Thursday, September 29, 2016

Less than 6 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

Another week of marathon training is in the books, and I am happy to report that my body feels great! The midweek long tempos are always a struggle as they follow a tough Sunday effort, so the time wasn't particularly impressive, but the effort was consistent and at the level I expect for 70 minutes of running. I decided to move my Sunday long run to a more challenging loop in order to mimic the stress of the ups and downs of the NYC course. The Fairmount loop in Portland is 3.5 miles with constant elevation changes, so it's difficult to get into a rhythm for a long run as you have to push the downhills in order to maintain goal pace. I think it's also beneficial to change the muscle groups throughout a run this long as opposed to locking into cruise control on a flat run. I am considering this challenging course for my last long tempo which will happen in a couple weeks, but I will do one or two more runs first to better learn the layout in preparation. The 3.5 mile distance is very convenient as I can simply leave all my bottles at the start line as opposed to driving around dropping them off and picking them up. It saves me up to an hour for my long run day which I could be using to better refuel and rest.

The next two weeks will likely be the toughest of the training block, and I am confident that my body is ready for it. Despite the scare a few weeks ago that forced me into the pool for a week, I can't remember my body feeling this fresh in a long time. No aches, pains, niggles, tightness, etc. This is about the time that I messed up heading into the Olympic Trials as I used this feeling as a sign to jump the mileage up to 140 per week against my coaches advice, which was likely the beginning of my road to the femoral stress fracture. This time around, I plan to stay the course, keep volume relatively low, continue to stay acutely aware of how my body is feeling, and continue with rehab and recovery. Workouts have been going well enough that I know NYC will go well as long as I'm at the start line healthy. How well it will go will be determined by the next 5 and a half weeks.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 6 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 90 minutes aqua jogging off 1 hour 0
Tuesday 11.5 5.5 + drills and strides 17
Wednesday 14 mile tempo @ 5:02 off 18
Thursday 11 5 1 hour 16
Friday 11 8 x 200 meter hills 18
Saturday 12 1 hour aqua jogging 40 minutes 12
Sunday 25 miles, miles 18-22 @ 4:59, hilly off 25
TOTAL 106

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Less than 7 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

We're under 7 weeks until the TCS New York City Marathon. Following last week's long run, I was pleased with my threshold effort workout on Wednesday. I started out feeling pretty rusty, which is very normal coming off 24 miles just a couple days before, but I found my rhythm and felt strong during the last two mile rep. These workouts are not the best they have ever been, but they actually aren't far off. Considering the time off from injuries this year and the lower volume, I am pleased with where my fitness is with 6 and a half weeks to go. That is plenty of time to take another big step in terms my marathon prep, and it is also plenty of time to get hurt. I have to keep in mind that I was diagnosed with my last stress fracture about a week before the Olympic Marathon Trials. I have to continue to tune into my body, be prepared to take time off, and accept that I will not reach my typical marathon volume this cycle. Fortunately, my workouts have been going so well that I have the confidence to stay on this path.

New York will be here before I know it, and I have never been so excited to get to the start line. I never took running for granted, but I can tell you that I am appreciating the ability to train hard now more than ever. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.



Weeks to go: 8 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 90 minutes aqua jogging off 1 hour 0
Tuesday 12.5 6 + drills and strides 18.5
Wednesday 4 x miles (9:34, 9:30, 9:30, 9:26) 1 hour aqua jogging 16
Thursday 12.5 6 40 minutes 18.5
Friday 1 hour run + 8 x 200 meter hills off 13.5
Saturday 12.5 6 40 minutes 18.5
Sunday 20 miles, 4 mile push from mile 14 @ 4:58, hilly and soft 20
TOTAL 105

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Less than 8 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

It feels good to be back in the thick of marathon training after a little time in the pool. I am still trying to be very cautious as volume and intensity ramp up, but training is getting closer and closer to where I'd like it to be before NYC. This was the first week in a long time that I did not have a day off, but that was just the way it worked out with the schedule, and I did take Monday off. I will continue to take approximately one day off from running per week for the foreseeable future.

Not only did I have a solid week of running workouts, but it was in the midst of some tough lifting and my highest mileage week in quite some time. The two marathon workouts this week were fairly similar in terms of pace, so I am looking forward to getting more threshold level efforts in this week to ramp up the intensity. Sunday's long run did go a long way in boosting my confidence that my body will be ready to handle the 26.2 miles of pounding come November. This workout was a first for me, but it broke the run up nicely and also forced me to run sub-marathon pace from miles 20-22 on tired legs, a mild simulation of race day. If I can stay patient, healthy, and continue to make bits of progress, I am excited to see where I can be in terms of fitness 7 weeks from now. I am doing my best to hone in all areas possible including diet, sleep, vitamin/mineral supplements, physical therapy, massage, strength training, and remaining tuned in to my body.

Thanks again for reading and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Weeks to go: 8 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 10 1 hour aqua jogging 40 minutes 10
Tuesday 11 + drills and strides 5 miles 16
Wednesday 14 mi progression run starting @ 5:38 down to 4:49 45 minutes elliptical 15
Thursday 12 miles 5 miles 1 hour 17
Friday 70 minutes aqua jogging 5 miles, 8 x 200 meter hills, 5 miles 12
Saturday 12 miles + drills and strides 5 miles 40 minutes 17
Sunday 5 x 2 miles easy, 2 miles @ marathon effort (avg. 11:12, 9:52) off 24
TOTAL 111

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Less than 9 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

After 5 days in the pool and a conservative week of training, I am happy to report that I'm back to workouts and bumping up the volume. With the momentum I had going with workouts, it was difficult to take a step back for a week and a half, but those workouts gave me the confidence to do so. While I do not know for sure what was the cause of the tightness, I won't regret the time off as long as I stay healthy through NYC.

As much as I can't stand the pool, knowing that the kind of minutes I had to put in last week were temporary, I was able to push through it. I was also able to talk some other runners into joining me. Turns out I'm not the only injured athlete in Portland! It also gave me time to go back and finally tackle season 1 of the Serial podcast, only a couple years behind. The excellent weather makes it that much more difficult to be trapped inside, but hopefully we have a similar fall to 2015 and I can't count on 70 degree weather through October!

Nothing overly interesting to report in terms of training for the past 7 days, but I am now back fully into marathon training mode and looking forward to sharing more with you next week. Thanks again for reading.

Weeks to go: 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 90 minutes aqua jogging off 1 hour 0
Tuesday 75 minutes aqua jogging 65 minutes aqua jogging 0
Wednesday 9.5 miles easy off 40 minutes 17
Thursday 10 miles + drills and strides 5 miles 15
Friday 12 miles 5 miles 1 hour 17
Saturday 12 miles 1 hour aqua jogging 1 hour 12
Sunday Long run w/Fartlek (5 min, 4, 3)(4, 3, 2)(3, 2, 1) w/half rest off 20

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Less than 10 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

The same week I post about being patient and ultra-attentive to any odd forms of tightness is the week that I must put it into practice. After completing a 12 mile tempo on Thursday, in which I was still feeling the lingering fatigue from the previous Sunday workout, I felt an odd, slight pressure in my left quad when sitting down. It certainly could not be described as pain, but after three stress fractures in a row, my instincts were telling me that it was time for some pool work. I have been aqua jogging for a few days now, and I am happy to report the everything feels normal. The slight pressure that I felt in that muscle was something that would not even register in my brain in the past, but I am more fragile now than I have been due to the required time off this last year, and I can't ignore anything. I will stay in the pool for an extra day or two just to be on the safe side, but I am confident that I am being paranoid and overcautious. Because the previous weeks of training have gone so well, I am not bothered by a few extra days of cross training at this point. I know my fitness is already at a solid level and I still have over two months to get it where I need it to be to have my best NYC Marathon.

I was thinking back to the Sunday workout from the previous week (4 mile tempo, 10 mile run, 4 mile tempo), and I had trouble understanding why such a high volume workout could possibly go so well with the missed training and lower volume base. There are most certainly permanent physical changes that occur throughout decades of intense training that do not disappear within a matter of months (or years). It is necessary to rebuild fitness after time off, but these physical attributes that have been forged allow you to return to a previous level of fitness much quicker than I could expect based off the initial first few weeks of running. This realization is giving me the strength to stay patient at this point in my build up. This idea is something I have preached to my own athletes, but it can be much more difficult to impose it on yourself. Fortunately I have my own coach to enforce this concept.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Looking forward to sharing my return to intense marathon training next week.

Weeks to go: 10 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 5 1 hour 16
Tuesday 1 hour run + 6-8 x 200 meter hills 5 17.5
Wednesday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Thursday 12 mile tempo @ 5:02 50 minutes aqua jogging 16
Friday 90 minutes aqua jogging 45 minutes aqua jogging 0
Saturday 90 minutes aqua jogging off 1 hour 0
Sunday 2 hours aqua jogging off 0

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Less than 11 weeks to the TCS New York City Marathon: Last week's training

It feels great to have NYC locked into my schedule again after a rough year of repeated injuries. I hope that I am on track for a healthy November return, and I am doing my best to be tuned-in to my body and feel out any signs of concern. I believe I am doing everything I can to make this comeback last and get back to racing. I have consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, checked my bone density, met with an endocrinologist, added more specific strength training, and most importantly, I am ramping up volume at a much slower rate.

With that said, it's been difficult to stay patient the last few months. Aqua jogging continues to amaze me in it's ability to become more boring just when I think it has hit a low. It will continue to be a part of my life for quite some time still, but fortunately it is minimal compared to my running now! When I was able to return to workouts, they were mostly fartleks and hills, and a decent level of fitness felt far away for a couple months. That has definitely changed over the last few weeks, and this last weekend in particular was a surprising break though given my low volume and only a few solid long runs under my belt.

For those who have followed my training in the past, the workout has become a staple during marathon training. 3 mile warmup, 4 mile tempo, 10 mile moderate-easy run, 4 mile tempo, short cooldown. My quickest 4 mile tempo over the last couple months has been 19:17, although that has been several weeks, so a reasonable goal in my mind was to try to match this in my tempos on Sunday. I ended up being able to run 19:05 and 18:56 feeling much more comfortable than I thought was possible at this stage. I'm not sure where the strength came from to run miles 17-21 for the day so well, but it's motivating to see that I can match some of my best marathon workouts with lower volume than normal. The goal will be to keep the volume below 120 miles per week for the entire build-up, but maintain the same level of intensity on workout and long run days. At 95 miles per week (in 6 days), I still have a ways to go, and now is probably the most likely time to get hurt as volume continues to edge up and my fitness level may be beyond what my bones are ready for. I have to stay vigilant and be ready to take off days and pool days as necessary, throwing my mileage goals out the window when needed.

Being in Czech for the past six weeks has also been helpful to mix up the environment and get some aqua jogging in outdoors along with some great biking. The terrain near my in-laws is hilly and at some elevation, making it a great place for me to ignore times and go by effort early on. I just returned to Portland on Friday and will be here for the remainder of my build-up.

Feel free to take a look at some of my training and progression from the last several weeks. With about 10.5 weeks to go, I actually think I will be ready for my best marathon yet following my years of big base mileage and feeling more refreshed going into hard training sessions.

Thanks again for reading, and I'll be back to posting weekly training updates all the way to Nov. 6th!

NYC 2016
WEEKS TO GO Miles/days Xtrain
22 46/6 6-Jun 50 min
6 7-Jun 50 + short fartlek
8-Jun 55 min
9-Jun 55+ strides
10-Jun off
11-Jun 40-45 min + hills
12-Jun 65-70 min
21 51/6 6 13-Jun 55 min
14-Jun 20 min warm up, 4 mile 19:29 +4 x200m, 15 min cool down
15-Jun Off
16-Jun 40-45 min +4-6 x 200m strides
17-Jun 60 min
18-Jun 60 min including 15-18 min of fartlek on half recoveries
19-Jun 70 min
20 45/5 6 20-Jun Off
21-Jun 60 min + Strides
22-Jun 25 warm up, 4 mile 19:18, 15 cool down
23-Jun 60 min
24-Jun 30 min + 10 x 30-40 secod hills
25-Jun Off
26-Jun 75 min
19 55/6 6 27-Jun 45 min + strides
28-Jun 70 including  21 min of fartlek
29-Jun 60 min
30-Jun Off
1-Jul 60 min + Strides
2-Jul 25 warm up, 4 mile 19:20, 20 min cool down
3-Jul 80?
18 80/6 4 4-Jul 60 min
5-Jul 10 x 1 mile, 5:14->4:42, x=4:56
6-Jul OFF
7-Jul 70 + strides, PM 30 min
8-Jul 70 min
9-Jul 15 x 200 hills, PM 30 min
10-Jul 1:45, 16
17 55/5 4 hours 11-Jul OFF
12-Jul 30 min warm up, 4 mile tempo @ 19:00-19:10 + 6 x 200m @ 31ish,
20 min cool down
13-Jul 70 min
14-Jul 60 min
15-Jul 30 min + 10-15 x hills, 30 min cool down
16-Jul 80 min
17-Jul OFF
16 75/6 4 hours 18-Jul 10-11 miles + Strides
19-Jul 10 x 1 mile, 5:05 -->4:35, 1 min to 90 second recoveries
20-Jul 8-9 miles easy
21-Jul 12-13 miles
22-Jul OFF
23-Jul 30 min + 10-15 hills, 30 min cool down
24-Jul 15 miles, push 10-11-12 @ 5:00-5:10
15 85/6 4 hours 25-Jul am 10 miles, pm: 5 miles
26-Jul am 13 miles
27-Jul 30 minute warm up, 3 mile@71-72, 2 min, 2 mile@ 70-71, 1 min,
1 mile @69-70, 20 min cool down
28-Jul am 10 miles, pm 5 miles
29-Jul OFF
30-Jul 25 min warm up, Fartlek 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 equal recovery,
15 min cool down
31-Jul 17 miles 
14 90/6 3 hours 1-Aug am 10 miles, pm 5 miles
2-Aug 8 x 1 mile on hilly course, 2 min rest (4:50-4:30)
3-Aug 13 miles
4-Aug am 8 miles, pm 7 miles
5-Aug OFF
6-Aug am 10 miles, pm 5 miles
7-Aug 18 miles, push 12-15 @4:56-5:00
13 60/5 5 hours 8-Aug OFF
9-Aug 10 + drills and strides
10-Aug 10 mile tempo @ 5:00
11-Aug 10 miles
12-Aug OFF
13-Aug 30 min + 15 x hill, 30 min
14-Aug 20 miles easy
12 95/6 3 hours 15-Aug AM: 11 miles, PM: 5 miles
16-Aug AM: 12 miles, PM: 5 miles
17-Aug 7 x mile on hilly course (4:50-4:30), 3 minutes rest
18-Aug 1 hour easy
19-Aug OFF-travel from Prague to Portland
20-Aug 1 hour easy
21-Aug 3 mi warmup, 4 mi tempo @ 19:05, 10 miles @ 57:00,
4 mile tempo @ 18:56, 1 mi cooldown

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fall and beyond

The Olympic Trials are two days away, and I am sad to confirm that I will not be running the 10km this year. While my fitness is coming back quickly after the femoral stress fracture, I am forcing myself to keep the intensity low while my muscles and bones catch up to my cardio strength in an attempt to break the injury cycle. Skipping the Olympic Trials when I have the qualifying time was an extremely difficult decision, but if I want to continue my running career, I must be painfully patient through the summer and early fall. With last year's performance in the USA Track and Field Champs, I know my track career still has legs, and I expect to be competing in Eugene in 2017.

I am on track to be in great shape for a fall marathon. I don't know exactly which marathon yet, but a race in the mid to late fall will allow enough time for me to ramp up slowly and be in peak fitness.

There is not much to report in terms of training, but I have posted my last two weeks below. I am continuing with my lifting routines, but I do plan on easing up in the near future as workouts become more intense. I feel like I have returned to my football days with the Olympic lifts, but the goal now is to simply load the bones and muscles without impact to ease my transition back. I have also started using a new product called Tune to measure my footstrike, cadence, distance, speed, etc. in an attempt to learn about some of my deficiencies as I move forward with strength training. I am still in my initial 4 week analysis period, but I am confident that I will be able to use the data to stay healthy through the fall.

I am looking forward to heading down to Eugene to cheer, and I am especially looking forward to hanging out at the Brooks house and providing support to all the Brooks athletes competing in the trials! Good luck to everyone in the 10km, and I look forward to vying for a spot in 2020.

Last 2 weeks training:

Monday off, 90 minutes aqua jogging
Tuesday 60 min + strides
Wednesday 25 min warm up, 4 mile tempo @ 19:30ish, 15 min cool down, 45 minutes elliptical + lifting
Thursday 60 min, 45 minutes elliptical
Friday 30 min + 10 X 30-40 second hills, 60 minutes aqua jogging +lifting
Saturday off
Sunday 75 min, 45 minutes aqua jogging
Monday 45 min + strides, 45 minutes elliiptical
Tuesday 70 min including Fartlek: (5, 4, 3, 4, 3, 2)w/ half rest, 40 minutes elliptical + lifting
Wednesday 60 min, 60 minutes aqua jogging
Thursday off
Friday 60 min + strides + lifting