Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 Blue Ridge Half Marathon Prep Summary

2014 Blue Ridge Half Marathon
Preparation Summary
(For the scientists and researchers)


2010- time 1:49:27 (chip) 1:49:37 (gun), Pace 8:22/M, Place 58/450 overall, 10/30 in my age group, 51/216 among men
2011-time 1:37:19 (chip) 1:37:22 (gun), Pace 7:26/M, Place 10/368 overall, 1/36 in my age group, 9/176 among men
2012- time 1:35:29 (chip) 1:35:29 (gun), Pace 7:17/M, Place 8/515 overall, 2nd place Master, 7/231 among men (PR)
2013-time 1:41:53 (chip) 1:41:55 (gun), Pace 7:47/M, Place 48/798 overall, 3/42 in my age group, 41/357 among men

Training for this years Blue Ridge Half was a no go. 2011 and 2012 I trained specifically for a peak performance at Blue Ridge. In 2013 I trained for a full in March and was still tapped out in a recovery phase during the time I would have used to train. In listening to my energy levels and by carefully controlling how much push to invest in my cardio routines, I was able to reach the start line for 2014 in an under trained state.

Now an under trained state is superior to an over trained state, in my experience, because the risk of injury during, and leading up to, the event are greatly diminished. 2013 had me in an over trained state, so I was confident in finishing the route, but the time would be closer to my target marathon pace of an 8-ish.

Approaching the start line of the 2014 event I can best explain my state as under trained because my understanding of being "trained" has to include 4 days of running per week for 10 weeks prior to the event.
Each of those days would have a specific style and pace target such as tempo, interval, recovery and long along side any arbitrary pace target I might assign to it in the interest of promoting a peak performance on race day.

For 2014 I was hesitant to invest much effort in high intensity tempo runs and consequently saw no need for recovery runs. Running just 2 days a week didn't feel much like training so I just worked on holding a base and getting in the miles.

As a runner, everything above probably seems ok, but as a student of the 5 primary cardio and fitness disciplines consisting of running, swimming, cycling, stretching and strength training...I knew I had a chance to make a strong scientific study in the values of cross training.

I started off with Operation Hard Core.

Operation Hard Core was a no nonsense approach to bringing the abdominal muscles into the game. I took an easy 2 minute plank and doubled it to a few seconds over 4 over the past 10 or so weeks. I mostly just made sure to focus on not going more than 3 days between attempts and to focus only on 4 seconds per breath. Having doubled my plank I can confidently congratulate myself as being born again hard.

As part of Operation Hardcore I reinvested in my swimming campaign. I had been avoiding swimming for no particular reason for a good long while now and wanted to be sure to have all the fat loss through other disciplines that I might have experienced had I actually been following what I would have called a training program for a Half Marathon.

Having been following an all-running, 4 days on / 3 days rest program since roughly July of 2013, I decided to go to a 7-day a week cardio plan with varying intensity and varying disciplines. The experiment should prove quite insightful and my interpretation of the results will have a profound impact on my cardio routine for most of the coming summer.
Post-workout weigh-in chart. Slight bounce up before race day reflects decreased exertion and increased rest. First Thing In The Morning weigh-ins have held steady at 164-165.

Approaching race start, as compared to10 weeks ago, I have lost 20-25 lbs, been able to stabilize my body fat percentage at around 12.5%, closed in on multiple strength training goals and developed a much more predictable pace for middle distance events, such as a Half Marathon.



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