Training week in review: 2 of 18

This week’s training theme:

Every wee bit helps

This week looked a lot like last week, with two differences: no hills and the mileage was bumped up by five miles.

Five miles doesn’t sound like much, but four of them were tacked onto the long runs on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I did notice that extra mile or so on each of those runs, just a slight tightening of the screws.

Also noticeable is the over-so-slightly increased time commitment on weekday mornings. In just a few weeks I’ll be doing 15 miles on Wednesday and 13 on Friday. It’s odd to get on the phone with people who have likely just rolled out of bed — and I’ve already run two towns over and back!

But I noticed that the 10 x 100 meter “strideouts” were a bit easier this week than last week. And no marathon pace finish on yesterday’s long run made for an easier time out there, although by mile 16 I was feeling quite fatigued on account of having run 11 the day before.

The bad weather has moved in, bringing snow, ice and what I like to call “punishing winds.” Since Westchester’s parks maintenance dept. never sees fit to plow our paths, I was forced inside and onto the treadmill on Friday, then into the streets of Scarsdale and White Plains on Saturday. I moved my long run from Sunday to Saturday since the weather today was horrendous (rain and “punishing” winds), and couldn’t stand the thought of running 18 miles inside on the treadmill.

So instead I ran a 6.3 mile loop north of us three times through residential streets yesterday. I even picked up a friendly running partner for the second loop, a local ex-marathoner who regailed me with tales of early NY marathons and his current addictions to competitive bicycling and snowshoe racing. And that extra mile allowed me some hot chocolate when I got home.

A look back at the week:

Wednesday was the only day that had some surprises. I felt good that morning (plus it was warm enough to wear shorts) and discovered when I got home that I’d run three of the last four miles at well under marathon pace. I only look at my heart rate when I do most of these runs, hiding the pace so I’m not tempted to run outside my heart rate targets. I never got above 78%, although it did seem at times that I was going pretty fast. I’ll see if that happens again. If so, it may soon be time to adjust my paces (and marathon goal time) downward a bit.

  • Monday: 6.1 miles, recovery pace
  • Tuesday: 8.1 miles, easy pace with 10 x 100 meter “strideouts”
  • Wednesday, 13.2 miles, long run, mix of long and race pace
  • Thursday, 6.4 miles, recovery pace
  • Friday, 11 miles, long run (steady) pace, on the treadmill
  • Saturday, 19 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Sunday, 6.2 miles, recovery pace, on the treadmill

Total mileage: 70 miles

Paces this week:

  • Easy: 8:25
  • Long: 7:50 – 9:00
  • Recovery: 9:45

This week’s quote:

I definitely want to show how beautiful the marathon can be. I am the opponent of all those who find the marathon bad: the psychologists, the physiologists, the doubters. I make the marathon beatiful for myself and for others. That’s why I’m here.

— Uta Pippig

Coming up in training week three: A tempo session plus another “marathon pace finish” long run.

Ted Corbitt RIP

A pioneer, an innovator and, by all accounts, a true gentleman. Learn more here. And here. And here.

Training week in review: 1 of 18

This week’s training theme:

Hard days hard, easy days easy

I’ve been reading various articles about the training patterns of some of the world’s best marathoners (Ethopians, Kenyans and Japanese). And one of the common threads that emerges is: run hard days hard, run easy days easy. I’ve taken that to heart, especially the part about running easy days easy. Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays are my recovery days, and I am making an effort (as it were) to run them very easy — low-to-mid 60%’s heart rate. It feels like I’m crawling, but I’m getting used to it. So that’s this week’s training theme.

On Thursday morning I did what I do every winter on the first extremely cold day of the year: I fell on my ass in our driveway. We had a windchill of 8 degrees. I was all bundled up and ready to go at 7:30 in the morning. I started down the driveway and instantly I felt my feet go out from under me and had the same mid-air thought I do every year when it happens, “I always forget about the black ice!”

Fortunately, I had two thick layers on and heavy gloves to help break my fall. I have colorful bruises on my right hand and elbow as a reminder. Otherwise, no injuries other than the ones to my ego. It’s too bad those bruises don’t last a year, because I know I’ll do the same thing next year.

So week 1 of my marathon training has concluded. And a successful week it was. I’m glad I spent the past couple of months building in certain kinds of runs around a weekly schedule that resembled what I’d be doing in training, as week 1 has felt like a natural extension of what I’ve been doing already, albeit slightly harder.

I am following Pete Pfitzinger’s 18 week, “70 miles and above” program from his book (with Scott Douglas), Advanced Marathoning. I plan to follow the schedule as laid out, although I’ve made a few modifications:

  1. Hills. Nowhere do “Pfitz” and Douglas schedule hill runs, although they concede that they are important. So I’ve made some of the longer easy runs (or shorter long runs) into hill runs. I’ll do these no more frequently than two or three times a month. I’ll also be doing a fair number of my long and marathon pace runs in Central Park, where I’ll be running up and down hills. Yonkers has some fantastic, lung-busting hills, including the one I live on.

  2. Long runs. The training schedules aren’t specific when it comes to long runs. There are different kinds of long runs (steady distance vs. progressive vs. “fast finish”). I’ll be running most of them as progressive runs, meaning I start out at a very easy pace and work my way up to marathon pace for the last miles.

    Here’s the biggest potential flaw I see in the book’s training schedule: The authors only have two dedicated marathon pace runs in the plan, and they’re quite long at 12 and 15 miles. The first one isn’t until halfway through the training program; the second one is a full month later. It’s a big leap to go from no marathon pace running to a 12 mile run at that speed. In my humble opinion, this is a recipe for failure, as well as a potential blow to confidence. What happens when you get to week 9 and realize you can’t hack running the pace you’ve been supposedly training for over less than half the marathon distance?

    So I’ll tack progressively more and more marathon pace miles onto my Sunday long runs (ending up at a long run with 9 miles at marathon pace), so I can work up to that first session dedicated to holding race pace over 12 miles knowing I have a fair shot at completing it comfortably. (I’m sure there was a much better way to write those last few sentences. But I’m totally exhausted!) More on long runs from Kevin Beck in Running Times and Greg Mcmillan.

  3. Races as tempo runs. I’ll be substituting half marathon races for a few of the longer (12 mile) tempo runs. I’m doing this not only because I enjoy racing, but also so I can gauge my fitness under real-world racing conditions throughout my training. The half marathon pace is also just about perfect for a tempo run.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 5.1 miles, recovery pace
  • Tuesday: 8.1 miles, easy pace with 10 x 100 meter “strideouts”
  • Wednesday, 12 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Thursday, 6 miles, recovery pace (+ very fast trip down the driveway)
  • Friday, 10.5 mile hill run
  • Saturday, 6.2 miles, recovery pace
  • Sunday, 17.1 miles, progressive long run with last 3 miles at marathon pace

Total mileage: 65.0 miles

Paces this week:

  • Easy: 8:20 – 8:40
  • Long: 7:50 – 8:40
  • Hills: 9:00
  • Recovery: 9:45 – 10:00

This week’s quote:

Hills are speedwork in disguise.

— Frank Shorter

Coming up in training week two: More of the same!

Track Tracks: The December Mixes

One reason that I so enjoy my long runs and recovery runs is that it gives me a chance to listen to some music with very little distraction. And an MP3 player is a sanity saver when you’re stuck inside on a treadmill running for 3 hours.

I spent my “couch recovery time” yesterday putting together some mixes for these runs. I figure I’ll rotate these until I get tired of them, then make up some new ones in January. And repeat.

The key with these mixes is to keep my legs moving on the Easy/Long runs — and have something uptempo for the 10 very fast “striders” (quick sprints of about a hundred yards) that I need to do during the Easy runs.

And I always, always, always run the Recovery runs too fast. So I need music that would be suitable for a lobotomy. I’ve picked the softest, calmest, slowest stuff I could think of.

Easy/Long Run Mixes

Mix 1 (2 hours)
1. It Won’t Be Long – Alison Moyet
2. No Cars Go – Arcade Fire
3. It Ended On An Oily Stage – British Sea Power
4. Judas – Charlatans U.K.
5. The Bell And The Butterfly – Charlatans U.K.
6. Television Rules The Nation / Crescendolls – Daft Punk
7. Girls Talk (LP Version) – Dave Edmunds
8. Soul Meets Body – Death Cab For Cutie
9. Kashmir – Dread Zeppelin
10. A Little Respect – Erasure
11. Transmission – Gay Dad
12. Harder Faster – Gay Dad
13. Celebrity Skin – Hole
14. Directions – Josh Rouse
15. Little Favours – KT Tunstall
16. Wonders Never Cease – Morcheeba
17. Saddest Quo – Pernice Brothers
18. Last Post on the Bugle – The Libertines
19. Human – Pretenders
20. Lola Stars and Stripes – The Stills
21. Gender Bombs – The Stills
22. 12:51 – The Strokes
23. You Only Live Once – The Strokes
24. New Star In The Sky – Air
25. Space Maker – Air
26. Playground Love – Air
27. Fort Knox, King Solomon – Bob Mould
Playlist on Rhapsody

Mix 2 (2 hours)
1. Shallow End – Morcheeba
2. Wonders Never Cease – Morcheeba
3. Let Me See – Morcheeba
4. If Everybody Looked The Same – Groove Armada
5. Black & White New York – Tommy Keene
6. Alta Loma – Tommy Keene
7. Chorus – Erasure
8. Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels) – Jim Croce
9. Heart – Peggy Lee
10. Sunny – Ella Fitzgerald
11. High Time – Michael Penn
12. Wild Things Run Fast – Joni Mitchell
13. Disappear – Blake Babies
14. Picture Perfect – Blake Babies
15. Popstar – Pretenders
16. Big Sur – The Thrills
17. Freetime – The Trashcan Sinatras
18. Prize Fighter – The Velvet Teen
19. Focus On Sight – Thievery Corporation
20. Warning Shots – Thievery Corporation
21. Currents – Tim Finn
22. Only A Fool Would Say That – Steely Dan
23. This Is How It Starts – Swell
24. Roam – The B-52’s
25. Good Morning Joan – The Cardigans
26. Do You Realize?? – The Flaming Lips
27. This Year – The Mountain Goats
28. Here Comes Your Man – Pixies
29. People Have The Power – Patti Smith
30. Looking For You (I Was) – Patti Smith
31. She Heightened Everything – Pernice Brothers
Playlist on Rhapsody

Mix 3 (3 hours)
1. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend – The Ramones
2. Let It Blow – Richard Thompson
3. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? – R.E.M.
4. 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
5. Incinerate – Sonic Youth
6. Master of Disaster – John Hiatt
7. Is It Any Wonder? – Keane
8. Run Into Flowers – M83
9. Beachcombing – Mark Knopfler
10. The Distance Between – Marshall Crenshaw
11. A Part Of The Woods – Matt Pond PA
12. Please Don’t Touch – Motorhead
13. Soon – My Bloody Valentine
14. Bled White – Elliott Smith
15. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac
16. Cars – Gary Numan
17. Pathfinder – Gay Dad
18. Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go’s
19. Ooh La La (Benny Benassi Remix – Extended) – Goldfrapp
20. Indictment – Jawbreaker
21. Cold Hard Bitch – Jet
22. Dony – Big Star
23. Cat People (Putting Out The Fire) – David Bowie
24. Babylon – David Gray
25. Some Cities – Doves
26. Words – Doves
27. Turn To Stone – Electric Light Orchestra
28. Relative Ways – And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
29. Wake Up – Arcade Fire
30. Black Wave / Bad Vibrations – Arcade Fire
31. Born In The UK – Badly Drawn Boy
32. Aerodynamic Beats / Gabrielle , Forget About The World – Daft Punk
33. Charlie’s Angels 2000 – Apollo Four Forty
34. Fortress – Pinback
35. Discover a Lovelier You – Pernice Brothers
36. Right Here In Front Of Me – Marshall Crenshaw
37. Retour A Vega – The Stills
38. Red Vines – Aimee Mann
39. Lovefool – The Cardigans
40. Trap – The Cure
41. Cannonball (LP Version) – The Breeders
42. Master of Disaster – John Hiatt
43. I Want You Now – The Feeling
44. Rock Me – Liz Phair
45. Shake Your Coconuts – Junior Senior
Playlist on Rhapsody

Recovery Run Mixes

Mix 1 (1.2 hours)
1. Sexy Boy – Air
2. The Sea – Morcheeba
3. Aqualung – Morcheeba
4. Hands Of Time – Groove Armada
5. Suntoucher – Groove Armada
6. Edge Hill – Groove Armada
7. At The River – Groove Armada
8. Killing The Blues – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
9. Stick With Me Baby – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
10. The Pearl – Emmylou Harris
11. Come Rain Or Come Shine – Peggy Lee
12. Someone To Watch Over Me – Sarah Vaughn
13. Oxygen – Colbie Caillat
14. Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
15. Underachiever (LP Version) – Jill Sobule

Playlist on Rhapsody

Mix 2 (1.2 hours)
1. The General Specific (Album) – Band Of Horses
2. Roadmovies – Bettie Serveert
3. Brain-Tag – Bettie Serveert
4. Big Sur – The Thrills
5. In The Waiting Line – Zero 7
6. Finding You – The Go-Betweens
7. Architecture And Morality – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD)
8. Our Time Has Passed – Pernice Brothers
9. The End Of The Rainbow – Richard Thompson
10. Dimming Of The Day – Richard Thompson
11. It Takes You There – Rickie Lee Jones
12. Across The Borderline – Ry Cooder
13. Solid Air – John Martyn
14. Knock Yourself Out – Jon Brion
15. Toxic Girl – Kings Of Convenience
16. Swingset Chain – Loquat
17. Be Natural – Manic Street Preachers
18. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
Playlist on Rhapsody

Mix 3 (1.3 hours)
1. Place To Be – Nick Drake
2. Which Will – Nick Drake
3. One Of These Things First – Nick Drake
4. Pink Moon – Nick Drake
5. Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine
6. Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley
7. Act of the Apostle – Belle and Sebastian
8. Thirteen – Big Star
9. Last Place – Broken Social Scene
10. Love And Mathematics – Broken Social Scene
11. Trapped Under Ice – Call And Response
12. Son-Of-A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
13. The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen
14. Independence Day – Elliott Smith
15. Island – Autour de Lucie
16. Nurture – LFO
17. Dirty Secret – Grant-Lee Phillips
18. Some Sweet Day – Sparklehorse
19. Silver Springs – Stevie Nicks
Playlist on Rhapsody

Mix 4 (1.2 hours)
1. Driving Sideways – Aimee Mann
2. You Do – Aimee Mann
3. Flying Cowboys – Rickie Lee Jones
4. 6 Underground – Sneaker Pimps
5. Pets – Porno for Pyros
6. Sick Day (LP Version) – Fountains of Wayne
7. Son Of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
8. I’m Not In Love – 10cc
9. You’re Lost Little Girl – The Doors
10. Superstar – The Carpenters
11. Broken Places – Maggie & Terre Roche
12. Moonshadow – Cat Stevens
13. My Little Japanese Cigarette Case – Spoon
14. One Bright Summer Day – Yuji Oniki
15. Other Side Of The World – KT Tunstall
Playlist on Rhapsody

Race Report: NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K

We ran the Hot Chocolate 15K race in Central Park yesterday, organized by the New York Road Runners. And, man, was it cold! We drove in and managed to find a spot on 108th St, so we were really early. Better than being late, but we would have been smarter to kill some time in the car. The wind chill was around 18F and when the wind whipped around the corners, it certainly woke you up.

Fortunately, there was a bit more wind protection (or at least it wasn’t so channeled through the canyons) in the park itself. We ran around for twenty minutes, stood around in the sun, and lined up, teeth chattering, about five minutes before race time to benefit from the surrounding body heat.

The horn blew at 9:33 and the race was on: 9.3 miles counter-clockwise around the park starting at 102 Street on the East side. One full loop around the bottom of the park, and one shorter loop along 72 Street. I was somewhat familiar with the course from having run the More Marathon last year, although I’d run it in the opposite direction, so there were some surprises.

Since it was windy, I picked a conservative goal time of 1:12:00 or better, and I started slow to test the waters, again employing an “extreme negative split” strategy. Once again, it worked very well. I finished in 1:12:22. Had I known the course better, I think I could have easily bested 1:12, as I was expecting a bigger hill the last 2K when in fact it was downhill.

It was a lot of fun. I have to say that I enjoy running in the park. It’s a challenging course and a good place to practice racing tactics. I even tried out a very short finishing kick (about 50 meters), blowing past three women about 15 feet from the finish. That was a gas. People do it to me all the time and it drives me nuts. Result: 16th in my age group, and in the top 7% of all women finishers.

So I’m very happy with my time and, between the three recent races, I’ve got a good sense of what my initial paces should be when I start my marathon training (gulp) tomorrow.

As for Jonathan, he met his goal of finishing in under an hour: 59:20. And he took third in his age group, garnering what is quite possibly the world’s ugliest “hot chocolate” mug.

We were treated to post-race hot chocolate and bagels at a nearby school. And we struck up a conversation with friendly older gentleman named Andy who isn’t a runner, but seems to be a race junkie. He lives over the park on the north end and has been watching races since the first NY marathon.

Today we went for a short recovery run together in our first snow of the season. Now it’s time for a glass of wine and some tree decorating…

Yesterday’s splits:

Mile 1          8:11
Mile 2          7:47
Mile 3          7:52
Mile 4          7:49
Mile 5          7:37
Mile 6          7:44*
Mile 7          7:29
Mile 8          7:37
Mile 9          7:14
Mile 9.3        3:00

Finish time  1:12:22

Average pace    7:46

*I must figure out how to drink while running