Running tired? See how fast you recover!

After 4 months, I have finally finished a major project at work and on Saturday, I ran my first 5K since January.

What is interesting isn’t the 5K, but the short training I did leading up to the 5K.

I have been doing hill runs for about 3 or 4 months with my son.  We go out each week and run 6 – 7 miles of hills in a neighborhood next to ours.  These hills are big and exhausting.  Sometimes (like yesterday) I don’t know how I’m going to make it home.  All in all the runs are about 8 miles.

Rewind to last week.  With our 5K on Saturday I started to really get concerned.  I had increased my mileage a lot over the winter, but had also slowed my pace.  In fact in April of 2014 I averaged just over an 8:30 pace.  This April I was closer to 9:45.  This slow down was intentional.  I really wanted to gain mileage, build my base and stop getting hurt.  I accomplished all three!

However…

With the 5K less then a week away I was concerned that my slow pace would really mess my race up.  Monday last week I ran hills run with TJ.  Tuesday I just ran 4 miles.  I was tired to say the least.  I finished my run and noticed that I ran near a 10:00 pace.  I was so disappointed.  I wondered if my 22 minute 5K were over for good.

Then it dawned on me.  I had just finished my run.  I was breathing heavily and tired.  But in less then a minute my breathing returned to normal and my heart rate slowed right down.  Hmmm, I thought.  If I can recover in less than a minute, maybe I’m in better shape then I thought. So Wednesday I went out for another run.  I started slowly the first mile as I always do, but I ran faster then my normal first mile.  I got into the second mile and picked up my pace.  The last two miles I ran much faster with my last mile under 8:00.  I was tired and breathing heavily, but once again, as soon as I finished I recovered.  By the time I got to my car to go home, I was breathing normally.  Thursday was the same.  I ran, I recovered and I felt fine.

So the hill runs and the distance runs did what I wanted.  They build my base and gave me the ability to run hard and not get hurt and recover quickly.  I simply lacked the confidence and speed work to get me going faster for my 5K.

How’d the 5K go?  I ran it slower then my usual pace a year, but I also ran it 1:13 faster then my 5K in January.  I came in at 23:20, 2nd in my age group and 33rd overall out of 500 runners.  I’m pretty happy about that considering I had only 2 speed workouts and had gained some weight during my 4 month project.

I am going to keep doing what I am doing.  I’m going to add some speed workouts in the mix to train my body (and brain) to run faster.  I’m going to lose the 5 lbs I gained and try to bring my time down below 22:00 this year.

Hopefully this will help someone else in a similar situation.  Listen to your body and your recovery.  It may be telling you something that your brain is not!

Tom

The Pebble run and 5K prep

Yesterday’s run was hard.

No, it isn’t what you think.

I made the decision that I would run slow and easy since I ran hard on Wednesday.  In the past I would run as hard as I could, even the day after a hard run.  Well my recent 2 month off and on sabbatical from running because of my hip has made me a little wiser (I hope).  So when I started my run I told myself that I wanted to run between a 10:00 – 11:00 pace.  I decided that if I looked at my time and I was under a 10:00 pace then I would walk for a bit and then start my run again.  That way I would keep pulling my nature to run hard in and hopefully keep from getting injured.

I got a half mile into my run and had to walk.  Actually I felt a twinge from my hip and looked and I was running near a 9:00 pace.  So I walked for a few minutes and started running again.  It wasn’t long before I was walking again.

Enter Pebble watch.

The most frustrating thing about starting and stopping my run was the fact I had to keep starting and stopping my iPhone.  So one of the times that I was walking, I started pushing buttons on my Pebble and found that the middle outside button actually pauses and starts the app on my phone.  So as I started my run I would press the button and my app would announce that it was started.  When I walked, I pressed the button and my app would tell me it was paused.

So cool.

I no longer need to even interact with my phone.  I don’t need to have auto pause on (which does not work well on the iSmoothRun app).  In fact, I can put my phone in an arm band and never look at it again the whole run.

I’m FREE!

Back to my run.  I walked about a dozen times, but managed to get 3 miles in on the 4 mile route and my pace at the end was 10:39 – exactly where I wanted to be.  This is the first time I was able to pull back and not run faster than I knew I should.

Today is another run, hopefully between 8:30 – 9:00 pace and then tomorrow I’ll be walking my 4 miles.  The race starts at 9:00 Sunday morning, but evidently there is a church meeting at the building where the race starts, so we will only have limited access to the building.  It is going to be 35 degrees and we aren’t even allowed inside the lobby to keep warm before or after.  Had I known that, I wouldn’t have chosen this race, but it is too late now.  I do understand the church not wanting a lot of sweating runners hanging around with people coming in for services, but the planners of the Magic City Half Marathon and 5K should have made better plans, especially with the cold weather.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the 5K and it will be fun to run with TJ again.  We haven’t run a race since the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September. RS has to work and so he can’t make it.

Have an awesome Friday and rest of the weekend.

Tom

A fresh start to running

I had the best run of my new running carrier yesterday.

I consider myself as restarting my running as of this week.  Of course that isn’t really the case.  I have 2000 miles behind me over the past 20 months, but with taking so much time off recovering from my marathon and then multiple injuries, I feel like I am having a fresh start.

It’s funny how the human body works.  Some days are good and some not.  Yesterday was good.  In part of my run I actually reached BQ pace for the first time in months.  Of course my shoe untied shortly after I got there.  UGH.  That was frustrating, but I just tied it and jumped right back into the run.

At the three mile mark I stopped my app.  I was at a 8:36 pace for the three miles.  I then ran a slow final mile and even that came in at 9:08.

So I am psyched for my 5K on Sunday.  I really don’t think I have a chance at a PR, but I should be able to be a little competitive if my hip an heel stay well.  It is going to be cold though… Probably in the 30’s by race time.  That is much preferable to the heat and humidity of Summer, but still COLD for Birmingham.

Enjoy your day and stay healthy!

Tom

Hangin’ with “The Dog” before our 5K

Feeling better today.

I had a long day yesterday and by the time I got home, it was late and I have my 5K today, so I only ran 4 miles.  They were 4 really good miles.  The heat didn’t bother me as much and I just felt good running.

Today is the Shake and Bake 5K.  TJ, RS and I are going to eat breakfast at Steak n Shake and then head out to meet Neill (@BigBigGeek) at the race.

By the way, I drank a bottle of the beet root juice.  Interesting to say the least.  Sweet going down, but the after taste is similar to soil.  🙂

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“The Dog” loves her ball. I think she thinks I will take it from her. 🙂

Anyway, I’m just hangin’ with “The Dog” and playing ball as I wait to head out.

Thank you everyone for your encouragement.  This marathon training isn’t as fun as I thought it would be.  🙂

Prep run for our 5K next week

Yesterday I was sent the Runners World article as it will appear in the book.  Pretty cool.  My part is about how to make running a habit and about consistency.  I was told the book will be out in January 2014, so I guess I’ll have to buy a copy.  🙂

Okay, on to running… Of course.

TJ and I ran the 5K course that my friend Neill (@bigbiggeek) picked out for us to run August 3rd.  This will be TJ and my last 5K before our marathon in September.  We figure it is a good way to keep some speed workouts going without impacting our marathon training much.

Anyhow…

This course was a killer for me.  I think some of my issue was that it was about 10 – 20 degrees hotter than it has been all week and it was sunny (it has rained all week also).  But it is in a really nice planned community.  Basically it is a run up and down the streets throughout the community.  It was a very pretty run and very interesting to see all the nice homes.  But to me, I felt like we were going up hill after hill after hill.  Actually it starts out flat-ish for a half mile, but then the hills kick in and continue through about mile 2.5.  At the end, it is mostly down hill which is really nice.

All in all it seems like it will be a good course.  We ran it the first time at an 8:19 pace and then a second time at 9:27.  I admit, I started out too fast and was dragging after the first time through.  The second time we ran it much slower, but I really didn’t have much left.  I did get in 6 miles for the day and was only planning on 5, so I am 1 mile ahead of my running plan for the week.

Also yesterday, Neill challenged me to a virtual 7 mile race on the Nike+ app.  It is a pretty cool new feature.  Of course this challenge starts Saturday and I was to run 7 miles on Friday.  I try to keep Saturdays low mileage in preparation for my Sunday long run.  I’ll see how it goes.  He set it up to go until September 1, so I have time to work on it.  Should be fun.

That is about all I have for today.  My Chiropractor worked on my achilles some yesterday and it did feel better during my run.  It has started acting up again this week, but I’m glad it is doing better.

Until next time (tomorrow) – Keep on running!!!

Retro Run 5K race recap

Wow, what a weekend.

To being with, our vow renewal went awesome Friday afternoon.  We had a great family time all of the day.

One thing I learned…

5 pieces of Pizza Hut pan pizza + 1 milk shake + hot weather + run immediately after = a really hard 4 mile run.  🙂

On to our 5K race yesterday.  I really had fun.  It was Birmingham in July at 6:00 in the evening and it was just under 80 degrees.  At the starting line it began to rain, which felt nice, but into the race a bit, it got very humid and hard to breath.

All in all I had a good race.  I didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t run much the past two weeks.  But I ended up coming in at 22:04 which is my second best 5K race time, so I am happy with that.

TJ, RS and my friends Neill (@bigBigGeek) and David (@David_Topping) all did really well.  Neill and David both set PR’s.  On a warm humid evening like yesterday, that is amazing.  TJ did incredible.  Just shy of his PR, but he has also run 360 miles in the past month.  I don’t know how he does it.  JR and HM both came to watch and cheer us on.  That is always a nice thing and really helps.  Thank you both!!  My Lovely Wife was home with her bad back, but she kept up with calls and texts.  I really missed her there, but I understand why she couldn’t sit there for 2 hours.

Today is normally my long day.  After averaging near a 7 minute mile for 5K just 14 hours ago, I may take today off or just go out for a short run later.  I haven’t run under an 8 minute mile since May and my legs are feeling it this morning.

Tomorrow starts a new week and hopefully I’ll be going back to my 45 – 55 mileage.  Marathon in 7 weeks.  Oh my!

Gatorade folly and tomorrow’s 5K

I had a fairly good run yesterday and I think I know why this week had been so hard.

Other than getting adjusted to the heat, I have been drinking Gatorade before running.  I just started this on Tuesday, thinking that it would help with the heat.  To be honest, I have been putting a scoop of Gatorade into a half cup of water since I didn’t want to drink too much before running.  So I gave myself a 30 minute high on all that sugar, but when that wore off around the 3-4 mile mark, I would crash hard.

As a test to see if that was it, I had nothing to drink before running yesterday (I had 96 oz during the day though).  It wasn’t easy, but I did get 5 miles in at an 8:40 pace and never felt like I couldn’t go on.  I stopped on purpose at 5 miles since I ran and walked 16 miles the past 2 days and I want to be fresh for my 5K on Saturday.  Anyway, no more Gatorade before a run for me.

I haven’t mentioned much about the 5K tomorrow since I wasn’t going to push it too hard, but now I am changing my thoughts.  It is an inaugural 5K and I have run the course and am familiar with it.  I really think I can PR it if I run it correctly.  Right now I plan on running the first 2 miles at a 7:00 pace and try to run the 3rd at 6:30.  That would give me a PR and be a good end to my 5K days as I start my marathon training.  I’m looking forward to seeing Neill (@bigbigggeek) and David (@David_Topping) at the race.  RS is going to run with us and TJ isn’t running the race, but wants to help pace me.  I’ve never had anyone pace me in a race before, so that will be really great.

Tonight it is Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese and chicken caesars (thanks big brother @fooddude4life) for the inspiration; then we will watch “The Race” Seinfeld episode.  Finally a good night rest so we can run hard tomorrow (and not get hurt – thanks Lovely Wife).

I love 5Ks.  I hope this one is memorable.

A great running weekend!

It was a productive weekend running wise.

I got to run 7 miles on Friday, 7 miles on Saturday and 10 miles on Sunday.

Friday’s run was fun.  I ran a mile warmup, 5 miles close to marathon pace and a mile cool down.  I was really pleased, as that was the first time I ran 7 miles since my achilles injury.

Saturday was spent running with TJ and RS.  The three of us got up early and ran the 5K route we will run this weekend for the CityFest 5K.  Part of the run is on a busy road with little shoulder room, so it is rather difficult to run.  All three of us ran the route at about an 8:40 pace.  Then TJ and I decided to run it again at my 5K pace to see the best way to deal with the hills.

We rested up and then started our run. It really isn’t too bad of a course until you start the second leg of the busy road.  That is a pretty big uphill, then a run through a neighborhood with a couple big hills.  I did well until the last hill.  Suddenly my app stopped my run, which was annoying.  Then seconds later my shoe lace came untied.  TJ said, “I guess you wont forget to double tie your shoes on race day”.  True.  Then the downhill started.  The entire last mile is either downhill or level.  I did well until the end that I thought stopped at the stadium.  As we reached that point, we still had about half a mile to go.  I know on race day that we run into the stadium and around the track, but I was psyched to stop at the stadium.  So I did well until the last 10th of a mile and at that point, I lost it.  All in all, we ran just about 45 seconds slower than last week’s 5K which isn’t bad.  I’m looking forward to the race.

Sunday was my long run and considering I ran so much Friday and Saturday, I decided to run 10 miles with a 60 second walk in between each mile.  I don’t know if that helped or not, but it wasn’t easy.  I ran okay, but I could feel the effect of the miles on my body by the time it was over.

On to this week…  We have 3.5 months until our marathon in Pennsylvania.  It is slowly creeping up on us.  TJ and I were talking training last night and I think I am beginning to develop a training plan.  More on that another day.

All in all I’d say it was a great running weekend.

The dreaded hill/trail/hill run

Some days you head out to run and things just click.

Some days you head out and it is just a normal run.

Other days are like yesterday…

TJ, RS and I decided to try out the 5K course of the CityFest 5K that is happening a week from Saturday.  Being a new course to us and an area we hadn’t run before, it was exciting to see how to run this race.  Now understand it was nearing 90, but this was a rough 5K.  Almost every 5K I have ever run starts with a downhill in the beginning, not this one.  It has a slight upgrade for about half a mile and then the hills start.  I’m thinking about 2 miles of up and down hills and not necessarily small hills either. TJ remarked that this course is not a course to set a PR on.  I guess I’ll keep to my original plan to just go out and have fun.  I know though that the competitiveness in me will come through and I’ll want to do well.  We will see.  There is a masters award given (40+), I’d like to win that.  My thought is that those who aren’t expecting this course won’t be able to keep a good pace.  I just have to figure out a strategy and then run the plan.

After the course, RS went home as he didn’t drink enough water for the heat.  I don’t think I did either.  I thought I had 96 ounces of water, but it might have been 64.  Anyway, TJ and I decided to run a trail that goes down to a park.  Not a good idea.  After the hills and a gravel trail for a mile, I was shot.  At the end of the trail we had a choice to make.  One was to go back via the trail and the other was to run up a rather large hill with traffic and very little shoulder (actually no shoulder, just lumpy grass).  We went for the hill as I couldn’t face the trail.

After the hill we just ran the neighborhood home.  Not bad, but at the top of the big hill my heal / achilles / something started hurting.  I was all taped up, but I found out after I got home that the tape didn’t hold for some reason.  So I concentrated on relaxing my foot and not pushing off but using gravity and actually had a good run at the end.   I was glad to stop and go soak my foot in ice water and drink Gatorade.  TJ went on for another 5 miles.  I had nothing left.  The hill/trail/hill run took everything out of me.

All in all it was a hard, but good workout.  I realized that during the summer I won’t be pushing speed as much as distance (except for speed workouts).

It seems summer is finally arriving a month or two late.

Spring Scramble 5K pre-race update

I had a great run yesterday.  5 miles with no pain and a lot of fun.  It was the perfect run to have right before my big 5K race on Saturday,.

I must admit that I am still a little nervous about Saturday’s race.  I really want to PR it and I would love to get below 21:00.  My race PR is 22:10 and my neighborhood PR is 21:29.  Time will tell.

Today is my off day before the race.  I usually run much better after an off day and I hope that will help.  The unknown is my running shoe.  My Saucony A5’s had to be returned with a hole in the sole, so I am going to be running in Asics Piranha’s for the race.  I’ve run in them twice so far.  Once was last week as we ran the course to get the lay of the land.  The other time was 2 days ago when I did a hard workout.  The shoes seemed to be sloppy on my feet and started causing a lot of pain on the bottom of my foot.  I think I had them tied too loosely and when I tightened them, they seemed better.  It is a little concerning though since I don’t want to be in the middle of the race and be in pain from and unknown shoe.

Tonight we do our pre-race routine.  Chicken caesar salads with macaroni and cheese.  I can thank by big brother for that since at a 5K we ran last year in Pennsylvania he and his wife made that for dinner the night before and we have eaten it before each race ever since.  We’ve since added watching Seinfeld, “The Race” during dinner – just to get motivated :).

TJ and I are healthy but RS and HM are getting over a bug as is my Lovely Wife, so I don’t know who exactly will be showing up tomorrow.  Either way, it will be fun and hopefully I’ll be prepared.  There will be several people running from my work and @bigbiggeek is coming so that will be fun.

I’ll try to post a short update after the race.

Tom