Saturday, February 25, 2012

Training For Blue Ridge: Week 2

     Mon: Tempo: 4 miles: Dedicated Parkway 4 Miler: Same route as last Monday's tempo and with the same goals too. Happy to say the results were notably better with an average pace of 7:09 vs last weeks 7:20. PR pace for this route is 7:00 flat  and that was set March 31 of 2011. I don't have any plans to run this route again in the foreseeable future, so I guess the course record will just stay where its at for now.

     Wed: Intervals: 6 miles: Burnt Bridges: Continued week to week improvement by hitting 11 of the 12 target paces. Intention was to alternate between 6's and 8's, but my last uphill sprint dropped into the low 7's. No biggie.

     Thurs: Recovery: 4 Miles: Explore Park: Beginner Trail: Laps + : A full lap on the beginner trail is about .85 of a mile so I call it laps + to refer to adding enough asphalt to each lap to make it an even mile by the time I enter the trail head. Today's brick was a 12.7 mile bike, 4 mile run, 12.7 mile bike. I had no intentions of pushing the pace at all, but the first mile off the bike was still slower than I though it should have been.

     Sat: Long: 8 Miles: Treadmill 8 Miler: Time management, needing to get a swim in and some rather gusty atmospheric conditions caused me to punk out and opt for the treadmill in lieu of my scheduled Saturday long brick. Matched Mondays tempo pace of 7:09 for twice the distance, of course with a flat elevation profile and no wind resistance it would probably factor out to a 7:15-7:20, still a good place to be at this point in the game.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Training for Blue Ridge : Week 1

     Mon: Tempo: 4 miles: Dedicated Parkway 4 Miler: Achieved the low end of my expectations for this run. I had hopes of kicking it into the upper 6's to low 7's. With a final pace of 7:20 it's about as low 7's as you can get without being a mid 7's. All things considered its a good starting point to improve from.

     Wed: Intervals: 6 miles: Burnt Bridges : Targets were 6's for the sprints (even numbered laps) and 8's for the recoveries. I hit 10 of the 12 targets, laps 2, 6, and 10 were the uphill sprints and I could only kick it into the 6's for the first one, the other 2 were in the 7's.

     Thurs: Recovery: 4 miles: Random: Just kickin' it around in the 'hood today fresh off of a low intensity 4 mile elliptical workout. Intended to do a traditional 10-4-10 brick, but rain had me change up my plans. It don't matter much on Thursday anyway since it's a low intensity recovery day...the one day I allow my body to run my mind instead of the other way around.

     Sat: Long: 8 miles: Parkway/ Stewarts Knob Trail 8 Miler: Cycled 10 miles to the Rangers Station, then ran 8.14 miles and cycled back home. Kept the cycling very low intensity in order to keep my legs fresh as possible for the run. With some minor variations this was the same route I used last week and I'm happy to say that the 8:27 avg pace was well into the acceptable range. The Stewarts Knob trail does not lend itself to speed, so keeping the trail miles in the 9's and most of the asphalt miles in the 7's represents a satisfactory effort. Still, I hope to see the run portion of my Saturday long bricks averaging in the mid to upper 7's by April.

Monday, February 13, 2012

10 Things I Love About Running

#runchat is having a blog contest so I'm going to step outside of my usual blogging formats and do a top 10 list of 10 things I love about running...hope yall enjoy!

10) Exhilaration! Pushing my limits to their furthest boundaries never gets old! I can't always hit new limits, but I can always find my limits for the specific given day. I spent decades not knowing what I was is definitely worth the effort to wake up each morning and find out what your made of.

9) Statistics. Its great to have a data bank of numbers to manage. Once the bills are paid and I'm sittin around all broke lookin at a bunch of zeroes in my check book, its good to know I have a handy training log nearby with all kinds of numbers to pour over and contemplate where I can do better!

8) Gadgets! Garmin 305! Almost as good as having a best friend! Actually, since it's Valentines Day, I think I'll take my Garmin out to a nice dinner and maybe some wine.

7) The Treadmill. O.K. I'm an oddball even in runners circles cause I never call the treadmill a "dreadmill". I have the time of my life every time I get on one. I usually just use treadmills for short distance tempo runs, so if you ever see me on one the statistical probability is that I'm giving it everything I've got!

6) Exploration. Been in and around Roanoke all my life and never knew until I started running what great trail systems we have in this area.

5) Fitness. Running is great for cardiovascular health. Other activities can also provide cardiovascular benefit, but running is best in my opinion.

4) Community. Running brings people together. If I meet a runner on a training run or in the middle of a race, it don't matter if the person rich, poor, green, lavender, young or old, cause we've got something in common that over 99% of the population either can't or won't understand.

3) Weight Management. Weight can be managed many ways through diet and exercise with or without running. Me personally, I chose to run. I weigh myself before and after every run and I gotta say running is a great calorie burn.

2) Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and/or looking at Mill Mountain and knowing that I kicked its ASS, many times! and I'll be back to do it again!

1) Race Day! I was hooked after just one race. I was like "Wow! All these people and they all do the same stuff that I do!" Then the horn sounds and the race starts and its like a stampede and everybody is just kinda feeding off the group energy! That is how PR's get made! (Oh and the race shirts are nice to have too.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Back up and punt...,

     The unseasonably warm weather lately has given me an opportunity to try some things differently than what I've done in the past. Lately, I've been riding my bike to the gym prior to my swimming workouts, and riding my bike to various trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway prior to my running workouts. Consequently, I have been accumulating mega cycling miles and turning most of running into bricks...and I liked it!

     Running in bricks has made my paces slower, but it feels like the right thing to do. Part of the appeal of  racing for me is experimenting with my training and seeing what makes me slower and what makes me faster, of course from year to year the variables are just too great to say what exactly might have produced a given result, but again..., that's part of the appeal.

     So with training for the Blue Ridge Half starting in just 2 days I'm going to tweak my training schedule towards slightly less running and more bricks. I think this will provide at least as good a shot as my prior plan at a Blue Ridge Half PR plus since that is going to be a double header weekend with the Angels Race triathlon I think it will greatly improve my chances of a PR at that event as well. Here is my new revised training schedule:

Revised training plan for BRHM

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Quickening

     Its that time of year again! Seems like the slow season just started and here it is the final week before training starts for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon. My slow season was a little bit slower than I had planned as I have been resistant to push my paces at all, instead preferring to just run comfortable, but all that is about to change!

     Now is the time for the quickening. This means that gone are the days of the mind listening to the body and for the next 10 weeks I will be following a dedicated training schedule where my body will have to listen to my mind. Hopefully the end result will be a PR on the Apr 21 running of the Blue Ridge Half Marathon.

     Looking at the goal of beating last years 1:37:22 I know I have a lot of work to do. My training paces have been very comfortable lately and I am very happy in this little comfort zone of 8-10 minute miles with the occasional push into the 6's and 7's, but I have to put that behind me for a little while and just let the quickening do its work. Eventually the 6's and 7's will be easy again, it shouldn't take more than just a few weeks.   

     Apr 21 is a double header weekend too. The 21st is the Blue Ridge Half and the 22nd is the start of triathlon season with the Angels Race. I formulated my training schedule to allow for 3 days on the bike, 3 days in the pool and 4 days running..., hopefully I can PR at both races!

Training Schedule for Blue Ridge Half