Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Garmin Forerunner 405 Coming This Year

I posted this on my regular blog, but it looks like I need to start saving up my money for Garmin’s new Forerunner 405 GPS running watch when it comes out later this year.

I can't wait to get my hands on this sleek device and do a comparison review versus my current Forerunner 305, which seems gigantic in comparison.

It was a whole lot of fun doing a similar review of the just released Forerunner 205 versus the even clunkier Forerunner 201 way back in February/March of 2006.

In the meantime, check out this video of the upcoming 405 from the Garmin blog:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tired Legs and Last Week's Training

Last week was disappointing. My legs are still tired from the half marathon a couple of weeks ago and I came down with some kind of bug that has left me feeling rundown. Ran a total of 56 miles but bailed on a couple of workouts and took my first day off in almost 2 months on Saturday. I then struggled thorugh a MP run on Sunday and called it quits after 10 miles.

I'm taking it easier this week (didn't run yesterday) and felt re-charged this morning when I ran 14.2 miles with 4.6 @ around 6:41 pace. I plan to run the local Lafayette Reservoir 5K on Sunday and will probably get in a longish warmup (4-5 miles) before starting the race.

CIM is closing in fast in less than 6 weeks and so I'm hoping I can get my legs back soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It must be the shoes...

Check out my bright red shoes from last week's half marathon. Anyway, I had to deal with tired legs last week as I'm still feeling the race and all the training. Here's how last week shaped up:

  • M: 6.4m easy
  • T: 9.75m
  • W: 12.65m
  • T: 9.25m w/6x600m @ 5k pace at the track with 200m jog in between. Averaged 2:01.7 for the 6 or around 81 per 400m.
  • F: 8.25m
  • S: 7.2m easy, but it didn't feel that way
  • S: 22.1m - Felt tired the whole run and near the end wondered why I was training for a marathon. At least I finished although I still can't see how I'll be able to go another 4 miles at a faster clip.
Total: 75.6m

I think I'll take this week easier and just run a 14 miles at MP next Sunday. My last race before CIM on December 3 is the Lafayette Reservoir 5K in two Sundays time. Racing a 5K really won't help the marathon training, but who cares....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Half Marathon and Weekly Roundup

I ran 69 miles last week, but all the training seems to be catching up with me. Feeling sluggish and having a harder time running at pace. I've been training through my recent races and following a modified Pfitz 18/70 plan so that probably has something to do with it.

Last Sunday, I ran my first long MP effort (12miles) so most of the week was spent running easier and getting in the miles. I did a 5K pace track workout on Thursday and ran easier on Friday and Saturday as my sort of mini-taper for my 2nd ever half marathon yesterday. Here's how the week went:

  • M: 7.15m recovery run
  • T: 9.7m
  • W: 12.05m w/2.4 @ 6:50 pace
  • T: 9.8m w/6x600m at the track with 200 jog. Averaged 2:02 (around 81 for 400m)
  • F: 7.95m easy
  • S: 6.55m easy
  • S: 15.8m w/Primo's Run for Education Half Marathon in 1:24:00. Over 400 people ran but the field upfront was sparse due to the inaugural running of the Rock N Roll Half in San Jose at the same time and next week's Humboldt Half Marathon (part of the Pacific Association USATF Road Cirucit). I took 5th overall and was 2nd masters (A member of my club ran in San Jose and was 3rd masters in 1:16+!). The weather was cool and dry but the course was slower than I expected. Lots of turns in residential neighborhoods and a number of hills in the early miles. I think there was a modest net elevation increase for the course and it defintely felt that way on the long straight sections on the second half of the course. I had a hard time getting into any rhythm and generally felt so-so throughout the race. At least I didn't fall apart at the end of the race. Even though I thought I could run faster, I'll take the PB. Splits were 6:10, 6:18, 6:29, 6:13, 6:20, 6:26, 6:25, 6:35, 6:33, 6:35, 6:32, 6:24, 7:00 (1.1m)
I knew coming into the race that my recent 5K/10K times were not indicative of how I would fare over longer distances as I'm more of a speed runner than endurance one. All the marathon training has definitely helped build my strength, and this race helped me decide to aim for 6:45 pace at CIM in December and tweak it as the date gets closer.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

September and Weekly Roundup

September was a pretty solid month as I ran my most mileage for the year with 303.6 miles. I ran every day and my current consecutive streak is now up to 45 days in a row. In September, I ran two 20+ milers, an 18 miler and a 5K race in 17:29.

October is shaping up to be a big month as well as the modified Pfitz 18/70 plan transitions from LT runs to 5K pace track stuff and long MP runs. The trackwork doesn't faze me but the long MP runs have me a bit apprehensive. That's uncharted territory in my book and so I'm not looking forward to it.

This past week I ran 71.3 miles altogether with a good amount at MP. All the recent mileage has kept me tired and so this upcoming week is a little lighter with a 5K pace workout and the Primo's Run for Education Half Marathon next Sunday. I'm still trying to figure out what pace to attempt for this race.

Judging from the various calculators out there I have a number of paces to choose. For example, here are equivalents from recent races as determined by the McMillan Calculator and the Merv's Running Calculator:

8/6 - 10K in 36:59
McMillian 1/2 marathon/marathon = 1:22:18 (6:17 pace) / 2:53:34 (6:38)
Merv 1/2 marathon/marathon = 1:22:13 (6:16.3 pace) / 2:52:36 (6:35)

9/17 - 5K in 17:29
McMillian 1/2 marathon/marathon = 1:20:49 (6:10 pace) / 2:50:26 (6:31)
Merv 1/2 marathon/marathon = 1:21:35 (6:13 pace) / 2:51:18 (6:32)

The 5K performance was better but the Merv calculator gives it less weight than the McMillan calculator. In my case I think I'll aim for the 6:15-6:20 range in the early miles and see what happens since I'm more of a speed runner.

Anyway, here is how last week went:

  • M: 6.5m recovery run
  • T: 9.7m
  • W: 14.25m with 4.65 miles towards the end at 6:45 pace. Didn't feel that bad on the MP section but I just couldn't go any faster.
  • T: 7.7m recovery run with 6 x strides at track
  • F: 10.25m
  • S: 7.8m on firetrail
  • S: 15.4m with 12.25m @ 6:40 pace. Pacing was all over the map and I had a hard time getting into a steady rhythm. The route I ran was up and down as well with long gradual inclines and some shorter downhill sections. It wasn't hilly but was far from flat so I guess it's a good test for CIM which has a negative drop and not much in the way of inclines.
There are 9 weeks to go to CIM in Sacramento on December 3. I have until October 30 to sign up online and not have to pay extra. Before I sign up I should book a hotel room soon as good ones in downtown Sacramento near the finish line (and buses to the start) will be harder to come by....

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tough Week

This past week was a tough one. I was pretty pleased with my 5K last Sunday because I was able to run 32 seconds faster than I did in May even though the course was slower this time around. I was feeling the effects of the effort this week and that combined with catching some kind of bug either from work or from my kids made the week tough going from Wednesday onward.

Overall, I ran 75.9 miles for the week with a mid-week long run with some miles at MP, a HM pace session on Friday and 20 miles today. My body is definitely feeling it, but luckily this week shouldn't be so bad with mostly distance and 12 miles at MP next Sunday. In two weeks time I'm signed up for a half marathon and I hoping to run sub 6:20 pace for that one. We'll see. Here a summary of the week:

  • M: 6.05m easy
  • T: 9.7m
  • W: 13.6m with 4.2m towards the end at 6:39 pace
  • T: 7.7m with 8 x strides at the track
  • F: 11m w/6.2m @ 6:18 pace. I wasn't sure if I was going to do this session since I wasn't feeling well the day before. Decided to give it a try and stop if things got too rough. First 4.2m were on the roads and trying to maintain pace around 6:20 was a struggle. Finished with 2 miles on the track and although there seemed to be no extra gear, I was able to stay on pace with final miles of 6:20 and 6:12.
  • S: 7.4m on trail
  • S: 20.45m - The last 4-5 miles on this run were a struggle. Legs were heavy and I really wasn't enjoying things. First half of the run averaged 7:45 pace while the last half was around 7:13 pace.
Although the legs are heavy and I'm feeling tired most of the time, the marathon training is definitely helping me build strength and endurance, which has been sorely needed. I hope this carries over to next year when I focus on the shorter stuff.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Banana Chase 5k and last week's training

After 3 straight weeks in the 70s, I cut mileage down to 60 last week. Most of the reduction came yesterday since instead of a lon run, I ran a 5K instead. The week was still hard as I came off a 21 miler last Sunday and the legs were still feeling it throughout the week with a Tuesday run at half marathon pace and a mid-week medium long run. Here how the week of September 11-17 went:

  • M: 6.5m recovery run
  • T: 10.25m with 5.1m @ 6:20 pace. First 2.85m were on the roads at around 6:23 pace and then finished the last 2.25 on the track with miles of 6:16, 6:12 and the last 400 in 91. A fair amount of the road portion gradually inclined and I had a hard time settling into pace when I hit the track.
  • W: 12.7m
  • T: 7.7m with 8 strides at the track
  • F: 9.7m
  • S: 6.7m recovery run
  • S: 6.6m - ran the Banana Chase 5k in San Francisco. This race is part of the Pacific Association USATF road racing circuit. I came in 76th in the time of 17:29. I was the 25nd master, and 6 fast women beat me including the women's winner, Magda Lewy-Boulet who place 5th at the U.S. Women's Olympic marathon trials. The course is slow so I was happy with the overall result. First mile goes downhill out of Golden Gate Park along the south side of the panhandle and is fast. Tried to hold back and hit 5:26. Second mile heads back to Golden Gate Park on the other side of the panhandle and goes uphill. I pushed this section and hit 5:41 for mile 2. The last 1.1 miles I ran in 6:22. It goes into the park does a 180 degree turn and then has some turns and more inclines before going into Kezar stadium for a short steep downhill before finishing up on the track. I had nothing left at the end and was just holding on. Still it's a 32 second improvement from the 5K I ran at the beginning of May on a much flatter and faster course.
My calves really tightened up after the race from the downhill pounding and my right piriformis is acting up as well. It sucks getting old :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last Week's Training

Finally getting around to posting last week's training for the week of September 4-10. It was the third week in a row over 70 miles, and I got in 75.25 miles last week. I've been trying to throw in some MP miles towards the end of the longer runs whenever I can so I can get use to the pace while tired and I hope it helps.

This week so far has been tiring but I will drop down in miles as I plan to run a 5K on Sunday as part of the Pacific Association USATF road racing series. Here's how the week of September 4-10 went:

M: 7.15m recovery run on fire trail
T: 9.35m
W: 13.55m w/4.2m near the end at 6:36 pace
T: 7.35m recovery run w/10 strides at the track
F: 10.15m
S: 6.7m recovery run on fire trail
S: 21m @ 7:34 min/mile pace - first 10.15m averaged 8:00 pace and the return 10.85m, which more than half of climbed gently 400+ ft, averaged 7:10 pace. Miles 15.7 - 19.2 (3.5m) @ 6:40 pace.

With 11 and 1/2 weeks to go to the California International Marathon on December 3 in Sacramento, CA, my training using a modified Pfitzinger 18 week/up to 70 miles plan has been going well. All the distance and strength work seems to be making a difference and I've already run 2 x 18+ miles and 2 x 20+ mile runs.

My current goal for CIM is to run sub 3 hours in my first completed marathon, but I think my optimal goal would be closer to the 2:55 range, which is around 6:41 mile pace. We'll see how it goes once the Pfitz program calls for the longer MP runs. Plus I plan to run a half marathon in early October which will help gauge my fitness level.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's been a long time...

More than 2 months since my last posting during the dog days of summer. At first I stopped blogging due to a lack of motivation. I kept on running but just didn't feel like posting about it. Then life got in the way and time for blogging went with it.

I started a new job in August and my kids went back to school at the end of last month. In order to get in the running and be back in time to get the kids ready for school (my son started middle school and has to leave for the bus at 7:15am), I'm now up even earlier in the morning. I usually wake up around 4:50am and get out the door before 5:30. The days I run longer, I wake up even earlier.

The whole family is trying to adjust to our new schedules as it's the first time we've had both parents working. Just what the world needs is more latch-key kids :-)

Anyway on the running front, training has been going well. In July, I missed 3 days due to travel and sickness and ran 283 miles. In August, I missed 1 day due to a achilles flare up and managed to run 297 miles. I ran a 10K race in 36:59 at the beginning of August, which was a nice sign that my training was getting better.

In August, I also started using a modified Pfitzinger 18/70 plan to train for a possible marathon attempt at the California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 3. For the most part following the plan (and adding some extra mileage) hasn't been too hard. The only difficulty I've run into is the mid-week medium long run that eventually goes up to 15 miles. The distance itself is not a problem, but the logistics of getting the run in is.

A 95-100+ minute run during the week means I need to get out the door even earlier than usual. For example, I ran 13.5 miles this past Wednesday and started around 5:05 am. Even then I got back in time for only a few minutes with my son before he had to jam to the school bus stop.

Once the marathon training is done, I'll have to reassess how much mileage I want to run and how early I need to get up because this current schedule is getting old fast.

I hope I'll be able to update this blog on a regular basis moving forward. Keep up the good running....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Aimless Trackwork?

It always seems to happen. In my desire to get track fit, I tend to over do it, when a more convervative approach would be the safer course. Take this morning for example. It was another cool, windy and overcast morning with temps in the mid 50s and I headed to the track for a speedwork session.

I planned to do some 300s, aiming for 51-54 (68-72 400 pace) with the hope of dropping it down to the 48 region at the end. Of course, I haven't run anything close to this pace recently, but that didn't stop me from trying.

After a 2+ mile warmup to the track and some drills, I jumped into the workout. The plan was 2 sets of 3 x 300 with a 100 jog and a 400 jog between sets. The first set averaged 52.2 with the last one at 50.7. However, it was a little too fast with not enough rest for me, and I lacked any kind of zip during the second set and only averaged 53.6.

After 4 laps of easy running, I ran 4 x 150 strides to try and keep the legs turning over and then ran home for my cooldown. I felt a little twinge in my upper right hamstring/piriformis during the workout and so I'll have to watch it carefully over the next couple of days.

In hindsight, it's clear to see that I tried to do too much with the workout and it served very little purpose. If I wanted to focus on speed such as 800 pace then I should have lengthened the rest interval between repeats. A 100 jog was definitely not enough. And if I wanted it to be more of a strength workout then I should have slowed down the repeats to the 54-57 range (72-76 400 pace) and kept the rest interval.

Unfortunately I tried to have both and failed. I hope the hamstring problem is minor. In the meantime, I learned of an all-comers meet in my area on July 20 so I'll see if I can get in one 800 race this summer before shutting down the trackwork and starting on a marathon buildup....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two on the Fourth

I've been waiting for the results to be posted for the small 2 mile road race I ran in my town the morning of July 4th. The race together with a 5 miler were to raise funds for the local high school track team.

The morning was overcast in the mid-50s and there was a decent breeze blowing from the west. I warmed up by running about 2 miles to the starting area and paying my race fees. I really didn't follow my usual pre-race routine, and just did some easy jogging and strides while awaiting the start of the race, which went off 10 minutes after the 5 miler.

I tried to run conservative at the start since the first two-thirds of a mile is a gentle downhil that drops about 40-50 feet in elevation. There was a small group of young guys and one other old dude in the front pack once the sprinting kids were dropped.

The course was mostly straight except for a hard right turn from the street to a path at .75 miles, and then a 180 degree turnaround on a cul de sac a little after the 1 mile mark. It was at this point that I passed the other old guy and moved into third behind two younger fellows.

The last part of the course climbs a bit. Not a huge amount, but very noticeable when your lungs are screaming for air and your legs feel like lead. I was gaining a little on the guy in 2nd on this section, but had no more gears left when the course turned for home with a quarter to go.

So I ended up 3rd overall, and first master in a field of probably less than 100. My time for the course was 11:17, which the Garmin 305 measured at 2.05 miles. Although I didn't catch the splits on the course, SportsTracks and MotionBased had me at 5:28, 5:32 + 17 seconds for the .05 miles at the end.

It wasn't the finest effort, but I was able to run steady for the most part and I didn't fall apart too much at the end. It actually felt more like a very hard workout than a race so I guess i can't complain...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Over Caffeinated

My former boss was a professor from Italy, who started up a software company during the boom years. The man use to mainline espresso like it was going out of style. He must have averaged at least 6 or 7 doubles a day, and that might be a conservative estimate.

While the company ended up going under, I developed a taste for espresso drinks during my time there. So when I started consulting and working out of my house, I use to hit Starbucks on a daily basis to get my Java fix.

After a while I realized it made more economical sense to purchase my own espresso machine and make my own drinks at home. I figured I would end up saving a nice chunk of change by not handing over $3+ a pop everyday.

It was a smart move as I would go to the local coffee shop weekly to get some beans ground. This worked out for a while, but I wasn't entirely satisfied with the espresso I was producing. Then I started reading some of the coffee forums, and realized I needed a grinder as well. And not just an ordinary grinder, but a quality burr grinder.

After months of going back and forth on which grinder to get and trying to justify the hefty price, I finally gave in and puchased one last week. It arrived today and thanks to the Internet I picked up a bunch of tips on how to use it.

This afternoon was spent trying to find the right grind settings with some fresh roasted beans and sampling the output from the espresso machine. I must have gone through almost a half of pound of beans, but it was worth the effort. The grinder with fresh beans has made a world of difference and the result is a much better end product so I am very pleased with my new gadget and also over caffeinated at this point.

I hope it doesn't affect my sleep tonight as I plan to run a 2 mile road race in town tomorrow morning.

Training wise, I put in a steady 9.55 miles this morning. I planned to run the local golf course and made it down one of the holes before realizing it was open. Not wanting to get hit by a stray golf ball and get in trouble with the country club, I cut out and made up my route as I went along. This is one of the benefits of having a Garmin Forerunner.

Hope everyone has a great fouth of July holiday.....

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Numbers Game

Since I plan to run a 2 mile road race on July 4, I decided to move my long run to Saturday so I wouldn't be too tired for the race. I ran 14.5 at a steady clip and followed it up with much neglected yard work and weeding to make me good and tired. I then stayed up past my usual bedtime to watch the movie "High Fidelity" with my wife only to realize that our DVD was scratched and unwatchable with only 5 minutes left in the movie. Arghhh.

Today, was an easy 8 mile recovery run with 8 strides at the track. The heart rate stayed nice and low, but I was feeling tired throughout.

With half of 2006 in the books, I decided to take a look at how my training has been going from strictly a numbers standpoint. Here are the stats for the period from January 1 to June 30:

  • Total miles: 1584.5
  • Missed days of training: 10 days
  • Most consecutive days of running: 71 days
  • Average miles per run: 9.25 miles
  • Average miles per week: 61.7 miles
  • Average miles per month: 263.6
It's really just a bunch of numbers signifying nothing. It's also the longest stretch of I've been able to stay healthy so that's always a good sign. I'm hoping I can build on this solid base in the second half of the year and post some decent road race times and survive a marathon in December. All I need to do is use common sense and not do anything stupid. It might be hard because us males aren't known for that.....

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Speeding Up

After a recovery run yesterday where the heart rate was a little higher than usual but still within range the 70% range, I went into this morning's workout with a bit of trepidation. I wanted to get in some speedwork at the track because I plan to run a 2 mile road race on July 4 in support of the local high school's track team. I could run the 5 mile race instead, which would probably be more beneficial in the long run, but I just don't feel like putting in the extra effort when the temps will most likely be hot. I'm a wimp.

I was kind of waffling over what workout I should do during my 2+ mile warmup to the high school. I couldn't decide between 400s, 600s or even on and off 400s. The track was the most crowded I've seen at 6:30 am with a few walkers, individual joggers, some unleashed dogs plus a group of 5 women doing laps and straightaways. I guess with school out, early sunrises and pleasant weather that happens.

Usually I have the track all to myself at this time so I was hoping I wouldn't have to do a lot of weaving in and out of human traffic, other than moving out to lane 3 at the 200m mark for 20-30 meters due to work being done on the infield that was fenced off and jutting out into lane 2.

After some abbreviated drills and strides, I settled on 6x600m with a 200 jog as the workout and I
wanted to run around 80 second 400 pace for the repeats.

In contrast to my
200 workout last Friday, where I felt like I pressing too much and overstriding, the 600s this morning felt more under control. I was able to maintain at a steady pace, and while in the beginning I had to hold back a bit from going out too fast, at the end it was definitely getting hard.

Overall I averaged a bit over 2 minutes for the 6 x 600s so I'm pretty please with the overall effort.
It's interesting how last week's 200s made today's 600s feel a lot easier.

I know if I hit the track on a regular basis I could quickly regain fitness and speed for the shorter track distances and road races. Of course there would be a greater chance for injury so I think I'll just stick to putting in the miles, building strength and possibly attempting a marathon in December...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In Search of Flatlands...

I live in a hilly area so I'm usually going either up or down at any point during a run. Most times this doesn't bother me, and although I'm not the biggest fan of running uphill, at least I know the hills are good for my training.

All of this does bother me when I'm running a tempo or marathon pace (MP) effort. It's hard for me to maintain a steady pace/effort when I'm climbing or going downhill.

For example, this morning I wanted to run a MP run and decided to try a new route in hopes of finding as much flat sections as possible. After a 2.5 mile warmup, I slowly ramped up to what I thought was my goal MP effort (sub 3 hours or 6:51 a mile). However, I was still feeling tired from my 17 miler on Sunday, and it was a struggle for the first few miles.

The route I chose started off relatively flat before hitting a 1+ mile straight section that gently inclines. I then turned off into a residential area and ran a section I had never run before so I was counting on the Garmin Forerunner 305 to measure it accurately. What I wasn't counting on were the hills. A couple of parts were rolling and then the road climbed steadily, but not too severely for about a half mile. It was not fun.

When I reached the top I turned around and retraced my route. so that the inclines became downhills and vice versa. I ended up going around 6.1 miles @ 6:48 pace, but due to the ups and downs the pace was up and down as well. Splits were: 6:56, 6:49, 7:10, 6:49, 6:39, 6:38.

Only after I examined the training data in SportTracks and MotionBased, did I realize the elevation change was much more than I thought. The out portion climbed roughly 240 feet, and the return dropped about the same amount. No wonder the first few miles felt slow and tiring.

I'm wondering what type of route is best for future tempo and MP runs. I can use a flatter 1.85 mile loop or opt for more variety and tolerate all the uphills and downhills. Then again there's always the track, but that gets to be quite mind numbing in its own right after more than 12 laps....