Breaking my body memory by longer runs

30 miles in 4 days.

Honestly, I guess I’ve overdone it a little, but I had good reasoning.

Sunday I went out for a long run at our state park.  I ran 8.8 miles. I didn’t look at my watch, but I ran until I couldn’t run anymore.  It was hilly and the temperature was okay when I started, but had gone up 10 degrees by the time I finished.  I also had negative splits, so that made me feel better.  I really wanted to run long and not stop at 4 miles.

Monday was my hill run day with TJ.  We usually run between 7 – 8 miles and 6 of those miles are large hills.  It was probably the toughest run of the Spring so far.  It was hot (near 90) and I had just run nearly 9 miles the day before with a lot of mountain hills.  I came home from our run and just sat for an hour throwing the stick with the dog and drinking my Gatorade.

Tuesday was an impromptu longer run.  I ended up at 7.3 miles.  I didn’t really go in my normal route of running in the park.  I just ran in different directions, got lost in my thoughts and finished when I thought I should.

Wednesday I tried to see if I could get in another 8 mile run.  I did make 6.2 miles, so it was a good 10K, but my legs were so tired and I was so hot, that I just didn’t think I should push it.

I wrote a few days ago that last year I got into a 4 mile Summer rut (I called it survival mode).  I really want to break free of that this year.  I hate running in the heat, but I also know I can get used to it and I can make it though without crashing and burning like I did at the end of last Summer.

You’re body gets a memory and it will get used to what you give it.  If you eat junk, it wants junk.  If you always run 4 miles, it won’t want to go 5.  It really is amazing.  For instance, I have gotten into the habit of drinking 32 oz of water every morning after I wake up.  Now my body craves it.  I even drank it before my last 5K because I have to have my morning water.  That is one reason I’m running more.  I want my body to get used to running in the heat and deal with it better.  Also I want to get past a weight plateau I’ve had since my last business trip to New Orleans.  This week of longer running has really helped.

Finally, be careful running in the heat.  People die in the Summer by running and not being hydrated.  I usually drink 96 oz of water during the day before my run and another 32 after my run.  I also have slowed down my pace to deal with the increased mileage and the heat.

As my wife says everyday before I head out for my run, “BE WISE” (and yes, she says it with that emphasis).

Tom

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My running secret…

Life has been crazy!!!

Working 14 hours a day.  Family, church… Not much else other then running.

I promised a while ago to post my “secret” about how to run better and more efficiently.  Today, I’m keeping my promise.  I waited a while as I wanted to make sure my progress wasn’t just psychological.  I think running has a lot to do with psychology and I also think that with time, psychological effects will make themselves evident.  After time, what remains is what really helps.  What I am posting is the one thing that has made the biggest impact on my running in the past 3 years…

This isn’t a huge thing. In fact, I bet I’ve posted about this sometime in the past 3 years.  Sometimes the best and most impactful things seem the most trivial.  It just takes an event to make them come to the forefront and make an impression.

Okay… here it goes… My secrete is…

Run slowly.

Just kidding (sort of).

For the first mile of every run, pay the most attention of any other mile of your run.  The first mile is the most critical.  It is the mile that will affect all other miles.  Run loosely.  Run easy.  Run slowly.

During the first mile of each run, never let your heart beat fast.  If you end up running a 10 minute pace, or a 15 mile pace, just run slowly. Make sure your body stays loose.  Continually think about your neck, shoulders, arms and legs.  Just keep loose.  Keep your heart rate slow.  Keep it easy and slow.

That’s it.  That one thing, the first mile, has changed my running in a way nothing else has in 3 years. After that first mile, I run as fast or slow as I want.  I just keep trying to keep my shoulders and body loose and free of stress.  I keep trying to run loose and easy.

Each Saturday morning I run my long run.  Most Saturday’s I run 13 miles, but about every 3rd or 4th Saturday, I run 10 miles to give my body a break.  This last “easy” Saturday, I ran 10 miles and for the last 2 miles I ran hard.  I was able to run those miles at marathon pace (BQ marathon pace) and most miles were negative splits.  I credit my first mile with this success.  I worked hard at running slow.  I ran my first mile at a 10:16 pace.  My last mile was at a 8:15 pace.  Ahhh. Looking back, it was a great run.

Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes.  Do this consistently and you will see a change that will transform your running like nothing else you have tried.

That is it.  My “secret”.  I hope it helps.

Tom

Running by time

Running by time

I had an excellent 13 mile run today.  

Last week’s 13 mile run was so hard and all I could think about during the run was to count down the miles. It was really bad. 

Today, I knew I would take at least 2 hours to finish, so I purposely ran in a way that I didn’t know how far I had gone, and waited for 2 hours to check my mileage. I was relaxed and really enjoyed running and not thinking of mileage.  At the 2 hour mark, I looked at my phone and had less then a mile to go. 



So I ran my long run at a 30 second faster pace and felt good at the end. I was tired and could feel it in my legs, but I really felt good.  So for the second week in a row I’ve run exactly 45.7 miles and this week was at a 30 second faster pace overall. 

Finally I ran 163 miles for the month – the best mileage in 18 months and it was on a short month. 

Next week is a recovery week, so I get to cut my mileage by about 20%.  In a way I wish I could keep my mileage up, but I’m trying to run smarter and my 52 year old body needs some rest so I don’t get hurt. 

Running is beginning to get fun again. 

Tom

Finally a 10 mile run (negative splits)

It has been a long while since I’ve run 10 miles.  In fact, just to be honest, I haven’t run over 7 or 8 miles but twice in the past year.  Once was two weeks before my half marathon and once was my half marathon (RnR Nashville).

Why?

Well running up and down my mountain got me to about 8 miles and I considered that to be worth about 13.  That may not be true, but it really was much more then an 8 mile workout.  Then summer hit and I entered survival mode.  I decided I would set a goal of 4 miles a day and try not to miss more then 2 days a week.  That got me about 20 miles a week, just enough to keep me going.

Sunday it was cold here.  I know that it is cold it is up North, but for us, waking up to 36 degrees was a bit of a shock.  So I just stayed in bed.  In fact I stayed in bed later then I have in years.  I finally got up and decided I needed to get my run in anyway and man up under the cold.  By the time I got to our state park, it was a cool 50 degrees and almost perfect for running.  I will say it was too warm for a jacket during a run and too cold to go without.  In the end, I ran 2 miles with a jacket and then did the rest without.

I knew I could do the 10 miler, but also knew the temptation to tell myself that I could quit early, so after I ran the 2 miles and put up my jacket, I ran 4 miles in one direction and 4 back.  To be honest, it was hard.  My body isn’t used that long mileage anymore and the road back was mostly uphill.

The run was very rewarding.  I needed to get back to longer runs and figured 10 miles was a good start.  I am much stronger then I was during my marathon, which is good news.  All the hill runs paid off.  Also I mostly had negative splits, even with the last several miles being uphill most of the way.

So that run is in the bag.  I hope to keep the 10+ mile runs going each weekend for the long term.  I have the hill runs down, and adding the long runs will add to my strength.  I hope to run a half marathon at the end of December (Jacksonville) then another half in February (Birmingham) and finish with a marathon in Va. Beach in March.  Time will tell how this will go.  I got hurt a lot going into my last marathon, but I know now that I didn’t have the leg strength to do it.  I don’t know how I completed it, let alone ran it in 4:15.

Tom

6 mile run – Longest in a few weeks

Quick update…

I had a good day running yesterday.  I ran 6 miles for the first time since Christmas Day when I ran with TJ.  My hip was okay and I ran below a 10:00 pace, so I think I am on my way to “normal” running again.

Life has been crazy so far this year.  I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that if things keep going this way, this will be a very interesting year!

Keep running.

Tom

A run, a hurt achilles and hangin’ with the dog!

I had a great run yesterday with @BigBigGeek at our local State Park.  Well, the company was great, the run was a tad difficult.

We ran just over 6 miles which is good for me.  In fact it is the longest basic run I’ve had since a week before my marathon (so about a month ago) and I felt the burn.  By the end of the run my body felt as if I had just finished a 18 mile run.

One issue that has come back to life is my achilles.  I thought I had gotten past it with all the time off I’ve had to take, but it is obvious that I haven’t.  After our run on my way home I went to the supermarket.  I got out of my car and I could barely walk.  My right achilles was in so much pain.  The good news was that after I got some Blueberries for my LW and paid for them, the pain went away and didn’t come back.

Later in the day I went to a local running store and checked into getting a shoe with a higher heel/toe drop.  Their advice was to make sure I am really stretching my calf during the day.  So I gave that a shot and I’ll see how my run goes today.

I can’t finish this post without the obligatory “Hangin’ with the dog” picture.  I took this a couple of minutes ago as she was enjoying her morning snack.

The Dog enjoying her morning snack

The Dog enjoying her morning snack

My altered running plan

I’m walking slowly today.

I’m sore from my weekend runs and I’m also glad that I am beginning my taper this week.

I started thinking (worrying) about my weekday runs this week.  I am only averaging between 5 – 6 miles a day during the week. I hear from others that they run 8 – 10 miles a day and I started freaking.  Finally I brought myself back to reality.  I just don’t have the time or ability to run more than 5 -6 miles a day during the week.  I get up around 4:00 AM and most days can’t begin my run until after 4:00 PM.  By then I am tired and it is usually about a million degrees outside (okay, that is an exaggeration).

So without really thinking about it, I’ve created my own running plan.  I run about 20 miles during the week and 30 on the weekend.  I think this will work for me and even if it doesn’t, I have no choice.

So this weekend I got to run Saturday with Neill (and a little by myself) for a total of 13 miles.  Then Sunday I ran by myself for another 15 miles.  So for my 50 mile week, I ran 22 during the week and 28 on Saturday and Sunday.  Hopefully the longer mileage weekend will benefit me during my marathon in 2 weeks.

I plan on running about 35 miles this week as my taper begins.  I hope to run 25 during the week and on Sunday and if Neill is running a long run again this Saturday, 10 miles with him.

All in all I don’t think I could have worked much harder to prepare for this marathon.  I hope to never run a marathon in September again as it is way to hard to prepare in the heat of the South, especially since I have to run in the afternoon.  I really think TJ and I are ready for the race and I look forward to finishing it… hopefully in 3:29:00.  🙂