Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Less than a week to the ING New York City Marathon: Last week's training.

The marathon is just days away, and all of the hard work is behind me. Last week included only one workout and a moderate long run of 16 miles. The 4 x 2 mile session on Thursday was kept under control and felt very smooth. The weather has continued its outstanding stretch for a Portland fall which is a nice mental and physical boost. I remember having a few tough marathon workouts last fall with barely above freezing rains that would soak through anything I was wearing. At that point it is worse than snow as the cold water numbs and tightens all muscles. It looks like I'm in the clear all the way to race day. I can't complain about the Sunday forecast either; currently it's showing a low of 37 and high of 55 with no rain. 

I have spent the last week studying the course and trying to finalize a race plan. I will be spending the rest of this week trying to not spend every waking second obsessing over the race as this can be stressful and mentally exhausting. My wife and I have planned a trip to Chile, Argentina, and Patagonia a couple days after the race, so I can distract myself by organizing the final details. We always try to take advantage of down times in training and post marathon is the perfect time. We'll spend my two weeks off hiking through Patagonia and spend the other two weeks slowly ramping miles back up in a relaxed setting. There are very few times during the year that I can pursue other interests, so it will be a nice way to completely remove my head from running for a couple weeks and hopefully celebrate a successful New York result. 

For anyone interested, you can now look at my entire marathon build up by looking at each week's blog post, and before the race I will post it all together. Thanks again for reading.

Week 13 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 12.5 4.5 45 minutes 17
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides 4.5
Wednesday 12.5 4.5 30 minutes 17
Thursday 4 x 2 miles @ 9:32 off
Friday 11.5 5.5 30 minutes 17
Saturday 7 + drills and strides off
Sunday 16



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 Weeks to the ING New York City Marathon: Last week's training

The NYC Marathon is approaching quickly, and the bulk of my training is winding down. The workout intensity was high this last week, but the volume is dropping. The intensity and volume will be falling significantly over the last two weeks. The work is done, and the challenge now is to maintain control of all the energy that is developing from a combination of the taper and nerves. It's always difficult to predict marathon fitness, especially on a course that I've never run before, but I can say for sure that my fitness level is significantly higher than when I ran my 2:11:45 in Fukuoka last year.

This particular 7-day block ended up having 3 workouts squeezed into it, which is unusual for my marathon training, but my long run was pushed back due to the half-marathon in San Jose which pushed things closer together. Also, the Monday long run did not have a push scheduled into it because my coach and I were expecting me to still be recovering from the half-marathon, but I felt good enough to get Dave's approval for a push from 16 to 20 miles @4:56 pace in some nasty weather. I went to Oklahoma to get away from the cold fall rain of Portland and ended up getting dumped on for each of the 22 miles. The other days in Stillwater were excellent though.

The Thursday workout was definitely the toughest but really the last one of the season with that kind of volume and intensity. I started with a 4 mile tempo at 19:15 (4:49) with three minutes rest, followed by 3 x 2 miles with two minutes rest (4:46, 4:44, 4:41). These were again done on the track. I don't do a ton of repeat workouts at that 10+ mile range, but when I do, the quality is high. As I progress in the marathon I expect to integrate more of the high volume repeats into my marathon training blocks. Sunday was a familiar combination of tempo pace mixed into a long run, but this time all the tempo effort miles were at the beginning with a longer run following. This was simply to make it a lighter workout after the ten miles of work on Thursday. There won't be much to write about in terms of training over the next two weeks, but I will be focusing on getting plenty of sleep, recovering, staying healthy, and staying out of trouble. Thanks again for reading, and I'll post again next week.

Week 12 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 22 mile long run w/ push from 16-20 @4:56 off
Tuesday 14.5 off 20 minutes core 14.5
Wednesday 12.5 + drills and strides 5 30 minutes strength/core 17.5
Thursday 4 miles (4:49), 3 min rest, 3 x 2 miles (4:46, 44, 41), 2 min rest off
Friday 5.5 11.5 Strength/Drills – 1 hour 17
Saturday 12.5 4.5
Sunday 3 mile w/u, 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile (4:43, 4:38, 4:38) + 60 min run 5.5


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

3 Weeks to the ING New York City Marathon: Last week's training

I'm happy to report that the tendonitis issue I was dealing with has not returned. I had a light week in terms of workouts but still got in good volume. Other than an easy day following the half-marathon, I averaged 20 miles a day the rest of the week. We actually didn't have any workouts scheduled for this last week because we weren't sure how I'd feel after the half. I recovered well, and I was able to hammer the Fartlek on Friday.  From now until New York I will drop about 15 miles each week as I start to rest. The quality of the workouts will be fairly high for one more week and then start to diminish in volume and intensity. It's hard to believe NYC is so close and that the hardest training is behind me. Tapering may be the least enjoyable part of a marathon build up for me. I feel as though I'm losing fitness, and I start to generate a lot of nervous energy as the training winds down. I realize that I'm not actually losing fitness, but the feeling lingers.

It's been great to spend time in Stillwater with my coach and get some training in on the miles and miles of hilly dirt roads. October and November are by far the best months in terms of weather to train in Oklahoma, and I hope to take advantage of that and the facilities for a longer period of time next fall. It's been great to see the Cowboy Cross Country team as well. I definitely miss the team aspect of training for a common goal. They've been busting their tails at 6:00 AM most of the fall and are looking extremely focused and fit. I wish them the best of luck as the important part of the season approaches. Thanks again for reading, and I'll post again next week. 

Week 11 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 10.5 easy 4.5 15
Tuesday 15 + drills and strides 5 20 minutes core 20
Wednesday 14 6 40 minutes strength 20
Thursday 13 30 minutes + 8 x 200 meter hills 20
Friday Fartlek (5 min, 4, 3)(4, 3, 2)(3, 2, 1) – 14 miles 5 40 minutes core 19
Saturday 14.5 6.5 21
Sunday 14 + drills and strides 5.5 20


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

4 Weeks to ING New York City Marathon: Last Week's Training

The New York City Marathon is less than a month away, and I've got my half-marathon tune-up under my belt. Before I talk about the race, I want to share an injury scare that I experienced last week. The day after finishing my last 150 mile week, my run began with a tight lower hamstring. As the run progressed the pain moved down the side of my knee and eventually to the front of the knee. It became painful enough to force me to stop my run early. Hoping it was a fluke, I tried heading out for a run in the afternoon, but stopped after 90 seconds as the pain immediately returned. I ran inside and called Dr. John Howell at Portland Integrated and made an appointment for the following morning. He was confident right away that it was tendinitis as the pain trail I pointed out perfectly followed the tendon. We started rehab with massage, ultra-sound, stem, ice, and an anti-inflammatory. I took Tuesday completely off. On Wednesday morning the pain was still there, but it had improved. I decided to give my schedule workout of 10 x 1km a shot that afternoon, and the improvement was significant. Each day forward it felt better and better until Saturday, the day before the San Jose half-marathon, I was pain free and have remained so since, although I am continuing to ice regularly. Fortunately I only had to take a day and a half off before returning to full training. Although the weekly mileage shown is quite low, the daily average is still fairly high when taking into account the missing day and a half. From Wednesday forward I was able to stick to our original plan. Athletes have to deal with these things all the time, so I don't mean to blow this situation out of proportion. It was a moment of fear and anxiety followed by a commitment to doing everything necessary to not let a case of tendinitis hinder me any more than it did. A day and a half off will not set me back in the slightest, and sometimes a forced break is exactly what we need. I am ecstatic to be fully on track in my NYC preparations. I can't thank Dr. Howell enough for donating his time and making himself available all week.

The half-marathon in San Jose went well. It was challenging to determine what pace I was ready to run for a half-marathon coming off of a 150 mile week. Because of this I was afraid to push the pace early. Fernando Cabada, Dylan Wykes, and I pushed through 10 miles at around 4:49 pace. At 10 miles I was still feeling very strong and decided to test myself over the last 3. I was able to pull away and average in the low 4:40s, finishing at 62:45. This is not a blistering half-marathon, but I was pleased at how comfortable 4:50 pace felt through the earlier stages in the race. Picking up a win against a couple of 62 minute half-marathoners is always a confidence booster. Considering my volume and intensity over the last 6 weeks, I think it's a great sign before having tapered.

I will put in one more week at around 130 miles, and then drop each week leading to the marathon. I have recovered well from the half, but will still keep the workouts fairly light this week. I'm happy to be back in Stillwater, OK for a mini training camp during some excellent weather. October is undoubtedly the best time of year to be in Oklahoma. It's been a blast checking out all the new facilities and hanging out with my coach and the team. There are a few guys left that were around my last year, but after this year that won't be the case, and I'll be officially old. After seeing the new track, locker rooms, medical room, team room, alter-g, and their training table (cafeteria available only to OSU athletes), I think there are very few professional runners in the world being treated better. I will have to make another extended training camp trip here later in the year. Thanks again for reading, and I'll post again next week.

Week 10 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 9 miles (cut run short due to hamstring/knee pain)
off 40 minutes core 9
Tuesday off due to hamstring/knee pain off

Wednesday 7 10 x 1 km 3:01 to 2:55 w/ 100 meter jog recovery
40 minutes core 19
Thursday 6 12
Friday 10 + drills and strides 5
Saturday 7 5
Sunday San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon off


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

5 Weeks to ING New York City Marathon: Last week's training

My last 150 mile week is finished, and now I can focus gearing up for a tune-up half-marathon in San Jose on the 6th. I will still keep my mileage close to 120 miles the week of the half to make sure I hit the race a little fatigued and do not peak a month out of NYC. My workout load was light this week due to my 16 mile tempo from the previous week. Dave Smith was worried I'd be pretty beat up, so we didn't schedule a workout until Thursday. The few days of easy running seemed to be enough, as I was able to run 19:06 and 18:58 for two 4 mile tempos with a 5 mile run at 6:00 pace in between. My ability to come back after a solid 16 mile tempo with 8 miles of work at half-marathon pace shows that we have the effort pretty well dialed in right now. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do in San Jose, but the focus is obviously maintaining volume and strength for New York. I'm very pleased with my fitness right now, and I almost wish New York was closer. I'm ready to race.

Hopefully the trip to Oklahoma following San Jose will give me a break from the recent relentless rain in Portland. Even though the month of September was fairly dry up until last week, the rain from the last 5 days has been enough to push Portland over the record for rainfall in the month of September. It's been a brutal few days, but fortunately I didn't have any hard training sessions scheduled during that time...just lots of puddle pounding miles. Thanks again for reading, and I'll post again after the half-marathon in San Jose this weekend.

Week 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 15 6 40 minutes core 21
Tuesday 12 + drills and grass strides 9
Wednesday 15 6.5 40 minutes core 21.5
Thursday 4.5 4 mile tempo, 30 min run, 4 mile tempo (19:06, 18:58) – 18.5 miles total

13 8 30 minutes core 21
Saturday 15 6
Sunday 5.5 16 miles + 6 x 200 meter hills