I don’t know what it says about my training, or what it leaves out, but y’know how I track my annual goal distance for running each year and keep apprised of if I’m ahead or behind? Well, simply, I’m ahead. And officially, if I check forward a couple months (because I AM a couple months ahead) technically… just merely technically… I could skip any and all runs between now and New York, and (assuming I could still run NYC) never dip into the red on my annual tally. It’s just math, but that’s a comfortable mental space to be training in at the moment.
It felt like a good training weekend. I have been looking down the barrel at this approaching marathon –just over two months to go– and realizing that I need to start, actually start not just plan to start, cranking up my distance. So I went out on Friday morning (day off) and planning to run about 15 klicks, detoured and ended with a sprint a few blocks from my house at a solid twenty-one point one. Sunday, I was anticipating a bunch of post-marathon washouts from my crew, but Mary followed me for a mid-distance adventure and we trolled a half dozen bridges and clocked a solid twenty-three (though my watch blipped and erased the last three hundred meters!) Two halves, made for just over a full marathon over the weekend. Central Park in November doesn’t feel quite as unreachable this morning.
I can always sorta gauge how well my training year is going by when I reach that 1000 klick mark on my annual tally. In 2013, when I was training for (and quickly approaching the date of) my first marathon, I hit that milestone in early August. Otherwise, it’s been a lot later in the year:
- 2012 – October 30
- 2013 – August 6
- 2014 – October 20
- 2015 – September 26 (During a race so I didn’t write about it.)
- 2016 – August 13
I crossed that mark once again on Saturday morning, a few minutes into a 15 klick morning run. Again, early in August, with a few months of training left before my November marathon. That fills in a bit of a confidence gap I’ve been feeling. Really. Somehow.
June 28 – Something You Want To Break
aka. Post 28 of Those 30 Posts in June Blog-Every-Day Posts
We ran hills tonight, and after just four slogs up that mound I’m completely wiped… fried… broken. That should definitely not be the case.
I’m going to blame work. Yeah, work. We’re a few hands short at the office and that means picking up slack. I know I’m not supposed to let writing about the office creep into this blog, but the office itself has crept into my private life in ways that I’m physically feeling. I’m tired. Burned close to the bottom of the wick. And it’s showing, especially in my feet-based pursuits.
June was supposed to be the grand kick-off to my November marathon effort, but I almost feel like I’m in worse shape at the end of this month than I was at the beginning.
I’m eating like crap, too, which doesn’t help. But again… that’s work creating stress creating cravings creating a willpower void. Grrr…
But I’m also not getting out on the trails as often as I should, and when I do the distances seem shorter, slower, less momentous… even despite cranking up the duration of my long runs on the weekends.
I need to break out of this rut. July?
Ok, so I didn’t quite run every day in April.
I was darn close. I missed exactly three days, all of them in the last week of the month after I decided to take a break from the body-crushing, soul-mushing exercise of trying to fit in a daily run.
That said, I entered the month fifty klicks behind my schedule-for-the-year, having dragged my sick, sorry, vacationing feet a little too slowly for the first three months of 2016. I leave April fifty klicks ahead of schedule, feeling a lot stronger and a lot faster… and actually ready to train for this damn marathon in November. In fact, I logged 217 klicks in April. Not Olympian-level but definitely on pace for a guy registered for a marathon later this year.
That said, I’ve worked out a high level tactical approach for my next six months of training & leading up to November’s race. I’m doing a ten percent build.
Starting in May, I’m going to aim to run to a target weekly distance. My goal will be to hit within 10% of that distance, come hell or high water.
So (appropriately enough) for May I’m going to run a marathon distance every week. A total of 42.2 km (+/- 4.2km) from Sunday to Saturday. Until June… and then I’m going to increase that by 10%.
So the year maps out like this:
|Month||Weekly Distance (km)||Variance (km)|
This gets me into October built up to some serious weekly klicks, with room for a weekly long run (say 35-40 klicks) with some space for my hills, tempos, and speed work built in. It also leaves some buffer for the general all-around busy-ness of life… which if you are a working dad with a summer of plans ahead of you that you’re hoping don’t complete collide in a mess of crushed dreams before November… well…
All this said I haven’t worked out the nitty-gritty details quite yet. Summer will offer challenges. Weather. Work. I’ve got to squeeze in some cross-training, too. Maybe some time in the pool. And the dog still needs a daily walk.
But it’s all coming together. Let the training begin! (For reals this time.)
I lost track of the time. Not really. I was just dawdling, watching YouTube and I got into this video that turned out to be twenty-five minutes long, so that when I looked up it occurred to me that I should have left to go running five minutes ago.
No biggie. I knew the route: Tuesdays meant tempos, tempos meant the little lake, the lake was closer to run to than actually driving to catch up.
So… I was running a bit late, arrived a bit early, and then when we all converged at the start of the tempo-stretch, standing beside the lake in the sun looking down along a busy trail littered with goose poop, we charged up and ran some hard threshold work: thirty-six minutes of fast.
That niggling soreness was gone & the calves were still a bit tight… but that’s to be expected.
And after not-quite-eight klicks I looked at my monthly total: less than two klicks short of two-hundred in April. I guess I can’t hang up my shoes for this month yet.
Tuesday is tempo night at the run club. It’s our unofficial, hills-are-tomorrow, tempo meetup.
But sometimes you just don’t feel like tempos. Sometimes it’s a beautiful evening and you just feel like doing a leisurely run through the river valley, enjoying the April air and pleasant weather, and skipping all that serious training stuff.
So we did. So we ran a short-ish, slow-ish, casual-ish run on some familiar trails and some new-ish paths, crossed paths with some familiar-ish people, and paced a gentle route back to the shop.
I did get a little bit harassed by the group over yesterday’s post about how “sluggish” I was feeling, particularly considering that –despite not being the fastest– I was certainly near the front of the pack.
We ran a sixteen-minutes-out-sixteen-back burst of threshold training at the usual slogging spot: past the lake, around the corner, onto the straightaway, watch out for traffic…
Folks are getting fast, I will say. The group had me pushing hard to stay in the front three of the pack. I was dipping into my reserve, bursting my heart into my throat and pinging signals to my monitor that I was probably a hair fast for a proper bit of tempo training. But they are moving these days. Who can blame them, though. Six weeks out from their (for many first) marathon and their distances are comparable to what I’m tracking — and I’m running every day of the week these days.
I finished with a burst: Miss H was trying hard to catch up with me for the last couple klicks but I was being a bit cruel and pulling ahead to thwart that. In the end we were tracking a 4:20/km pace, about a dozen paces out of step, in my effort to not be caught.
I guess we’ll see how that effort will tally with hills twenty-four hours later.
Remember when I mentioned that I scored a spot in the 2016 NYC Marathon? Yeah, that was a month ago. A MONTH! I am officially a month closer to this thing and while I’ve normalized the notion of the thing in my head, I still haven’t done much to actually prepare. Or that’s how it feels, at least. We’ve booked a hotel. Three nights a few blocks from Central Park, a few short stumbling and weary steps from the finish line. I’ve sketched out a vague notion of how I’d like to prepare as the summer and autumn progress, but I haven’t actually written down any numbers. And I’ve poked around some ideas on race-day nutrition planning (made all the trickier because I’ll be crossing an international border and will likely need to shop when I get there.) But besides that… GFLAGGGHHQGH! I’m so not ready. Seven months to go. Yikes!
… in which the time flew by because Miss H was back from her cruise vacation and was bubbling with excitement to tell us all about it. Which was good. Because usually no one talks much when we run faster.
We ran out to the lake, paused briefly to recover our heart rates, then scooted ahead with tempo training speed though the evening trails on our flat and straight-lined adventure.
I had not intended to go particularly fast, given that I’m not exactly training for anything in particular at the moment, but we held a solid 5:30/km clip for the duration of the fifteen out and fifteen back, which felt better than I thought it would have when I had set out earlier and was still warming up.
… in which we did neither hills nor San Diego.
The group who are training for San Diego marathon are a fierce training machine, however, and talk of the epic hill at mile 22… ish was heavy on minds. It’s all hill training when the barrier between you and the finish line is a 700 meter climb thirty-some klicks into a race, right?
But it was a good tempo night, good save for the fact that I tried to sneak in an early dinner before running, a mistake I usually know better than to make except when it’s been a long day and I’m hungry and there is this two hour gap between getting home and going for a run and no one there to tell me to stop being so stupid.
So I ran my tempos and felt that stomach-full of soup that I’d eaten and didn’t really push it though I felt simultaneously cold and fast and weak and regretful of not being better at ignoring my stomach-brain. And the sun set, and the runners ran in with satisfied grins on their faces and feeling a bit faster and a bit stronger and a bit more ready to face a big, big hill a few thousand miles away.
When I had my once-ago blip of being a run instructor, back up until as late as last spring, we followed a pretty standard training program. Long slow runs. Speed work. Hills. And, of course, tempo training.
While my BIG race goal is still, now, 8 months away, there are a group of folks who currently are on the mad dash towards first-marathon-dom for early June, which means they are generally doing the type of training I feel like I should be doing, but for which I don’t push myself too hard with… because… well… 8 months away, y’know?
Last night they were doing quote… tempos…. unquote.
Now, tempo training –better known perhaps as threshold training — as I’ve understood it is meant to be a run that is comfortable but tough. You push yourself to go into a running zone that forces your body to adjust to better using the chemical by-products of metabolism. As you exercise, lactic acid builds up in your muscles. Our bodies work just hard enough to clean this out of our muscles, but our bodies are not wasteful. They work JUST hard enough. Just. So, with a tempo run, the idea is to push that boundary, forcing that just-hard-enough-bar a little higher, so that muscle fatigue happens at a higher boundary. You push the threshold. You’re not training your lungs or anything more broadly fitness-related so much as you’re confusing your body with regards to how it handles the waste products of your exercise.
Better waste handling = less tired muscles.
Less tired muscles = longer, faster runs.
We did a fast…ish run last night. We called it a tempo run, but I think we were confusing fast with tempo… or at least it felt that way. So… yeah. Tempos are great, but they gotta be right or they’re not tempos.
It wasn’t a bad run. It was a pleasant, fast-ish run in some awesome weather. But it was more like quasi-not-quite-tempo. Just saying.