When a Slow Time is Still a Good Race – Lone Gull 2015

Maybe I’m just trying to justify in my head the time from today and how far from my expectations it was, or maybe I’ve finally learned to be a little bit content with each race for what it was, apart from my time goals; either way, I did genuinely have fun. Lone Gull 10k last year was one of those rare races where I actually ran my goal time, but my placement was nowhere near remarkable, 60th overall. Running it for the second time today I finished in 36th against the same Gran Prix crowd and stunningly ran 9 seconds slower! One of my big goals this year was to finally get to the 32’s for 10k and to that end I’ve failed miserably, but in terms of racing and being competitive I feel I’ve grown immeasurably. With that being said, I really feel like I can genuinely say that it was a good time today despite being much slower than desired. Let’s also be honest here, how many times has any runner felt completely satisfied with the their time in a race? The day I am 100% content is the day I stop really competing I think. I am trying to learn to appreciate the experiences no matter how they go, but total satisfaction feels like a lack of hunger and that’s something I’ve never been accused of! (Literally and metaphorically) My goal was to use the spring and summer training to get faster and become more competitive; while faster never seems fast enough, I have just accomplished my two highest finishes in NEGP races yet to cap off the road series. New England probably has the deepest base of competitive runners in the country, even if we don’t have the fastest guys at the front necessarily, so to start moving up in the ranks a little in placement has me feeling confident about my training.

I’ve been completely lacking in desire to blog about anything since June as the lack of posts indicates, but now that I find myself in the throws of marathon training again, I suddenly feel the need to document the process once more. No better time to start than the present, so here I find myself recapping today’s race and ignoring the last 3 months of training like they never happened. They did actually happen though and they might be the most interesting and wild bit yet of my little running experiment. I could sum them up properly and I might some day, but for now I’ll simply leave you with the cliff notes. Steeplechase. I am an addict for running, jumping, and occasional splashing it turns out. I tried it for the first time in June and knew instantly that I was hooked. From starting out in last and moving up to 4th place in my first race to placing 3rd at Club Nats and going on to win the New England Championship, it just became more and more fun! It was exciting to break 10 min on my 3rd attempt and already have a goal in mind for next season. A season with no spring marathon planned and a strong desire to see just how fast I can get when I put my everything into it.
11415543_871462636277230_5363151331654016850_oBefore I talk about skipping a Spring marathon and just focusing on steeple I should probably talk about the marathon I am training for though. Next time I post I’ll bring the blog up to speed on training for Calforina International Marathon and my goals, dreams and ambitions this time around. As always, many thanks to awesome coaching from Hudson Elite and Kara! And congrats to the boys of Sisu for our 8th place finish in the Gran Prix this year on the back of a strong 7th place showing at the 10k Champs today! Sisu up! 8th place is great, but top 5 will be much sweeter.

Running? Oh yeah, I Am Still Doing That…

Well, it’s about time I posted an update, with Boston 4 weeks in the rear-view. It’s been a bit up and down since the marathon, as it often is, but more on the downward trend than up, unfortunately. I’m still running, but mileage has definitely taken a hit, partly planned, mostly from nagging pains and tweaks.

So, after Boston I took 4 days of complete rest then started building back up. Just easy pace stuff, letting my body set the distance and pace. The week after Boston I ran 50 something miles and felt pretty rusty for most of it. Before I go on, I should mention how I felt about Boston mentally, I suppose. The weather was the major theme and in a bad way. As with most people, my pace too was affected by cruel headwinds which intensified when running over the Newton hills. I can’t blame the wind completely for missing my goal time by almost 7 minutes though, running 2:36:54. I think a few factors played their part, one being an overestimation of my fitness going in, and two being a lack of proper planning in my pace over the beginning and finally the cold and rain along with the wind. I couldn’t find anyone to run with when I really could have used them too, but that was due to moving up in placement significantly from last year, one of the positives. I was also happy that I was able to keep grinding along even though I didn’t sustain the pace I wanted. And like they say, a personal best is a personal best at the end of the day.

With that brief recap given, I’ll gat back to the post Boston training and recovery efforts. Over the two weeks following Bostons rest week I increased mileage back to the low 60s and started working some fartleks back in. I’ve been struggling with some intense tightness in my right hamstring and the ever-present plantar in my left foot, though it has improved greatly! This has hampered the comeback enough that I’ve decided to drop out of VT City Marathon this weekend as a precaution against further injury. On Saturday I did get the chance to carefully run my first track 10k, certainly the highlight of May so far! I was still too tight to fully go through warmups, yet brazenly chose to push hard anyway and came away with my second fastest 10k yet, 34:14. I can officially say that I’m addicted to track now too! I’ve spoken with my awesome coach and she’s adjusted my training to work on speed as I focus on some more track over the next month. The plan all along has been to work on getting much faster over the summer before switching back to marathon training in early fall to prep for CIM in December. With skipping VCM I’ll now be able to get back to speed that much quicker. In fact, if you’re in Burlington this weekend and also not running the marathon, please join me for a track workout Saturday! Plan is for 3 x (5×400, first 4 @ 5k, last rep @ 3k pace) Should be a real butt-kicker; assuming the ART and graston work I got today accelerates the healing enough in my leg that I’m ready to attack it all out again.

That’s where I’m at! Apologies to regular readers on the long delay, post marathon blues… kills motivation every time. Thanks for reading!

Part 2: Boston 2015 Recap – The Party is Over and I’m Sad and Lonely

I’m not really that lonely, but I am pretty sad. There’s always a bit of post-marathon blues when you run, but after the hype and excitement of this race, the entire Boston area goes into a blue state of funk after. At least it feels that way to us. For as long and as cold as this winter was, I almost want it back, just so I can be training for Boston again. But, what’s done is done, the race is indeed over and it’s time to recover, rebound and get ready for the next battle. I feel a lot of emotions, I suppose referencing them in the title gives that away though, but beyond the sadness there are a few other thoughts that have prevailed in the past 24 hours. In no particular order, here they are:
1. I’m not going to race Boston again next year, or for awhile after that most likely. I’m not sick of it and I’m not mad about anything, but I do have a few reasons for this. I want to truly race Boston and I’ve not successfully mastered the course or marathons in general (I doubt any ever fully does) so I won’t return just yet.
2. I’d like to cut a lot more time off my marathon best and I am absolutely convinced that I can. I feel like I trained very well for this one and then still managed to race stupid in a couple of ways. I didn’t fully plan out my pacing and was still kind of making it up as I went. (another reason to race other courses when chasing times, you just can’t run consistent splits here) I also skipped taking in any fuel besides a little Gatorade until after the halfway point. Why didn’t I fuel earlier? I don’t know, ask the me who isn’t running a marathon and I can give you no answer. I did eat two gels, one at halfway and one at 16 and Gatorade at every mile or every other mile until the finish from 15 miles on or so. As I said, I felt the wind and it scared me into going slower from the start, which was probably for the best, but I was mentally unprepared for any pace besides my goal overall pace.
3. To PR on any day does hold some satisfaction, as does not fading and dying completely. On none of my 5k splits did I average slower than 6 minute miles and therefore accomplished a goal I set as a lifetime objective when I ran my first marathon, to one day run at sub 6 pace. I am ticked that I held 5:47 pace for much of the race before letting the hills and wind get to me mentally when I just started grinding on from mile 16. I cringe and want to yell in frustration when I look at my splits and it appears that I completely slowed down when I hit the Newton hills, because I wanted to believe that my training would have prevented me doing that. But I’m also taking heart in the fact that it wasn’t a mental lack of composure that caused it, I was just well and truly losing energy from fighting with the weather and whatever else.
4. It’s only been 3.5 years since my first marathon and I’ve cut off 54 minutes from that first 3:31. I would be more than satisfied with my current PR even one year ago, but right now it seems thoroughly slow and unsatisfactory and I’m happy that it feels that way. You can call me selfish or arrogant or anything else, but I don’t believe that’s true. I honestly believe that I can run much faster and I’m going to keep racing marathons until I no longer find them fun, which leads me to thought number five.
5. As negative as the above thoughts may sound, I really did enjoy the entire experience. Boston Marathon weekend is one of the most exciting and fun times of the year around here and this year was even more fun for me than last. Though my bank account may be unhappy with Tracksmith, I am feeling quite comfy! I’ve allowed myself to binge on foods that I wasn’t eating much of in training over the past day, which also holds some passing pleasure. I really did have a lot of fun in the race, even when I was grinding away in the final miles of the race and knew that I was far from reaching my goal time. At 24.something I thought “Why are you doing this?” And the answer immediately popped into my head “Because you’re having fun, more fun than anyone should have in this much pain!” I smiled at the thought and then noticed the clock at 25 miles, it read 2:30 something, I had officially missed my goal, with 1.2 miles to go still. I somehow finished the last 1.2 in only 7 minutes or so, even though it didn’t feel like my legs were responding when I told them to pick up the pace
6. I hate making or using any excuses, but I cannot ignore or downplay how difficult it was for me to run into the constant headwind and occasional large gusts and passing hard showers. I’m not sure how much ‘time was added on’ due to the weather, but I’m willing to bet that had I not been working so hard to come even close to goal pace in the first 16, I would have better dealt with the terrain in the end.
7. I really miss the grind of running higher mileage and big workouts and having to plan my days around it already. My taper was a little more aggressive than planned with the plantar issues and I have only had one day off post marathon so far, but I’m really itching to get back in the saddle already. I love training as much as I love racing and after this winter I really want just once this year, just one stinking time, to run a long workout that I can actually hit the paces I’m targeting without having AWFUL weather screw it up. So far, no such occurrence has presented itself, but it feels like spring might actually stick this time, so here’s to warm evening track workouts and early morning weekend long runs! I am ready to build off this marathon to keep chasing my dreams.

I usually try to do some kind of write up on each marathon so I can refer back to it for future training, but I think this will do for Boston 2015. I have no desire right now to go over the race mile by mile, since I stopped looking at splits and just ran by all-out-whatever-I-could-push-and-still-hope-to-finish-effort by about half way through. One last word though, my pre-race half written post, Twas the Night Before the Party turned out to be completely true and I’m quite happy with that. I truly did give it my all. I saw stars a few times on the final run down Boylston Street and was totally exhausted and spent at the finish line.

I’m still pretty amped up at 2AM the second night after the race and the words I posted on Facebook when I got home last night are still ringing around in my head and fist pumping the crowd in there…
If you’re dreams aren’t so big they scare you, yet keep you up with the excitement of chasing them and not the fear of reaching them, it’s time to reevaluate. The ‪#‎sisuUP‬ spirit was felt today and now it’s time to go full Viking warrior mode and start seeking new lands and chasing better plunder!

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:

DSC_0332

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 Fartlek

I was inspired by Nate Jenkins’ Fartlek Friday post, and by how my fartlek went tonight to post a little something on the workout favorite of both elites and regular folks. The fartlek has been one of my go-to workouts in early season training for the past few years and an important supplemental workout during peak training. I usually will run a harder/faster workout on the Tuesday of a week and then run some form of a tempo run or longer, slower intervals on Thurs/Fri, but when I’m feeling fatigued from Tues or have a race coming up, I usually run a fartlek. The best part about them to me is the adaptability and lack of complete structure. Unlike long intervals, or repeats on a track, you’re not chasing some distance, you’re simply going by time. For myself and I’m sure a lot of other runners, it’s very hard to know what my “effort level” equates to in a pace per mile. Depending on soreness, fatigue, stress, sleep, eating, etc etc, my effort level changes daily, not by too much usually, but still, it does change. Especially when I’m just getting back to fitness, I might feel great running at a 6:40 pace due to my legs being fresh and rested one day, but three days of solid mileage later, my easy pace could be 7:10. I bring this up to illustrate the beauty of the fartlek being based on time (in most cases that I’ve heard of anyway) When you run a fartlek like the one Jenkins posted today, a simple 6min/1min setup, running 1 minute hard in every mile (6,7,8 min. whatever that moderate pace mile is for you) or so; you can have ample time to recover on the moderate section in the rest of the time before your next hard minute. So, before I copy more of Nate’s post about it, I’ll move on! I’ve touched on why they work well in early season now, but as I mentioned, my favorite part is the adaptability. So, what does that later in the training block, supplemental workout fartlek look like? Well, tonight’s run is the perfect example, at least in my humble training, for that later season pre-race tuneup. The fartlek I ran tonight was the same one I ran a few weeks ago before the 10 mile race, link here to that workout. Tonight I ran the same workout again before my half marathon on Sunday, and with a few more weeks of good fitness in my legs I felt even better than last time and it was a great confidence booster. Link to tonight’s run here. The structure was; 3 mile warmup, :30 seconds of “hard” followed by 2:30 of “moderate” pace x 10, 2 mile cooldown. Rather than focusing on a specific pace for the hard and/or moderate sections, coach just has me run these with an average mile pace goal in mind usually. A couple weeks ago I ran a different variation; 20 x 1 min hard/ 1 min. moderate and my goal pace was 6:30/mile, also as a pre-race workout on the Thursday before a Sunday race. For tonight I had no specific pace goal in mind, but with warmer weather and feeling stronger I was out to beat my time on the same loop from three weeks ago. I averaged about 6:10 pace over the 30 minutes of fartlek last time and tonight my average was probably at about 5:48, total run time was 1:07:42 for 10.07 miles last time and 1:02:16 this time. Certainly a significant improvement, and I can honestly say that I kept the same effort level, hard pace was not an all out sprint, and moderate pace was easy enough that I was fully recovered about 1:30 into the 2:30.

Hopefully for some Fartlek newbie who finds this post, it will encourage you to go out and try any version of the run! It’s really just a great way to go run like a kid again, even if you strip away all structure from it and just run alternating harder efforts for changing distances throughout the middle section of a run. It’s a great way to break up an otherwise plain old run and inject some fun speed work too. If you’re a fartlek pro, please comment with some of your favorites so I can try them out!

Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone racing LA Marathon, NYC Half, New Bedford Half or any of the other great races this weekend!

The Worst Winter Yet and Treadmill Woes

I’m getting quite sick of all these people who won’t admit this is a tough winter, or that some workouts must be moved inside to be done properly. We’re breaking all sorts of snowfall record totals and going on a month straight of temperatures barely up to the freezing mark and usually far below it. Not to mention the frequency of those snow storms or the arctic winds that seem to be creeping over from the mid-west for no good reasons. Working remotely from home or missing work seems to be a normal occurrence at this point (not really a downside as it makes fitting in running easier) and it seems every long run is planned to take place during an actual blizzard.

So, with all of that being said, I’m not at all ashamed or embarrassed to admit that I have been getting my workouts in on the treadmill and indoor track. Now I’m still not saying that I like the treadmill, but I do like it a lot more than missing a workout. There are even advantages to using it for workouts, the obvious one being the ability to simply set it for the pace you are aiming to run and not needing to worry about hitting that pace. Looking back to last year, when I was clearly much tougher and avoided any treadmill runs, I remember a couple times when I kicked the ground in frustration and sullenly marched back to the house after being unable to finish workouts due to the ice/snow/cold/wind. I have yet to miss one this year. I have had the option of getting some workouts in on the indoor track in addition to friends hooking me up with ‘mill access and that has been wonderful too. Between longer repeats and shorter tempos on the mill and shorter repeats and intervals on the track, everything but long marathon effort workouts should be doable for as long as this brutal winter continues to vex and harass us. If the goal is continued progression of training and getting faster, than we just have to embrace every tool that helps us get there, even when that tool is the very epitome of boredom. I know that challenging weather, like any other challenge in training, can be used as a stimulus to get stronger when it has been beaten. My mantra has been; if I can train hard through this, I can race easy through the nice weather. The training has continued to be spot on for me and I’m so glad that Hudson Community was started at the perfect time to help me go after big new PRs in 2015! Brad’s training plan and Kara Lubieniecki’s coaching have both been great, and also having training partners on many of the runs has been ideal. I know I bring it up a lot, but seriously, I gotta keep talking about what works! Speaking of what works, consistent core work and strength training has been another big goal of mine in this training block and I’m happy to report that I’ve got at least two solid sessions in a week since the beginning of the year. I’m sure that it’s made a big difference in many areas, but especially the ability to hold fast paces for longer with efficiency. Time is flying right along, and we are hopefully (fingers crossed, knock on wood, with any luck and other things I don’t believe in) less than a month from the weather getting warmer again. In light of that, the first race of 2015 for me is coming up in less than a week! The plan is not to go all out from the gun, but to start conservative and work my way up, using the race as a solid longer workout, more than a race. It’s the first race in the New England Grand Prix series and it’s 10 miles of hilly terrain in cold and snowy Amherst, MA.

Below is my training over the past week, along with the planned training for this week, leading up to the 10 miler.

Boston Training, Week 7

2/8- 22 Mile long run, closed in 6:30-5:50-5:24-5:15 as covered in my last post.

2/9- 13 Mile easy run, very slow pace due to, you guessed it! MORE snow. But I went by feel and it was a good run. finished with 10×10 sec hill sprints up the slippery slopes. Around 13.5 total.

2/10- Mile Repeat Workout. 4.1 mile w/u in 30 minutes followed by 4 x 200 (33 seconds avg.) strides had me feeling good and ready to run fast. Hopped inside to do run the miles on the treadmill. Target pace was between 5:30-5:10 for 6-8 miles, splits were: 5:30- 5:24- 5:15- 5:10- 5:10- 5:10- 5:05. 3 minute jogging/walking recoveries between miles. Felt controlled and strong throughout, and finished with 2 miles in 14 mins cool down. Had no time for an 8th mile, or I would have kept it at 5:10 and run it. Happy with this workout.

2/11- 12.4 easy pace with Austin at run group. Got some manly frost beards on the run and had a good time. Austin is also training for Boston and is getting fit very quick!

2/12- 6 miles easy at lunch in 41:58 and 8 x 100 meter strides (15-13 seconds) PM: 10 miles easy in 1:11

2/13- 3 mile w/u, 4 x 3k with 3 minute recovery (5:42 pace) 5 minute walk/jog rec. 4 x 400m strides w/3 minute jog recs. 2 mile c/d. Workout felt a little harder than I’d like at that pace, but it was my first AM workout ever, if I’m remembering correctly. On the strides I had to stay inside on the treadmill, it only goes to 5:00 pace so I brought the length from 300 to 400 meters and just ran them at 5 pace on the mill. Cut my cooldown a little short to get to work, but still got in over 15.5 miles total.

2/14- 7 miles easy in Boston before helping coach at the BU Valentine meet and then staying to cheer for people in the 3k and 5k. Ate some burgers afterwards while watching Millrose Games and adding up the 36 sub 4:00 miles from the day!

103.6 miles for the week with two very solid workouts and one good long run. I continued with my core work, with and epic session on Monday and a lighter workout on Friday

Boston Training Week 8
2/15- 20 mile long run. Started out with another scenic snowy run and hit mile 11 before the wind got so fierce that it dropped to -20s with the windchill and we thought we might actually die out there. Finished up on the treadmill again. Blah run overall, wasn’t feeling strong and motivation was low.

2/16- 14 miles easy with 10 x 10 sec hill sprints. Felt much better motivation wise by the end of the run today. Took me forever to get myself outside and running on a work holiday, but was glad I did by the end. PM: Strength/core work

2/17- Planned: 3 mile w/up, 1 Mile hard (~5:15 pace) 6 minute rest, 3 miles at 5:45, 5 minute rest and 4 x 400m at 75 secs. with 1 min rests. 2 mile c/down.

2/18- Planned: 10 miles easy. PM: Strength/core work

2/19: Planned: 3 mile w/up, 10 x 30 seconds hard, 2:30 moderate and a 2 mile c/down

2/20- Planned: 6 mile easy run.

2/21- Planned: 6 mile easy pre-race run + 6 x 100 meter strides

Weekly total for this week should be in the mid 70’s, excited to see what that does for my legs in Sunday’s race.

2/22- Planned: 3 mile w/up, 10 mile race. Practice being competitive. Ideally start out conservative and work up. 7-8 mile cool down (cool down can be very easy, just want to add it to the end to keep legs used to long efforts)

Still reading? Good, here’s some bonus content! Here is a great article on some treadmill workout ideas and the differences between running outside and on the mill, from Brad Hudson.  http://www.coloradorunnermag.com/2014/02/13/master-treadmill-workout-hts-elite-coach-brad-hudson-shares-keys-making-indoor-workouts-count/

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

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!

New Year, New Training, New Goals

Where I’d like to spend more time in 2015. The White Mountains.

I firmly believe that there is something powerfully motivating in publicly stating ones goals. Once they are out there and have been spoken it increases the drive to accomplish them, even if you aren’t necessarily expecting the public at large to help keep you accountable. With that in mind, this post will have two parts; the first one being my statement of 2015 goals, the second will focus on how I’m going to achieve them.

2015 Running Goals

  • First and foremost, I want to cut another 10 minutes off my marathon best. It’s a big goal, but I think it’s well within reach. This means at Boston I’ll be shooting for a sub 2:30 as my A goal and as close to 5:40 pace for my B goal, or 2:28 high.
  • Second goal is to run a half in sub 73 as my A goal and sub 71 as B goal. I know in both the half and full my A and B goals aren’t very far apart, but I’m shooting for big improvements here, don’t want to set easy to reach goals. Obviously I will be happy to PR no matter how big though, to some extent.
  • Third goal is part and parcel with every running goal, DOING the ancillary stuff this year! No more skimping out on core work and strength training when I start running more. I seem to have gotten in a good habit of pre-workout dynamics thanks to XC coaching this fall, so I want to build on that. But add more post run/evening stretching and proper recovery.
  • Fourth, I want to race hard and smart! This fall I only had two XC races where I felt that there wasn’t a ton left in the tank post race, despite “feeling” like I was pushing hard in the race usually. I need to stay mentally focused mid-race and keep pushing. In light of that, I want to stay aware and connected to the race instead of drifting off.
  • Fifth, and again this one applies to everything involving running, I want to be a supportive teammate! I have a great team to train and race with and I want to make sure I’m giving the best of myself back to them too.
  • Sixth goal is for the fall season and no goal times are in mind yet, but I do know that I can get much faster in the XC races and I fully intend to do so!
  • Last goal here I just thought of, and it’s not so much a goal as it is just a nice thought, I’d like to win something. Obviously not in my first few races of the year as they will be some of the most competitive half and full marathons in the country, but possibly in the fall season. I’ve finished 2nd in many smaller races, but I feel like crossing that line first would just give me some big sense of accomplishment after all this work. It goes to show the competition level around New England though, that as a decent runner now, I’ve never even been that close to winning anything above a small local race!
  • Oh yeah, should also plan to eat better too. I’ve become quite good at eating everything over the course of my ravenous appetite life, but if I could actually get some vegetables back into the bread/grain/turkey diet, I’m sure it would be great.

2015 Training Plans

For the second marathon build up in a row I’m going to be following a training plan from Brad Hudson. With one major difference this time however, I will be following a specific training plan from Hudson. Last year I read Run Faster From the 5k to The Marathon by Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald and it completely changed how I was training. This fall I had every intention of putting together a similar plan for Boston 2015, but wasn’t sure exactly how to adapt last years training to my current, much higher, fitness level. Just as I was getting ready to plan out my training and figure out what do, Brad announced that together with the HTS Elite group training under him, he would be offering training plans and coaching for anyone! This new program is called HTS community and you can find all the details by clicking the link in my previous sentence. One thing I will mention here that is especially cool though, the fee is only $75/month and goes right to supporting the HTS Elite group in travel and training costs. Not only are you giving yourself a big leg up on training with the guidance of a renowned pro coach, but you’re supporting other runners chasing their dreams! I signed up right away and am now worry free on how to train for my current marathon goal. I’ll be working with the talented, recent Marathon ‘A’ Standard snagging Kara Lubieniecki, who trains with HTS Elite. Using a great new website, Final Surge, I will be posting my workout details and getting my workouts from Kara and Brad. In case you couldn’t read it in my words, I am very excited for this next step in my quest to keep getting faster!

The other big training improvement from other marathon build-ups will be a talented and motivated group of people to train with! From former teammates to current ones, after being in the area for a few years now, I know a big enough group of people that I suspect few long runs will be solo this time around. As much as running is an individual sport, it is likewise a team sport in the training. Even in my racing this year, we have already put some tentative plans to start out some races together as a team and help each other, at least through the first miles. Cross country season was so fun with this aspect, I can’t wait to have a couple guys to pace with at New Bedford Half in March and possibly at Boston in April. Of course none of this team talk would be complete without once again dropping a link to our page and giving a call out to New England runners looking for a super supportive and fun post-collegiate club. Sisu Project Facebook page. This year will be huge for Sisu Project in the USATF-NE Road Gran Prix and once again in New England XC too, so keep us on your radar!

2015 Non-Running Goals

  • Number one goal as a Christian, to better glorify God in everything I do, say and think. Always vast room for improvement in this one, but God is at work and is faithful and gives grace when I fail.
  • Not shave the beard for a year. Self explanatory. I’ve removed any semblance of manhood from my face just now, but with the purpose of starting out a fresh beard to dedicate to 2015’s new challenges and continued growth. Soon I will be back to this look I hope:
    15AyHSbC
  • Move to Oregon? I still want to get out there at some point. For as much as I love my family, friends and teammates here on the east coast, I still am in love with Bend. My job is secure for now though and I seem to be doing alright at it too and I do have a great support group here, so we’ll see. At some point you just have to take a leap and follow your dreams though, right?

    Run group besties, Makena and Trish. These girls came all the way to Oregon to race with a bunch of strangers! Love them! haha

    In Oregon for Hood to Coast in 2014. Run group besties, Makena and Trish. These girls came all the way to Oregon to race with a bunch of strangers! Love them!

  • Keep up with my blogging and become a better writer. I’ve enjoyed writing since I was in high school, but short of this blog, I’ve never really worked at being better. I’d love to do the research and write some articles on subjects I’m passionate about.
  • Buy and wear more flannel! Nothing is more comfortable, time to phase out my other button-ups completely. Also related; how do I not own a bow-tie!? Fixing this soon.
  • Be a more loving and thoughtful person, this means putting others feelings before my own. Also, not making decisions based off of feelings alone. Rational thought leads to a lot less regret!
  • Read more/Watch less TV. Nothing wrong with throwing on some Netflix during core work and foam rolling etc, but I seriously need to step up my reading game.
  • Drink even more coffee. It’s freaking delicious and makes me feel great. (unless I drink it after noon, haha)
  • Go to the dentist, floss regularly and actually have my eyes checked so I can get the glasses I know I need. Or I could say, just generally take care of the parts of my body that don’t directly affect my running.
  • Finish hiking the 4000-Footers in NH. I only have a few left and it’d be nice to fit that in over the summer if possible. I’d like to maybe take a week off and camp out up in the Whites with day trips out to some of the harder to reach peaks.
  • Another trip out west, maybe to the mountains this time? Colorado maybe?