Repeats, Running/Walking and Moving

on Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Can never think of good titles for these posts.

Did 8 miles including 5x800m repeats today.  This was the first VO2Max workout for this training session. I've been following the old Pfitz plan which had 5x600m, but i've heard that this has been changed to 800m repeats in the new edition.  Did them all at a little faster than 6:25 min/mile pace which is 20min 5k pace.  Yeah I'm still eyeing that goal. It was about 12C which is nice and cool.  Hardly worked up a sweat.  Funny how back in the spring, i would think that 12C was actually quite warm. 

Did a little over 6.5 miles on Tuesday.  Did this late in the evening and it was dark.  I headed over to the local HS track and ended up doing a mix of running and walking.  Reason for this is that I'm going to be putting the bunny ears back on to pace the 1:45 half at the Scotiabank waterfront half on September 27th.  I'm supposed to do the 10min run/1min walk thing which i don't normally do. Measured my walking speed which is about 16min/miles which means in order to do 1:45 half, i would have to run about 7:40min/mile.  That pace is a bit in no man's land for me.  It's faster than my long run pace, but slower than my marathon pace so i wanted to see how well i could judge the pace by feel..  I tried 5 laps with a walk break in between each and was all over the place (6:51, 7:25, 7:24, 7:49, 7:32).  As much as i would like to use the garmin, i think the satellite reception downtown is a bit flakey for large chunks of the course so wouldn't give accurate feedback. Looks like i'll have to use the Polar foot pod. 

Which leads me to another interesting change which will affect my training.  As some of you may know, my firm was bought by another about a year ago and we will be relocating downtown and the big move day happens to be the weekend of the Scotiabank half.  We're moving downtown to the recently built Bay Adeleide Centre. The firm that bought us already moved in about two weeks ago and i think were the first tenants in there which is kinda cool.  I haven't visited yet, but i hear it's really nice.  Anyhow, i don't live downtown which means what used to be a 15-20min drive to work will probably now require over an hour worth of commuting on public transit.  Not quite sure whether the morning runs will be possible and am wondering whether running in the evening will even be possible if i get back too late. Looking forward to the move, but not looking forward to it at the same time.

30k Race Report

on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Did the Midsummer Nights Run 30k which was held last night.  The race was at 5:30pm.  I did this race back in 2006 when it started at 8pm.  I wasn't sure how to prepare for this.  I ate some spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast at around 8am but didn't really stuff myself.  Sipped on gatorade for most of the day and then had an apple fritter with a small Tim Horton's ice capp at about 3:30pm. Probably should have had a bit more solid food, maybe a bagel or something for lunch, cause i was starving after the race.

Pfitz' plan has 15 miles planned with 12 at marathon pace. 30k is 18.6 miles, so the plan was to go out at my BQ marathon pace until the timing mat at 21k (around 13 miles) and then slow down to long run pace for the rest of the way.

Met up with Kenny ahead of the race where we decided to try and pace each other.  Also met twitter friend leehewitt before the race while waiting in line at the portapotties. I think I must have used the portapotties 4 times before the race. One of the consequences of having an all liquid diet for most of the day.

The race starts.  One thing that I've come to learn about myself is that I need a very gradual increase in pace in order to avoid my HR from spiking.  On most of my training runs, i will start out at 9:30 min/mile pace or slower and gradually increase to whatever pace I'm trying for on that day.  Even when coming to stop at a traffic light, i have to ease back into it.  If I start too fast, I think my body gets over anxious and goes into a fight or flight mode and the HR spikes. I think this is probably why i have difficulty with shorter races.  Things were going okay for the first 2km, the HR spiked shortly thereafter and would remain that way until i stopped for a breather at the 22km mark. 

Most of the first 21km went by without much fuss.  Kenny and I had the odd conversation, but not easy to do for any length of time when doing marathon pace.  One particularly interesting thing was I had a fly go up my nose.  On runs, I've had bugs fly into my mouth or get jammed in my eye, but I've never had the pleasure of having a bug fly up my nose.  This happened somewhere between the 9 and 10 mile mark.  I was trying  to figure out the best way to get it out.  I contemplated the snot rocket thing, but i've never tried that before and didn't want to risk being covered with mucous. In marathons, i will usually carry some toilet paper in a little ziploc baggie in case i need it.  I didn't  bring it today and as Murphy's law would dictate, I needed it.  So for the better part of a mile, i was forced to solely mouth breath for risk of inhaling the damn thing into my lungs.  Thankfully, there were some empty portapotties on the route shortly before the 11 mile mark where i was able to grab some toilet paper and finally blow my nose.

Hit the 21km mark at 1:35:56 which is 7:21 min/mile (4:34 min/km) and at that point let Kenny go as I slowed down.  I was hoping that the slowdown in pace would cause the HR to get back under control, but it didn't so shortly after the 22km mark I came across the a washroom and water fountain and stopped to try to get the HR under control, use the facilities and take a gel.  One way i've learned to do this is via the Valsalva maneuver.  This involves holding ones breath and bearing down.  This has worked in the past, but it can't be done on the move since the holding breath thing and tensing up the whole body is kinda difficult to do while running. Doing this, i was able to get the HR back to normal.  I lost a minute and a half for the pitsop and that included a bathroom break. From that point on, I maintained long run pace through most of the rest of the race.  I  picking up the pace in the last two km and did the final km at LT pace. Finish time of 2:22:39.

Here's the HR chart with the spiked portions. Split times and course route for the race can be seen here.

Fairly happy with this race.  Kinda wish I had warmed up a bit more prior to the race cause i think it would have prevented the HR spiking thing.

Some nice swag from this race. Long sleeve technical T-shirt.  Made sure to get the small this year, since my previous experience with the new balance shirts are that they are way too big for their size.   Huge medal.  This year they encouraged people to bring their own bottles for the race to try and save the enivornment.  I just thought this was a way to cheapen out on the provision of cups, but to their credit, they took it even further in not providing bottled water at the end of the race in plastic bottles.  Instead, they handed out stainless steel water bottles filled with water.  Nice!  And lastly, for those that have done the race before, they gave out Mortal-pins that contain the total mileage that you've done as part of the race over the years.  Having done the 30k and 15k in previous years, i got one that said 75km.

Oh yeah and one last thing I received was bug bites.  Mosquito bites on my neck and upper back. Itchy. I have to remember to wear bug repellent when I do evening races.  This is the second evening race I've done where the mosquitoes have gotten to me. 

Pace Run

on Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:38 PM

Slight change of plan.  Didn't get a chance to do all my runs in the evening this week.  It was just too hot and humid on Monday and Tuesday to do the runs in the evenings like I had planned so I ended up doing them on the mornings of Tuesday and Wednesday. Did the Thursday and Friday runs in the evenings.

Tuesday: 6 miles recovery 9:37 min/mile

Wednesday: 14.3 miles 8:21 min/miles.

Thursday: 3.1 miles 9:41 min/mile.  This was right after a thunderstorm that brought a few tornadoes to our area. Humidity was over 90%.

Friday: 6 miles recovery with 6 strides. 

Tomorrow I have a 30k race in the evening which I will be doing a portion of at marathon pace.  What is my current marathon pace?  Good question.  At a minimum, I'd like to do at least 12 miles at 7:27 min/mile which is my current BQ pace.  Don't think I want to try and hold that pace for the entire 30k though. I may end up trying for 7:15 pace also, but in the end a lot of it will depend on the weather and how I'm feeling. 

Training Update

on Monday, August 17, 2009 at 7:42 AM

It's now 10 or 11 weeks to marathon day depending on which one i decide to do.  I've finished week 8 of an 18 week Pfitz program. 

Friday: Did 11 miles including 6 miles at an LT pace of 7:01 min/mile pace.  This has been my LT pace for a long while now.  Can't seem to speed it up any further. 

Saturday: 6 miles recovery at about 9:25 min/mile pace

Sunday: 22 miles at 8:58 min/mile pace.  This was hot. It started at 21C and was 26C by the time I finished and that's without factoring in the humidity.  Hadn't really carboloaded they day before so wasn't looking forward to this.  Headed downtown for the lake.  Plan was to start slow and see how i felt half way through, but ended up staying at this pace for the whole run.  In order to try and prevent dehydration, i drank a bottle of gatorade right before the run.  First couple of miles didn't feel so great with the liquid sloshing around in my stomach, but by 4 miles, i was feeling better.  Even so, by the time I finished I was very dehydrated even having taken extended water breaks. 

Did a different route than I did last week.  Headed east, rather than west since there's a bit more tree cover for parts of the run.  Next week, I'm doing a marathon pace run as part of a 30k race which will follow much of the same path.  The race is in the evening and is on Saturday which requires a slight tweaking of this weeks schedule.  I'll be moving all my runs up a day and trying to do them in the evening.  The temperatures for the evening for the next couple of days is looking to be warm/hot and potentially humid.  Guess we've been lucky so far this summer with relatively cool weather which is good for training so a couple of days of hot weather is probably due.

Sleepy HR

on Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Yes I know I'm weird and a nerd.  I wore my HR monitor to bed last Friday and did again last night.  I wanted to get an idea of where my resting HR is these days.  I did this a couple of years ago and it was about 45.  Based on the graphs, it seems to be at 43 today.

I only ended up wearing it for about 3 hours each time.  I wasn't sure if the 43 was right last Friday since I thought it would be lower, so I decided to do it again.  I had intended on wearing the monitor the whole night, but I woke up unexpectedly after about 3 hours and decided to just take it off to save some of the battery.  There were times the HR dropped into the lower 40 and even into the high 30's but i think 43 is the more consistent HR when it wasn't spiking on both days so that's probably what the HR is.  I'm not worried about the HR spiking parts.  The HR only jumped for very brief moments and i've been reading the HR can fluctuate during the night depending on one's breathing pattern and what stage of sleep one is in.

General Aerobic Runs

on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Tuesday: Did 6 miles of recovery which included 6 strides.

Wednesday: Did 12 miles of "General Aerobic" running in the morning and averaged about 8:45 pace. Wanted to keep this kind of slow because I have to do 6 miles of LT on Friday as part of a 11 mile run. Today was the first day in over a month that there was garbage pickup and it looks like people have been hoarding their smelly garbage for that time cause there were certainly some places that I had to hold my breath. Not nearly as bad as running by the dump drop off site a couple of weeks ago but still pretty bad.

"General Aerobic" is a term that Pfitzinger uses, but unfortunately he doesn't define very well in the first edition of his book "Advanced Marathoning". He says it can be anywhere between recovery pace and tempo pace. I was googling around and found that there are some excerpts from the second edition where he now defines them more explicitly and it appears that the proper pace for these GA runs is actually slower than long run pace. I guess the point is to just get the miles in at a relaxed pace and depend on the long runs (both normal and marathon pace) to build stamina.

Weekend Run in Review

on Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 9:38 PM

So the weekend runs break down like this.

Saturday: Did 7 miles including 8 strides. Did most of the miles slow. Was going to see if I could maintain 8 min/mile pace at HR of less than 160, but didn't feel up to it.

Sunday: 20.4 miles @8:17 min/mile pace. Drove downtown to do this. Forecast was predicting warm humid weather and I thought it would be cooler by the lake. It was fairly pleasant. It was overcast, about 20C, and there was a nice cool breeze coming off the lake. I had wanted to start really early, like at 7:00am or so, but didn't get started till about 8:30. I finished the run at just about the right time, as the thunder storm started just as i was finishing up. Barely made it back to my car before the torrential downpour of rain started. Details of the run can be seen here. I'm fairly certain from this run that i can maintain a pace of 8 min/mile at a HR of less than 160. This is of some significance since this is the type of fitness I had leading up to my PR marathon last year and I still have a good 9 weeks of training left before the taper for my fall race.

It's been about 5 weeks since I ran along this route and they've changed some things during that time. They added a new paved section to the route around Ontario Place. I followed my typical route and ignored the sign warning me to detour, only to be faced with a concrete barrier in my path a little ways down. Did my best steeplechase impersonation while vaulting the barrier. They also removed one of the water fountains that I like to use at the half way point which PO'd me a bit.

I tried out my Injinji socks again. I bought a pair a couple of years ago, but didn't like them because of blister issues. I've used them a couple of time recently during recovery runs with my nike frees and they seem to have worked okay so i tried them out again on my long run. Had a blister problem again, but it's in a weird place. I usually get blisters as a result of the shoe rubbing up against my toes, but with these socks i get a blister on the inside of my toes as a result of my big toe rubbing up against the inside of my left second toe. Never had that problem before. I think the socks I have may be too small. Maybe I'll try a larger pair.

So total for the week was 53 miles. I've been toying with the idea of trying to slowly ramp up to somewhere in the 60's, as opposed to topping out at 55 like the Pfitz plan says. It's easily doable by just running on one of the two rest days that the 55 mile plan offers in a week.

Looking at HR

on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 10:50 PM

Gotten all my runs in for this week as planned. Thought I would document some HR stuff.

Tuesday: Did a little over 10 miles with 5 miles at LT pace. Averaged 7:04 pace for the LT portion. Did them around the track. It was about 20C in the morning to start and it was a struggle to roll out of bed in the morning to get this done. I'm sort of disappointed with the pace on this. I had thought I would be able to maintain this consistently below 7 min/mile especially on a flat track, but I think the relatively warm weather kept me from being able to hold the right pace. The effort felt harder than the 5 mile LT run I did last week on a non-flat route yet the pace was slower. The HR stayed below 180 which is where I like to keep it for LT runs, but don't like that the HR was constantly increasing throughout the LT portion. I normally like when it reaches 180 and then stays there for the entire run as it basically means that it's sustainable. Now it could just be that 5 miles was too short to see the plateau effect and the warmish weather may have contributed to it cause I was sweating buckets towards the end so who really knows.

Wednesday: Did 4.1 mile recovery run at 8:52 pace. It was relatively cool for this run at less than 15C. HR for recovery runs I've always tried to keep below 150 and a pace of no faster than 9 min/miles. I had no trouble keeping below 150 and it was lower than 140 at times. Pace however was 8:37 which is a bit too fast. If it wasn't for the slow first mile done at 9:26 pace, the average pace would have been much faster. I was comparing this to the HR during the Ottawa marathon where I was doing 8:45 pace but my HR was in the high 160's. I am in much better shape than I was back then.

Thursday: Could not force myself out of bed in the morning so ended up doing my 11 mile run after work, but wasn't feeling the greatest. I had eaten two lunches today. Lately, I'm famished come lunch time and ended up eating at noon, only to find out that some of the co-workers were taking a visitor out to lunch at 12:30. Not wanting to be anti-social I joined them with the intent of only nibbling on some of the Chinese food they were ordering, but I ended up having an entire second lunch. Needless to say, I was super stuffed this afternoon and my system had not quite processed it by the time of the run so I carried the bloated feeling for most of the run. First three quarters weres done slow and picked up the pace for the last quarter. Two interesting things to note are that HR was higher though pace was slower for the first three miles then the recovery I did yesterday (it was the same three mile route). Probably due to it being warmer and me being heavier. Second, based on the data from the end of the run, I think I can maintain a sub 8 min/mile at a HR of less than 160 though I"m not entirely sure cause I didn't wear the garmin today. Will have to test out this theory on Saturday.

I've been kinda wondering what my resting HR is these days. Last year when I got my wisdom teeth pulled, the nurse said it was 37. This was just after what I would guess was my peak fitness point. A couple of years ago, I wore my HR monitor to bed and it was 45 (i know I'm weird). I'm going to try wearing it to bed tomorrow to see what it is. I'm guessing probably around 40.

Smelly Run

on Monday, August 3, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Today's a holiday here, but i'm just getting over some kind of illness. It started on Friday. Had a bit of a sore throat, which i thought might be the beginnings of a cold. Didn't get worse on Saturday, but didn't get better.

I did 7 miles on Saturday which included some strides.

Sunday: Wanted to try and do 20 miles, but ended up only doing 18. The city had the caribana parade on Saturday and the day after tends to be a complete disaster of garbage pile-up down by the lake. Thankfully, the municipal city workers strike is now over so at least there will be people picking up garbage. The municipal strike had relocated the final day of festivities which was Sunday from the island over to Ontario Place and presumably the waterfront which meant that I wanted to avoid the waterfront. i drove part way downtown and ran through some of the parks and trails which was pleasant, though I ended up getting a bit lost, which is for the best. I weaved in and out and did a bunch of out and backs. ALong the way, the path I had chosen ran right by a temporary garbage drop-off which are locations the city has set up for residents to dump off their garbage over the past month or so of the strike. The city was in the process of relocating the trash from the drop-off sites and with all that movement of garbage that had been fermenting for over a month, well let's just say the smell was unpleasant.

I ended up being quite dehydrated towards the end and had to walk a bit. It was a bit warmer than it has been and with me not feeling to well too begin with, i guess it was inevitable that I was going to bonk.

So total for the week was just short of 45 miles which is a bit short of the 52 miles that I had wanted to hit. I'll be repeating this week of training again next week to add an additional week of Lactate threshold work. I haven't been too happy with my LT training as of late and think I could use some additional weeks of it prior to the fall marathon.