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

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!!!

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.

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. 🙂

Running workout – Not yesterday!

The best laid plans…

I went out yesterday for my workout (1/4 mile repeats at 6:30/mile).  I was a bit hesitant since I had almost no sleep the night before and I was tired.  So I decided to set out for my 2 mile warmup and play it by ear.

Well I messed up.  I started way too fast.  About a half mile into my run I could feel my achilles again.  I got a bit overconfident and pushed to hard to soon.  By the time I got back home at the 2 mile mark, when I should have been putting on my racing flats, I decided the workout wasn’t going to happen.  My achilles wasn’t too bad, but I could feel a tug and I just don’t want to mess things up this close to the 5K.  I was wearing my Saucony Fastwitch shoes (which are becoming my favorite everyday shoe), so I changed into my Saucony Mirage since they have more support.

I did well for the next half mile – no pain and felt good.  Then I felt the tug again.  I threw in the towel.  I stopped at 3 miles, went inside, got a bucket of ice water and soaked my foot for 15 minutes.  TJ asked if I had used the KT Tape, which I hadn’t.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because I forgot.

So I will try my workout today if I feel up to it.  I did get better sleep last night, however my family is passing around a virus that I am desperately trying to avoid and I don’t want to wear myself down and take a chance at getting sick right before the race.  TJ has already gotten over his virus and RS just got it yesterday along with my Lovely Wife.  HM is still in the middle of his infection.  The bad thing is it gets into your chest, which isn’t good for running a 5K.

So I will try to stay healthy and not push too much.  After the 5K on Saturday I’ll probably take several days off and walk or (as Strive Balance suggested) ride a bike.

Nice app for a race and new bluetooth headset

I have written in the past about the iSmoothRun app and how much I like it. I’ve learned to like it even more now that I have begun to understand the interval settings.

Rather than just use the interval option for “intervals”, I decided the other day to use it for my whole run.  So I created a warmup of 1 mile and then an interval of 1 mile at 8:45 a mile (this was while I was getting over my achilles issues).  I then set my app to 1 interval of warmup and 4 intervals of the 8:45 pace.

As I have said before, the app speaks to you to let you know if you need to speed up, remain steady or slow down to keep your pace.  I had thought this was based on the full interval, but I was wrong.  Essentially it seems to be based on your current speed compared to the last time it updated (which seems to be about every 15 seconds or so).  The nice thing about this is that if you are ahead of your pace, you can “bank” that time and still keep to your target pace.  The app actually tells you from time to time how far ahead or behind your pace you are.  So the other day I was “20 seconds ahead”, but the app still told me I needed to speed up to keep the 8:45 pace.  Therefore I knew that if I was able to remain steady, I would finish that mile interval 20 seconds ahead of my goal pace.  It also will tell you your stats for that interval when it ends which is helpful.

I can see how this would be invaluable in a race.  So I decided to purchase a pair of bluetooth headsets that are waterproof (for sweat or rain).  I don’t use headsets since I don’t listen to anything while I run, but I also don’t want to bother other runners in a race with the updates of my time.  This will allow me to hear my pace and keep on target while not worrying about others getting annoyed at me for having my phone speaker so loud.

Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

Here are the headsets I purchased – click the picture to see them on Amazon.  I hope they are good, but time will tell.

Our 5K is just days away, so I hope this will do the trick.  I also hope to use them in my first marathon in September.

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.