September 2013 – end of month running report

I made one of the best discoveries last month: the distance from our place to the Back Deck (an outdoor bar overlooking Lynnhaven Bay) is exactly 10 kilometers away. That’s pretty much my perfect distance!

It’s already  a  ritual to do $2 fish tacos and Tecates on the Back Deck on Tuesdays. It only made sense to make it even more worthwhile by running there and getting a ride back for the return. The view isn’t bad either.

The Back Deck

Beautiful sunsets every time

The route is a little tricky since the bulk of it runs along Great Neck Road, which has a 45mph speed limit and where you almost always feel like an SUV is coming straight at you when it’s cutting a turn at 55. Although, I’ve noticed that running along the sidewalk of a fast road makes me feel like I’m also running faster, so that’s a plus!

The first mile and a half runs along our neighborhood, then about 3.5 miles along the main road, up and down a bridge, and about a mile through a smaller neighborhood that takes us to the Back Deck.

On hot days, it’s about the worst run you can imagine. On windy days, it’s mildly terrifying to run up and down the bridge. On cool days, you can really charge through the hilly finish and feel pretty awesome about the whole thing!

A new 10k route!

A new 10k route!

I’ve still got this sub-50min 10k goal lingering in the back of my mind so I’ve been running each week a little faster whenever I can train for it. I figured, if I can run this route quickly, considering I have to cross 12 streets and a bridge, I can run a sub-50min 10k on a flat, straightaway course.

Also… trying something a bit different and sticking more to short-term goals!

September Goals:
-Run at least one 10k a week
-Do one speedwork a week
-Cross train at least once a week

All accomplished! Another good month of running :)

Miles run per day in September

I also set two new PR’s for the year! I’ve got a new 5mi PR at 43:00 (8:36min/mi) and a 10k PR at 54:33 (8:47min/mi). They’re not that impressive, but they make me really happy!

I’ve got a local 5k coming up this weekend (October 5th) and hoping to finish under 25min but… I very rarely push hard during a race. It’s so silly. I have this irrational fear of getting hurt if I run too hard and that I might not be able to run the next day. Or that I might pass out from exhaustion. Or have my foot land on a bad camber and hurt my ankle. Seriously irrational.

So I’m throwing all that out the window on Saturday! Just cause I think I finally can.

Prepping for Beach Ford’s 5k

It’s been forever since my last race and I’ve been itching to register for all sort of events throughout summer. Since we’re basically counting days until we move (29 days to be exact!), Chris and I finally decided to sign up for a local event just to get a feel for where we stand on our training.

It’s too bad because, I feel like I already missed my peak over the summer and I’ve only been heading down in terms of speed since the start of August. Although, I’ve resumed regular 10k’s and I’ve been going for more controlled speedwork so that’s all good!

The 5k is on Saturday. I ran a 10k this past Saturday, an easy 5k yesterday, and 6 pick-ups today.. thinking the rest of the week will take a riskier path than my usual conservative preparation for most races.

Tuesday: 10K race pace + 35-40s
Wednesday: 1mi warm up, 2x1mi @ 5k race pace, 1mi cool down
Thursday: 5k easy + six 30s pick-ups, 30s RI
Friday: 1mi warm up, 4x400m @ 5k race pace + 30s, 1mi cool down

Aggressive for me. I have the worst turnover at the start of every run so I’m hedging my bets on a PR and running this one like I really want it.

August 2013 – end of month running report

Not the most structured month for my running. Made an effort to more frequently hit at least four miles, but our release in mid-August and scrambling to quickly redesign some fundamentally different pages on Smashrun meant late nights and very little rest.

I tried to keep my trailing weekly mileage close to 30 miles after the first two weeks, but I forgot that it requires a bit of patience to get used to higher mileage. I still haven’t committed to a race yet, but fall is usually a good time for long distance events so I’ve already got higher weekly mileage in the back of my mind.

What worked:

  • Simplifying my training. For example: “1 interval and 1 tempo session each week.”
  • Longer rest periods. Run early the day before and late the day after.
  • Long slow “recovery” runs means I don’t have to compromise on mileage and I just run by feel.

What didn’t work:

  • Offsetting lack of sleep with power naps. A long night’s rest just can be replaced.
  • Cutting back on strength training to maximize rest. I think it actually makes me more vulnerable to injury.

I haven’t really had an opportunity yet to figure out this month’s running goals, but I think I gotta keep it simple in the near term. It would be great, though, if I could cross-train at least once a week, do speedwork twice a week, and run at least three 10k’s this month.

July 2013 – end of month running report

My “roadrunner” month. The heat index averaged just over 80 °F with most of my runs starting around 7:30am. I had one silly run in the middle of the day through a muddy trail when the heat index topped off at 94 °F – that wasn’t my best moment, but it was oddly meditative. I gather, when you’re that miserable, your mind knows how to automatically shift its focus.

July’s run schedule was a little bit tricky, because I didn’t have much room to reorganize my runs. The goal was to log 10 runs under 8:00min/mi – mind you, some people would find this laughable while others would think it’s the shizzle. I am, of course, in that latter group. Yeah!

Basically, each hard run was followed by 2 days of rest. It’s pretty much every third day and I might have done one with only one day apart. Oh, and I still had to hit my 100mi monthly mileage. It was great for discipline because, I had to show up regardless of the heat index. Not so great for performance on some days.

In the end, I re-evaluated my decision to postpone another Cooper Test until it’s cooler and ran another one at 6:51am this morning. The result was almost the exact same distance and speed, but the absolute improvement translated to 2 steps up in my estimated VO2max. Pret-ty awesome, if you ask me.

What worked:

  • Nearly all of my runs were in the morning. Psychologically, I think lower perceived effort in the AM.
  • Speed development is super fun. The 1 mile cut off is also nice when it’s crazy hot out.
  • Tracking HRR made me very mindful of my recovery periods and helped me avoid overtraining.
  • Core workouts. Not a single knee, leg, shin, or back problem this whole month. Woohoo!

What didn’t work:

  • Trying to track my resting HR first thing in the morning. It was too easy to forget. Trying again.
  • Getting a consistent HRR reading. Just gotta remember to do the same thing each time after every workout!
  • Running drills on the road. Just isn’t very easy to do, logistically speaking, but super easy on a track.
  • Tough to get more sleep in when there are visitors (and old friends) in town. I need a re-do.

Of course, yet another crazy month for Smashrun with lots of redesigns and two new features. We also broke through some login and new registration records this month! Active users are up! Dedicated users are up! User feedback is still quite lovely. It helps that we really like our users too. Chris is a happy camper.

An example of a trailing 265 day mileage chart.

An example of a trailing 265 day mileage chart.

Chris worked on the trailing mileage charts while I designed and figured out the weekly running (and non-running) reports. I’m a big fan of the Feltron Report and it always bugged me that everyone’s weekly running reports were so plain when it just didn’t require that much effort to dress it up a little. So I dressed that email report like it was going to a Quantified Self conference, but less dorky and a touch of bacon (we added a “bacon option” for our calorie equivalents).

Smashrun's weekly running report.

Smashrun’s weekly running report.

Hoping to blog a bit about Lift this month and about my efforts to make it a place to help others become better, more well-rounded, runners. Hopefully, I can squeeze in a few entries as well about my recent cooking shenanigans, my killer veggie burgers, and a new porter on the way!

Should August cooperate, I’d like to pick up my usual long trail runs next month, continue tracking my HRR, add RHR, and do running drills early morning before my usual runs.

Training and Detraining Effects on Weight

One of the better studies I’ve found on the effects of training and detraining on adipose tissue for runners.

It confirms much of what we know about the benefits of aerobic activity, but the confirmation is reassuring, especially with such a large sample of runners.

WILLIAMS, PAUL T., AND PAUL D. THOMPSON.Dose-dependent effects of training and detraining on weight in 6406 runners during 7.4 years. Obesity. 2006;14: 1975–1984.