Spring training, regaining your mojo

 Running Information, Training  Comments Off on Spring training, regaining your mojo
Apr 112013
Worn out

Worn out

I guess this is technically the first normal spring training season I have had since I started running in 2010.  Spring of 2011 I was finishing up my Boston Marathon training and was running 40 miles a week and getting ready to taper, hardly a normal situation to be in on ordinary year. Spring of 2012 I was recovering from my Achilles heel injury and was basically starting over from scratch, also not (hopefully) a normal spring training season.

So here we are, spring of 2013. I had a successful fall spate of half marathons and then a very pleasant late fall early winter running schedule.  But as the winter progressed and the weather worsened I was forced to spend more of my running time on the treadmill then I’d like.  Although my monthly running log looks reasonable, there is no doubt to me that I did not maintain my fitness from the fall.  Perhaps it is the fact that I run in the Chi running style, but a treadmill run for me just isn’t the same as a run outside.  I don’t find it is interesting, and that results me being less motivated to run. Maybe I’ll run a little less one day or skip a day, or cut my long run short. So in the end, I have to admit that going into spring I have some catch-up to do.  I don’t think this is at all unusual, in fact if anything I am guessing this is very usual.  One of my running buddies doesn’t even run it all during the winter time and I hear that story quite a bit.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:24 pm

Cold long run

 Training  Comments Off on Cold long run
Mar 092013

20130316-110044.jpgBright and sunny day post snowstorm.  The roads were narrow and the shoulder was basically slippery snow.  I just had to get outside after too many days on the treadmill.  After 8 miles and many near misses with crazy car drivers I gratefully arrived back at my house.

Combining Half Marathon Training with Low Heart Rate Training

 Running, Training  Comments Off on Combining Half Marathon Training with Low Heart Rate Training
Mar 052013
Boston's Run to Remember

Boston’s Run to Remember

I wasn’t planning to run any races this spring, instead focusing on my fitness and heart rate training.  But a friend asked me if I would be interested in running with her at Boston’s run to remember, and I said that I would.  I quickly checked to see if it would be possible to fit in a 12 week training plan for this half, and I saw that it was.  This will be my friend’s first half, and she is planning on “Gallowalking” is (run/walk intervals).  So I am not overly concerned about my ability to stick with her or complete it, but I still want to make sure that I am as fit as possible for this endeavor.  Since I already committed to myself to do all my spring training as low heart rate running, I have decided to combine both the training plan and heart rate training into one program.  This means that I will be deviating a bit from the standard training plan to accommodate my low heart rate training.

As I discussed in a prior article, low heart rate training requires that I do the vast majority of my running slow enough to keep my heart rate within a specifically calculated zone.  Normally, half marathon training would incorporate both pace runs and tempo runs as a way to build the cardio necessary to compete at higher levels.  I usually use Hal Higdon’s training plans as a base and then modify them as necessary to meet my needs.

So I went over to his site, and took a look at the various offerings available for half marathon training. I decided to go with novice level II, although it is possible that it’s time for me to move up into the intermediate training plans. Since I am not training for any kind of personal record for this spring, and I am still recovering from some lost conditioning this winter, I decided to take it easy and go with the novice level II.

Novice 2 Half Marathon Training Plan

Novice 2 Half Marathon Training Plan

As you can see in this chart, Hal’s plan recommends one day of pace runs per week, plus a 5K and 10K race in the plan.  I’ve decided to drop the two races from the plan, and do the pace run only every other week.  This lets me focus on my heart rate training to build my conditioning, while still building my stamina with the overall mileage increase each week.  I am leaving everything else exactly the same, including rest and cross training recommendations in the plan.

I think this approach is very solid from a training point of view, especially if you buy into the benefits of low heart rate training. One of the downsides of this approach, however, is that there is very little running done at your race pace, which could potentially undermine your confidence that you could sustain a race pace when you need it. It is sort of a leap of blind faith that your conditioning will be there when you ask for it during race conditions.



2012 Training Review

 Training  Comments Off on 2012 Training Review
Jan 012013

finish-medalWell 2012 is finally over and what a year it has been.  I started the year still recovering from my Achilles tendon rupture.  I was still very injured in January and was at a very low point in both my fitness and my spirit.  I had gained 17 pounds since my injury in September of 2011 and had not really exercised in months.  I tried a few things now and then but mostly I sat on the couch and played video games and ate.  Very depressing.

Starting near the end of February I was able to start running and by March I was definitely on the mend.  In retrospect I was not fully healed until September, so really everything between March and September was re-training.  It was almost like starting from scratch, the main difference being that I knew *how* to train, so I was not floundering around like I was back in 2010.  That and the fact i was not as fat as I was at my biggest, so i was able to start running without the weight slowing me down.


As you can see in the chart my running miles were around 60 for March and April, jumped to 70-80 through July and then jumped to over 100 for Aug-Oct before tapering down as we headed into the winter.

DSC01733I am very pleased with how the year went.  Here are the highlights:

  • My first century cycling event was the Prouty in June.  100 miles in blistering heat in the Connecticut river valley.  I did this event with my sister Shelby and her husband and I had a great time!
  • I ran thee half marathons in the fall, including a 2:02 personal record!
  • I learned that I had activity induced asthma, which explains a lot of the issues I have running in certain weather.
  • My overall fitness increased significantly and I am becoming very comfortable in the 9:00 pace range with the ability to push into 8’s and even 7’s for short distances.

So onward and upward into 2013!  Who knows what the year will bring!

 Posted by at 10:37 am