My last recorded run was in June. My last serious training run was in March. It’s been a long time. I’m not sure if I’m ready yet, but an occasional 5k will do me good. Luckily, the charmander nest had gone from the small park, so only regular walkers were there. The gps went a little wonky, I was able to estimate total distance. The usual complaint, slow af.
Went to morse park after the run. The new nearby screen had a christmas pikachu and I was able to find it easily. The new nearby screen is both good and bad; it enables us to go after pokémons that are spawning near stops but the ones that aren’t near stops are totally invisible and depend on luck to find them. It is what it is.
Small steps. Most of the run was in the rain,;not heavy enough to bother me as I had a hat but heavy enough to make puddles on the path. The last 400m or so I heard incoming thunder so I got out of the park asap. Went inside: market, had my glasses fixed, shuttle bus home.
Chicago marathon application just closed; Brighton and Paris marathon applications are still open. London is this weekend so applications will likely open soon. Sigh. Not sure if I should run one more marathon or give up and switch to halfs.
Get back to running regularly and building base first. Plus I’ve probably lost close to half a stone in a month. It’s a good thing, losing the weight. Now need to build up fitness. Keep healthy. Small steps.
When I started the challenge, I thought I’d be able to get a PR at one of the races if I pushed myself to do marathon training. It’s been very difficult to gain speed, and I’ve all but given up.
The weekend long run went well, so while I had a little time before we need to set off for our cruise, I went off for a quick run. It was pretty good, even a little flow-like. Felt like old times.
The problem was the GPS. There is no way I did km 3 in 1.37. That’s equivalent to running 100m in 9.7 seconds. Km 4 and 6 were weird too. Luckily I was running at the baseball park so I was able to estimate distances. I think the GPS overestimated my run by around 1km.
wonky GPS: 8.0km 46.59min 5.52min/km
more realistic: 7.0km 46.59 6.43min/km
If we believe the GPS, it’s a PR by 1 second. Of course, it’s more realistic to stick with the 6.43 number, which is close to what used to be my baseline of 6.40. This is the best since I started 101.1001 and is basically telling me not to write myself off. May be there’s time to get a real PR in the next few months.
30.36km 4.36.18hr 9.06min/km (I took 7 minutes off for stoppages, see post)
It’s been said that a marathon is a 20-mile warm up followed by a 10k race. There is definitely something mystical about the 20-mile marker. It’s the longest long run in many training programs, and is also the point where the wall hits.
After bonking last weekend’s long run, I approached this weekend’s milestone 20-miler with trepidation. Argh the first few meters: shoelaces felt too tight, knee brace kept falling down. Not a good sign.
20 miles is 32km, so I mentally split the run into sections: 12k, 20k, 27k, 32k. Increasingly smaller distances between breaks, because inevitably I get tired towards the end. Surprisingly I got to 8k and felt all right. Had a stroopwafel and the green tea I brought as hydration at 12k. Another fuel break between 19-20k of gu and water. Went over to the smaller park for the final third. Slow for a bit, another gu break at 25k after which somehow I found second wind. Legs even felt fresh at that point. Huh.
I stopped at 30k or almost 19 miles because I ran out of time–I volunteered to get dinner, prices go up after 6pm and it was 5.45pm. Could I have gone another 2k? Yep, I was slowing down a little, but not significantly.
Overall I think I did some stuff right. Mentally I wasn’t putting pressure on myself. I foam rollered my ITB beforehand. I made myself take fuel breaks, because I remembered that by the time you feel you need food and/or water, it’s too late. Unlike previous long runs, I didn’t physically stop for fuel breaks; I kept walking. Although I did take 7mins off my total time for stoppages–traffic lights and water fountains.
Quite pleased with completing this milestone training run. Legs were okay afterwards, I walked around the shopping centre in search of dinner and walked to the bus stop without too much pain. This is the key. If I’m pain-free on race day, I have a chance of finishing in decent shape. It’ll never be a PR time, I think those days are gone. Still, if I’m able to replicate today’s performance in 3 weeks’ time, I’ll be okay.
The plan was 12 miles or 19km. I thought I’d split it up into 11-12km, a break for fuel then the remainder. Started off fine. First 10k was okay, the slower paced bits were either stoppage for traffic light or water fountain.
Convenient break at 11km at one of the parks. Had a stroopwafel and a bottle of energy drink. The second part of the run, argh. Went 500m then had to stop and walk. Simply had no legs to run for anything more than 1km or so. Ran some, then had to walk. Gave up at 16km and walked home. Out of breath and no energy. This is ridiculous, I did 28km last weekend and two 13km runs mid-week. I can’t go 11km and then bonk.
The only significant change from last week was starting on HBP medicine. It’s the third day but BP hadn’t gone down. [edit: measured at night before bed, 131/88. Okay, silver lining.] There is some anecdotal evidence that hypertension medication may aversely affect performance. ACE inhibitors and their cousins ARBs, of which Blopress is an example, are supposed to:
have no major effects on energy metabolism and cause no impairment of maximum oxygen uptake. In general, these drugs have no deleterious effects on training or competition.
A couple of things may be at play here. First, I could have just had a bad running day, it happens. Second, medication affect different people in different ways. My body is not used to medication apart from anti-histamine and the occasional panadol. Mentally my head keeps telling me it doesn’t like the prospect of being on long term medication, and therefore may have contributed to a bad run.
There’s less than one month to go do sort this out. Adding to the stress of moving, unpacking, trying to find space to put stuff, selling things, finding an estate agent to list the flat for sale. Ha, no wonder my BP is high.
This is a very busy week for me, I’m at sis’ a couple of days and staying over on friday. The movers are coming thursday so I have to go home tonight to finish packing tomorrow. Plus there are a couple of people who want to buy the stuff I advertised.
Have to fit in running in between, as much as I can. Did the midweek 8-miler early as I won’t get the time later. Only one more month. Haven’t been running well the last couple of times, there’s a pretty sharp pain in my left hip and, no surprise, down the ITB. I thought the squats and lunges I’ve been doing would help.
Found another routine that target the hips called the Myrtl routine. Takes 5-10mins. Some of the stretches, like the fire hydrant, seems to be working new muscles, although i’m still hurting. Not a lot of time left to get rid of the pain. Sigh.
With today’s long run, I’m now at 1786 miles / 2874km, so I’ve reached the target. This is the last part, when the fellowship broke up at Rauros. Frodo and Sam travelled 470 miles to Mt Doom in a tough 30 day journey, first paddling and then climbing, climbing, climbing. Plus meeting and fighting Gollum.
It’s taken 26 and a bit months to do this. Some months I clocked more than others. Initially I was just getting through the minimum and then marathon training helped a lot–probably if I weren’t training for 2 marathons I may find if hard to finish.
458 miles: from Hobbiton to Rivendell
462 miles: set out with the Fellowship from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien = 920 miles total
389 miles: from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls = 1309 miles total
470 miles: Frodo and Sam on the quest from Rauros to Mt. Doom = 1779 miles total
101.1001 challenge done, but the overall challenge continues. I wonder how long it’ll take me to complete the remaining 1618 miles / 2604km that takes the fellowship from Minas Tirith back to Bag End especially since there’s no deadline. I work best with a target date.
An unremarkable distance over an unremarkable time. But it’s my first run in 12 days, so it’s a small achievement. I’m ignoring that according to the training program, it’s supposed to be a 17mile/27km run this weekend. I need to slowly get back on track.
I have a suspicion that the GPS is short when I run along bowen road. It felt slower than 7.25. I don’t remember stopping halfway, even though the app says I did. Hmm. The first dip is a long uphill stretch and the last 2 dips are for uphill and traffic light.
I’m still coughing, but I don’t feel like I’m coughing up my lungs constantly. It’s gotten better the last 1-2 days but I know it’ll take a few more weeks to clear.
Weather is grotty: heavy rain and windy yesterday, less heavy today but still steady. Swapping the weekend long run with monday’s short run since it’s supposed to be at least not raining on monday. Ran around the field I discovered last week. The field was actually very quiet during the week, with around 10 walkers and runners plus one kid playing basketball. Today there were baseball lessons for small kids, and one team was there practicing.
Like all parks here, it’s gated and staffed by a cleaning crew so there is always someone around. Makes it a bit safer, even though generally it’s a safe area. What I like about it is that I don’t need to cross any main road or traffic lights to get to it. Leave our building, turn right, right again at the bottom of our street and straight up. Most of the first 1.5km is uphill, which also means the last 1.5km is downhill. Wheeeeee.
I really didn’t want to go running but somehow forced myself outside. Couldn’t be bothered to trek all the way to the parks I normally go to, just ran up to the sad housing estate and back a couple of times.
The second cycle I went into the estate via a different street and saw a pedestrian bridge leading what what looks like another park. This one is well hidden between buildings and a giant flyover. I thought I’d go exploring.
Turned out to be quite a large flat area. One basketball court and the rest is dirt field. Today there were lots of teams there playing baseball. There were at least 3 games going on and the rest of the field were occupied by teams practicing. One or two runners there running around the entire field. I knew baseball is played here, an ex-colleague used to play (still does, I see her posts on fb), I didn’t know where. Now I know. Seems like this is one of a few local venues.
Oh, running. Not too bad. Between foam rollering, squats as part of the 30 day challenge and wearing a sturdy knee brace, the pain has subsided a fair amount.
Summary of 2015 running, by month, showing total distance and average pace. Combined with walking and biking. More stationary bike and walking during early months; a lot of walking in March and April during our Europe trip, which still didn’t make up for the lack of running. Looking back, slow pace especially during the summer months wasn’t just because of heat and humidity, there was also the hip/knee injury that I ignored. The sudden speediness in July was due to shorter indoor runs at the hotel treadmill.
By the numbers in both km and miles:
High points: finished Chicago marathon
Low points: finished Chicago marathon in a crap time; injuries
if I was offered a deal by a genie that I get my sub-3 marathon, have to miss a month due to injury, then can come back healthy, I’d take it
If a genie offered me a 4.30 marathon but I have to miss a month’s running due to injury, I’d take it. If the genie offered me a sub-4 marathon then have to miss running for the rest of the year, I’d take it too.
The 5-day rest seemed to have helped. I rearranged this week’s runs since I won’t have time on saturday or sunday to do the long run. Started off fine, pretty decent (for 2015) pace and good range of motion around hips and knees. Slowed down as I got tired. Around 12km the spot above my knee started to hurt, and it persisted till the end. Overall, the pain was manageable.
I split the run into 3 different missions, with two drinking breaks between missions. Miscalculated a bit, should have doubled back 500m or looped around a side street. The scheduled run is 11 miles or 17.6km, I was short 1km.
What I don’t like about zombiesrun is that it doesn’t give pretty graphs like nike+. I suppose I can turn on both nike+ and zombiesrun, they seem to coexist happily enough. It’ll be a drain on the battery.
18 weeks before the marathon means the start of training. Higdon novice 2 got me through chicago, but I felt undertrained. The difference between novice 2 and intermediate is the extra weekend run (in red). I’m going to try to add more miles if I can; I doubt I will make all the extra runs, let’s see.
The 5k today to start the program is supposed to be easy. No more excuses of hot and humid weather. It’s around 23ºC in the afternoon.
But hell damnations. First run of training and within 400m it’s ITBS. Bloody hell. And I rollered it beforehand too. Hoping that rollering, stretches and squats will improve hip extension and loosen the IT Band.
Am I still going to Paris marathon next April? France has extended its state of emergency for 3 months, and Belgium is on lockdown. Germany, Holland, the UK, Spain and all European cities are on high alert.
If I’m still going, training starts next week. 18 weeks isn’t a long time for the state of alert to die down. Then again, if we give in to our fears, then the terrorists have won. I’m going to go on the basis that I will be there, unless the organisers and/or the French government say otherwise. Last year’s race went ahead 2 months after Charlie Hebdo, so I think they will try to keep business as usual as much as possible.
Flights are still expensive, they’re mainly booking for Christmas now so I’ll look later. There are plenty of options on where to fly into. Aside from Paris itself, London, Barcelona, Geneva, Brussels, Amstersdam are all reachable by train. The problem is, it’s the week after Easter so I have to be careful of blackout periods.
What’s more pressing is finding somewhere to stay for the weekend, starting from expo to at least the day after the race. I started looking in the area close to the start and end of the course. The race starts on Champs, just down from Arc de Triomphe (blue circle centre right of map) and ends on Avenue Foch, near Port Dauphine (red checkered circle left of map). All the red blobs are hotels that are fully booked, and of the blue ones left many are expensive.
The good thing about making hotel reservations is I can hold it till nearer the time and keep searching. I made 2 reservations, on the basis that mum will be travelling with me. One is within walking distance of both start and end (white label)—perfect location but €240 per night, yikes. I’m only holding onto this one in case there is nothing else. The other is €150 per night, one stop NW of the map on line 1. I’ll keep looking, and at first glance on airbnb there may be something more affordable.
Went out to the end of bowen road and back, 12km went by quite quickly. Since it’s a public holiday, there were tons and tons of people out walking and hiking. Glad it was only out and back once for me.
On the way back I stopped at the supermarket and bought some chicken drumsticks. Grabbed a butternut squash and was horrified at the price tag at the till, so had to exchange for another type of pumpkin at a more reasonable price. Cooked it all with okra and israeli couscous. Found a small tin of olives that dated from chicago, so added to the roasting tray for flavour. There are leftovers, which ended up proving problematic as I have no fridge. Had to leave the aircon and wrap the food tightly in a box then foil.
Met mm for drinks then dinner. Many places were closed so we just went to a nearby pub and then a small diner. We’ll meet again tomorrow for lunch, so nice.
Rested for 2 whole days, what a luxury. It’s still ridiculously hot and oppressively humid, but I felt good running on relatively fresh legs. I also strongly believe it’s mental—I know it’s only 6km today so I allowed myself to go out faster.
Someone on runnit asked why marathon training plans top out at 20 miles when the race is 26.2 miles. What I’ve always been told is that race day adrenaline and (hopefully) crowd support will get us through the last 10k. There’s also the fact that it takes a few days to recover from a long run; during training we’re going into weekend long runs tired from all the running during the week and we need too many days to recover from 26 miles to fully follow a 4-5 times a week training program. If we taper correctly, we’ll be starting the race having rested and recovered by doing shorter runs.
Marathon season is in full swing. Berlin last weekend. Brussels, Cologne, Kuala Lumpur, Portland (Maine and Oregon), Minneapolis/St Paul this coming weekend. As I run Chicago, others will be participating in Budapest, Munich, Buenos Aires, Ottawa, Lake Tahoe, Albany and my family’s hometown of Newport RI. Then in the coming weeks it’s the MCM in DC, NYC, Niagara Falls, Snowdonia, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Seoul, Jo’burg and the Antarctic Ice marathon on 19 November. Plus many many more, too many to list.
What will all of these marathons have in common? A winner, probably from Kenya or Ethiopia. And someone who finishes dead last. Just in time for marathon season is Nike’s newest ad, in which they salute the last place finisher. It’s so realistic. To the sound of Every Little Bit Hurts by Aretha Franklin, the stragglers slowly trudge through on a carpet of paper cups and dodging the cleaning crew and the pedestrians who’ve already begun to reclaim the road. The voiceover (Rooney Mara!) is guaranteed to bring tears to any runner’s eye:
You are not a runner.
You are especially not a marathon runner.
But at the end of this, you will be.
The ad promotes the nike+ running, and even though I don’t use it any more, I started with nike+ and it’s a place where runners of every ability can find inspiration and motivation.
Okay, enough running posts. Only a couple more weeks to go then I’ll stop the incessant posting.
The last >10mile long run before the race, next weekend’s scheduled run is 8 miles. Sigh, it’s end of September and still 33ºC and 90%+ humidity. No breeze at all. I could feel sweat dripping down my back and it’s quite uncomfortable running in clothes that are completely soaked, even though they are made from dry-fit material.
At my last stop, one of the people who were cleaning at the park said that it’ll start raining soon. That’s it, it felt exactly like the oppressive heat that comes before a thunderstorm. True enough, it started raining after lunch.
I’m very relieved that it’s the start of the taper. Feeling tired both physically and mentally. I know I only got up to 20 miles once, and today I was supposed to go up to 15 miles / 25km but I simply was wiped out. Just hoping the training is enough and fingers crossed for better weather conditions at the race. Cold (10ºC will be perfect), dry and a little wind.
On the topic of marathon training, someone posted a screenshot on runnit, of someone’s job application. The question was “Describe a time when you had to set and achieve an ambitious personal goal.” The applicant went into a detailed account of how he trainied for the portland marathon in 2.5 months, getting to 15-20 miles two to three times a week and exactly 26 miles at least once. He claimed he finished his first marathon in around 2hrs.
When I posted on fb, all of the friends who answered spotted the lie. The marathon world record is 2.03, and portland’s record is 2.17 so there’s no way this first timer with 10 weeks’ training could finish in around 2hrs. The training he described was improbable too. Seemed like someone downloaded a few training plans and pretended to have followed them.
It takes a lot of training and talent to be so close to 2hrs. People don’t realise how fast the elites really run. This was a few years ago on the NYC subway, when people were challenged to beat Ryan Hall over a short distance. Even Ryan himself showed up. Have to remember that he runs at that pace for 26.2 miles.
I moved the 20-mile training run up one week because: a) I had the time; b) I have a race next weekend and c) I was worried about it so wanted to just get it over with. So I set off for bowen road armed with a 1l bottle of flavoured water and 4 gu packets. I planned my breaks so they were all at the second water fountain. It was fine to leave the water bottle there too, lots of people do that.
Started off not too badly, it was hot but there was a little breeze. Many people hiking and running but by and large they knew how to share the path. No stupid mainland tourist groups. Pretty boring, running up and down one path. Pace was slow and the last 5km had a lot of walking. I did it though, so it’s one training goal finished.
The last 20-mile training run was 4 times around Hyde Park and with a much more respectable pace of 7.24min/km. I’m still hoping I’m so slow now because of the hot weather.
After that 20-miler in London I treated myself to a big huge 24oz bone-in rib-eye, which I couldn’t finish. This time round, I don’t have the luxury of getting lovely steak from Whole Foods. I debated whether to go out or to stay in. My calves were hurting so on the way back home I stopped at the supermarket and bought chicken legs which I baked. Lots of foam rollering and I kept my legs elevated, feeling tired but not injured tired.
Long run this week according to higdon is 19 miles, according to the one-year plan is 18 miles. Since I’m only up to 13 miles, I didn’t want such a big step up so aimed at 16/17 miles (26/27km).
Not much to report, aside from the sheer mind-numbingness of running for 4hrs up and down a stretch of 4km running path. Not too many people, and I recognise a couple from last week. Everyone was faster than me. Had a couple of breaks, at 12km then 8km. Progressively slower, the last 7km was pretty much walking.
Completely knackered. Cooked mushroom pasta (with a whole can of cream of mushroom soup) for lunch. Didn’t have energy or appetite for big dinner. Even with my usual unhappiness about the slow pace—9.20min/km is 15min/mi and just about makes the 6.30hr cut off point for the marathon—I’m a bit more encouraged, that I have this long run under my belt.
Nike had a fastest mile virtual event on the 30th. It was a rest day for me, so I thought I’d go out to the track today and see what my mile time is. The weather is still not good for running, but it was only 29ºC, so better than before. Thunderstorms and rain means high humidity though.
I’ve never gone out and deliberately run one mile. My best mile time was at the 2010 corporate challenge when I finished the 3.5 mile course in 33.24min, meaning a mile pace of 9.13min. I was at my fastest during early 2010, getting my first sub-30 5k at ravenswood, before I got injured. I’ve never been able to get back to that pace.
Today I did a 3km warmup run to the track, then ran 4 times around to get to 1.6km. Instead of using a stopwatch I used the supply run part of zombies run. The app registered 10 even for 1.61km, I know that at 1.6km / 1 mile it was 9.54min.
Obviously not my fastest mile, although I’m okay about the pace. I did another mile at a slower 12.30 pace. To beat 5hr in the marathon, I have to average under 11.30, so I have a little ways to go yet.
Anyway, today’s run brought me to a total of 170.63km for the month of august, or 106.02 miles. I’ve had months where run/walk/bike total was over 100 but it’s been a while since I’ve had a 100 mile running month, I think it’s during the last marathon training round in 2012.
It’s imperative, 6 weeks to the marathon, to get to minimum HM distance in my long runs. Actually longer, but one step at a time. Try for 17 miles / 27km next weekend.
Went out early in the morning, plotted the course along bowen road. Ate oatmeal for breakfast, took 3 gu packets with me as well as energy drink. Planned stopping points too, I realised that just stopping, resting and refueling for a few minutes is better than stubbornly plodding on. Can probably recoup those few minutes via the overall faster pace.
I read that the kfc double down has finally arrived, so I thought I’d go and try it out. The doubledown started as an april’s fool day press release in 2010, it’s a chicken sandwich with 2 pieces of chicken acting as the bread and bacon & cheese filling. It achieved some sort of geeky legendary status via social media. Everyone wanted to try it when it came out.
Only the fried version was available, I would have preferred the grilled. It came with nachos and runny cheese sauce as the side, I would have preferred a choice of fries or coleslaw or corn. The doubledown itself was smaller than expected. I couldn’t tell whether it was white or dark meat, probably breast, looking at the size and shape. The chicken was pretty okay, standard kfc taste. The bacon and cheese had no taste whatsoever. The whole thing had a boring soggy texture.
The one criticism aimed at the doubledown from day one was salt content. Absolutely right. Very salty and without the normal bread to soak up the saltiness. I won’t have it again, but I’m glad I tried it.
More normal dinner of noodles, fish and veg at parents’ place, plus watermelon afterwards. Even with the monstrous doubledown meal, I’m at negative calories for the day.
tl;dr: wanted to do 17 miles, couldn’t even manage 17km
Long runs need to get longer, and yet I don’t have the endurance. Ran up to the desolate housing estate, then to a new park a little further away. It’s divided into 4 sections, with oddly-communist sounding names: Morse Park no. 1, Morse Park no. 2 and so on, divided by roads. The largest one is no. 3, which has several football pitches, basketball courts, a swimming pool and an indoor sports centre. About 1km to run totally around the park. It’s surrounded by the nearby housing estates so is busy with runners, walkers and people taking a shortcut. It’s nice. The problem was, there seemed to be only one water fountain and it was out of order, ugh. I’d brought a bottle of energy drink with me, but it wasn’t enough. Managed 8km up to that point.
Crossed the road to no. 1, which is quite small so I just did one circuit. No. 4 was better, medium sized with a garden, tennis courts, children playground and even a skateboarding section. And a working water fountain. Got another 5km in.
The route home was through another park, quite small and very crowded due to its proximity to a shopping centre and station. By then I was barely able to put one foot in front of the other so I struggled to do a couple of circuits then headed back. 3km home.
16km is 10 miles, so at least I got to that milestone. Aim for HM distance next long run.
Anyway, this was a circular rainbow mum spotted the other day. Enhanced via instagram.
8 miles on the schedule. If I were still at home I’d go out around 5pm, but it’s more difficult at parents’ place. 3.30pm at 33ºC is not an ideal time. The sun was blazing down fiercely. There were more people running at the park towards the end of the run, this is when I get envious of men, because most of them were shirtless. Sigh.
I took breaks every 4km, stopped at the water fountain for 2-3mins. Split conveniently into 3 missions. The first half was at a decent pace, then slower and slower and slower. The last km was walking. Summer training is brutal.
Is it possible to train for a marathon in 11 weeks? Essentially, no. But I’m going to try anyway and hope that I’ve retained some residual fitness from before. I only managed a few 5k and 10k runs in July, the longest was 12k. If I’d followed the plan, I should be doing 15 miles or 24k weekend runs by now. So I’m woefully behind and to all intents and purposes, starting from scratch. Well, not exactly from week 1, I’m going to follow the plan as if the July blip hadn’t happened. Week 9 starts with 4 miles, which in theory should be fine.
Except for jetlag, plus cough, plus it’s 32ºC. Excuses excuses.
I did drag myself out in the afternoon. All the way to the second water fountain and back, except the second water fountain was out of order. Have to remember that, and bring water next time. I got home and drank a whole litre of herbal water afterwards.
The problem is, I know what it takes to train for a marathon. I even know what I need to do
if I want to PR. At this rate, I’m hoping I don’t go slower than my slowest. I mean, 5.38 is ridulously slow. Any slower is almost dead last. There are all sorts of encouraging quotes around, that dead last is better than not finishing or starting; or a slow runner is lapping all those on the couch. In other words
I’m still smarting over the truncated slow run yesterday. It’s less than 100 days until the marathon and I don’t have my training act together. It’s frustrating.
A little encouragement from lifehacker, that it’s okay to be slow. Then again the article is by a runner who wins age-group medals so I’ll take what she says with a large grain of salt. Her article is based on one by a running coach Jeff Gaudette who talked about people reluctant or too embarrassed to join a running group because they are slow:
chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you, fast is relative
He also says that runners are one of the most welcoming group of people, which I guess is true. Whenever I meet someone who runs, we can always find topics in common. An interesting question from Coach Gaudette:
No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend. Think about it. Would you enjoy a run with a friend, even if you had to slow down considerably for them to keep up? I bet you would.
Again, true. Occasionally an idiot on /r/running will humblebrag about his 15min 5k and not wanting to slow down for his friend, but posts like these are always downvoted.
Still, I wish I had the motivation to: a) lose a stone so I’m faster; b) run more so I’m faster; run smarter so I’m faster.
Some days I know, within 5 minutes, whether the day’s run will be good or not. Today’s run…wasn’t. The training plan called for 12 miles (20km) and I knew I wasn’t ready for it—I’m undertrained and it was around 27ºC with the sun beating down. My goal was 2hrs, hoping that I can get at least 8-9 miles. At the beginning of the run I reached the end of the block and felt sluggish and heavy, my mind went, “uh oh.”
I ran around the field opposite the church, and included part of the church car park and some leafy streets around the area. Started okay, but simply couldn’t get moving. Struggled to 6k, then to 10k and had to really push the last 2k, I was more at walking pace.
To make matters worse, I think I’ve gained weight. My jeans don’t fit as well. Been eating heavier food than normal. Yesterday before theatre we went to moody’s pub in edgewater and had a really great cheeseburger and a dark beer. It’s not the food really, we haven’t been over indulging; it’s my own fault for not running enough and skipping training. If I want to PR at the marathon, I must do better.
The training schedule for this weekend is 6 miles, for next weekend is 11 miles. I switched the 2 weekends because I’m travelling and unlikely to have time for 11 miles next weekend. It’s a band-aid solution, because in 2 weeks it’s 13 miles and I’ll be in Chicago. I wonder how I can run a HM on the treadmill.
Anyway, it was a tough run. It started okay, I had oatmeal breakfast so I felt fueled up. It was very hot though, I was dripping and thoroughly wet quickly. So much so that my t-shirt and shorts were totally soaked.
Ran to the end of Bowen Road (6km), back to the first water fountain, then back to the end. I’m lucky that there are 2 water fountains, so I didn’t need to bring water. I split the run into different missions on zombies run, because that’s how ZR4 missions work now. There was a 5min rest period in the middle. Towards the end, I was pretty knackered so it was a lot of walking. Went to the supermarket to pick up some quick stuff and I could feel my calves beginning to tighten, but I walked it off.
It was so hot and I was so tired I didn’t have much of an appetite. Ham & egg sandwich for lunch, and I couldn’t finish the sandwich. Fish and salad for dinner. Definitely lots of calories left over for the day.
A rare beautiful blue sky day without visible pollution. Going out during the day was impossible so I made dinner early and went out at around 7.30pm. Still a little bit of light out in the beginning. The park was probably lit and still open, but since it’s just a 5k scheduled today, I ran up and down the street. Gentle hills, not a lot of foot traffic and definitely not stiflingly hot.
When I started running, I used to run after dinner, well into the evening. I remember chatting with Car (on yahoo messenger!) and she was so worried because it was almost 11pm. Yes, need to be careful, but it’s pretty safe. The downside of night running was that I drank a lot of water afterwards and I normally avoid drinking so much water too late into the night. Then again, it’s replacing water not storing. I think it’s worth going for the short runs at night, makes a change and I can do some speedwork.
18 weeks till Chicago Marathon marks the beginning of proper marathon training. Following Higdon novice 2, like last time.
According to the program, today is a rest day actually. But I changed his plan a little—switched all his tuesday runs to monday. I’m also not going to find a HM race, or any race, in August so that’s a bust.
I went for the first run of 5k (3 miles) around the neighbourhood. This means up and down hills. Not required, but I’ll try to add more intensity if I can. Running through Central London with a backpack for my midweek run last time helped with the weekend long runs. The heat will also help build my endurance.
Went over to Sis’ to use the treadmill. Back to square one in terms of speed. Sigh. Looking back through my notes, the last run was on 16 March and I did 5k in 33.30min (6.41min/km). Argh.
Even though the second half of March was all walking, there was a lot of it and I ran a lot the first half. I managed to clock 95 miles for March. April, yuck. So dismal. I’ll be lucky to hit 40. Not a lot of time left, proper training starts in June and I have to get back in form during May.
Task #39 of 101.1001 is to run/walk/bike 1001 miles. I originally put 1001km, then I upped it to miles. I went past 1001km in novembe. The red line shows the growth in mileage lately as I’m building base for marathon training, it looks like a taper for the last datapoint, but bear in mind March is only halfway gone.
I crashed my knee on sunday’s race which scuppered the planned 10 mile weekend long run. I should be resting but I did a fast 5k around the neighbourhood:
I noticed I was only 3 miles from the 1001 milestone and I’m not going to let poxy ITBS stop me from getting there
I don’t know how much time I’ll have to run on the trip, so it’s like a final run before we fly tomorrow
I wanted to stretch the knee out a little
The initial 1km up the hill was uncomfortable, the knee kept wanting to give out. I changed to a flatter route and by the end of the run the knee was sort of okay. I rollered the IT band together with my back and boy, it was painful.
This task is done, but there’s still #40 walk to Mordor, next milestone is 1309 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls. If I can consistently hit 80-100 miles a month, I’ll get there hopefully by June or July.
I ran 10 miles yesterday and felt fine. Drank 500ml of energy drink, munched on a few biscuits, took a shower and I was okay. Slept a bit earlier so it helped.
Walked a mile to the local market today to run some errands and I’m knackered. My knee hurts, my back hurts, I sat at my desk and fell asleep.
I guess it’s not the mile-long walk, it’s recovery from the long run. That said, I’m quite happy with training progress. Slow and steady with, touch wood, no major injuries. Knee pain and back pain are to be expected, and at the moment they are both manageable. I’m a little worried about the month-long holiday, I definitely will not get the chance to follow the training program.
It’s taken 20 weeks for the first major injury, so I guess it’s not too bad. This week’s long run is the furthest in the program so far, 9 miles = 14.5km so I set a 15km target. Uphill and around to a new park, then across to the usual park.
The discomfort in my knee is always there, so I try to ignore it until it suddenly gives out when I’m running or walking or going up stairs. It’s currently manageable.
About halfway through the run, I started getting an acute pain at the top of my foot, near the ankle joint. Felt like a sprain. It’s my right foot and with pain in my left knee, it was impossible to limp. I plodded my way through the second half.
There are a lot of articles about ITBS and plantar fasciitis but fewer people seem to be suffering from top of foot pain. From what I can gather, it may be due to tying shoelaces too tightly (not likely, if anything I tie them too loosely) or pressure on ligaments and tendons rom barefoot or minimalist running (again not likely, the lunar racers today have seen at least one marathon and a few hundred miles). I just have to monitor the pain and hope it doesn’t turn out to be a stress fracture.
Stupid headphones gave out on me towards the end. I was close enough to my target to stop and walk the remaining 1km home. I was really knackered and hungry and thirsty for the rest of the day. Definitely staying in and doing very little tomorrow.
Did the 8-mile long run scheduled for the weekend today, I mix up days, as long as I get all the runs in sometime during the week. From home to the end of the bowen road running path is 6.2km or 3.8miles, so I did a few short doubling back at straighter parts of the path.
It’s been a while since I ran all the way to the other end. I’d forgotten about the city limit marker over there. The marker is dated 1903, and the plaque says that it’s one of the remaining markers that marks the then city of victoria. Not a lot of history available, the city of victoria was established in 1843, and this marker is one of seven placed in 1903. As a sign of the attitude towards history here, one of the seven disappeared in 2007 during slope renovations.
Yay, I broke 100 miles of run/walk/bike in january. Actual total 103 miles, of which 60 miles was running. That works out to be 15 miles a week, so there’s a long way to go in terms of marathon training—I need to get to 25-30 miles a week by the time the proper 18-week training program begins. Most of the walking was at the end of a run, when I go to the market near the parks and walk back after grabbing some fruit & veg or coke zero. So-called biking is on mum’s stationary bike.
I know it’s only the 30th and I could go tomorrow for an easy 4km to get to 100km running total. It doesn’t matter, I’ll get to 100km running soon enough, long runs in february are ramping up to 8miles/13km.
edit: did a couple miles walking on the 31st, bringing the monthly total to 105 miles / 169 km.
Opened a new pair of running shoes and braved the crowded weekend route. A little surprised at the discipline of the people running and walking there today; the majority were able to keep to one side of the path and share happily with other users. Except one idiot dog owner who was playing catch ball with her two medium-sized dogs on a narrow path that barely accommodates 3 people abreast. What did I expect? It’s a dog owner, dog owners are the shits.
The new shoes are nike frees that I bought either at an outlet or as a running warehouse special. Can’t remember: I’ve had them a while. They are 3.0, and even though the newest versions are already 5.0, I’m happy with these older versions. Most of the time, it’s worth buying one generation back because they are a lot cheaper. They feel a bit long, fit comfortably and definitely light. I like lightweight neutral shoes and these are exactly what I want.
If I’m at home I run along Bowen Road, which is a 12km round trip if I go all the way to the end and back. At parents’ place I run at two different parks. Shorter runs I go to a small park nearby (which I’ll call park A) which has a small football field, 2 basketball courts and a jogging path. It’s not even a running path because it’s only 265m around and usually overrun with old people. One circuit of the jogging path together with 2 circuits around the football-and-basketball area just about makes it to 1km.
For longer runs I go to a larger park (park B) that has several full-sized football pitches, a swimming pool, tennis courts and an athletics track. For odd reasons they close the track at weekends, but there is a marked running path that goes all the way around the athletics arena that measures 600m. The trail (pic above) that surrounds the various playing fields in the central area is 1km so between the 2 routes, it’s already 1.6km (1 mile).
Parks A and B are next to each other on the map, separated by the famous checkboard hill, that was where airplanes made the 47° right hand turn before landing at the old airport. As an aside, watch the video, it shows how planes used to make that spectacular (and dangerous) landing in the middle of a crowded city onto a runway that has notorious crosswinds.
Anyway, I tried to look on google map and street view to see if the two parks are connected. Couldn’t really tell, but it seemed like there is a narrow path that goes up the hill and back down. So I went exploring today. The answer is, yes, the two parks are connected. As expected, from park B it’s a steep, narrow path partially hidden by trees that leads to about 100 steps on one side of the hill, then a steep and winding road down the other side that ends up at park A.
What was utterly charming are two discoveries at the top of the hill. The first is a lookout point, now partially blocked by trees. I guess that’s where plane-spotters used to go to look at planes landing at the old airport. The second discovery is an enclosed field with a big open grass/dirt area in front and a few benches at the back. Only one entrance which is gated. The sign says something like water department recreational park (can’t remember exact name, forgot to take a pic) and it’s right next to a few buildings with water department signs on the outside. What a discovery. The pic makes it look bigger, I’d say it’s about the size of a football pitch. Hard to get to, with steep access up and down, there were only about a dozen people there. I’ll try to go there again next long run.
I guess I should be cautiously pleased, at the beginning of the program my pace was abysmal, sometimes struggling to reach 9min/km. I can’t be complacent though, I need to shave another min/km to get to my baseline of 6.40min/km and I have to do it in less than 12 weeks. The real challenge is then to take 20 seconds off. A 4:30 marathon is 6.24min/km.
This is the longest I’ve run since I started the 52 week marathon training program. End of week 8 already. I haven’t followed the plan exactly. I’ve run fewer days but longer distance each run. Week 8 weekend run is 4 miles (6.5km) and total for the week 12 miles over 4 runs. I did 15 miles (24 km) over 3 days this week.
I’m trying not to get too unhappy about the speed, or utter lack of it. My baseline is 6.42 and I’m two whole minutes slower. I have only myself to blame for losing my fitness level, so I’ll have to get over it. The good thing is, I ran all 9km. The only stopping breaks were at traffic lights to cross the road and a couple of stops at the water fountain. So if I don’t have my speed back, at least I’m working towards getting my endurance back.
There’s a long way to go yet. I should get started on hills or strides soon. I’m using the zombies run app so there is an element of intervals. It really is a very good app, I paid $9.99 for an all access pass when the offer was on, and it’s money well spent.
run at an easy pace, and then gradually get faster until you’re at about 95% of your maximum effort. Hold that for about 2-3 seconds, and then gradually slow to a stop
Another type of intervals, a bit like sprints. The advice is to start with 4 strides, then increase to 6-8.
2. balanced strength training
There are 3 types of workouts: front & back, lateral, and rotational. Running is front & back, so to balance, do exercises that are lateral and rotational like side lunges and hay bales. Hay bales are like goblet squats with rotation.
3. negative splits are good
Some trainers say negative split means not enough effort has been put in the first half of a race. This advice says it improves endurance.
4. different long runs
Accepting that long runs are boring, it’s good to add some variety and fun. Hills, farteks, progressions.
The 52 week marathon training program I found calls itself couch to marathon. I’m not a big fan of the name couch-to-[distance] but I guess I have to accept that this is exactly what it is. It doesn’t make any fancy claims:
You won’t break any records by following this plan, but it will get you to the point where you can finish a marathon with periodic walking breaks in a year’s time
It starts off really easy, and builds up distance. There are a lot of walk and rest breaks. For example week 10 mid-week 3 miles come with the instruction to run 1 mile, rest 3 mins then repeat. By the time we get to week 40 mid-week 8 miles, it’s run 4 miles then rest for 3 mins. The weekend long runs, which get up to 24 miles in week 49, tells us to run 1 mile then rest for 1 min. Honestly week 49 is the last week before taper and I should think that by then I can run more than 1 mile before resting.
I think I will follow the plan with variation, the 4-times a week schedule I like, the distance progression makes sense too. I’ll use the plan as minimum and try to do more, better. For the mid-week runs the breaks can be used as interval training; for the long runs I will let myself walk or rest more. I think that in the past I’ve done too much boring useless steady-state running as opposed to intervals.
Every training plan tells us to cross train. I have at my weights, TRX and found a bunch of interestingly named bodyweight workouts. With names like mulan, hold my beer and sherlock workout, I’m sure I’ll find a fun one.
So today is week 01 day 01. The instruction is to jog (not run) 1 mile then walk 1 mile for a total of 2 miles. That’s it. And so I did my usual 5k run except I just ran around the flat instead of bothering to go outside.
Four years ago today on 10-10-10, I ran my first marathon, Chicago, in 5:38. This coming Sunday, 45,000 people will race the course over 19 neighbourhoods. Next year, I hope to join them. I deferred my 2014 place so I basically have a guaranteed entry for 2015.
I’m both scared and excited. I have not been running as much for the past year or so. I found a 52 week training plan which includes runwalking and allows short breaks during longer runs. Towards the last 18 weeks, it puts in more mileage than the Higdon novice 2 plan and gets up to 24miles (vs 20 for Higdon). Sounds good.
Technology and theories have changed since 2010, the market is flooded with wearables and fitness trackers. I retired my garmin, because it’s too bulky, too limited, and takes too long to find a satellite signal. Saw a new sock sensor that does real-time analysis of foot-striking position and stride and gives feedback via an app. Not sure I want a voice shouting “you’re heel striking!” in my ears when I’m struggling in the middle of a run though.
Ah, heel striking. That’s me, 2011 chimarathon. Note the knee brace, the KT tape, the orange sauconys and the heel striking. I have repeatedly been told that heel striking is bad, it increases the chances of injury and all that. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to change to fore- or mid-foot striking, and whenever I manage it, I feel quicker. When I’m tired, I lapse back to my natural heel striking form.
Turns out, heel striking isn’t the enemy of good running form. Changing footstrike may reduce knee injuries, but it may also lead to other types of injuries. My takeaway from the article is, it’s okay to heel strike at slower paces, it seems that both stride and strike will change with faster speeds. Since I’m aiming for a 12:00/mile, it probably doesn’t matter that much.
While my niece was at the track with her long jump coach, I ran around the track 10 times. Very, very, very slowly. I felt heavy and far too hot to go any quicker. It’s no more than walking pace, really. I guess I have to reconcile to not getting my speed back, and just be glad that even slow running reduces the risk of heart disease. I’m kinda looking forward to cooler and less polluted days when I can run a bit more. The past week I’m so dependent on antihistamines it’s not funny. A couple of times I had to take 2 tablets to make the allergy symptoms go away or even to get to sleep. Annoying.
Anyway, it was nice to be able to run on a track again. Short of scenic routes like the lake or Hyde Park, a track, any track, is better than along polluted and traffic-heavy roads.
The 5k is going over to the small park and running around the jogging track, the football field and the basketball court. I sprinted the last 200m to try to get the pace down below 8, got it to 8min exactly, need to run faster.
The 30k is getting to the 30k mark in nano. I said I was gonna do it yesterday at 26k, and I did it. I’m using well-used nano tricks — road trip, dream sequence and talking to yourself. We’re now at the beginning of chapter 7, and they just started driving. The dream sequence, which included a nice intimate distraction, and the talking to yourself both occurred in the car. There’s the whole night and a long way to go. Who knows what will happen next.
I’m getting into the story, the MCs are growing on me. They also made me laugh in this exchange. Indy and Pete (Petra) are the MCs, Anders is Pete’s brother and Indy’s architect. When edited, the clunky language, the “she said” will all be edited out. This is nano, only wordcount matters.
“Who says I’m having a house warming party?” Indy challenged.
“Oh, you’ll want to. You’ll definitely want to. How else will you get to meet The Great Anderski,” Pete said tantalizingly.
“The Great Anderski?” Indy felt stupid, repeating what Pete said. The Great Anderski sounded like—
“The Great Anderski hails from coldest Siberia and is the greatest magician that has ever come out of the great country of Russia,” Pete said dramatically, rolling the r of Russia. “Or, well, Anders when you’ve fed him a couple of glasses of vodka.”
“That sounds like enormous fun. I’ll make sure I have a house warming party, with casserole and vodka,” Indy said. “Do you become someone after you’ve had a couple of glasses of vodka? The Great Anderski’s sexy assistant Petralicious?”
After weeks of rain and heat, an overcast day meant I could venture out running. Except it was deceptive. Still extremely hot and muggy and humid. Yuck. Ran to the second water fountain and back via the supermarket. Very slow still. Not planning on doing 9 min/mile yet. Wait till it’s cooler.
I was so hot when I got home, literally dripping sweat. Went outside to the pool for a dip. Swam 50 leisurely laps, it was pretty good. Muscles felt like they had a proper workout. If only I still had my bike, could have done my version of a mini triathlon, hee.
Not much to be proud of, I don’t think I’ve run a 9min km before. Ugh. I haven’t been running
for 1 month and quite honestly, I’m not enjoying running at all here. Hot, humid, pollution, too much traffic, too many ignorant people blocking the path, bad route. Yes, all excuses. But, well. I went slowly, almost shuffling. So slow that I was overtaken by a walker. Sigh. Still, 5 miles is 5 miles.
What a difference one year makes. 15 April 2012 I ran the Brighton Marathon in 5.05, still a PR and re-reading the race report, a race I thoroughly enjoyed. 15 April 2013 I barely made it through 5k. Everyone is probably sick of reading about my running failures in the past year so I’ll stop now.
Very sad to read about the 23 year old runner who collapsed and died at Mile 16 at Brighton. I don’t know whether it’s more runners, more frequent occurrence, or the sensationalism aspect but it seems like there are far too many reports of marathon deaths lately. And with it, discussions about whether people should be exercising so intensely, even questioning why people run marathons in the first place. Not going there.
Even sadder news, that 2 bombs went off at the finish line of Boston. Shocked. Very sad. The explosions were timed for maximum carnage—at around 4hrs of a fast race there’d be lots of people finishing and lots of spectators at the side. Who does things like this? Boston, in addition to being one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in the world, is the one where everybody agrees has the best supporters. The whole city comes out to cheer on the runners. The spirit of community is out in force after the explosions as people are offering their homes for people needing a place to stay.
London is this coming weekend. Already security is being stepped up. I hope stringent security isn’t a sign of things to come and runners aren’t discouraged to enter this and other marathons. One of the reasons the marathon majors (6 now) are so prestigious is the sheer amount of support of spectators along the course. A course 26.2 miles long in the middle of a bustling city is impossible to close down in the security sense—too many buildings, parks, rubbish bins, bridges and other city stuff. Do we want to move races to walled off highways with no view, no space for spectators and where the officials seem to be more intent on getting the last runner off so they can clear the road for car users to pollute the air again? No, no and no. That’s why I have no interest in running the most soulless marathon in the world, even though it’s cheap and easy logistically.
Thoughts are with the dead and injured. Please, no more violence.
It’s been pissing down with rain, but I was determined to go running today and managed to take advantage of a lull in the storm. Pretty slow, but it’s nice to be active again.
And as usual, I posted to twitter, which auto-posts to fb; and updated fitocracy. No action required on nikeplus, it syncs by itself. Compared to other obsessive people, I don’t think I post too much about my running or weight training or other exercise activities.
I don’t post to brag — my results aren’t good enough. I post because I want someplace to record my efforts. It’s motivating, in a way. I made sure I speeded up when my speed fell below 8min/km because I’d be embarrassed to show this slow speed on a public forum.
Seems though that perhaps others don’t share my view. Apparently, people who post about their diet and fitness progress are the worst thing about social media.
Ugh. At least I’m not an overly proud parent, ticket seller or serial commenter.
I need to pull my finger out and get over this lethargy. No running for 3 weeks, stuck inside for a whole week? Pitiful and lame. So I went running after lunch. 8.25km is just over 5 miles. Mostly ran slowly, with some walking at the water fountains. Just getting back to the rhythm.
And because it’s St Patrick’s Day, the reward is pork chops, roasted cauliflower and a big bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra. Yum.
p.s. that glass is an extremely heavy ML crystal glass that I got when I reached 5 years’ service, there’s a tiny bull engraving at the front. Wonder if it’s a collectors’ item now.