lot of this run was VERY slow because it was based on heart rate. I felt good, though, and I'm looking forward to repeating the workout in six weeks. Also it's kind of fun not worrying about pace at all, just going by HR.

Sunday: 4.5 miles (trail, 163 avg HR) + foam-rolling
Beautiful morning for a trail run! I felt pretty good too. There's something to this slow running.

Upcoming week:
Monday: 45-60 minutes easy + strength
Tuesday: dog running (may switch w/ Thursday)
Wednesday: 5-6 miles (speed)
Thursday: 45-60 minutes easy + strength (could always be dogs)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3-4 miles easy
Sunday: 10k trail race

January Recap

(Oops - never finished this so I never published it.)

Given the weird calf issues and general out-of-shapeness, January turned out okay:

Walk/RunRunAvg RunRunsTrailDog

Fast MileSpeedAvg PaceTimeper day


I also started doing more heart rate training, so I'm not even going to really look at my overall pace. I've slowed WAY down (which is fine and to be expected), but it will be useful as HR training progresses, right?

I've also started tracking my average resting heart rate (first thing in the morning, before getting up). I only have four days in January, and the average was 64.5.

Heart Rate
AvgMaxRestAerobicToo High

* The only race I did in January was the Dirty Snowflake Prediction Run where I finished third.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Hadd Test

I did my first Hadd test on Saturday morning. It's basically 5x2400 with 90 seconds rest at varying heart rates. I structured mine like this:
 1.5 miles at 140 HR
 1.5 miles at 150 HR
 1.5 miles at 160 HR
 1.5 miles at 170 HR
 1.5 miles at 180 HR
 1.5 miles cooldown
So 9 miles, which was the farthest I'd run in quite some time. My results:
 9 miles in 1:45:17 at 11:42 pace
 142 at 13:59 pace
 151 at 13:21 pace
 161 at 11:45 pace
 171 at 10:15 pace
 181 at 9:09 pace
Newton Gravity IV
The first two repeats were dreadfully slow. In the first one, I stopped to walk a lot. Second was better, although there were a couple of walk breaks. Third and fourth, I felt normal. Fifth, I felt like I was pushing some, but generally felt fine. I think I'm used to being at a higher heart rate.

There's not much to say right now as this is really a baseline result. Clearly my heart rate is too high, which indicates poor aerobic conditioning. I'm looking forward to repeating the test in six weeks to see if I've improved. 

Overall, I enjoyed the workout. It was pretty easy/very comfortable for much of the run, and I looked forward to pushing the pace on the last rep. I've since adjusted the workout on my watch because I had the target pace at the top of the intensity range. That meant even at 1 or 2 beats over, the watch was alerting me. I changed the alert so that now, for example, the range is 148 to 153 for a target 150 HR. That should work better. 

Nutrition notes: I did go out Friday night to a beer tasting and to a bar. I had soup, a taco and chips for dinner (along with a Diet Coke). Between the tasting and the bar, I probably had three pints. I went to bed around 11:30 and got up around 7:30, so decent night's sleep. I ate a bagel (half with butter and half with pb&j) and drank a cherry lime caffeinated Nuun before the run. It was around 30 and sunny for the run itself. I carried water and took a Roctane strawberry kiwi gel at 4.5 miles. 

Gear notes: I wore Saucony convertible gloves, Brooks ear warmer, Brooks Utopia tights, pink Nike top with kangaroo pocket, Injinji socks (of course), Newton Gravity IVs. Fourth and longest run in the Gravity IVs, and they're dirty AF. I think I like them, and I am totally bummed that my store isn't carrying Newtons anymore. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

Training Recap - 01/25 through 01/31

Last week of January! Because of everything going on this week, the goal was 6 runs for mileage in the mid 20s plus one strength session and lots of foam-rolling/stretching/Myrtls. I also planned to start heart rate training and to check my resting heart rate first thing in the morning. The initial plan is to keep my heart rate under 150 for every run except for the Wednesday group run (knowing that it's dark and I don't want to run alone). How did I do?

6 runs in 5 days (0 trail)
26+ miles
148 average heart rate, 166 max heart rate
1 strength
0 XT
4 maintenance (foam-rolling, stretching, Myrtl)
1 massage

Monday: 3.79 miles (11:52 pace, 150 avg HR) + strength + maintenance
Despite the nice 40+ temps and clear skies, I headed to the gym. Training by heart rate means everything takes way longer. I walked first and then started slowly jogging, and I still had to take a walk break or two to keep my heart rate under 150. Frustrating.

Tuesday: 4.95 miles (dog running, 147 avg HR) + maintenance
I ran three dogs: Minnie for almost two miles, Bernice for over two miles and Sandy for the remainder. Luckily the dogs like to take breaks, which made it easier to keep my heart rate under 150.

Wednesday: 5 miles (9:49 pace, 172 avg HR) + maintenance
I knew I'd be out of my heart rate zone for this run because I was running with the group. I didn't want to run solo! Despite the high HR, I felt fine. Calves were tight, but not painful.

Thursday: massage
I had hoped to get up and run easy before work, but sleep won out. I was tired. After work, I got a massage. I don't think I require as much work right now, so my next one is in 4 weeks. I may move to 6 weeks after that.

Friday: 5.07 miles (11:50 pace, 145 avg HR) + maintenance
             + 2.14 miles (11:41, 142 avg HR)
The benefit of the treadmill is that it's easier to watch my pace. I ran an hour before work while watching Gilmore Girls and just kept it nice and easy. After the first mile, I didn't change the speed on the TM, but I did hop off to grab a drink, which is why there are variations in the splits.

M1: 12:05, 136 HR
M2: 11:42, 144 HR
M3: 11:44, 146 HR
M4: 11:55, 148 HR
M5: 11:46, 149 HR
(.07: 11:45, 154 HR)

Since my HR didn't go over target until the very last bit, I guess the hour was just right. It'll be interesting to compare similar workouts. Also, my cadence is too slow on these slow, easy runs, so I need to work on that.

After work, I spent 2+ miles on the treadmill testing out my new Newton Gravity shoes.

Saturday: off (Pittsburgh)

Sunday: 5.16 miles (dog running, 141 avg HR)
When we got back from Pittsburgh, we headed over to the shelter. I actually ended up taking out the same three dogs as earlier in the week. My heart rate shot up over 190 when a loose dog charged me and Bernice, but I recovered quickly :)

Upcoming week:
It's time to get serious. I have done all I can to verify that I don't have a stress fracture, I'm doing lots of maintenance to keep the calves in check and I'm running mostly easy. It's time to build up the distance again so I can run all of my races! 27 to 32 miles with two strength-training sessions. I may have to start doing morning workouts to get in two strength. Ugh. All runs but Wednesday and Saturday should be under 150 HR; not sure how I'm going to handle Sunday's run because trail runs typically get my heart rate above target.
  • Monday: 3- to 5-mile easy run or XT + strength
  • Tuesday: 3- to 5-mile dog run or easy run
  • Wednesday: 5-mile group run (maybe 5 miles w/ 3 at pace?) 
  • Thursday: 3- to 5-mile dog run or easy run + strength
  • Friday: rest (possibly move strength to here?)
  • Saturday: 9-mile Hadd test (5x1.5M w/ 1.5M cooldown)
  • Sunday: 4-mile trail run

Friday, January 29, 2016

Heart Rate Training

Because I finally got a heart rate monitor and I'm not trying to set any PRs this spring, this is the perfect time for heart rate training. (This spring is just about staying healthy so I can run ALL THE RACES.) I've done a bunch of reading and have come to some conclusions:
  • Heart rate training takes tremendous patience.
  • You need to ditch your ego.
  • Easy runs are the bread and butter of most training plans. They served me well over the summer, although I probably ran them too fast, and there's no reason to ditch them. 
  • My aerobic system isn't well-conditioned, and I've probably lost a lot since October.
  • Maffetone and his method contains too much bullshit pseudo-science for me to take him seriously. "Carbohydrate intolerance" and "adrenal fatigue" are two phrases that raise red flags. The formula for your target heart rate is WAY too low (I'm 40, have asthma and take daily medications), and I can't see that it's really based on any real science. The upside to Maffetone is that you're not likely to get injured this way and you will build your aerobic system. You also won't be able to have any fun or do any group runs. 
  • The Hadd method is more realistic and incorporates workouts. Two higher-HR runs/week sounds great to me. That gives me a trail run and a workout -- perfect! (My long runs might be an issue, but I'm not going to worry about that yet.)
Currently I'm running five to six days/week and slowly building up my mileage. (I'm also trying to do some regular strength-training and lots of maintenance work.) I'm keeping my heart rate at 150 for most runs (and I have no real reason for choosing that HR), but I will just let Wednesday group runs go as they go. I may move into workouts those nights (especially as we get more daylight) because the moderate pace probably isn't doing me any favors. 

I'm also looking at doing the test that Hadd describes in this PDF. My plan is to do it next week for a 9-miler (5x1.5miles at varying heart rates with a final 1.5 miles as a cooldown). Curious to see how that goes. 

Also, "Hadd" wasn't his real name. He was coach John Walsh who passed away a while back. He was an active contributor on and seemed like a great guy who was very generous with his time and expertise. All of the info about his methods are online resources, often compiled by other internet users. I'm sad that I just discovered him, and he's no longer with us. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Training Recap - 01/18 to 01/24

I feel like my training was better when I had a plan, when I recapped the week and previewed the next week. I'm winging the plan these days (training myself, if you will, ala Brad Hudson's Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon), but maybe I should put some more thought into it. Recapping and planning the week ahead will help.

I also bought myself a wrist-based heart rate monitor (Mio Link) that connects to my Garmin or my phone/iPad, so that should be some fun data to track. I've just been using it to track my HR during runs/workouts, but I think I'm going to start checking it first thing in the morning for a while.

The plan going into the week was to bump up my mileage a bit (from low 20s to mid 20s) and to do two strength-training sessions and probably one cross-training. As my calf is feeling better and I am upping my mileage, I'm guessing XT will fall again. I need to keep up with the strength though. Only goal for the first half of the year is to stay injury-free -- any "fast" races are bonuses.

I ended up with 27+ miles and two strength-training sessions (admittedly, however, the second one was much weaker than the first). No cross-training.

Monday: 3.25 TM miles | 10:46, easy | 146 avg HR | full-body strength
Gear: Saucony Mirage 5
I ran 3 miles slowly and walked a quarter-mile to fully cool down. I followed that up with about 25 minutes strength-training. I didn't do as much ab work as I should have, but I did stretch and foam-roll a bit; I also did my Myrtls.

Tuesday: 5 TM miles | 10:31, speed | 162 avg HR, 188 max
Gear: Saucony Kinvara 5, calf sleeves
Because of my cranky calf, I am easing into speed workouts. I warmed up for a mile, ran two miles at half-marathon pace (9:03), ran moderate for a quarter-mile (10:00), ran a quarter-mile "fast" (8:00), walked until my HR dropped, jogged until I hit 4.5 miles and then walked until I hit 5. I followed that up with some stretching, but I skipped my Myrtls and don't think I did any foam-rolling. I iced my calf while having a beer.

Wednesday: 4 miles | 10:08, pub run | 169 avg HR, 186 max
Gear: Saucony RunShield Kinvara 5, calf sleeves
Monthly pub run! We were a little group of four among the big group, and we just ran pretty easy (although my max heart rate indicates otherwise). I foam-rolled my legs when I got home, and they felt better.

Thursday: 4 miles | dog running | 150 avg HR, 174 max | strength
Gear: Saucony RunShield Kinvara 5, right calf sleeve
I had THE BEST dogs Thursday night. I started with Karma, a cattle dog/terrier mix, who is gentle and responsive. We easily ran 2 miles, and I only cut it short because of the cold. She got something (maybe salt?) in her back paw and had no problem with me removing it. Very sweet. Stops, pees and sniffs some. I followed up Karma with Minnie who is another mix. They say shepherd and Shiba Inu. Her ears look like a Corgis - so cute. She recently had surgery so she's on a strict exercise regimen and I was happy to help. She needed 20-25 minutes so we did another 2 miles. She likes to hold the leash. I followed up with about 20 minutes of at-home strength-training (lunges, pushups, etc.).

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5 miles | trail | 12:36 pace | 169 avg HR, 185 max
Gear: Saucony Peregrine 5, calf sleeves
A group of us met Saturday morning to check out a new trail. Honestly I didn't feel great. I didn't drink a lot Friday night, but I also didn't eat a lot, nor did I drink enough water. We parked at the Wetmore trailhead, but crossed the street to do part of the Langes trail, finishing up on the Wetmore. Good loop that we can easily add on more mileage. My right calf felt mostly okay, and I stretched, rolled and did my Myrtls afterward.

Sunday: 6 miles | 10:19, easy | 164 avg HR, 175 max
Gear: Saucony RunShield Kinvara 5, calf sleeves
We met at the Towpath for six easy miles. I lagged behind the group some to keep my heart rate down. (Why is it always so high?! Starting to do more research.) I felt better than Saturday though.It was really cold initially, but it did warm up by the end. My right calf bothered me a little afterward, but nothing bed. Stretching seemed to help, although I did not do enough.

Upcoming week:
Things are tricky this week. I have a massage Thursday, and we're going to Pittsburgh for the weekend. I need to be a grown-up and get shit done despite other activities. Aiming for mid20s again, but realistically only one strength session. I should be able to fit in some ab work maybe, and at least foam-rolling uses my upper body!
  • Monday: 3-6 miles - if at the gym, I'll add speed, strength and XT; if not, I'll do some at-home stuff while foam-rolling, stretching and Myrtling
  • Tuesday: dog running so 3-5 miles with foam-rolling, stretching and Myrtling later
  • Wednesday: group run so 5-6 miles probably, hopefully I'll at least Myrtl
  • Thursday: 3 miles, easy (before work) + massage after work
  • Friday: 6 miles, before work, hopefully I'll at least Myrtl and do some foam-rolling before going to work
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 3-5 miles, easy (or maybe trail in my neighborhood) plus foam-rolling, stretching and Myrtling
Thursday, Friday & Sunday are going to be the issue! I should probably try to front-load mileage as much as I can.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dirty Snowflake Prediction Run

On Saturday, Jan. 16, I did the Dirty Snowflake Prediction Run for the fourth time -- and this time, I got it right! The premise is that you predict how long it will take you to run the race and then you run blind (without a watch/phone/timing device). The goal is to predict your time as closely as possible. I predicted 42:23 and came in 42:21 -- pretty damn good! But first and second places were 1 second and decided by a fraction.

The week before, there was a preview run, which I did. I think that really helped even though course conditions were slightly different. It's roughly 4 miles (more like 3.75) and starts at the Ledges. You do the Ledges trail and the Pine Grove trail, and it's pretty runnable. The Ledges are harder to run because it's rockier, narrow and busier as it's the beginning of the race.

When we did the preview run, it was threatening rain, but luckily we missed most of that. It was pretty pleasant to run actually. When we finished, it started raining harder and the temps were dropping so we got lucky there. I ran that run around an 11;20 pace. For the race, it was a little colder (20s) and I knew there was some ice, but it shouldn't be too bad. I figured the ice would make up for the "race adrenaline" so I'd probably run around the same time, maybe a touch faster. So that's what I predicted.

2012 race: 52:15
2013 race: 46:25
2014 race (major course change due to ice so not comparable): 37:59
2016 race: 42:21

The only problem with a prediction run is that you have to wait until everyone finishes for awards. After I checked my time, I knew I would probably place so I had to stick around. We were in the Ledges shelter, so that was helpful. There was ramen and coffee so it wasn't too cold while we waited. "We" is just me and one friend because no one else could do the race or was interested. I was glad he was there to keep me company. (He even filmed me accepting my medal. And by the way, big props to the race director for getting my name right!)

I really like this race. 4ish miles is a nice length, it's friendly for beginners and walkers, there's an indoor place to hang out and it's not super-expensive. I am loving being on the trails more even if it's not so good on my calf. I just need to strengthen everything more so I can be healthy for the Salt Fork race at the end of April.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Races

I have a bunch of races coming up. While I would love to see some PRs, I want to be injury-free. So everything, as far as a training plan, is in flux. I'm registered for a lot, and I need to be healthy by April. For the HMs, sub-2:10 would be okay, right?
  • Jan. 16 - Dirty Snowflake Prediction Run (4 miles, trails)
  • Jan. 24 - Winter Buckeye Trail Half Marathon ---- dropped out b/c of calf
  • Feb. 14 - Dirty Love 10k Trail Run
  • Feb. 27 - Chili Bowl 5k ---- not registered, won't do if I don't think I can PR
  • March 6 - Shamrock 15k
  • April 10 - Athens Half Marathon
  • April 24 - Glass City Half Marathon
  • April 30 - Salt Fork Spring Challenge (10.4 miles, trails) ---- need to beat my 2015 time!
  • May 15 - Cleveland Half Marathon
  • June 5 - Great Breweries 25k (Belgium!)

2016 and time to log stuff again.

Recap of November, December and the first half of January: Mileage dipped to 20, got back up to 30, settled in the mid 20s where I am while now. Ran most days, nothing too far. Handful of strength sessions. More trail runs. Right calf pain came back in December, possibly worse than June's pain, so I made an appointment with an ortho and a massage therapist.

It took a while to get into the ortho so in the meantime I made an appointment with a massage therapist at a place with more of a clinical bent. He listened to me, worked with me on some stretches and worked the hell out of my calves ("Your left calf doesn't bother you? I'm surprised.). We didn't even get to my back or upper body. I immediately scheduled a second appointment, which I've already had. I see him again next week.

At the beginning of January, I had my appointment with the ortho. After much talking, prodding and X-Rays, it's probably not a stress fracture (fibula, the smaller calf bone), although it's possible I had one earlier. No MRI at this time as they are expensive and insurance is picky about covering them,

Upping the mileage with more trails is probably causing the inflammation (peroneal tendons). On that same leg, I also appear to have a minor patella alta, which means that the patella is riding high. For me, that's likely because my quad is tight and pulling it up. That also might be affecting my gait and my push-off and causing the pain in my calf. 

The ortho was not cheap and I am not rich. We are going with an "as-needed" relationship where I hopefully do not have to go back. If I wanted to be more aggressive, I would be in a boot, scheduling physical therapy and signing up for a new gym membership with a pool. Instead I am backing off running some, integrating more strength and stretching and cutting some of the trail running. And also seeing the massage therapist once every 3 to 4 weeks.

The therapist wants me to warm up my calves better before running and then to stretch them after, which I've been doing. The ortho wants me to focus on nutrition (but not lose weight!), stretching and strengthening. (She also mentioned some crazy stuff about the female athlete triad.)

Managing this body is going to take more time than actually running! 

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Training Recap - 11/16 through 11/22

Oh look - the last training log I started.

Monday: 4 miles, 42 minutes, NB 1400
Target: 30 minutes, easy
I met a friend for a dark run on the Bike & Hike. It was fine, although I wished I'd worn my light gloves. I didn't feel good, nor did I feel bad. I note that I really need to get my running back on track. It's the 16th and I hit 50 miles for the month (will I even hit a hundred?).

Tuesday: 3.5 miles, dog running, 55 minutes, Newton Fate
Target: off, XT or 30 minutes, easy
I had my sweet Puggle Penny again and then a cocker named Andy. Both are from puppy mills, very sweet and joggers, not runners. I should probably not hang out with Penny anymore seeing as how she climbed into my lap and I nearly took her home.

Wednesday: 5.75 miles, 56;30, Newton Distance
Target: cruise intervals for ~8-mile workout (6x1k + 3x200m strides)
We skipped the pub run so we could get home earlier and get stuff done before going to Asheville this weekend. Because of the unpredictable weather, we ended up running in Kent. It was fine, and I finished well. I am disappointed that I continue to not follow the plan and wonder if I should just ditch the idea altogether.

Sidenote: My Garmin has been giving me fits. It's just over 2 years old, and the charging contacts are really pitted. I've been working with Garmin Support, which sent me a new charger back in May. That didn't fix the problem. I'm still limping the watch along (replacement options are disappointing: another 610 for $99, which is fine, or 20% off another watch, but not the 230, 235 or 630, which is a shitty option). The upside is that I finally got my Timex Ironman OneGPS+ watch that I won a while back. I'll do a full review/comparison, but early indications are that it's not going to work for me long term (no accelerometer, have to do workouts ON THE WATCH, touchscreen doesn't work with gloves).