The Biggest Training Weeks are Now Complete!

This post originally started off with the title, last big week starts tomorrow, that changed to today, and then yesterday! Well, my last big week actually finished today, it was so big in fact that I couldn’t even get around to finishing this post for an entire week. Anyhow, I have only one long fuel run left on the horizon next Saturday and around 100 miles planned for this coming week and then it’s truly taper time! Today was a miserable attempt at 35k fuel run workout. Started off alright, but used ALL of my energy by the end of 14 miles after leaning into 10-20mph headwinds and stinging snow in my eyes. The worst winter wins yet again. On a positive note, I also wrapped up a 126 mile week today, so it wasn’t like I was exactly fresh going into the long fuel run and I did still cover 24.2 in just under 2:29 with some painful plantar in one foot.

So now that my original intro to this post made no sense and I had to scrap it, let me just jump right into a recap of my last three weeks of training. Last week was one of my bigger weeks yet with 108 miles and 1 solid workout. It was also a grind starting out, coming off of a hard half marathon effort, but like they say; it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger. The week before that contained that half marathon race and some quality speedwork and this past week was my peak for mileage.

So, from where I left off in the last update on March 7th…

3/8- Easy/Recovery Run. This was a slow 13 mile grind through soaking slushy streets in Boston. A good run but legs were nowhere near recovered from the big workout the prior day.

3/9- Easy + Hills 9 @ easy pace + 10 x 10 sec hill sprints. Legs felt fresher by the end.

3/10- AM Recovery Run 5.1, felt great in 50 degrees. PM Track Workout- 3 mile w/u, 8 x 1k @ 10k intensity w/90 sec jog recoveries + 4×200 strides in 32 secs w/60 sec jog recoveries, 2 mile c/d. Back over to the indoor track for the first time in more than three weeks. Legs were a bit stiff, but cardio felt great. Felt more comfortable and better as the workout went on and added a few 200m intervals at the end for fun. I did want to be around 3:15 per k and not 3:20, but I felt like pushing any harder would have been around 5k intensity so I kept it there. 17.3 miles on the day total.

3/11- Easy Run, 15 miles with run group in Wellesley

3/12- Fartlek Workout. 3 mile w/u, 10 x (30 seconds hard, 2:30 moderate) 2 mile c/d. Same workout I did before the 10 mile race a few weeks back ran the fartlek portion around 6:10 pace that time and 1:07 total time, this time I averaged around 5:48 in the fartlek portion and 1:02 total time. 10 miles total, 55 minutes of strength/core work afterwards.

3/13- Easy Run, 8.5 miles

3/14- Easy Run, 6.2 miles with 6x100m strides, 7 miles total.
Week totals: 81 miles with two workouts, one set of hill sprints and one core/strength training session. Pretty light week compared to most of them recently, but a good down week to prep for the peak training weeks to follow. 10 hrs 22 minutes total workout time.

3/15- New Bedford Half Marathon, 2ish miles of warming up and strides/high knees etc, then right into the race.
Cliff notes: Didn’t trust my training enough on the hills and allowed slacking off, also slowed down too much after a fast first mile. Confident I left 1-2 mins on the course, but other than that, fairly happy with it. Ran almost the entire race solo which sucked, especially on the 3 headwind miles running right along the ocean from 9ish to the big uphill at the start of 12. Still a PR, which is always a good thing. Net time of 1:13:48 and 55th place (finished 94th here last year) Next year, goal has to be top 20 and sub 70 minutes! Ran 5.6 for cooldown for a total of 20.7 on the day. Photo below from Krissy Kozlosky:

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3/16- Easy/Recovery Run, 9.6 miles with 45 min of core/strength after.

3/17- AM Easy Run, 7 miles. PM Easy Run. 12.2 miles. Felt pretty good on the second run, legs almost back to strength post half marathon.

3/18- Easy + Hills 13 @ easy pace + 10 x 10 sec hill sprints. Good set of hills after the run. Intended to do another good core/strength session after this run, but my hips were feeling pretty tight so I did 1 hr. of yoga and foam rolling.

3/19- Noon Easy Run, 4 miles. PM Mini-fuel Run Workout. Ran 4 miles to warmup and then decided to call it on running outside for this, just so sick of wind and cold. Went to the indoor track and ran another 2 miles outside first as a second warmup due to legs getting stiff sitting in the car. Workout was: 3 miles of 1min. fast (5:00)/1min easy (6:40) 3 miles Marathon pace 6:05-5:55, 1mile jog, 3 miles Hard 5:40-45, 1mile w.d. I ended up misreading the first bit and thought it was Min hard/min moderate and went out at too fast pace of sub 5/6:10-20 pace, came through first 3 miles in 16:34. Was worried I might have dug a hole for myself with all the miles already in my legs so I tried to be very controlled in the 3 mile tempo and ran 5:56-5:53-5:50 still feeling pretty good. Mile jog took about 7 mins and then it was time to push for the last 3; ran them in 5:38-5:47-5:32. Lost contact a little in the second mile as I was carrying maple water for one lap while taking sips. I grabbed a Gu and plenty of water on the 1 mile jog section also, to make sure I actually was fueling on a “fuel” workout. Went back outside for a 2 mile cooldown with a little yoga and stretching afterwards, it felt warmer out then at 10:30PM, go figure. 22 miles total on the day.

3/20- Noon Easy/Recovery Run, 6 miles. PM Easy Run, 10 miles.

3/21- Easy Run, 6.5 miles with 45 minutes of core/strength afterwards.
Week totals: 108 miles with one race, one workout, one set of hill sprints and two core/strength training sessions. A really good week overall, after coming off of some up and down training and a hard race effort. Very encouraging to still run my second biggest week of mileage yet when starting it out with tired legs. 14 hrs 34 minutes total workout time.

3/22- Long Run, 24 miles with strong winds and temps in the teens, what’s new, right? Ran with my friend Steph, she was doing 20 miles of harder pace with 2 mile w/p and c/d, she’s also racing Boston. We ended up running 21 at the harder effort and ran all 24 in around 2:47. Solid long run to kick off my peak week of training.

3/23- Noon Easy Run, 4.2 miles. PM Easy + Hills 12.5 @ easy pace + 10 x 10 sec hill sprints, 45 minutes of core/strength afterwards. 17.5 total on the day.

3/24- Track Workout. 3 mile w/up, 4 x 200m strides w/200m recovery jogs, 4 x 2k w/3 minute recoveries, jogged for two laps (goal was start a little faster than lactate threshold, work down to 10k pace) 3 mile c/d. Pretty much nailed it, despite feeling fatigued from the get-go and being a little slow on the 200’s. (33-high avg) Splits for the 2k’s were: 6:58-6:56-6:52-6:38, works out to 5:30 avg. mile pace. Total mileage of 12.7.

3/25- Easy Run, 15 miles in some pleasant snow/hail/rain/sleet. haha

3/26- Noon Easy Run, 6 miles. PM Easy Run, 12 miles with 45 minutes of core/strength afterwards.

3/27- Noon Easy Run, 6.5 miles. PM Easy Run, 8 miles.

3/28- Long Fuel Run Workout. Cliff Notes: Old man winter is a miserable dude; constant headwinds on the Boston course today and snow flying down stinging my eyes completely sapped my energy moving forward. Goal was as follows: 2 mile w/u, 10k at 6 min pace, 10k at 5:50-5:55 pace, 10k at 5:45- 5:50 pace, 5k at 5:40 pace, 1 mile c/d. Fueling as I will during the marathon. No rest between segments, smooth transitions. Really go hard the last 5k, okay if I bonked and had to stop. Goal of trying to really challenge my fuel stores to my help body adapt for marathon. Unfortunately, I used up my energy just running the first two 10k segments at goal pace and had nothing left to give when I got to the Newton Hills with 15k of hard running still to go. I’m not really that disappointed though, because driving snow and wind is expected to take a lot out of you and it was only 30 degrees to top it off. Also, I went into this with the most miles my legs have ever had on them, so I was expecting it to be a bit of a grind. Obviously I am still unhappy with how it went as I always am when I miss the goal of a workout or race. My effort level did stay up for the last 15k though, I kept pushing hard until the final mile of cooldown, still averaging just over 6 minute miles. I think I did still challenge my energy stores in a good way as I had to consume a bagel as soon as I finished. haha. Total mileage of 24.2. 45 mins. of strength and core in the PM.
Week totals: 126 miles with one workout, one easy long & one hard long run, one set of hill sprints and three core/strength training sessions. Another solid week mileage wise and apart from the long run today, pretty much got everything desired out of it. This was my peak week of training, but next week will still be around 100 miles, with a 25k fuel run planned for next Saturday as my last long run. 16 hrs 33 minutes total workout time.

Thanks for reading, hope it didn’t put you to sleep and as always feel free to comment with any questions about the training or what it’s like to have Hudson Elite Community provide you with excellent coaching!

The Work-Training-Life Balance

Working hard for something you don’t care about is stress, working hard for something you love is passion.

Ah, how well that quote encapsulates my two current jobs. I strive to be a diligent, attentive and valuable asset to whatever business I am part of, but at the end of the day, a passion cannot be forced for a topic that feels totally mundane. The office life is something that will never feel natural for some of us. I am convinced that we simply belong out in the great unknown; doing, seeking, learning and chasing dreams. I’m so thankful that I do also have the opportunity to chase that dream, doing something I love, chasing that passion! The work days may drag on sometimes as I chase deadlines, cost saving opportunities and program updates, but when I leave the office I get to hang out at college again and have the honor of passing on my passion and love for running in the kids I help coach. I often run the workouts with the kids as well as calling out their splits and helping out at meets. I think it gives me a unique perspective on coaching as I’m still being coached, I think it helps me relate well to them as we train together. Coaching has also helped me realize that as much as I used to act all stoic and arrogant I really do have a love for people, and not many things feel better then watching someone you’ve been coaching make a breakthrough or just gain some new confidence and trust in their abilities. The passion and love the kids have for the sport is so infectious too, as is their hunger to keep learning. They’re always asking questions about training and running and quite a few of them actually follow the pro scene and top collegiate runners, which makes it even more fun to talk running with them.

So, what have I been up to in my own training? Well, I’ve been up, down and all around in training since my last update. I think it’s much easier to keep a running blog updated when each week you’re out crushing workouts and hitting new weekly highs for mileage. Could be why I haven’t posted an update in a couple weeks! After a fairly successful race a few weeks back, I had a week of training that just felt kind of off. I had some cold symptoms and fatigue and was honestly just getting sick of running in the bitter cold and dark every day, combined with a stressful time at work preparing for a big conference and presentations I had to give. That week of feeling off led into a race at the start of last week that was way off. I knew from the first mile that I wasn’t going to be able to get my goals for the workout in and had to turn it into a long tempo, just kept pushing so I could nab second place. It was an improvement by one place from last year, but two minutes or so slower than my time then. I knew it didn’t mean I was slower than last year or that my training was way off, since I only couldn’t push hard due to intense congestion in the cold weather. Nevertheless, it did nothing to help my already crappy feeling body and outlook on current training. Coaches are so great though! Was given the word to take some days off and fully recover so I didn’t make it worse by training through, something I’d never do on my own. I’m happy to report that my running felt effortless in the warm air of Florida for work last week (albeit dehydrated) My presentations went great, and yesterday I nailed a long workout. I did end up only taking last Monday off to rest up and ran on Tuesday and Wednesday but skipped Thursday due to travelling. I did double up on the days I ran and got in 92 for the week with two workouts. I’ll start off from my last update and work up through today on the daily training here, going over what I had planned vs. what I actually ended up doing. The last couple weeks have been an important reminder that marathon training and training in general is never a linear track of progression up. There will always be bumps in the road and most of them can make you mentally stronger and smarter when you tackle them the right way and work through them. So far this has been my longest and most healthy period of running to date, going all the way back to May of last year when I fell hiking. This marathon block has also been my most consistent mileage and workout wise. And really, the long term view is the only view to measure actual progress in training; it’s all about year over year improvement, not short quick gains, just grinding on. Of course with my personality and love for chasing after my passions with determination and endless enthusiasm, it’s a perfect fit!

2/17- Track Workout: 3 mile w/up, 1 Mile hard (5:13) 6 minute rest, 5k in 17:35 (5:39 pace, a little quick) 5 minute rest and 4 x 400m at 75 sec. goal w/1 min rests. (74, 57, 75, 74) 2.2 mile c/down. Total 11.2 miles. 45 minutes of strength and core work when I got home.

2/18- Easy Run: 10.2 miles (1:22:59)

2/19- Fartlek: 3 mile w/up 10 x 30 seconds hard, 2:30 moderate 2 mile c/down. This one felt okay, wasn’t as fast I wanted it to be, but good run though. 10 miles total. (1:07:42) 45 minutes of strength and core work after.

2/20- Easy Run: 6.3 miles (47:10)

2/21- AM Easy Run: 6.8 miles running the warmup with the college kids before DIII Regionals (57:33) Finished with a set of 8×100 meter strides. PM Easy Run: 3.2 miles cooldown with kids. (26:36)
Week totals: 82.1 miles with two workouts, one set of hill sprints and two core/strength training sessions.

Eyes down, grinding up a hill. Need to keep my eyes up in races and stay more relaxed!

2/22- RACE: 3.2 mile w/up nice and easy, followed by some light drills and a couple stride outs. 10 miles in 57:41. Felt great and controlled. Fully recovered feeling after each uphill. Didn’t go all out on the hills or over the first 5 miles, pushed a good bit by the end. Happy with the overall effort and felt like I could give a lot more on the cooldown, nice and fresh feeling. Cooldown was 7 miles long to keep my legs used to the longer efforts and I had nice negative splits while staying mostly easy in my effort on the c/down, finished with 6:28-6:17-6:10. (49:26) 20.2 miles total. 45 minutes strength and core in the evening.

2/23- AM Easy Run: 6.1 miles (41:07) PM Easy Run 9.25 miles (1:04:57)

2/24- AM Easy Run: 10.6 miles (1:14:40) PM Easy Run: 6.2 miles (42:19)

2/25- Easy Run + Hill sprints: 14.43 miles (1:46:59, didn’t reset for hills, so that’s total time)

2/26- 3 mile w/up 20 x (1 min hard, 1 min mod) Goal avg. of 6:30 pace, actual avg. 6:01 pace. 2 mile c/down. Felt pretty good on this along over the Newton Hills of the Boston course. 12.16 miles (1:20:30)

2/27- Easy Run: 7 miles (52:19) 1 hour strength and core in the evening.

2/28- Easy Run + Strides: 5 miles + 6x100m strides.
Weekly totals: 91.8 miles, one race, two workouts and two strength/core sessions.

3/1- RACE: 2 mile w/up 30K race .5 c/down with 3 mile c/down when I got home and put some warm clothes. This was that poor race I mentioned. The goal was to start moderate but fast and then work up effort as I went, finishing hard. The idea of the workout was to go totally spent at the end to help the body make the adaptations for the marathon. I also wanted to improve on my time from last year, 1:52 something. I thought I could run 1:49 and still follow the plan of starting at a moderate effort. However the congestion and fatigue from being sick finally did me in as the temps were not up to where they had been predicated and we were still breathing in 30 degree air with strong winds halfway through. I did find myself completely alone in second place almost from the gun, so I just resolved to push on at the only effort I could put in, which was very frustrating. My lungs were spent from the get-go but my legs felt full of energy at the end, which bugged me the most. I did walk away with an improvement of one place from last year and a nice sweatshirt, great consolation! (Guess I gotta go for the win next year now. haha) Watch said 18.68 miles and time was 1:53:40 (6:05 pace) 24.2 miles total.

3/2- DAY OFF. Ended up being able to attend an awesome trail running film festival with my evening free!

3/3- Flew down to Orlando in the AM. Was planning on another day off, but I felt great in the warm air and couldn’t resist going out for a run! Original plan before the race was to get in a 10xMile workout at lactate threshold pace with 1 min. recoveries. A big, fun, hard workout for sure and not the right thing to run with a still weak body and in 85 degrees of direct sun for the first time in 6 months! haha. I couldn’t just got out and run slow though, so I slipped on my road flats and decided to run 5xMile at half marathon pace with 3 min. rec. jogs. 3 mile w/up (6:29 avg. oops!) 5×1 miles at consistent 5:26 avg. 2 mi c/down fairly spent and very thirsty and feeling so happy. Ran another 5.2 in the late evening. for 16.2 on the day total.

3/4- Easy Run: 5.5 (36:50) Squeezed a run in between presenting all day and dinner session. 2nd Easy Run: Ran 3.1 miles (21:20) to Downtown Disney and had to walk through (didn’t want to get escorted out for running) started the watch back up and got in another 5.1 (34:04) Finished the run at 10:30 PM but felt great in the warm weather! 13.7 on the day.

3/5- DAY OFF. Simply no way to fit in a run with more work all day and then late flight home. Body could use some more rest anyway.

3/6- AM Easy Run: 11 miles (1:14) back up in the cold of New England, ugh. PM Easy Run: 5.3 (37:35)

3/7 Long Marathon Pace Workout: 3.22 mile w/up (21:33) 4 x (4k hard, 1k moderate) goal of hard intervals @ half marathon intensity, moderate intervals at about 6:45 minute pace- 5 minute recovery- Hard 3k (10k pace) 3 mile c/down (20:30) I was pumped and bit nervous to get this one in for a few days, but it felt great once I started. Found a good loop/out and back road of 5k there and 5k back. My avg. for the 4k hard sections was 5:34 pace and overall avg. was 5:44. I rounded up to half marathon by adding an extra moderate effort 1k at the end and hit the half in 1:15:10. I did pause the watch quick to grab water and one Gu during the workout, so factor in that too for what it’s worth. For the hard 3K I was ready to let it all loose, but didn’t have a ton of energy left at that point, ran it in 10:20 (5:31 pace) On the cool down I felt pretty tapped for energy, in a good way. Went straight to local burrito place afterwards! 21.3 miles total. 45 minutes strength and core in the evening.
Also should mention, this was my first workout in Asics Hyper Speed 6 and I absolutely love them! I also picked up a pair of New Balance 980 Boracay and 980 Trails recently and love both of them too. The new 980 Borocay is quickly becoming my favorite trainer yet. Sorry Saucony, you didn’t win me over with those Breakthru. I will be posting a couple shoe reviews soon once I’ve put some more miles on the New Balance and Asics.
Weekly totals: 91.8 miles, two days off, one race, two workouts and one strength/core session.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Hoping the weather forecast is right for this week and we really do hit 40 every day and I can keep rolling again with the good training. Only one more workout planned for this week as I prepare for New Bedford Half Marathon on Sunday.

Thanks for reading!

-Button

Boston 2015 Training – Week 6 Down, 10 To Go!

Tomorrow is 10 weeks out from the race, 71 days! So excited that it’s only two weeks from today that I start racing though! My speed feels like it might actually be a thing again after a solid track workout this past week and good long run today. Much of the week was spent feeling sore/stiff/tired after the workout on Tuesday and even though I started to feel good again by Friday, my workout went awful. First bad workout of the year though and I felt okay with it afterward. I don’t want too many of them in a marathon buildup, but I feel like when they do happen, they can build a lot of mental toughness by gutting them out even when you’re way off the pace you want. Same theory with racing, even in a bad race I think there’s a lot of value in sticking it out. (unless injured of course) New this week was making it back over to Lasell to try and help with the workouts again. The kids are of course in the middle of an indoor season and my workouts are totally different, but I went along and was at least able to use an indoor facility for my 10x1k on Tuesday. Hopefully I will be of more use to them in pacing and timing in the future, so rewarding just to hear them talking about goals and training!

2/1 6.4 miles easy recovery run, feeling pretty good after the hard long run the day before.

2/2 12 miles with no hills afterwards, ran on the mill, snowing yet again. 20 min core/strength

2/3 3 mile w/u, 10 x 1k (at half marathon intensity avg. 3:23ish) w/90 sec rest, 3 mile c/d. Indoor track, felt a little harder than I wanted it to for that pace, but that should be close to half pace for me. (5:27/mile)

2/4 13.5 easy pace, awful footing in Wellesley after the storms and super tight/fatigued.

2/5 AM 6 easy at work on lunch, felt more recovered by the end. PM 10 easy after work, still feeling tired and tight, but better by the end of the run. 8 x 100m strides after, these actually felt good.

2/6 3 mile w/up, 5 miles of 1 min. at 10k intensity/1 min. at marathon intensity – 5 min. rec – 5 miles @ half intensity up a 2.5% grade, 2 mile c/d. This was the bad one. Started out already freezing and unable to draw a deep breath, partly from horrible indigestion (don’t eat half a pizza+ for lunch then try to run…) and partly from horrible congestion from the humid/cold combo. Made it through the 5 mile fartlek way off pace and then switched to the mill to get a consistent 2.5% grade. Started on the mill at <5:50 pace, assuming the incline would make that feel like half intensity… it felt like mile intensity! Moved the mill up and down a bit before settling on 6:30 pace and stopped to retie my shoes and grab water halfway through also. It was what it was, I still got in three days of 15 average through some rugged/awful weather.

2/7 6.3 easy recovery run, felt genuinely recovered by 4 miles and ready for a long!

2/8 22 mile easy to moderate long run. Started out in 3.5 inches of fresh snow and mostly slush on the roads. Wanted to quit at 15 after getting back to the gym parking lot where we started. (7:39 avg in the snow, felt like 6:50-7:00 effort level) Hopped on the treadmill instead of quitting and ran first 3 around 7 min. pace and then down to 6:30ish for 2. Was planning on going down to marathon goal pace with 5k to go, but missed it and dialed the pace down to 5:40ish half way through 5th mile. 6th mile I was feeling cocky and my teammate DJ was still hanging out so I asked him what his threshold miles pace had been that week and had to one up him and dial it down to 5:24 for that mile. 7th mile on the mill and 22nd total I started at 5:24 then worked down to 5:15 halfway through then down to 5 flat for the last few tenths. Felt super strong and fit at the end, probably thanks to going so easy for the rest of the run. Started out thinking it would be a blah run and ended up being a confidence booster.

Week 6 was 82.7 miles and two workouts, no long run technically, since the long run had been on Sat of prior week. Week 7 starts off with 22 mile long run from today.

Thanks for reading! Hope your winter training is going well, just a few more weeks of the worst of it and then we’re in to March!

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling: Weeks 4 & 5 of Boston 2015 Training

I’m not superstitious, I don’t believe in luck or jinxing things, yet for some reason I hate to make public proclamations or admissions about my training when it’s going well. With a wince I will state though, I feel stronger right now then I ever have. After coming off my biggest week yet in mileage I expected to feel at least a little beat up, if not totally wrecked, but here I sit feeling slightly sore from yesterday’s 21 mile intro marathon mix. I didn’t post an update last week, so I have a couple weeks to cover here, I’ll start from the back and work towards today.

Week 4

1/18 18 mile long run, reviewed in last entry.

1/19 11.4 Easy + 8×10 sec hill sprints I’m not sure if I’ve ever spoken on the blog here about the value these hill sprints provide, so very briefly I’ll explain why I love them. Injury prevention, strength building. Yes, that briefly. What more could you want out of a quick addition at the end of an easy run? I know a lot of people who are doing strides, but few I know use quick, hard effort hill sprints. I started doing them when I first read Brad Hudson’s book a couple years ago and they quickly became a staple. But, why listen to me, here’s a link to Hudson explaining them himself.

1/20 3 mile w/u, 10×3 min hills (3-5% grade, half marathon effort, jog down the hill for recovery) 3 mile c/d. This workout totally kicked my butt! I was already starting to feel a little tired from the increased mileage and went in dreading the long hills. Mindset affects everything! Halfway through I started feeling better about it and my pace instantly increased… until I was genuinely beat and slowed down again for the last couple. 15.7 miles total

1/21 13 miles easy and 45 min core/strength work.

1/22 10 miles easy + 8 x 100m strides

1/23 4 mile w/u, 7 mile progression (start at 6:30 work down to 5:45-5:40) 4 mile c/d. (Prog. splits: 6:15-6:12-5:58-5:56-5:49-5:40-5:35) 15 miles total

1/24 7 miles easy and 1 hr core/strength

92 for the week with 1 set hill sprints, 1 set strides, two workouts and two core sessions. Felt pretty fatigued most of the week. Nothing too painful, just tough getting through the workouts and getting out there every day in the cold.

Week 5

1/25 20 mile long run, progression in the last 5k. Ran on the marathon course out and back from Back Bay, felt good running at easy to moderate effort avg. of about 6:40 pace. Started picking it up on the way back and probably averaged around 6:20, it felt awesome running a perfect bluebird day. Closed in 6:18-6:09-5:42-5:47.

1/26 13 easy + 10×10 sec hill sprints. First day of #Blizzard2015 running.

1/27 13 easy (not really that easy, officially ran in the blizzard) pushed 800’s till the next day. 45 min of great core work.

1/28 AM: 3 mile w/u, 10 x 800m at 10k intensity w/ 90 sec recovery, 3 mile c/d. Had to move to the treadmill after 3 feet of snow crushed us. Mill was set at 1% incline. Felt awesome throughout, maybe went a touch slower than I could have to be at 10k intensity. I was breathing fairly easy for almost all of it and it didn’t feel quite like 10k effort even though I was speeding up, which I realized in hindsight. Splits: 6 @ 2:42, 3 @ 2:40, 1 @ 2:35 PM: 5.2 miles easy pace

1/29 12.6 miles easy

1/30 AM: 7.2 miles easy pace. PM: 6 miles easy + 8 x 100m strides

1/31 21 mile long run, intro marathon mix. 2 mile w/u; 6 mile tempo (Goal: 6:40/mile, as low as 6:30; Actual: 6:28 avg) 6 mile fartlek: 1 min fast (5:50-6:00) 1 min moderate (6:40-6:30) Goal avg: 6:20 pace; Actual avg: 6:02. 6 mile progression (Goal: start at 6:20, get as close to 6:00 as you can by the end; Actual: 6:11-6:00-6:01-5:58-5:47-5:42) 1 mile c/d. No rest between segments. Total run average pace: 6:13 and 18 miles of workout avg’d. 6:09. The temp was in the mid teens with winds up to 35mph, bringing the wind adjusted temp down to mid negative teens. Wore a couple layers and somehow stayed warm. Started out with a bad attitude about the weather, but got over and started to embrace the work of the run. Took fluids of Powerade and/or water in every 5-7k or so. I’d give the run a B+ or A- as it was definitely one of the better long run workouts I’ve had in awhile, probably since a hard 20 in July with my buddy Sully.

112 for the week, new mileage PR! This week was the reverse of the last week; the more I ran, the more energy I had. Felt like the body was adapted to the higher mileage and snappy in workouts. We’ll see if it feels that way tomorrow, I ran 6 recovery today that felt okay, but it’s usually the second day after a hard effort that I really feel it. So excited for what’s next, I’m really starting to believe that my goal time is realistic for Boston! Thanks once again to Kara and Brad for the awesome training plan and coaching!

Song of the Post, from one of my favorite albums ever:

 – Lupe Fiasco

13 Weeks Out! Week Three in Review

Cliff notes: First couple workouts, good long run and miles back up. Feeling good, no, great! Not everything went right this week, but nothing went wrong either. Belief is strong that I’m on the right track.

So, I left off last time with my first longish run of this cycle, 17 miles and closing in marathon goal pace for the last couple miles. It was a little harder effort than I probably should have given, but I was having fun. Today’s long run was similar, except way more elevation change, and kept it marginally faster throughout and still closed hard while keeping the effort at moderate and never really getting into ‘hard’ territory. I’m much happier with this run, even though I was happy with last weeks at the time. Before I go any further though, let me hop back to Monday and properly recap week three of Boston training.

1/12- 10 @ easy pace with 8 hill sprints. Weather was gross, felt a head cold coming on.

1/13- 14 First workout, 3 mile warmup 7 miles of fartlek: 2 minutes hard (current 10k effort) 3 minutes moderate (current marathon effort) What I actually ran due to misreading the workout: 2 min hard/1 min moderate, significantly harder effort, oops. I averaged around 5:50 pace total, just slightly off where I wanted pace wise, but I think my effort level was good. It was just too cold to breathe out there. 4 mile cool down, emphasis on the cool! And oh yeah, head cold officially in play.

1/14- 13 @ easy pace, broken up with a ten minute pause to join run group again. After drinking a gallon of grapefruit juice and coconut water on Tuesday and Wednesday, feels like the cold is not going to stick around long!

1/15- 12 @ easy pace. Tried out a new route, not as long as expected and too cold once again. But head cold nearly gone.

1/16- 14 Workout number two! 3 mile warm up then 7 mile progression (start 6:15 min miles and work down, last 2 miles should be at marathon goal pace or a little faster if you feel good) Felt good during the warm up but a bitter wind kicked in right at the start of the tempo, felt temp @ 4 degrees. First progression mile was already off pace at 6:21 and it was a battle to go down from there. Finally felt a little better at mile 5, with a 5:49, but closing in 5:44 and 5:40 was a lot more work than I wanted it to be. Not off pace per se, but not a confidence booster either when I think of 26.2 at that pace. However, I stuck it out and was feeling good on the 4 mile cooldown.

1/17- 8 @ easy pace. Planned 7 mile run, but Austin wanted to get in 8 for his run and I couldn’t say no to a guy on the come back trail! Felt comfortable throughout due to waiting till the afternoon and not going out in the -10 in the morning.

1/18- 18 @ easy to moderate pace. Four of us were up and running at 7AM, Austin came out for a SISU group run with DJ, Matt and I and it was a blast! We ran up through some of my normal routes which = hills galore; 2k feet of elevation change total. Held a nice 6:50 something average pace for most of it. Was able to close in 6:27-6:08-6:04-5:45 without going beyond moderate effort, 6:45 avg total. Felt even energy throughout and strong at the end. Just goes to show, a mentally tiring workout like Friday is no good indicator of the next few runs; today’s workout felt fantastic.
Tried out coffee with butter and coconut oil with some cinnamon, nutmeg and soy milk added for flavor about an hour before the run. Not sure if it helped by giving me some more fats to burn, or if my consistent energy was just placebo affect or general fitness. It didn’t hurt me though and I’m used to the caffeine from the coffee already, so I’ll be trying it again on a longer run. 2 hours is too short to really run out of sugars to burn for me, normally. I will stick to the plan of a couple gels during a marathon still, but I’m hoping this will complement the sugars nicely.

So that was week three in a nutshell, thanks to Kara and Brad for the awesome training plan and coaching so far! Can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds in store training with HTS Community and running with SISU Project!

Base Phase – 14 Weeks Out From Boston!

14 Weeks to go and less than 100 days until the big one! I’m already trying to reign in the excitement for New Bedford Half, 5 Colleges Realtor 10 Miler and VT City… but honestly, Boston is the only race that really matters to me.

It’s quite nice to have that tangible goal picked out and training planned to get you there in the desired fitness to run at the pace you want to. Compared to the seasons that I have focused on general training and improvement to attack multiple races, building each cycle around a marathon is far easier. And even easier still when it’s your job to just put the work in and leave the training plan and coaching to the experts! 🙂 Now, onto what that training has been so far!

Two weeks back I logged around 70 miles of easy runs with one set of hill repeats and two core/strength training sessions. This past week the volume went up a bit but we kept the runs at easy to moderate pace and my legs felt fairly fresh on every run. I was able to get in another two quality core workouts, which is my goal number. I’ve tried for three a week and some more serious strength training in the past but found that I would not have the time and once I skipped one or two sessions it was far easier to skip more than it was to add them back in. My goal is to get in consistent ancillary work this entire cycle, rather than high-low periods that I’ve often been beleaguered in historically. I’m self motivated in my training, but I’m also quick to depart from intelligent training in favor of grinding out the miles every day, usually at too hard of a pace. An advantage I’m quickly finding in having a coach is that I can set my self motivated hard work or die attitude on following the training and advice and stick that like I would previously stick to stubbornly running hard every day. Obviously that means adjusting for sickness/injury/etc. now, but also for me, that means keeping up with the core work too and forcing myself to run easy on the easy days, even when I’m bored and want to turn it into a tempo. So, that being said, here’s a quick breakdown of the past week and the start of the new one with today’s long run.

1/4- 14 mile long run. Felt okay at first and quite good after making a quick pit stop halfway through, averaged 6:38 pace, with mostly negative splits.

1/5- 10 miles easy and 6×10 sec hill sprints

1/6- 13 miles easy pace, first actual cold day. Felt decent, little bit quicker at the end.

1/7- 5 easy -pause- 5 easy. Ran with my buddy Austin that waited for a few minutes and went back out for another 5 with the run club. Didn’t do the 13 scheduled due to getting very chilled on the second half of the run. Got in 45 min. core work after getting home late. 10pm workouts, w00t w00t! Not planning on doing that very often.

1/8- 12 easy, made up for missing a couple the night before after feeling pretty good the first 10.

1/9- 12 easy pace, but moderate effort. Random poor mood and poor stomach combined for a wicked start to the run, but after 8 miles I cam around and finished feeling good. Core work/strength for 45-1 hour again, felt great.

1/10- 6 easy pace to finish up the week. Started out too fast, due to first sunlit run in awhile, made myself hold it in and stay easy breathing by the end.

1/11- 17 mile long run. Felt comfortable, ran with DJ and Austin up in scenic Groton Mass mostly, found a great state park and ran on some snow for a bit, then came back to Ayer. Finished up with a few solo miles where I worked down from 6:15-5:46-5:40. Only felt like I was really working a bit at the end of the last mile, overall definitely kept the run in the easy to moderate zones.

This week I’m going to get in my first easy workouts of this cycle with a fartlek and tempo by feel on Tues and Fri respectively. Will try to update again next weekend post first couple workouts.

Signing off now feeling confident, determined and excited for more!

The End of One Season (Coaching was a blast!)

Happy to report that we had a great time at NCAA New England DIII Regional’s at Williams today. Definitely reinforced one of the main things I have (re)learned this season; college kids are crazy. Haha But on a more serious note, there is a lot positivity in that craziness too. Life gets far too serious and boring, far too quickly for many of us post graduation and that makes it so fun to be around these kids with everything ahead of them and little reason not to be crazy, wild and happy. Our girls and boys both ran the races they were capable of on a moderately challenging course and everyone seemed positive afterwards. I’m honestly not sure who gets more out of it, the kids or the coaches, but I know for sure that this assistant coach had a blast all season long. I can’t wait to pursue more coaching opportunities and learn more about coaching and helping others with their running in the future. I’d love to help out through the indoor and outdoor seasons this year, but the reality of marathon training and working full time might render that an impossibility. It was easy enough working in my own cross country workouts while running the team workouts with them, but marathon workouts are pretty far removed from indoor distances.
That being said, this past week was week one in my transition from building work and volume to sharpening over the next 3-4 weeks as I prep for Club XC Nats in 28 days. Started off with USATF-NE XC Championship 10k at Franklin Park, where I excised some slow/weak demons from Mayor’s Cup and ran much better. Even though I had the worst cramp or muscle spasm that I’ve ever had in my side on a run before in the race, still came away with a solid time. It naturally occurred on the last downhill with 1000 meters to go and though I was able to work through it and it subsided, my last mile was painful! My time was 30 seconds off my 10k PR, which doesn’t thrill me, but given the cramp and the difficulty of the Franklin Park course, it doesn’t make me cringe either. (ok, only a little, I did want a PR after all) I felt great after a large post race brunch and decided to double down on the workout when I got home. There was just enough daylight left to get in a 6x1k on my favorite hilly grass loop and my splits were closer to 5k goal pace than 10k, felt strong. After a nice recovery run and hill sprints, I ran 14 on Tuesday with 9 of it fartlek; just went off of effort level and didn’t follow my pace, but felt like I was pushing it. Thursday was 3 miles at 10k goal pace followed by 5x1k at 5k goal pace. I couldn’t quite push to the right pace in the 3 miles after losing focus in mile two and ended up with a 5:31 avg, hoping for mid 5:20s. On the 1ks it was a similar story, should have been in the low 3:1x’s but avg. 3:18 per k. Still felt fairly happy with it considering I’ve only been working that kind of volume into a hard workout on race days, like last Sunday. The rest of the days this week have been easy days and tomorrow will by a tempo workout. I’m at 72ish miles for the week, starting on Monday, and should finish up with 86 or 87 after tomorrow. I would be grossly understating how happy I am with the volume I’ve been able to keep up since September if I simply called it satisfactory, but I’m not sure it’s helped me get much faster anyway. It has certainly given me plenty of confidence to hit higher mileage in my next marathon training cycle though, after I peaked at 91 miles in a week last time around and have already hit 100 in 7 days a few times in the past month. Now I just need to keep my mind focused on cross country for a few more weeks, before I let the marathon training and planning begin, but boy am I itching to get started!

So, here’s what’s next:
11/27 XC 5k tuneup with an untimed Turkey Trot in Moorestown, NJ
11/30 XC 2.8 mile race, USATF-NE Gran Prix final race and best chance for us to move up in the team standings and hopefully finish in second or higher! Brookline, MA (possibly followed by a hard workout afterwards)
12/7 Road 5k Winter Classic, tuneup for XC Club Nats in Cambridge, MA (probably followed by workout afterwards)
12/13 Club XC Nationals 10k in Lehigh, PA (followed by an epic party afterwards!!!)

Miles and Miles of Training

With no races to recap and no especially exciting workouts to report I’ve been quite lackadaisical with blog updates here. The good news is, I’ve just wrapped up my first back to back 90+ mile weeks with a nice 20 miler this morning. No injuries to report, just a sore upper left calf and right quad, both initiated in a real crappy workout on Thursday. Thankfully, it was my first workout that didn’t feel good in so long that I can’t recall the last one and I didn’t seriously injure anything while running hard in the rain on bumpy sidewalks. So without further ado, I’ll list off my recent weeks of training since my last update.

Oct 6th- Planned easy 8 with 10×10 sec hills. Cut short to just an easy 7.5 due to a couple factors. Previous day’s race and subsequent second workout had aggravated my upper calf on my left side. (Same annoyance that pops up from time to time when I’m doing lots of fast miles, never too bad though and stretching helps a bunch) Also had some plantar pain in my right foot for three days and a blister on my left heel.

Oct 7th- Felt mostly fresh again and got in a good XC workout with the Lasell guys. 2 mile warmup and dynamics, 4X400m-ish hill, hard. 6×400 grass loop, playing last man standing, I finished second which meant that I had 2 more 400 hills to sprint up. Even coaches have to play by the (painful) rules. Finished with a 4.6 mile cooldown for 11.4 total.

Oct 8th- Easy pace 11.5 nothing to report about it.

Oct 9th- Track and tempo workout at Brandeis with the Lasell guys. Ran 1600 followed by mile tempo twice, followed by 800 and mile tempo and finished with a 400. Splits were 5:12, 6:21, 5:06, 6:15, 2:20, 5:58, 1:03. The tempo loop made for 460 of total elevation gain too, so that was fun. With 3 mile warmup and cooldown plus 2:30 recoveries after the tempos meant 13.3 miles total.

Oct 10th- Easy pace 13.1, closing with a 5:50 mile feeling fresh again.

Oct 11th- Easy pace 8 miles in prep for first 20 in a few months.

Oct 12th- 20 miler on the City of Manchester Marathon course, tough hilly run, but okay at easy pace. Probably about a 7:15 average over the first 9 miles, followed by a 6:35 average over the last 11 miles. Overall average pace was 6:56 with about 750′ of elevation gain and drop, according to Garmin data. Felt fresh in the evening and went out for an easy shakeout run of 6.5 but ended up closing in a 5:40 and felt great! 26.5 on the day.

Week ending Sunday October 12th, 91 miles total, including two workouts and one long run.

Oct 13th- Easy run 8 + 10×10 sec hills for 9.3 total.

Oct 14th- XC workout at Franklin Park in prep for the team’s race on Friday. Convenient for my race prep as well! Ran 6xmile on the 8k course, ran the final mile a second time, had 2:30 recoveries between miles and didn’t really go hard until the last mile. Splits were: 5:24, 5:23, 5:24, 5:33 (oops) 5:30, 5:09. Got in a 2 mile warmup with dynamics and a 5.5 cooldown for 14 miles total.

Oct 15th- 6 easy pace at noon and 10 easy pace at night, was muggy and tough slog for most of it. 16 total and first time hitting 100 miles in a 7 day span!

Oct 16th- Still muggy and gross and raining, got a late start on my workout and opted to do 1xmile, 2×800 and 6×600 on the track. Mile pace was way off due to tired legs and weather and the 800s were okay, but it was dark by then so I ran the 400s on the street and at one point stepped off a curb weird and agitated my right quad. Was over this workout before it started and only took consolation the fact that it was the first bad one in awhile and that I still ran 12 miles total on a bad day.

Oct 17th- Ran a mile warmup and cooldown with the guys at their race and walked to a couple different spots to yell support along the course. Weather was pretty good and most of the team had a good day. It was a good sized meet, so it was fun for me to mentally prep for my next couple races being there and that fun cross country race environment! I ran a mildly painful 10 when I got home, with my quad and calf feeling sore. Total of 12 something for the day.

Oct 18th- Easy 10 on a new route from the house, legs were feeling better and I was almost fresh again by the end, encouraging sign with another 20 miler planned for the next day.

Oct 19th- 20 miler around Acton, Carlisle and Chelmsford. Ran fairly consistent splits at a 6:53 average and my quad didn’t bother me until 14 miles or so. Gotta keep up with the stretching and foam rolling on heavy rotation for a few more days and hopefully that will bring me back to 100% in time for the race next week. No second workout today like last week.

Week ending Sunday October 19th, 93.5 miles total, including two workouts and one long run.

I will be bringing the mileage down a little this week as I’m going to try and get my body in the best shape possible for the race on Sunday; Mayor’s Cup 8k XC Championship at Franklin Park in Dorchester, MA. Come hang out and cheer, or race yourself! There are multiple races during the day, including an open 5k, great chance to try cross country if you’ve never done it!

Hard Workouts and Fall Race Plans

I left off in my last training post looking forward to a 5 miler on July 24th and I’m excited to report that it was a one minute PR! I was actually a little slower than I thought my training would have put me at, but I started too hard and paid the price. First two miles were hit at 10:40 total, I don’t think the clock was totally accurate, but either way, I’m not quite in 5:20/mile shape for 5 miles yet. I did nearly hit a 5k PR though, just 5 seconds off over the first 5k of the course. Despite the sub par pacing, the race gave me just the confidence boost I was hoping for going into some shorter races. I’m going to keep hitting the track and working that pace down as I get some good practice at racing in over the next few months. As far as daily training goes, I’ve been keeping my mileage back up to 11-13 miles a day on average again over the past three weeks, apart from last week where I took three days off for a sore foot. Time off didn’t seem to help it so I started running again (I know, I know) the running felt good though and it’s now stopped hurting completely!

Three weeks ago, total miles 83, no days off, long day was a combo of 11.5 mile run and 12.5 mile hike, including aforementioned foot injury. Two workouts, one track and one progression run.

Two weeks ago, total 68 miles, one day off, shorter miles due to race prep. Two workouts, one long run. Track workout Monday PM (2.5m warm up w/strides, leg swings and high knees. One mile hard, 5:10 + 4 min. easy + 8×400 at 73 average with 200m recovery jogs. Two mile cooldown) Race on Thursday PM (2 mile warmup w/drills + 27:26 5 mile + 1 mile recovery + 1 mile hard -5:25 + 1.5 mile cooldown) Hard long run on Sunday AM (1 hr easy + 30 seconds on/off x 30 came out to about 5.5 miles at 5:52ish pace average per mile with “on” sections near 5k pace + 45 min. easy. 20 miles total)

Last week, total 50 miles, 3 days off. One workout, one long run. Progression run Friday PM, 12 miles and closed in 6:20-6:05-5:47-5:33. Long run Saturday AM 18.8 miles @ easy pace, no fuel and totally dead by the end. Good exhaustion workout, still a little tired on second day of easy running today.

So, with that training update in place, I leave you with my schedule for fall races, through December:
August 10th- Old Home Day 4 Miler Epsom, NH (21:54, 2nd)
August 17th- Level Renner 10k Brockton, MA
August 22-23rd Hood to Coast Relay Portland, OR
August 31st GMAA 15K Burlington, VT (NE Gran Prix)
September 7th GBTC XC 5K Wellesley, MA (XC Gran Prix)
September 14th Lone Gull 10k (NE Gran Prix)
October 4th WMDP XC Festival 5 Miler Holyoke, MA (XC Gran Prix)
October 12th GMAA Half Marathon
October 26th Boston Mayor’s Cup 8k Boston, MA (XC Gran Prix)
November 9th USATF NE XC Championship 10k Boston, MA (XC Gran Prix)
November 30th Warrior Run 2.8 Mile XC Brookline, MA (XC Gran Prix)
December 13th USATF XC Fall Club Nationals 10k Bethlehem, PA

It will be a very busy fall, but I’m going to use some of the races as hard workouts and some of them as peak races (NE XC Championship and Club Nationals, specifically)

New Balance 980 Fresh Foam Review

Today turned into an unscheduled rest day due to a sore foot and general lack of desire to go out in the heat for 15 miles of trudging along at easy pace. Which means that the review I’ve been meaning to write on the Fresh Foams now has nothing to excuse it not being written.

You know you’re off to a good start when the ads for the shoes feature Dusty and Jenny:

Weight: I had a bias against New Balance trainers, having sampled a few in the past, specifically the 1080s and 890s. I found them clunky and thick, with heavy soles. Upon first picking these up in the store I knew they were a far cry from anything previous in the way of daily trainers from NB. They weigh in at 8.8 oz, nothing crazy light, but for the cushioning they provide, they feel much lighter than you’d expect.

Shape: The shape is very similar to NB race flats, just with much thicker soles. They fit snugly on my feet just like the 1400 or 1600 do, and have a more plush upper and tongue to give more comfort than the flats provide. The overall shape is sleek and form fitting, so broad footed people might want to be aware and order a wide model if possible. With only a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, they are certainly a more neutral feeling shoe, which contributes to the race flat vibe they give out when you take off in them. That being said, prepare to transition to these shoes slowly if you’re used to trainers with a solid post or aggressive heel/toe drop. These will not correct you’re stride per se, just make it more comfortable.

Speed: These shoes tempt me to run too hard on my easy days, when they are fresh (no pun intended) Which brings up my only real complaint with them, they need a day to recover between use. I try to do that with all my shoes, or a couple days even, but these guys really NEED it. They do rebound and feel good again, just expect to feel sluggish if using daily. Again, the 4mm drop and form fitting upper, single piece mesh, really make these feel faster than an 8.8oz trainer ever has for me before.

Design: Like I’ve mentioned before, New Balance has stepped it up in the bright colors world! The Fresh Foams come in seven color options and all of them are loud! I might have the most muted of colors schemes and mine are bright blue and orange. As seen in the picture below, they really do resemble their faster, smaller brother:
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Longevity: Perk of waiting so long to write this review, the shoes probably have over 350 miles on them now so I can actually speak to the longevity of them. The soles have hardly any wear on them and that was my biggest concern with these going in. I thought the solid foam and rubber sole would both break down quickly, but apart from the need to give them rest days, everything seems to be holding up amazingly well. There are two little holes in the mesh where my big toe tries to escape, but I think that problem should be unique to me. I’ve also hiked a few mountains in them and ran plenty of trails, technical and otherwise. Even over adverse terrain, they’ve performed well.
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Final Thoughts: The Fresh Foam Trail was just released and I will definitely be picking up a pair! My last pair of trail shoes lasted only three runs and one long hike before I returned them, so I’m psyched to hopefully get a pair that last long enough to review! (Pro tip, though comfortable and with massive amounts of grip, don’t waste your money on the North Face Ultra Trails, unless you never run in rain, sun or indoors.) The Fresh Foam 980’s are one of my favorite shoes of all time and one of the best easy/long/oopsI’mhikinginthemagain shoes that I’ve ever run in. So here’s to some well deserved free press, New Balance, keep being awesome.

Here’s the current NB stable:
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EDIT: NEW FRESH FOAMS HAVE ARRIVED! I bought another pair to rotate with, I love these things so much.
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