The perfect run plan (for me)

It has been a great couple of months running… with no purpose to run.  I have no races planned, no “reason” to run.  I have, however, run more miles in the past two months then anytime in the past 18 months. 

My run plan has changed. I used to have a plan I posted on this blog each week.  That stopped after I crashed and burned post marathon.  Now my plan is simple and consistent. It works for me, so here it is (if you care ūüôā ). 

Monday: 8 mile hill run. This is about building my strength and helping my back and hip. I credit this weekly run with the reason I have been able to run so much the past 2 months. Also, Monday is the beginning of my running week and it is motivational to have an 8 mile run and a hill run out of the way first thing.

Tuesday through Thursday all depends on my run cycle. I run 2 long weeks and 1 short week and then repeat.  On my long weeks I try to get in 2 – 3 eight mile runs a week with shorter runs in between. On short mileage weeks I generally stay at 4 miles a day for the rest of the week until my long run on Saturday. 

Friday: I try to keep Friday short. Usually about 4 miles. The main reason is Saturday morning is my long run and my run Friday is late afternoon. I can still “feel” my Friday run on Saturday morning, so I try to take it easy. 

Saturday: Long run: At the moment, on my long weeks I run 13 miles on Saturday morning and short run weeks are 10 mile Saturday’s. This has been huge for me as running a 13 mile run each week has never happened for me in the past three years. It puts my 8 mile runs in perspective and really helps finish the week off on a good note. 

Sunday: This is to be a day of rest and letting my body heal for the hill run I’ll do on Monday. However, Sunday is the only day RS and I can ride trails at the state park, so generally we will do that for an hour or so Sunday morning. 

So that is my run plan. At the moment, I run 45 – 50 miles on long weeks and 30 – 35 miles on short weeks. 

Really I do have a goal. My hope is that I’ll finally developed a base to run more miles and keep injury free.  So far so good.  I’ve slowed my pace down about a minute a mile and increased my mileage by about 1/3 over the winter. I REALLY want to run another marathon this year, and though I’d love to BQ, I am not obsessing about that right now.  One day I may make it to Boston (maybe), but if I don’t have good form and a strong base, it will stay a dream and never become a reality. 

Sorry for the longer then usual post, but I’m sitting in an airplane on a trip to visit my mom. I haven’t seen her or my brothers since the day after my Marathon 18 months ago, so I am really looking forward to it. 

Be safe. Run your own plan. Get help from others, but know that running isn’t done in a cookie cutter fashion.  Fine your spot, run your plan and you will succeed. 

Tom  

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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. 

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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 success running smart!

I had a successful week running last week.  For me it was amazingly successful.

I’ve been running 41 miles a week for several weeks and to prevent a crash in my running, I decided to have a low mileage week. ¬†My goal was to run 31 miles during the week with my longest run being 6 miles. ¬†I ended up with 30.9 (but whose counting).

By Sunday, I felt great again. ¬†My soreness was gone and my body “felt” healed. ¬†This is huge for me. ¬†In the past (1.5 years ago when I used to run this kind of mileage), I would keep running the higher mileage and then after a month or so I’d get hurt or have some issue that set me back into the low 100s.

Yesterday was going to be and 8 mile run, the first run of my 45 miles week (post recovery). ¬†I did run, but it was raining hard and getting dark as the afternoon got late. ¬†I got a late start because of issues beyond my control and by the time I got to 6 miles, I called it a day. ¬†It was raining so hard toward the end of the run that it was like I was in basic training in the army. ¬†I could barely see through the rain. ¬†It was awesome. ¬†I had negative splits with the first mile¬†at a 9:40 pace, down to 8:15 my last mile. ¬†I’ve learned to start out slow and then work my speed up throughout my run. ¬†It makes all the difference in a good run.

There was one other soul out running at the same time as me in the park.  Just us two, going opposite directions and passing each other slashing in the puddles.

So my plan was for 8 miles yesterday, but I settled for 6. ¬†I’ll make up the other two sometime this week. ¬†Today is an 8 mile hill run, then Wednesday 4 miles, Thursday 8, Friday 4, and Saturday 13. ¬†Sunday will be a 10 mile bike trail ride with RS and then it all starts over next Monday.

By the way, I was reading the recap of my only marathon and all the comments from it the other day. ¬†Oh how I want to run one again. ¬†This time, I want to run it smartly and with strength. ¬†No plans yet, but maybe Chicago? ¬†That would be cool! Maybe I could see my friend at¬†runningonhealthy.com. ūüôā

Happy trails.

Tom

Something has changed with my running

Two weeks.

The past two weeks, something has changed with my running… in a good way.

It all started 3 weeks ago. ¬†I was complaining to TJ that my legs were shot and that I wasn’t even running much. ¬†On top of everything, my back was a mess. ¬†My right hip was hurting and I just couldn’t figure out what to do.

He reminded me that the hill runs I used to do would really help me and I hadn’t been doing them at all lately. ¬†So the next Monday he and I set out for a hill run in a neighborhood nearby. ¬†It has crazy hills. ¬†Some high, some long, but every stride in this neighborhood takes you¬†up or down a hill. ¬†When we finished running all the streets, we had completed 8 miles of hills (and my longest run in months). ¬†I was shot. ¬†I had nothing left. ¬†BUT I finished all 8 miles.

Since then TJ, RS and I have run those hills each week. ¬†TJ and I have run them 3 time and RS twice. ¬†The impact has been nothing but phenomenal! ¬†I had one of the best months in January since my marathon in September of 2013 last month. ¬†The past two weeks I have run 41 miles each week. These two weeks combined are more then most months I’ve run since my marathon. ¬†I feel great. ¬†My legs are strong. ¬†Everything is beginning to click.

Now that I have had 2 high mileage weeks, I am taking this week and cutting back about 30%.  My legs feel great, but they feel the pain of the past few weeks.  The last thing I want now is the get hurt.

So I’ll run about 30 miles this week and then I’ll add 10% to my last couple week totals and up my mileage to 45 miles next week.

The great thing, is that I am not training for anything in particular. ¬†I was going to run a half marathon in March, but that isn’t going to happen. ¬†In a way, this is good. ¬†I’m running for me. ¬†I’m running because I want to. ¬†I’m running for the challenge and not to prepare for something. ¬†I can take this slow and do what ever I need to get back to where I was a couple years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. ¬†My goal is another marathon. ¬†But this time I want the strength, the ability. the grace to run it the best I can.

I’m running.

I’m glad.

Tom

PS: My daughter has suffered greatly with Fibromyalgia. ¬†She had to quit work, she could barely move off the couch for a year. ¬†Now she has lost a lot of weight, is biking and getting back her life. ¬†This last week she ran with RS and me several times off and on during our runs. ¬†She is up to running almost 3 miles a day and is looking better then I’ve seen her in years. ¬†I can’t say how proud and excited I am for her and how humbled I am that God has given her the grace to “come back”!

Running with my new bike

With everything that has happened to me over the past couple of months, I decided to try to mix things up.

No, I’m not going to stop running. ¬†In fact I hope that by the middle of March I will have completed 2 half marathons and 1 full. That might be wishful thinking, but hey, a man can dream.

Going back to Black Friday, I wondered into Dicks Sporting Goods with 2 of my kids.  There, in the back of the store were the bikes.  By that evening all three of us had new bikes.  These are by no means expensive bikes or ones that you might take a 30 mile ride on, but I really felt the need to have another avenue for my exercise and have been contemplating cycling for a while.

Yesterday I went out for my hill run and got back with tired legs and then RS and I hopped on our bikes and road a couple miles. ¬†I didn’t want to overdo it and didn’t want to make me too sore, but it was a lot of fun and just enough to finish off what strength I had left in my legs.

My plan is to run and then bike each day for a while. ¬†If I get hurt and cannot run, then I’ll just bike instead. ¬†Done are the days of walking for an hour when I can’t run. ¬†Of course walking is still an option, but now I have 3 options rather then 2.

Thanks for all the well wishes from my post from yesterday. I’m hoping and praying that I am now done with carrying stones in my body and can concentrate on moving forward 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