Monday, September 29, 2014

Training update: week 39, 2014

43.5 miles (70 km) of running.

6 runs: 

  • 0 doubles
  • 3 easy
  • 2 speed workouts
  • 1 race

1 rest day.

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Snapshot of Dailymile weekly mileage in km’s.

Training

Monday:

REST

Tuesday:

Easy run - 5.2 miles (8.4 km).

Wednesday:

Long intervals - 8.6 miles (13.8 km) including warm up.

2 x 2400m @ 4:05 pace, 1 x 1600m @ 4:00 pace, 2 x 800m @ 3:55 pace. I might have dropped it on the last 2 800’s though. 😝 3 mins recovery between.

Splits taken on FitFriend:

  1. 9:49 mins 
  2. 3:00 mins recovery
  3. 9:50 mins
  4. 3:00 mins recovery
  5. 6:22 mins
  6. 3:00 mins recovery
  7. 2:54 mins
  8. 3:00 mins recovery
  9. 2:47 mins

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Wednesday night training with paceandmind.

Thursday:

Easy run - 6.5 miles (10.5 km).

Friday:

Easy run with strides - 4.8 miles (7.8 km). 

20 mins warm up, then 6 x 20 sec strides with recovery, then 10 mins easy to finish.

Saturday:

Easy run - 3.5 miles (5.6 km).

Saturday we helped out at Alison’s parents place for a garage sale…and of course went for a run in her neighbourhood.

Sunday:

Race - Ajax Half Marathon.

Ran this in 1:33:58 hours. My first half marathon race in 3 years, and I’m happy with how things went.

There are many directions you can take for race day carb loading - I prefer taking the Italian direction. Cooked this on Thursday night.

Thoughts

Less miles this week because it was a pullback week from 65 miles last week, culminating in the Ajax half on Sunday.

I’ll expand my thoughts on Ajax in a race recap sometime in the next 2 days.

Other than that, this has been a pretty standard week. All sights are now set on the Toronto Waterfront half marathon in 3 weeks!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thanks for the insight into running easy to get faster

runningintshirt that’s also an unexpected point. I never equated easy running to be fun. It was always so boring. But now I’m finding it fun to run relaxed, and knowing that it does contribute to growth.

seechrisrun that’s good coming from somebody of your experience. We get sucked into this “go hard or go home” mentality all the time, and I’m glad I’m finally breaking free 😝

kaylarunshappy it’s inspiring isn’t it! I need a few more podcasts to get me through the next polar vortex. If you find anymore good ones, please let me know…

runningonredbull wait, it’s a bandwagon already? I need to get off! JK 😁 I used to cross train all the time, but consistent running is working better for my muscles now. I wish I had tried this 10 years ago 😄😳

Friday, September 26, 2014

Running easy to get faster

If I gave you $10,000 per month for a year from today ($120,000 in total), or $1 million all at once but in 10 years time, which one would you take?

Something’s been shaking up my training world this year. I used to be a $120k right now kind of runner. But over the course of the past year, I’ve been transitioning into a $1 million in 10 years runner.

I just didn’t really realize it until recently.

image

A lot of hypothetical money.

Back in 2011, I was training specifically for the 5 Peaks trail running events - a series of 6 annual races spanning between the late spring to the early fall. 

I had just found out about 5 Peaks in late 2010, and in 2011 I wanted to make an aggressive push into the top 10 racers. With basically 1 race every month, I knew that the frequent & aggressive 10-15k trail races would interrupt my fitness progression. So my best strategy I thought, was to train like this:

  • Train hard for 2 weeks straight.
  • Each hard week would consist of 3 runs per week (1 long, 2 hard), and 2 or 3 spinning sessions (all hard).
  • The 3rd week would be a slight pullback week, opting for 1 or 2 more rest days. But I’d continue the intensity of workouts as hard.
  • Race day.
  • The 4th week would be a recovery week after race day, very similar to my pullback week.
  • Repeat for 4 or 5 months.

Not bad, looking at it on the surface. Almost like a triathlon training regiment.

The only thing was I didn’t have the base fitness behind me, and I wasn’t doing running specific strength training. 

image

Finishing hard at the first 5 Peaks race of 2011, April. 

Cue the end of the season, I had made some pretty aggressive fitness gains and had nudged into the top 10. Only that I was trying to run with very sore IT bands and shin splints. 

After the trail season ended in October, I signed up for another half marathon (the STWM half), and that became my unravelling. 

Even though I was able to PR down to 1:29:48 from my previous PR of 1:31:27, it was my most disastrous road race I had ever done. 

To put it lightly, everything broke down. Looking back at it now, it was a classic case of aiming for a semi-random number which I thought I was fit enough to achieve, starting out at a pace above my fitness level, and starting the race with injuries.

Those injuries took me another 3 months to even start running regularly again. But that was just the way I did things. I just accepted brutal, walking debilitating injuries, as a normal part of the post-race consequences. Hilarious!

I knew something had to change. 

The thing about this kind of aggressive, all hard all the time, kind of training, is that you make some pretty decent fitness gains with it at first. But eventually you’re going to hit a wall. A wall where the injuries, and fatigue, and whatever else, becomes too much to break through. 

For me that wall is at around a 1:30 hour half marathon.

I didn’t know what I had to do differently, and I couldn’t shake my injuries properly until the end of 2013. About this time last year actually. I had given up and had ready to try anything - so for the first time in my life, I tried to run with no goal…and it was fun, and it worked. 

My coach at the time was giving me too many long distances too fast. This didn’t work for my body, I knew my ITB’s and shins couldn’t handle it. I left him, scaled back, and decided to try very frequent running instead of cross training, but at very short distances. Blogging about it on the way. 

image

Running goal free was new to me this past winter.

Until then, cross training was always the solution to build fitness for me. 

Fast forward to just last month, Alison and I listened to this podcast episode when driving back from Blue Mountain. It’s by Runner Academy, and Matt Fitzgerald is the guest.

Matt talks about the value of training like an elite. Or the 80/20 rule, as he calls it.

That means doing 80% of your runs at an easy - not medium, and definitely not hard - intensity. Leaving the remaining 20% at a hard intensity. 

So that would mean that in my case of doing 6 or 7 runs per week, only 1 or 2 of those would be hard. 

It’s scary when I think that previously I was doing the opposite to this - about 80% hard and 20% easy! 

image

The majority of my runs are now like this one from yesterday, easy.

This is the insight that kind of glued everything together of my shifting training philosophy over the past year. From my own high frequency training, reading up on blogs from unconventional runners like Hollie, to Rejean’s coaching at paceandmind, and now to this. 

Now I feel a lot more relaxed with my running. I know my speed will come. Only that it won’t come within a 3 month aggressive stint. Instead, it’ll come sometime within the next 3 years.

I feel like I’ve come full circle now in seeking answers to run injury free, and pushing past my PR wall. 

What do you think about high frequency running, and the 80/20 rule?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Monday, September 22, 2014

Training update: week 38, 2014

65 miles (105 km) of running.

8 runs: 

  • 1 double
  • 5 easy
  • 2 speed workouts
  • 1 long

0 rest days.

image

Snapshot of Dailymile weekly mileage in km’s.

Training

Monday:

Easy run - 4 miles (6.5 km).

Tuesday:

Easy run - 7.5 miles (12 km).

Wednesday:

Easy run - 3.1 miles (5 km).

Long intervals - 10 miles (16.1 km). Including warm up.

13x 800m continuous, alternating from 4:05/km to 4:30/km at each repeat. Maintained consistent pacing for the bulk of it, until the last two 4:05 laps where I dropped it under a 4 pace. Legs were sore after and I needed some heavy rolling and icing the next day. 

Thursday:

Easy run - 7.5 miles (12.1 km).

Friday:

Tempo with strides - 8.9 miles (14.3 km). Plus warm up.

Coach gave me 4k tempo at a 4 min pace (captured below), + 6 x 30 sec strides with 90 sec recovery.

image

Friday’s workout. I think this is just what the splits were missing in the FitFriend app, pace and distance! This feature is still in the testing phase, but if you’re a runner let me know if you want a private copy.

Saturday:

Easy run - 5.5 miles (8.8 km).

Sunday:

Long run - 18.7 miles (30 km).

A taste of 2 seasons. Non stop heavy rain for the first half. Nothing but clear blue skies from about 18k on when it became really sunny and hot! Hamstrings gave me some warning signs in the last 5k, but I took extra shot blocks and held it together somehow. 

image

2 30k runs in 2 Sundays now.

Thoughts

A small celebration here, as this is my first ever training week of over 100 km’s! Actually it’s the first time I’ve even gone above 60 miles too :)

I haven’t had a distance milestone since back in May. 

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In between running high mileage, Alison and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary on the weekend. 

In addition to distance, I’ve upped the intensity in my speed work. Normally this year I’ve been running these comfortably hard. This has been a change in thinking for me this year. Until 2014 I used to do all of my speed work at 100%, all of the time.  

I’ve mentioned a little bit about why I don’t train all out anymore, and I’ll continue to blog about why in the future. 

But with the Toronto Waterfront (STWM) half in 4 weeks, and Ajax tune up in 1 week… this is where you don’t hold back. Basically I can let go here and chances are that I’m not going to get a race debilitating injury within 4 weeks (knocking on wood as I write this).

STWM is locked in for me now, after I signed up last week! Ajax is this coming weekend, and will be my first half marathon in 3 years 😱 I’m a little nervous about that, but I feel as though I’m finally ready again.

Two half marathons within 3 weeks - 1 will have to be run at a lower intensity, otherwise move over Captain Obvious and make way for Captain Stupid! I think I know which one that will be, but I’ll get to that later this week.

Finally, I’ve been running for 13 days straight after my 105k week, but it’s too close to STWM to make a thing of starting a real run streak. I’m taking a rest day today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Two good runners and runblr’s I really respect, thanks for the feedback runningintshirt and runningonredbull! 
I haven’t noticed a huge difference with running on an empty stomach most regular morning runs. I think I’m used to it now after doing it for a few years.
But I haven’t put any thought into the science behind it, I just like the feeling of running light. I couldn’t do it in the evenings though. 

Two good runners and runblr’s I really respect, thanks for the feedback runningintshirt and runningonredbull

I haven’t noticed a huge difference with running on an empty stomach most regular morning runs. I think I’m used to it now after doing it for a few years.

But I haven’t put any thought into the science behind it, I just like the feeling of running light. I couldn’t do it in the evenings though. 

You can hear good advice from other people, but a lot of the time you have to experience it to believe it ✨
I would’ve never have seen the true value of the easy run if I hadn’t had done the 50 day run streak earlier this year - it forced me to run easy when previously I chose to rest or walk it off.
Easy runs and shorter frequent runs, over bulky sporadic slogs, have been a revelation this year 🙌
…I dragged myself out of bed today, limping with lower calf tightness after last night’s 13 x 800m workout. Slow and heavy today but I’m ok with that.
———
kaylarunshappy said: 

That looks like some of the grain silos in Buffalo. Awesome pic and great run!

Not far from Buffalo actually, Toronto this morning. We probably get the same kinds of sunrise :)

You can hear good advice from other people, but a lot of the time you have to experience it to believe it ✨

I would’ve never have seen the true value of the easy run if I hadn’t had done the 50 day run streak earlier this year - it forced me to run easy when previously I chose to rest or walk it off.

Easy runs and shorter frequent runs, over bulky sporadic slogs, have been a revelation this year 🙌

…I dragged myself out of bed today, limping with lower calf tightness after last night’s 13 x 800m workout. Slow and heavy today but I’m ok with that.

———

kaylarunshappy said: 

That looks like some of the grain silos in Buffalo. Awesome pic and great run!

Not far from Buffalo actually, Toronto this morning. We probably get the same kinds of sunrise :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Running famished

I couldn’t really sleep well last night. For no apparent reason either, my personal life is good, my running form is coming back, and things are coming together on a new app fitness photo sharing app I’m working on in my spare time. 

I think I get more worried when things are going well, because I worry about stepping off the subway and injuring my foot in some crazy way, or something along those lines. You have more to lose when things are going well, so I try not to think about it much. 

image

Almost running daily again now.

But last night was an exception, and I woke up at 3am. I couldn’t get to sleep so I started reading on the topic of long runs - something I’ve really only started to add to my training within the last 4 years, despite training on & off for 18 years. 

Long runs are still relatively new territory for me. 

Am I rambling yet? Stay with me. In a new study scientists found out that rambling combined with 2 pieces of chocolate and a glass of red once a day, is good for the soul. Also, any claim I don’t link to can’t be backed up.

Depleting Carbs

…Back to long runs. As a lot of runners do when in search of education, I found myself on Greg McMillan’s site, where he broke down the long run into 2 types. Basically the traditional slow long run, and a 2nd type where you finish faster over the final 20-30% of the run.

I’m not going to reiterate on this, as I think this is becoming common knowledge to more experienced runners of the long variety, and it’s been touched on a few times in other helpful blogs.

One point that stood out though that isn’t so conventional, is how to fuel:

…a great way to ensure that you will deplete your carbohydrate stores on these long, steady runs is to not eat any carbohydrates immediately before or during the run. Any carbohydrates ingested will be used by the body for fuel, and we don’t want this.

We want to deny the body carbohydrates in these runs so that the muscles will become better at sparing the carbohydrate stores, more efficient at burning fat and used to running with lowered blood glucose levels

He does emphasize though that this is entirely optional, and that this isn’t critical to the gains made on a long run, just a minor enhancement. 

What I really appreciate, is that he then makes the distinction between the 2nd type of faster long run and the 1st type of slower run:

Also unlike the long, slow run, you want to eat carbs before and during this run. P lease note that I just said I DO recommend carbohydrates before and during the fast finish long runs. This point has been overlooked by many runners.

Providing a voice of sanity where most fitness fanatics pick and choose what they want to hear, rather than the balance. This is probably why he has the strong reputation that he does. 

Morning vs Afternoon

Anyway, I thought that the point of depleting yourself on slower runs was interesting, and it got me thinking (here we go).

What I’m wondering is, would this have a similar effect for easy morning runs, vs easy afternoon runs?

image

This is me, morning running.

Given that I’m typically a morning runner (80-90% of my runs), and I run as soon as I wake, not having breakfast until after

Counter this to the afternoon where you’ve had a whole day full of food to manage - or worse, you’ve depleted yourself of food during the day to run light in the evening!

I’d like to revisit this topic when I know more about it, and have experienced more with this knowledge. I’m curious if other people have made this distinction though. Would it help your running if you depleted carbs on shorter slow runs, or is this only a factor on the longer slow runs?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Training update: week 37, 2014

56 miles (90 km) of running.

6 runs. 

  • 0 doubles
  • 2 speed workouts

1 rest day.

image

Snapshot of Dailymile weekly mileage in km’s.

Training

Monday:

REST.

Tuesday:

Easy run - 6.7 miles (10.8 km).

Wednesday:

Tempo intervals - 8.9 miles (14.4 km) inc warm up/down.

6k trail tempo, then 2k trail tempo. 90 seconds recovery between each. This was supposed to be done at a 4:15 pace. Only that it was pitch black darkness, and raining heavily. So pace went out the window, it was more about effort for this one.

Thursday:

Easy run - 6.5 miles (10.5 km).

Friday:

Strides - 6.2 miles (10 km). 

4k warm up, 8 x 45 second strides w 90 second recovery, 3k warm down.

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Friday’s workout along this trail. I tested out some new split distance and pace value feature in the FitFriend app when doing 8 strides.

Saturday:

Long run - 18.7 miles (30.1 km).

image

It’ll be a downer if I had to do almost 20 miles going up and down this bridge. Thankfully I don’t, and I love coming across this bridge when running long.

Sunday:

Recovery run - 8.9 miles (14.3 km).

image

Yesterday’s recovery run on Toronto’s waterfront.

Injury

I touched on my arch pain a bit last week:

…a mysterious arch pain came around on Thursday. It actually hurt my right arch to walk on Thursday and Friday, to the point where I though my orthotics might be aggravating it.

I didn’t want to mess around. The arch was hinting that it was graduating past the niggle stage into an injury. So I booked an appointment with my physio when it was still hurting to walk on Tuesday, and I had the session on Friday.

Emphasis on hurts to walk, and not run. Making this the weirdest injury I’ve ever had. 😐

I spoke with one of my training partners at Pace & Mind on Wednesday, who’s also a physio, just to get an idea on what kind of realm of injury it could even be. Again, I’m clueless on injuries of the feet. She said it at least only sounded like it was muscular, so I continued to run easy on Thursday. 

The thing about injuries is that I stop running when running makes it worse. This wasn’t the case here.

The physio calmed my worries down - refreshing for her, as normally she’s a bearer of bad news - and told me that it was only a mild tear on the PF. Apparently Plantar Fasciitis is normally closer to the heal, mine is only near the ball of my foot. I probably got it when running aggressively downhill on our first day in Blue Mountain a few weeks ago.

Basically I need to do the following:

  • No icing apart from at night before bed. This is why I felt it walking a lot, I was icing at least twice daily at work!
  • Toe exercises - the muscle is rebuilding so I need to strengthen it. Curling the toes when sitting down, and also toe raises when standing up. 
  • Lay off hills.
  • Lay off trails.
  • Opt for lighter softer shoes. She told me my Brooks Adrenaline and Ravennas were like bricks. 

I’m already starting to change up my shoe choices more - alternating through about 4 pairs a week. This is new to me, usually I’ve worn a pair of shoes every run for 3 months, then repeat. 

The other thing that’s interesting to me here is that almost everything about this - the icing, the hills, the trails - is what I do to remedy every other injury I’ve had. Now I have to cut it out. This just verifies that there really is no 1 size fits all solution I guess, not that I believed that anyway.

Onwards

Business as usual on the easy runs and mileage building. I’m going to be ramping up another 10% again before I pull back.

So this is going to be a 100k week for me, making sleep critical! I have the Ajax half marathon in 2 weeks, and the Toronto Waterfront half marathon in 5 weeks.

Unlike most people running these races, these races won’t be PR efforts for me. But I do have to factor the effect these runs at a higher intensity will have on my base building this year. If I can stay focused on that, and not get caught up in the race bubble, well, as Bill Lumbergh says, that’ll be great…

Friday, September 12, 2014