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.....