Showing posts with label marathons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marathons. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This is a recovery week

I ran a mile at a 12:30 pace. I could tell I'm still tired from the race on Saturday.

Monday, April 23, 2007

How to get used to a faster comfortable pace?

My August 2006 half-marathon and the one I just finished on April 21, 2007 have one trait in common. I ran a pace about a minute and a half faster than my training runs for 8-9 miles, and then I bonked and had to slow down; my body wasn't used to that fast pace. However, during the 8-9 miles, I felt comfortable. I need to extend that comfortable feeling out to 13.1 miles and then (later on) to 14 or 15 miles.

I've been thinking about the best way to become comfortable with the faster pace. It seems I have two options.

1. Continue doing what I've done for the past six months. Run 30-33 miles/week and slowly increase my speed. That would probably give me a small improvement by October similar to the one I had in the race yesterday.

2. Immediately increase my comfortable pace to 10:30 and decrease all of my distances to be less than 8 or 9 miles. Hopefully, I could do this without a lot of time involved, because that is the distance I felt comfortable with in both half-marathons. I would still run four times per week (2 rest runs, a medium run, and a long run), and I would slowly increase my medium and long runs to the distances they are now. That is, I would start with runs of 5, 5, 8, 8 (26 miles per week), and I would slowly increase my medium run to 10 miles and my long run to 13 miles. If I couldn't handle the 26 mpw and the faster pace, I would reduce the runs to what ever level I could handle.

Option 1 is probably the safest option, but it would give the smallest improvement in the six months between now and the World Senior Games in October. Option 2 would likely give a bigger improvement in October, but it would probably put more stress on my body. I'm thinking I'll experiment with option 2 and see how it goes. If I have difficulty with it, I can always switch to option 1. I'll be my normal conservative self during these tests so I don't become injured.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I set a new Personal Best in the Salt Lake City Half-Marathon

I had a good race. I set a new PB by 55 seconds with a time of 2:20:21. My time in August 2006 was 2:21:16. That 55 seconds may not seem like much of an increase, but when you include the time spent in walking breaks, my performance today was even better than the 55 seconds. In 2006, starting with mile 9, I took one-minute walking breaks every mile, 4 minutes spent walking. Today I took 30-second breaks every half-mile, 12 minutes spent walking. My speed today was fast enough to get the 55 second PB and to overcome the approximately 4 minutes lost due to having more walking breaks today. I credit the walking breaks with my completing the race today with a new PB and with my feeling fine during and after the race.

Here are my mile splits.

Mile 1: 10:48
Mile 2: 10:36
Mile 3: 10:30
Mile 4: 9:31 (down a long hill. I tried to keep a constant pace but did speed up a bit)
Mile 5: 10:07 (down the remainder of the long hill)
Mile 6: 10:47
Mile 7: 10:25
Mile 8: 9:53
Mile 9: 10:48
Mile 10: 11:59
Mile 11: 12:21
Mile 12: 11:51
Mile 13: 10:40

One of my goals was to keep a uniform pace, and I did that. You can see that during the last 4 miles, I became tired. I've been running weekly 13 mile long runs for about a year at a pace of 11:30 - 12:15 or so. I'm not used to running a pace of 10:30 or so, and that pace took its toll. My next half-marathon will be in October at the World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, and I have six months to get used to the faster pace, as well as to keep my ability to run 13.1 miles.

Considering everything, I'm very satisfied with my performance this morning. I went out and maintained a pace a bit too fast, but I probably had a higher average speed than I would have had if I had gone out 15 seconds or so slower.

As soon as I can find the results online, I'll post my ranking in my age group of 70-75. If I had run this half last year, my time last August and today would have put me in second place.

I think I must look pretty old, because a lot of runners, as they passed me, told me to keep it up, that I was an inspiration to all of them. One girl told me that when she is 71 she hopes she can still walk, much less run.

The last half mile of the race was through the Gateway shopping plaza. Spectators were lined up solid on both sides cheering us on. That was nice of them to do that! I've always run smaller races, and I enjoyed the excitement, noise, and adrenalin rushes of this bigger race.

The weather was almost perfect! Temperature in the low to mid 40s (F), cloudy, no wind, low humidity, and no rain.

Here are two pictures from the race. In the lower picture are Ben my friend from Westminster College in Salt Lake, me, and my friend Bruce from Las Vegas.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ops... I ran too far this morning

I was supposed to run for half an hour, but I got mixed up in my mind and ran for an hour. Shortly after reaching the turn-around point, I realized my mistake and slowed down and did more walking.

I didn't feel as energetic this morning as I did yesterday. Tomorrow I will run for 15 minutes to warm up, and then I'll take two days of rest. At 7:00 on Saturday, the race will begin...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My taper for the half-marathon begins on Saturday

In order to give my feet more time for rest, I'm taking a three-week taper instead of a two-week. My taper will be as follows.

Saturday March 31 - An hour rest run

All runs next week will be reduced approximately 25%.

All runs the following week will be reduced approximately 50%

All runs the week after, except Wednesday and Saturday, will be reduced approximately 50%. Wednesday will be a 10-minute rest run. Saturday is the race.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Homeopathy and my feet

In a previous post I described how I use homeopathy when I have a cold. I thought I'd describe how I use homeopathy for problems with my feet. This will also explain how I became introduced to homeopathy. If you're not interested in homeopathy, feel free to skip this post.

I lived in Massachusetts for 17 years, and I did a lot of hiking in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the 12 years that I was a Scoutmaster. New England has 48 peaks that are above 4000 feet elevation, and it is a tradition, known as peak bagging, among many hikers to climb those peaks. In my 17 years, I climbed two of them, the highest (Mt. Washington, 6288 feet) and the lowest (Mt. Tecumseh, 4003 feet). My two climbs of Washington were with my scout troop, and my climb of Tecumseh was with my family. On our way down Tecumseh, my kids ran down the trail, and my youngest daughter sprained her ankle. I did the traditional first-aid on her foot (RICE), but it took her about a month to recover from that sprain.

Not too long after my daughter's sprain, one of my scouts (Jeff) sprained his ankle, and a week later he was running around as if nothing had happened. I asked his mother why Jeff had such a quick recovery, and she introduced me to homeopathic remedies. She explained that she gave three remedies to Jeff. First was Arnica Montana, which should be given for any injury to help the body overcome shock. Next was Ruta Graveolens which helps the tendons heal. Third was Rhus Tox which helps the muscles heal. I was impressed with the difference in healing between my daughter and Jeff, especially since they were about the same age.

I was also interested in Rhus Tox, because I was leaving in a week for a week-long backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that would cover 50 miles of hiking and our first hike of Mt. Washington. This was during the time when, even though I was running, I was still having a lot of pain in my feet after several hours of Saturday yard work on my feet. That pain was peculiar, because it was reduced by movement. When I would first get up on Sunday morning, my feet would be very stiff and painful, but after walking around for a few minutes, the stiffness would go away and the pain was reduced. Jeff's mother suggested that I take Rhus Tox with me, because it is helpful when movement reduced stiffness and pain. I thought, "It's worth a try", and I put Rhus Tox in my backpack and took it during the week.

I had no problems at all with my feet during that week. I hiked 50 miles, climbed Mt. Washington 1 1/2 times (the half-climb was the evening before our full climb so I could check out the trail. The peak is 3500 feet [elevation change] above the trail head). No problems at all...until...until Saturday, the eighth and last day of our week. We were hiking 7 miles back to our cars and my feet began to hurt. I had run out of Rhus Tox on Thursday, and after two days of hiking without the remedy, my pain returned. After that trip, I was a confirmed believer in homeopathy. I've used Rhus Tox many times when I have stiff feet after several hours of being on my feet, and I believe it is helpful.

Ok, now back to my current problem of sore feet after 8 or so miles of running. I've explained that I believe the problem is due to my running fewer miles after stopping my marathon training while in Massachusetts, and my running even fewer miles per week after moving to Utah 14 years ago. For the past 2 1/2 years, after I recovered from my auto accident in August 2004, I've had an intense running program in which I started my post-accident running with 1/8 mile and two years later ran the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon. That running put a lot of stress on my 70+ year old body. That stress was increased by a double hernia operation, 10 big skin cancer surgeries (including several skin grafts, one with pig skin), and surgery to remove my gall bladder. Since that half marathon, I've been running 30-33 miles/per week, including fartleks and intervals and hill workouts. It has been a stressful 2 1/2 years, and apparently my foot muscles deteriorated during my years of reduced running and can't fully handle the intensity of my current training. My body needs more time to rebuild the muscles.

I still hope to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 21, but I won't be able to finish it very well if I continue to have the problem with my left foot. To give my feet time to begin healing, I'm planning on reducing the distances I run during the last two weeks of my training, and I will go through my normal two-week taper to the race. In addition, I'll be taking Arnica and Rhus Tox if I experience soreness again, and I'm taking daily dosages of Ruta between now and the race. I'm confident that my body will respond and strengthen the muscles in my feet, but I won't know for sure until race-day. As I've explained in the past, homeopathic remedies act as a catalyst to get my body to heal itself, and it all depends if I give my body enough rest and if my body does heal itself during the next four weeks.

This problem seems like a biggie right now, but in a few weeks when I look back on it, it will just be a small burp in my life.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My body feels strong

The Salt Lake City Half Marathon is four weeks from today on April 21. My body feels stronger now that it did four weeks before the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon last August. I've had good training during the past seven months since the GSL. My fastest tempo run before the GSL was 2:34. I did a 2:22 tempo run last fall (I haven't tried any tempo runs since then). I'm anxious to see if I can set a PB on April 21, and if so by how much. However, as I just explained in the post just before this one, I am concerned about my feet.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My left foot is feeling "weaker" and is becoming painful

In past posts, I've mentioned that my left foot felt "weak" after long runs. That condition is getting worse. The "weak" feeling starts at about 8 miles, and by 10 miles, my foot is starting to feel sore. As soon as I stop running, the pain stops. Right now, it has been about three hours since I finished my two-hour run, and my foot feels fine.

I don't think my foot is injured, because the "weak" feeling is like the feeling I used to have in my feet after several hours of yard work. In fact, that "weak" feeling and soreness was the reason I started running. I think the problem is due to the fact that it has only been a year and a quarter since I went past 10 miles and on to 15 and then back to 13 miles. During that time, I've done a lot of fast runs and speed training. I think my body just needs more time to build strength.

I am concerned about the half-marathon on April 21, because if my two-hour runs last week and today are indicators, I would have a hard time finishing the race. I'm going to wear an Ace bandage on my foot for the long runs between now and the race (including the race). After the race, I will need a month for recovery, and during that time I will just run comfortable runs with no speed work. Then I'll just have to run the summer and fall by "ear" so to speak.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A rough guess at my pace for the Salt Lake City Half-Marathon

I'm planning on running the Salt Lake City Half-Marathon on April 21. It's way to early to decide on a pace for the race, but I thought it might be helpful during my training to have a rough idea of the pace I might run during the race.

My PB for the half-marathon is 2:21:56 and was sent in August 2006 at the Great Salt Lake Half-Marathon. In April, I would like to set a new PB of 2:10:00 or faster. To reach 2:10:00 I would need a pace of 9:55, but because I'm taking walking breaks, I would actually need 9:25. My average pace for the GSL was 10:47. Thus, I would need to reduce my average pace for the race 1 minute 23 seconds. That, basically, is my goal during the next 2 1/2 months: to reach my August 2006 pace and then beat it by 1:23.

Note: when I speak of my PB for the half-marathon, I'm referring to my recent running of that distance. The race in August 2006 is my only running of a half-marathon. Twenty five years ago, when I ran marathons, I didn't run any half-marathons, but my time for the first half of the four marathons I ran was about 1:51:21. If I had been running a half-marathon instead of a full marathon, I would have run faster and would have had a time about 1:31:42. Because of my age it isn't realistic for me to try to run a half-marathon in 1:31:42, so I'm trying to set a new PB for a recent running of that distance.

I think it may be realistic for me to try to beat the 1:51:21 number, but first I have to do 2:10:00 or faster. As my friend, Bruce, says: baby steps, baby steps.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Need to set a new schedule for my training

I decided a couple of weeks ago to focus on half-marathons instead of marathons. Marathons put a lot of stress on ones body, and I don't want to subject my body to that amount of stress. I ran four marathons about 24 years ago and enjoyed them and the training for them. Now that I'm significantly older, I want to run distance without the stress of 26.2, and 13.1 seems about right.

I'm capping my distance at 33 miles per week, so the next phase is speed training. I think I will continue to run LSD during December to strengthen my base, and then I'll begin running fartleks in January. My current thoughts are to run fartleks once a week by reducing my long run from 2 1/2 hours to an hour and running fartleks during that run. I would keep my 1-hour rest runs on Monday and Tuesday and my 2-hour medium run on Wednesday (all LSD). That would give me 25 miles/week with speed training once a week.

I would like to do that during January and February, and then run intervals during March. The intervals would be on Saturday for half an hour. My Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday runs would be the same. April would be a week of LSD (hopefully faster than my current LSD) and then a two-week taper to Saturday, April 21, 2006 and the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. My real goal for the year is the Senior Games in October, and the SLC half would be to check my progress and give me a better idea of the training I need to do before the Games.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Going back to four days per week of running

Two weeks ago I added a fifth day of running and have it up to two miles. However, I've been reading about getting sufficient rest. Jeff suggests that runners over 55 only run every other day. I've done well on four days/week, and I think I will abort the fifth day and only run four days per week. That gives me a 33 mile/week schedule, which is sufficient for half-marathon training, especially at my age.

Friday, November 03, 2006

No marathons for me -- something better!

I ran four marathons in 1981 and 1982, and I've had a desire to get back into marathoning. However, the marathon distance puts an awfully lot of stress on ones body, and I've decided I don't need that stress. Instead, I'm going to focus on the half-marathon, a distance I've been running weekly for about six months. My goal is to set a new course record for the half-marathon at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.

The current course record for Men 70-74 is 2:04:17.8 set in 2005. My PB for the half-marathon is 2:21:16 set in August at the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon. I believe I can break 2 hours in the next year or two. To do that, I'll need an average pace of 9:10 My average pace for the GSL was 10:47, so I have a big challenge ahead of me.

My strategy for training is the following.

1. Reach the half-marathon distance. This is important, because in May 2004 I was in a serious auto accident and was in the ICU for four weeks. I was in an induced coma for most of that time. My first run after the accident was 1/8 mile. I accomplished this step when I ran the GSL in August.

2. Extend my running from 3 days/week to 5 days/week. I'm half way there. About a month before the GSL, I added a fourth day and brought it up to 2 miles. After the GSL I brought that rest run up to 5 miles. Within the next month I'll add my 5th day and should have it close to 5 miles by the end of the year.

3. Extend my long run from 13 miles to 15 miles to give me a slight buffer for the half-marathon distance.

4. Begin speed training, starting with fartleks once a week and then later doing intervals once a week or maybe once every two weeks. Prior to the fartleks, I'll continue to just run faster as I've been doing before and after the GSL.

5. In October 2007 make my first trek to St. George for the Senior Games. It's about a seven hour drive.

One good thing I have going for me is the difference in altitude between the Salt Lake valley and St. George. St. George is at an elevation of 2800 feet, while my home is 4700 feet and the Jordan River Parkway where I run is 4300 feet. That elevation change will make a big difference to an old geezer like me.

For those interested, the web site for the Senior Games is

Monday, September 04, 2006

The GSL was a peak; now I'm in a slump

I think I peaked for the GSL. When I first started running at the race, I was doing 9:30 to 10 minute miles, and I felt great. Except for looking at my GPS, I couldn't tell that I was going too fast. I kept up that type of pace for 6 miles and a slightly slower pace for another 2 miles. Before the race I pushed myself to run 13 miles at a 12 minute pace, and since the race I'm running 4-5 miles at approximately a 12:30 pace. My fast pace during the race really was an abnormal pace for me, and I think I was at a peak (all racers dream of peaking for their races). It's taking me longer than I expected to get my distance back since the race, and I think that means two things. I'm needing longer to recover from the race due to my exertion during the race, and I'm probably in a slump. It's normal for slumps to follow peaks.

My wakeup HR was 52 this morning, and I ran for an hour. I drank 12 oz of water during the run. I felt tired, compared to last week, and didn't push myself during the run. I had a good 7 hours sleep last night, but the night before I only had 5 hours due to an early morning (4 am) phone call for my daughter-in-law who is a nurse at a local hospital. I couldn't go back to sleep after the phone call woke me up. I'll take a half hour nap this afternoon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

This week is a recovery week

My wakeup HR was 46, and I felt ok (better than yesterday) but was still stiff when I got up. I went to the Parkway and ran for 30 minutes. The first half was really slow because my body wasn't warm and I was still somewhat stiff from the race. The second half was a bit faster -- not intentionally faster, just how my body was responding. When I finished and stretched, my stiffness was gone.

My plans for this recovery week are to run long slow distance for 30 minutes again tomorrow, an hour on Wednesday, and an hour and 15 minutes on Saturday, assuming that my body feels up to those times. I'm hoping that a week from now, I'll be ready to run my normal times (approximately double the numbers I gave above).

Training Graphs

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Step 1 to Boston is accomplished. On to step 2

Completing the GSL this morning was my first step towards running Boston in 2011. I needed to demonstrate to myself that my body was strong enough to complete a half marathon in a good time.

My next step to Boston is the completion of a full marathon at any pace. I'm giving myself a full year to reach that step and hope to run the marathon during the summer or fall of 2007.

After I complete step 2, I will have demonstrated that my body is strong enough to do the 26.2 miles. Step 3 will be getting my time down to the qualifying time of 4 hours 45 minutes. I'm allowing 3 years to do that step. Step 4 will be qualifying for Boston, and step 5 will be running Boston.

Training Graphs

I did well in the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon

I completed the race in 2:21:16 and won first place in my age category of 70-74. Of course, my son reminded me that I also was last in that category since I was the only one in it :) I threw in a kick at the end and sprinted for the last 100 yards or so.

My goal was to complete the race in 2:30 or less, and I beat that with my 2:21. My other goal was to run most of the race at a pace of 11 and then to speed up during the last couple of miles. I reached that goal with my average pace of 10.7. I feel good about my performance, especially since my fastest training time for 13 miles was 2:41.

The one thing that needs improving is my consistency in pacing myself. My lap times were

1. 9:39
2. 9:53
3. 9:55 ;* Includes a water stop and short walking break
4. 10.04
5. 9:55
6. 10.12 ;* Includes a water stop and short walking break
7. 10.30

; The following laps had a walking break of approximately a minute at the end of the lap.
8. 10.41
9. 11.02 ;* Includes a water stop
10. 11.40
11. 11.21
12. 12.24 ;* Includes two hills and a water stop
13. 11.57

I knew that I'd started out too fast, but my body wanted to go at that pace, so I let it do that. That pace felt comfortable, and I was surprised when I looked at my Garmin the first time and saw the 9:39. It was kinda dark, and I couldn't see the watch very well. I thought maybe I had set it up wrong. When the 9:53 came in I could tell that the watch was working correctly, and I was really surprised that I had maintained that fast pace for two miles. I ended up maintaining that fast pace for the first 6 miles and a slower but still fast pace for two more miles. I realized at the end of 8 miles that I was slowing down, and I started taking walking breaks at the end of each mile.

In looking back on the race, since I was guaranteed a 1st place in my age category (I didn't know until the race was over that I was alone in my age category) I'm glad that I did well so the blue ribbon isn't just a default gift.

Here we are on Antelope Island enjoying the good feeling that comes with a job well done. With me are Bruce from Las Vegas, my friend from, Beth from Chicago who is in Utah for a wedding and learned of the GSL from my blog, and Ben my colleague at Westminster College before I retired.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Last run before the race

I ran a comfortable two miles this morning. I just let my body dictate the pace. My average pace for the first mile was 11:10, and my average pace for the second mile was 10:15. I don't know if I'll have the endurance to keep a 10:15 pace for the whole race, but if I did I'd finish in 2 hours and 14 minutes. That would be a miracle!

Tomorrow, my wife, my 89 year old mother-in-law, and I will be sightseeing with my Las Vegas friend, Bruce, in the Wasatch mountains near Salt Lake City. I hope to be in bed by 8 pm tomorrow night and up at 4 am to stretch and to leave home at 4:30 for the hour drive to Clearfield. I frequently will have anxiety problems trying to sleep the night before a big event, so I don't know how much sleep I'll have before the race.

Training Graphs

Monday, August 14, 2006

Another change to my race strategy for Saturday

My wakeup HR was 47 again this morning. I ran an easy, comfortable 2 miles. During the first half mile, I ran a pace of about 12:30. By the end o that mile, I was running a pace of about 12 minutes. After another half mile, my pace was at 11:30, and by two miles, my pace was a bit below 11 minutes. I ran the two miles at the same exertion-level, so as my body warmed up I automatically ran faster. Because of this, I'm changing my strategy for Saturday to use the first two miles as a "natural" warmup, as follows:

1/2 mile @ 12:30
1/2 mile @ 12:00
1/2 mile @ 11:30
1/2 mile @ 11:00

Depending how I feel, I'll like to run the last two miles at 10:30 or maybe 10:00.

The forecast for Friday night in Clearfield is a low of 64 (F), so the early morning temperature for the race on Saturday should be in the mid 60s to the mid 70s with sunshine. The early morning sun will be at our backs and shouldn't be a problem.

Training Graphs

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A revision to my race strategy for next Saturday

My wakeup HR was 47, and I had a very enjoyable 6.5 mile run along the Jordan River Parkway. I experimented with my Garmin GPS to learn how to measure lap paces. I experimented with lap times of 1 mile and 0.3 mile. I think I'll go with the default of 1 mile. I also experimented with fewer walking and drinking breaks to see how I responded to those changes. Because of the heat, I had to be careful about drinking less water. My urine when I got home was a little darker than it has been but not excessively darker. I also experimented with the way to get more vitamin D that I mentioned in my previous post. After about 1.3 miles, I stopped in a shady spot and put on the sunscreen.

I decided to revise my race strategy for the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon and do the second mile at 11:30 instead of 11:00. I need about two miles to get warmed up, and by doing the first mile at 12:00 and the second mile at 11:30 I'll be more likely to handle the remaining miles at 11:00. By listening to my body to see how I feel during the race and by using the Garmin to measure my pace each mile, I'll be able to adjust my pace to be as fast as possible but not so fast that I "peter out" towards the end of the race. Back in the "old days" we didn't have electronic devices to measure pace. The marathons I ran did have frequent mile-markers, so I wrote on my hand my desired times for the major mileage points, and as I passed each mile-marker, I would compare the clock time from my stop watch with the numbers written on my hand.

Training Graphs

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My race strategy for the GSL Half Marathon

I've also been thinking about my race strategy for the GSL. During my training runs, I've been running of 11+ minute miles, and my average pace has been slightly above 12 minutes (I've been taking one-minute walking breaks every mile). During the race, I'd like to take fewer walking breaks, just taking them at the water tables. I'm thinking of running the first mile at a 12 minute pace to complete my warm up, and then going to an 11 minute pace for the rest of the race, and going a bit faster during the last half mile. This would give me a total time of about 2 hours 23 minutes. My PB for a 13-mile training run was 2:41, so a 2:23 would be an decrease in time of 18 minutes or slightly more than a minute per mile. Can I make that increase? I don't know, but it's worth a try if I feel good. I'll reevaluate this strategy on Friday of next week.

I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get before the race. I have to be up at 4 am and out of the house at 4:30. I usually don't sleep well before important activities due to anticipation-stress. At my age, I need that sleep...

Training Graphs