Training 2015 Week 9

86.3 miles this week.

Nice build up so far :)

The goal for the week is 84 miles with a workout on Tuesday, a 10 mile progression run on Wednesday, and a 20 mile long run on Saturday. I think that should put me at 300 miles for the month, which looks like my biggest month ever.

For the second week in a row, Monday morning did not start the usual way. I ended up sleeping in on Monday morning and hitting the treadmill at the Y before a meeting that evening. I only had an hour, so I set it at 7 minute pace and just ran for an hour.

Tuesday morning was a cold day for a track workout, but we did it. After a 2 mile warmup I started 4 x 1600m with the goal of running 5:16 with a 3 minute recovery. I didn’t want to start too fast, but when I hit 100m 2 seconds behind and 200m 4 seconds behind I focused on speeding up in order to hit my paces. Unfortunately, I never did. Reps were: 5:24, 5:23, 5:19, 5:23. It was not a good morning at the track. That afternoon I went to the Y and knocked out 6 miles on the treadmill. I don’t want to get too soft and run too many miles on the treadmill, but I am sick of the cold and have been grateful to have the option available. Hopefully it will warm up next week.

kismetWednesday I ran East Nasty in the morning. Then I stopped by Nashville Running Company to pick up a new pair of shoes. I have been running primarily in lightweight Newton trainers for 2-3 years. As my mileage is creeping up, I decided to try a little more shoe this time (plus, the Distance 4 isn’t out yet and I needed a new shoe now, not in a couple of weeks). I went with the Newton Kismet. I tested them out at the evening East Nasty run and think they will work nicely.

Thursday morning I met up with Greg, Lindsay, and Emily for a Thursday morning half-marathon. There was a dusting of snow on the ground, but luckily the roads weren’t too slick and it wasn’t too cold.

Friday was designed to be an easy day. It was cold enough that I decided to just phone it in on the office treadmill for 5 miles.

Saturday morning, Greg and I met up with the Nashville Striders for one of their organized long runs. It ended up being one of the best long runs I have ever had. I have never felt as fresh at the end of a 20 miler as I did on Saturday. Maybe it was the shoes, maybe it was taking it easy the few days before, maybe it was watching my weight and resting heart rate. Whatever it was, it worked. I could have easily cruised along for a couple of more miles at least. This run also pushed me over 300 miles for February (301 to be exact). That is one of my highest mileage months ever (maybe the highest?) and it is the shortest month :)

Sunday, Greg, Damian, and I ran the 11.2 WHILE WEARING SHORTS. Ahhhhhh. We averaged 6:49 pace which is a little faster than the last time (which was a little faster than the time before that, etc). We came to the conclusion that 3 mile hill is definitely tougher than 9 mile hill.

So, I ran 86 miles this week. There were two doubles, a mediocre workout, a skipped progression run, and a good 20 mile long run. Next week: less mileage and a PR attempt at the Tom King Half-marathon.

7 weeks until the Boston Marathon.


Mon 8 @ 7:00 (treadmill)
Tue 2 miles warmup
4 x 1600m (5:24, 5:23, 5:19, 5:23)
2.5 miles cool down
6 @ 6:56 (treadmill)
Wed 6.5 w/ East Nasty @ 7:46  6.5 w/ East Nasty @ 7:23
Thu  13.1 @ 7:42
Fri  5 @ 7:18
Sat  20 @ 6:43
Sun  12 @ 6:49

A Month Without Social Media

gone-fishinI took a Social Media Vacation in February. For the entire month I didn’t post or check to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

At first, I definitely felt withdrawals. I even started jotting down some things that I would tweet if I could:

Feb 1st @ 10:03am – This is really hard. I keep thinking of things I want to post.

Feb 1st @ 11:23am – I am working on Quickbooks while eating breakfast. I commented to Erica “I am going to be so productive this month! I will probably leave social media forever.” Immediately after, I start thinking of the benefits of twitter. #ugh

Feb 1st @ 12:11pm – I have a question for Zapier that I want to tweet. Instead I have to dig through the help / support stuff.

Feb 2nd @ 6:20pm – OMG, Erica is on the news talking about education and I can’t post about it.

Feb 3rd @ 7:10am – Just crushed a workout. Can’t tweet it. At least I have Strava.

Feb 3rd @ 12:18pm – Canceling my ADP account BY FAX. Ugh, the fax won’t go through. #FML #F-ADP

Writing down things-you-would-say doesn’t have the same dopamine effect as posting and getting reactions (likes, favorites, retweets, etc). As a result, I stopped writing things down. Sure, there were still times where I wanted to post something or share a picture or something, but those thoughts became more fleeting.

The hard part was not responding to things that would slip through my defenses. I would open a browser and see an old tab open to Facebook with something several messages and over a hundred notifications, and yet I would have to close it without clicking. Or an email with a friend request might slip into my inbox and I couldn’t respond. What I have come to realize is that the social networking companies WANT us to feel like we are missing out if we aren’t checking their networks constantly. I definitely felt like I was missing out, but life still went on.

As the month started to come to a close, I started to have doubts about whether I wanted to go back at all or if I would rather make it a full-time change. At the end of the day, the answer is both. My self-imposed deadline has now passed and I still haven’t logged in to any social networks. I am kind of dreading logging in and having to sort through notifications and messages. What used to be a dopamine hit now feels like just another task on my list (and from a time management perspective, that is a great change in perspective).

I am hoping to find a new middle ground. I’ll probably share this post, but not re-install apps on my phone. I definitely get some value from the networks and ease of communication of Twitter and Facebook, so I will re-engage. It is not without some apprehension though.

If you have ever considered taking some time off from social media, I highly recommend it. For now, I am back.

Measuring Rest and Recovery

I do a pretty good job of measuring my training and workouts. I log miles and paces and sometimes even include heart rate during the workout. Measuring workouts is a good way to know if you are training enough, but how do you know if you are training too much.

I have been watching the wearable fitness tracker market closely. I used to have a fitbit and found measuring my steps to be interesting, but it wasn’t really helpful. I tried tracking my sleep, but rarely gleaned anything useful from it. Now, some of the trackers are starting to add heart rate information, and that makes it much more interesting to me. Now I think the trackers are advanced enough to measure my recovery and let me know if/when I am getting close to over-training. Continue reading →

Training 2015 Week 8

This marks the halfway point in my training for the Boston Marathon. In spite of some pretty challenging weather, I was still able to get in the scheduled 80 miles and run every day (including 2 doubles).

Monday was President’s day, so Alexis and I did not have our weekly run. It was also the start of some terrible weather, so I headed to the YMCA and ran a few miles on the treadmill. It was terrible. Monday evening I bundled up and threw on some trail shoes to traipse through the snow. It was much less terrible than the treadmill.

On Tuesday it was too cold (and too icy) to hit the track in the morning. Luckily Greg, Hunter, Dave, and I managed to get on the indoor track at Vanderbilt. The workout was 20 x 400m with a 60 second jog recovery between each. Everyone had a great workout and crushed the goal paces. A list of splits is pretty boring, so here is a fancy chart showing all 20 reps. I think it is helpful to be able to visualize the general trend showing a speed increase. As you can see, I went a little crazy with the last rep.

It snowed again on Wednesday. I ran 6 miles with East Nasty in the morning, but it was very slick under the snow. I planned to run with East Nasty again in the evening, but just didn’t feel up to it.

Thursday, Greg and I went back to the indoor track at Vandy to run our Thursday Half-Marathon. That is 70 laps of the 300 meter track, but we ran in the outside lanes so we likely ran fewer laps than that. This was actually a really fun run. The Vandy track team was finishing up while we were there. We ran into a couple of my NRC teammates (Joey and Jeanette) as well as a bunch of Harriers doing various workouts.

It was a cold week. This was during Friday's snowy run.

It was a cold week. This was during Friday’s snowy run.

Friday was bitter cold in the morning so I pushed my run to he afternoon. I was lucky to be able to adjust my schedule and run in Shelby just as the snow started falling. It was a very peaceful 8 miles.

Saturday morning was absolutely ridiculous. I am just not going to run in 34˚ rain with 20mph winds. So I ran an easy 6 on the treadmill at work that morning. Then I went back in the evening and ran another 5. That caught me up from the double I missed on Wednesday.

Sunday we had a fast-finish 18 mile long run. The plan was to run the 11.2 easy and then 6 miles fast on Belle Meade Blvd, alternating between marathon and half-marathon pace each mile. Because of the lingering ice, we changed it to a variation of Bongo to Bongo with the fast miles around the stadium. Greg, Hunter, Damien, and I left from my house. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it through the full 6 miles of pace work, but we did get the full 18 miles in. I bailed after 4 (5:48,5:49, 6:05, 5:58).

Previously, this has been about the point where my training starts to break down. I don’t know if it is because I get injured or lose focus or what, but I am determined to not let that happen again. Next week is a big week with 84 miles. It looks like prior to this week, I have only run 80+ mile weeks twice. Now, I am hoping to do it two weeks in a row :)

Mon 4.5 miles easy 8 miles easy
Tue 2 miles warmup
20 x 400m
2.5 mile cool down
Wed 6 miles easy
Thu 13.1 indoor half-marathon
Fri 8 @ 7:34
Sat  6 (treadmill) 5 (treadmill)
Sun 18 miles @ 6:50

2015 Training Week 7

I hate to write this because I don’t want to jinx anything, but…

Training for Boston is going great. This was a down week, but was still 72 miles. We had a quality tempo run, a solid 20 mile long run, and two medium-long runs on the faster side of easy. Plus, it is Sunday afternoon and I feel ready for more (which is good since we have 2 big weeks coming up).

Monday morning started the week off like most weeks; a Monday morning run with Alexis.

Tuesday I had a 4 mile tempo scheduled. My tempo pace has been 5:47, so I was a little surprised when Dave said he wanted us to target 5:35. That sounded really fast, but at least Hunter and Greg were doing the same workout with me. We started and it took a while for my GPS to give me decent pace information. By that time we were sitting in the high 5:2xs which was fast, but I felt ok. We went through the mile in 5:29 and I immediately felt like I was in trouble. I started bargaining with myself, “If I make it through 2 miles at this pace, maybe I can rest and make it a 2×2 workout. Nah, that sucks, maybe a 3×2.” I went through mile 2 in 5:33 and the bargaining shifted, “If I can make it through 3, then this was a respectable workout. If I fall of the back then at least I tried. You can’t hit every workout.” Then I went through mile 3 in 5:33. At that point I finally found some focus and was committed to finishing the workout strong. Mile 4 was 5:24.

Thursday, Greg and I met up at Bongo Java to run a Thursday morning half-marathon. We ran Bongo to Bongo and then added on extra at the end. By mile 10 or 11 we realized that we could get under 1:30 for the workout and picked up the pace just a little. We ended up completing 13.1 in 1:28:50. That’s not bad for a midweek run, two days after a workout.

Friday morning my alarm didn’t go off and I slept through my morning run. While the rest of the day continued to be just as shitty, I did manage to get in a 7 mile run on the dirt trails at Shelby Bottoms. I definitely miss running there – I just wish it wasn’t so muddy in the winter.

Saturday morning Greg and I ran from my house to the Governor’s mansion and back. It was the first 20 mile run of 2015 and my longest run since November. Originally we were scheduled for 17 miles, but felt that stretching this out to 20 would be good. At the very least it crosses a mental threshold. The last 4-6 miles were challenging for me and I had to focus in order to keep going. On the plus side, I always take gels on runs over 18, but went without on this one. I had a Huma gel in my pocket just in case, but never took it.

Sunday was bitterly cold, so Greg, Damien, and I pushed the run until the afternoon when it was warmer.  The plan was to run The 11.2 at Percy Warner Park super easy. This was our 4th time running the 11.2 this year. The plan is to run it 10 times before Boston in order to build strength and make the Newton Hills seem like gentle rollers (there is over 1500 feet of elevation). The extra few hours of rest resulted in sub-7 minute pace feeling easy. That was a great and to a great week.

Two big weeks coming up. Plus we might get the biggest snow storm we have had in over a decade. I feel ready, but the going might be about to get tough.

9 weeks until the Boston Marathon.

3 weeks until the Tom King Half-marathon.

Mon 6 miles @ 7:54
Tue 2 miles warmup
4 miles tempo in 22:01 (5:30 pace)
2 mile cool down
Web 6 miles @ 7:19
Thu 13.1 in 1:28 (6:46 pace)
Fri 7 miles @ 7:28
Sat 20 mile long run in 2:19:30 (6:58 pace)
Sun 11.2 @ 6:53