Striding Through

Because a life well lived always finds the right pace

Monthly Archives: August 2010

Road to NYC, Ramping up in Week 3

I’m just about done with the third week of this marathon training cycle and this should be my strongest week yet in terms of overall mileage. Add in a midweek trail race and it definitely looks like a “power week” of running. There is one big hurdle to get over yet, however, and that’s an 18-miler tomorrow.

Done so far:

  • Monday easy progression run 6.4 miles
  • Tuesday 6 miles including 4.5 mile trail race
  • Wednesday double easy runs of 8 and 4 miles
  • Thursday hill repeats, total 6.9 miles

On tap for the rest of the week:

  • Friday 6-8 easy trail miles
  • Saturday long run of 18 miles
  • Sunday rest day (traveling for vacation)

About the race: there’s not much to say about it. It’s a DCRRC race I do just about every year, at Burke Lake where I frequently train. One loop around the lake is 4.5 miles. I ended up 17th overall and 3rd in the 40-49 age group, in 31:09. That’s 12 seconds slower than my result last year but the heat and the fact I trained through the race probably had something to do with that. I’m pretty certain my conditioning is much better than it was a year ago and that when I actually start tapering for some races I’ll see more optimal results.

If all plays out as planned it will be about a 53-55 mile week. I’ll be on vacation next week. While the running certainly won’t stop I expect the totals will be a little lower, but with lots of other “active” vacationing activities taking place. Then I’ll be ready to go roaring back into another big week heading towards Labor Day.

On the Road to New York, Week 1

I’m now into Week 2 of training for the New York City Marathon on November 7. This will enable me to check off another box in my quest to run all five of the World Marathon Majors.

This comes after a summer of not focusing at all on marathon or long distance training; indeed from April 19 when I ran the Boston Marathon, until August 7, I didn’t do a single run longer than 13 miles. I think (or at least I hope) this break was good for me both mentally and physically. As I ramped back up to training last week, I felt eager to get it on, even though the heat and humidity outside was stifling.

All in all it was a good start last week, with 41 miles logged, plus another 20 or so of cycling. During the week I ran one final summer 5k race, and then I capped off the week with a long run of 16 on Saturday.

One of the things I’m trying to do this fall is re-institute my commitment to cycling as my primary form of cross-training (with soccer being my other form). Two years ago, when I was training for the Outer Banks Marathon, I alternated my weekend long runs with weekend long rides. In other words, on one Saturday I would do a long run, the next I would get on the bike and go for a long ride. When OBX rolled around I was in perhaps my best marathon shape ever, and while I didn’t PR on race day, I did run a very solid 3:21:35. I also recovered very quickly from OBX.

The reason I picked up the cycling back then was my recovery from a groin injury in the spring of that year. I couldn’t run for much of the spring and early summer, so once I was at about 70% recovery status, I cycled. Lo and behold, it turned out I really enjoyed it a lot, and I also noticed it helped my fitness. Then when I finally could resume regular training, I decided to keep the cycling as part of it. I find that cycling serves two great purposes for my training — it provides some serious endurance work and it takes some stress off the joints.

In preparation for longer riding this fall, I even went out and got myself  a new (actually used but it’s nice) road bike, and have already put down one ride of 35 miles on it, plus a bunch of shorter rides.

All of this leads to the current week:

Done so far –

  • Monday 5k easy jog at recovery pace
  • Tuesday 7.6 mile progression run, finishing at marathon pace
  • Wednesday track intervals 8×500 at 5k race pace
  • Thursday 5 miles easy recovery pace, 45 minute core session

Planned for the rest of the week –

  • Friday 8-10 with some tempo
  • Saturday 35-40 miles road cycling
  • Sunday soccer with my coed adult team

That will leave me with fewer miles this week, somewhere around 31, but I’ll get a big ride in and that will set me up for next week. Next week the running mileage will approach 45, including a weekend long run of 18. I envision this type of trend persisting throughout the fall until taper time kicks in around mid-October. I’m nowhere near marathon fitness right now, but I’m confident that by November 7, I will be as ready as I’ve ever been.

One Last Summer 5k

It’s been almost a week since this race so I figured maybe it’s time to get my race report up.

I wound up what I’m calling my “summer racing season” last Wednesday night at Bluemont Park in the DC Roadrunners Club’s 5k championship race. As I had progressed through the summer I was hoping this 5k would be the one where I peaked and maybe even cracked the 19:00 barrier. However over the past few weeks I could see that plan just wasn’t coming together. After running a 19:26 on this same course in  early June, I had since not broken 19:40. So as the championship race approached I modified my goal from sub-19 to just trying for a 2010 PR.

It’s been a hot and very humid summer, quite the contrast to the epic winter we went through just a few months ago  — it’s the year of weather extremes, apparently. I can handle heat but humidity really seems to sap me, and as I warmed up I could feel it already taking a toll. Still I tried to keep a positive mindset and was ready to go when we all lined up.

In part because of the humidity I tried hard not to plow out of the gate too quickly, to stay somewhat calm in the first mile. Sure enough I came through there in 6:12, a little slower than normal. In the second mile I kept pushing ahead and passed a few people, including someone I’d recognized from previous races who’d always beaten me. For whatever reason I’ve never liked losing to him and I was determined this time it wasn’t going happen again. As I passed him I made sure to make a strong move. Soon the turnaround came up and not far after that, the 2-mile point, which I hit in 12:45. I had dropped to 6:33 for Mile 2, not what I was hoping for, but clearly the humidity was pounding us all; my singlet was already dripping wet.

But I still had some work to do so I told myself to keep my concentration and work on the guy ahead of me. I caught him but he would be the last one I passed. Meanwhile I knew someone was coming on hard from behind. I had seen him in previous races, too, and knew he had a furious kick in him. So my mission became doing whatever I could to hold him off. As we hit the 3-mile mark I was at 19:07 and as with many 5k races, I had bounced back in my third mile with a 6:22. Still I knew Mr. Fast Finisher was behind me; as we came around a corner I threw a quick glance back and saw him about 20 yards back. I dug deep but knew I didn’t have as much as he did, so it was all about holding on. I kept pushing towards that finish, hearing the footsteps. As I crossed the line he couldn’t have been more than a second behind me. I guess I used all the real estate I had to my advantage because I succeeded in holding him off.

I ended up 16th overall in 19:45, 3rd in the 40-49 age group (results here). That’s nowhere near the lofty (perhaps unrealistic) goal I had for the race but on a hot, humid night it would do just fine.

Now my attention turns to fall marathon training. The first long run is already in the books with more to follow.  It all culminates on November 7 when I line up with thousands at the foot of the Verrezano-Narrows Bridge.