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

Final thoughts on the Country Music Half Marathon.. I think.

This post is a continuation of my Country Music Half Marathon recap post from yesterday.  

Here are my stats

I was 17th out of 561 in my age group – top 3%
I was 697th out of 19,057 half marathoners – top 3.7%

Honestly, I think this was my best race to date.  I credit TJ for running with me and being an excellent pacer and my mountain runs for getting me in shape.  Thinking back, I have really only been training for this for about 2 months.  Between injuries and other things that got in the way of my running, that was all I could do to train.  But the mountain gave me strength in my quads and took the pressure off my back and my calves.  It also helped me be able to pick my speed up and be able to handle the hills on this race without slowing down.

RS did well.  He struggled a lot though.  He had honestly not been running much until the last few weeks before the race.  His longest run before the race was 7 miles and he went out and completed a 13.1 mile race.  His time was slow because he had to walk to finish the last few miles, but it is amazing to me that he could complete that distance with so little prep.  This was his longest milage run in over a year.

TJ had been hurt leading up to this race; thus the reason he paced me rather then trying to run a PR himself.  His last half was completed in under 1:30 and he was in coral #1 for this one.  His choice to pace me was huge for me and I hope fun for him, though being a huge competitor, I’m sure he wished he was running his own race.  He is back in the saddle now and talking about another half in the fall and maybe running the Jacksonville marathon with me in December.

I had fun meeting my running friends @BigBigGeek and @David_Topping before the race.  They did well and I think were happy with the result.  This was @David_Topping’s first half marathon.  He has lost a  lot of weight and really been doing the work that made his run possible.

I was really concerned with this race.  I have never run with so many people.  My experience was a great one overall.  Not just the run, but everything from package pickup at the expo to parking at the race went very smoothly.  There was the obvious traffic, but I purchased a reserve parking pass and it put us right at the race with very little waiting.  The police presence was clear, but not over done.  Other then the helicopters flying overhead, there was very little that I noticed outside of the normal presence at any race.

The bands were great.  A few were loud (one was so loud it affected my hearing for a minute), but they helped overall and the crowd was awesome.  Being that we hung with the 3:30 pacer, there were a lot of cheers as we ran by.

Overall I rate this race very high.  Perfect weather, great attendance, plenty of food and drinks after the race.

Top notch.

Tom

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!!!

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.

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

Final running workout before our 5K

One day left to workout before the Spring Scramble 5K.  It’s funny, TJ likes to run the day before a race and I don’t.  My best runs are usually the day after a rest day, so I’ll be running today and taking tomorrow off.

Yesterday I completed a hard workout (finally).  I feel it has been forever since I was able to do a workout.

I started out slowly and got in my 2 mile warmup with no problems.  I remembered my KT Tape this time and was able to use my new headset which was nice so that I could see how it did before the race.  I also wore my Asics Piranha shoes for the first time in a workout.  I did my sprints to get warmed up and then started my 1/4 mile repeats.

There were a lot of distractions and obstacles yesterday as I ran my repeats.  School was letting out and buses were all over the place.  Kids were riding bikes and playing.  In fact at one point, I was running up to a 4 way stop and a little girl was in front of me riding her bike.  She started to turn around and noticed me and got distracted.  Right then a car turned onto the street and she did not see it.  I yelled, “watch out” and the car honked its horn and she got quickly out of the way.  It was scary for me, but gave me some adrenaline to run on for a bit.

I completed all 8 repeats and averaged about a 6:30 pace which is what I wanted to do.  It was tough near the end.  Also, I didn’t tie my shoes tight enough and half way through the repeats the balls of my feet started killing me as they moved around in the shoe.  I could tell I was getting blisters.  Good to find this out before the race.  So I paused my workout and tightened my shoes and started up again.

Finally after I completed the workout I ran a mile cool down and headed home.  My achilles did great until the cool down.  For some reason (probably the workout) I could feel some pain, so I stopped after one mile cool down and just walked home.  I immediately put my foot into a bucket of ice water and let it soak for 15 minutes.

So all in all it was a good day.  I’ll be glad when this 5K is behind me.  There is another one in 2 weeks I am interested in.  I may run it – just for fun. 🙂

5K race prep – run the route to learn the route

It was a lot of fun running yesterday with TJ and RS.  We decided to run the 5K route that we will be running next week.  As I mentioned yesterday, it is immensely helpful to run the course before the race so you know what you are up against and can plan how to run it.

The race is in a medium sized town and it begins in the middle of the shopping district, so needless to say it was hard to begin since there were too many cars to run on the road and the sidewalks had lots of shoppers.  But we decided to run the sidewalks slowly and stay out of the way of shoppers as best we could.

The race starts on a rather large downhill run.  It gets your momentum going so that is nice.  In fact most of the first mile or so is either level or downhill.  As we ran, we made a turn onto a busy street with no sidewalks, that was a bit scary as cars were coming toward us.  Finally sidewalks appeared and we ran up and down over curbs and around obstacles.

About half a mile into the run we turned into neighborhoods.  This was nice as we didn’t have to run the sidewalks and we could just enjoy our run.  I had a map on my phone from last year that I used to guide us along the way and I also put my phone on “Map My Run” so that we could have the route for the future and I could give to others who will be running with us.

We wound through neighborhoods and eventually back on the busy street.  I’d say this is the flattest 5K we have run.  Some hills, but most are inclines and not really hills.  The biggest hill is at the end (of course).  No, not the hill we started on thank goodness, but just a medium hill that leads back to the shopping district.  Once you hit that street, it is an easy run for the finish.

All in all it was a really nice run.  It will be nicer next week as we don’t have to run the sidewalks and can run the streets.  If interested, here is a link to my run that I mapped http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/277053771.

No problem for me running and I used my new racing flats.  Next week I hope to run under 21:00.  If I stay healthy, I think I will have a shot.

Ice bath for my foot after my run. Life is good.

I ran my planned 4 miles yesterday and did pretty well.  My heel (probably achilles) was a bit sore during the day so I kept ice on it and kept it elevated most of the day at work.  Actually it didn’t hurt while I moved,  just as I sat.  

I had several people mention ice to me.  One coworker mentioned taking ice baths in college after running (and the night before a race).  A friend of mine also mentioned these compression and ice combos that look very intriguing (http://110playharder.com/shop/).  

In light of these discussions, as I ran I got an idea (this happens a lot to me as I run).  Why not try an ice bath for my foot?   So I got home and found a bucket and filled it half way with ice.  I filled it up with water, sat outside with the dog as I usually do, and put my foot into the bucket.  COLD was my first thought.  I know from past physical therapy on my wrist that when you apply ice to an area, it first stings, then hurts and finally goes numb.  The point of numbness is what you want (but not too long of course).  So after about 15 minutes I took my foot out and let it dry and warm up.  The idea is that while it is cold, it is difficult for the body to get blood to that area, so when you take it out of the ice, blood rushes there.  That causes your muscles and such to repair much quicker.  

Well it was something to try.  I don’t know if it did much for me.  My heel is still sore today but not to walk on.  I may take today off and give it more time to rest.  The hard thing is that it doesn’t hurt when I run or walk, so I hate to just sit.  But I do what I need to do.  I Cor 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”  Why run, live or do anything half way.  I want to do everything to the best of my ability while being wise at the same time.

So that is my latest adventure.  Tomorrow TJ, RS and I are going to run the 5K route we will run next week at the Spring Scramble.  We like to run our race routes ahead of time so we know the ups and downs and how to plan for the race. 

Should be fun.

How to run well? Keep it simple.

I am the type of person who has to learn by experience.  Life teaches many lessons and in my life, I have learned by doing the wrong thing sometimes,  the right thing sometimes, and then applying the right thing to my daily routine.  The same is true when it comes to running.  Over the past 13 months, I have learned many “what to dos” and many “what not to dos” by experiencing them each day on the road.  Of course, I also learn by reading articles and talking with others like TJ about their experiences and what works for them.  I think running ultimately, like most things in life, cannot come down to a cookie cutter mentality.  This is why I am not good with training plans that lay out what workout to do each day, how many miles to run each day, etc.

I need simple.

For the first 10 months of running, all I did was run miles.  I honestly didn’t know what workouts to do or what would be best for me.  I needed simple.  So I went out and ran 2 miles a day for 5 days and 3 on Sunday.  I remember the first 6 mile long run I had.  I was so tired that I accidentally went to the wrong house after I was done thinking I was at TJ’s home.

During this time I would alternate between working on distance while running at a slower pace and working on speed while trying to keep up my distance.  I didn’t have anything in particular that would guide me on when to do either one, just a feeling that I needed to change up between the two.

One day, about a month before our first half marathon, TJ came to me and we talking about his workouts he was doing.  They consisted of “tempo runs” and “hill runs”.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  So he finally convinced me to try these different workouts.  They really helped and that experience is still helping me today.  I went from running 13 miles in my neighborhood at a 9:00 pace to my half marathon under an 8:00 pace all within a month.

So here I am, still running the miles, still increasing the pace, still doing the workouts, still learning by experience.

Yesterday I worked hard at running relaxed.  I am convinced that running relaxed is a key to running long, fast and without injury.  I relax everything that I can, even my lower legs to some extent.  Yesterday was a good run and only got difficult near the end when I was tired (I’d been up since 1:00am) and forgot about relaxing.

This morning I became a bit overwhelmed thinking of running a marathon at an 8:00 pace.  It was the same feeling I had when TJ told me I should try for running our half marathon at an 8:20 pace.  I wrote that day in my blog, “I think I am in over my head”.  I wasn’t.  As I said earlier, I ran it just under 8:00 and the last mile was at 7:47.

Why am I writing all this.  Just to solidify my thoughts and theories about how to run my marathon in September.  I know that if I can run with good form and run relaxed, I can easily make my goal.

Only time will tell.

Records, goals and a great running app

I’m excited!  I had a record month for running in April.  My last record was 151 miles.  April 2013 – 176 miles!  Wow am I sore!

Really though, I am excited to know that I can run that many miles in a month.  That isn’t much for a lot of runners, but for me, it is amazing, especially since I have only been running only 13 months.

Yesterday I had a goal to reach.  My goal was to run 6 half mile intervals at a 7 minute pace.  I have not done well with half mile repeats.  They are hard and for some reason every day in the past month that I run them (usually Tuesday) it has been the hottest day of the week.  Yesterday was no different, however it was cooler than last week.

So I decide that in order to reach my goal, I would have to increase my recovery time between my intervals and slow down, even to a walk if needed to recover.  I really want my body to get used to running that fast.  It worked.

I ran my intervals and jogged slowly and walked in between.  I was able to get all 6 completed and averaged 7:00 overall.  My total time for the full 7 mile run was just under 9 minutes, but that didn’t matter to me.  With our 5K approaching in 18 days, I really wanted to get my speed down a bit and intervals are a great way to do that.

Just a word of advice.  If you run with an iPhone and don’t use iSmoothRun, you need to get it.  It really is the best running app available.  Not only does it keep up with your runs, shoes, miles, weather, etc., but it is invaluable doing interval runs!  It tracks each interval and recovery between intervals.  It even tells you audibly if you need to speed up, slow down or stay steady during the interval.  No more looking at the phone or just hoping to get the right time.  When you are done with each interval, it gives a recap of your time so you know how you did.  Finally it doesn’t have a connected website, but lets you export to about 15 different sites (like Nike+ and Runkeeper) and to Twitter and Facebook.  I wholly recommend it.

So that was my day.  I am sore today and my hip isn’t doing the best.  I will do an easy run this afternoon in the rain.  I am glad to get my speed workout behind me and move on with the week.  I’m looking forward to our 5K.  It should be a lot of fun and I have a lot of people from my work going to run it with TJ, RS and myself.